Archive for the “Caring for Your Jack Russell Terrier” Category

Caring for Your Jack Russell Terrier category.


Having started life on mother’s milk, Jack Russell puppies are weaned between five and six weeks of age. The timing depends on the dam’s willingness to nurse and the practices of the breeder. While the pups are still nursing, at about four weeks, the breeder will begin to feed them a fine-textured, well-moistened, nutritious gruel to begin to accustom them to solid food. At first the food is all over the place. It must be served in a low dish or pan so the pups can reach it, but then, of course, they can also walk through and play in it. This milestone in the puppies’ lives marks the beginning of several weeks of more cleanup work for the breeder.

Puppies should never leave their dam and littermates before they are 8 weeks of age, and by the time you bring your puppy home she will have been fully weaned and eagerly crunching on puppy kibble. The breeder should send you home with a supply of the food the pup has been eating. You can either continue feeding that food or change to a different one. If you change, do it gradually, starting with about 25% of the new food and gradually increasing the proportion for about a week until only the new food is being served. (Changing food for dogs of any age should be done in this gradual manner to avoid upsetting the puppy’s or dog’s digestive system).

Young JRT puppies should be fed three times a day, at about the same times each day. Offer one-third of the daily ration at each serving. Set the food down in front of the pup and allow her to eat for ten or fifteen minutes. At the end of that time, pick up the dish and do not offer more food until the next mealtime.

You probably won’t have to worry about your Jack Russell puppy eating enough – most are eager eaters. They may play around or even miss a meal or two, particularly when they are first brought to their new home, but they will soon get with the program. (A loss of appetite for longer periods may require your veterinarian’s attention.) Be very sure that plenty of fresh, clean water is always available.

Puppies require more protein and calories per pound of body weight than adults, so a general rule for Jack Russells is to serve the same amount of food per day to a pup as you would expect her to eat each day as an adult. For the most part, this would be about one cup of good-quality, small kibble per day. You can check with the breeder for information on how much food he or she expects your pup will require as an adult. Feeding guidelines printed on dog food bags are only estimates and should not be relied on as the precise amounts to feed your dog or puppy.

When your puppy reaches 5 or 6 months of age, she can be fed just twice a day, morning and evening, one-half the daily ration each time. Many breeders continue to feed two meals a day throughout the life of the dog, but some choose to feed only once a day after the dog reaches adulthood.

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Jack Russell Terrier - Bringing Home an Adult Dog

In this category we have been focusing on bringing a JRT puppy into your home, but this is not the only option. Consider getting an older, already spayed or neutered Jack Russell as companion to your dog – or as your only dog, for that matter. Many healthy, well-behaved older Jack Russell Terriers need new homes and can be applied for through the JRTCA’s Russell Rescue.
An older dog entering your home and life for the first time will have different needs than a puppy. A new puppy adjusts easily and is more adaptable, but an older dog has a history and habits, and may be more cautious in his new surroundings. The best thing you can do is to make the homecoming as stress-free as possible and make your home a comfortable, stable environment in which your new dog will feel secure.
If you get a rehomed dog from a rescue group or other source, you may not know much about the dog’s history. The more you can find out, the better prepared you will be for the task ahead. Unfortunately, some rescue dogs have been harmed by humans and will have to be patiently taught to love and trust gain. Many foster homes work on helping the dog gain confidence and trust before placing him in a permanent home.
You can make this easier by being sensitive to the special circumstances of your JRT. Notice anything that seems to make him uncomfortable. Avoid movements or noises that seem to scare him. Introduce children to your new dog in as calm a manner as possible. Don’t let them jump on him or make loud, excited noises that may startle or frighten him.
Take your dog for long walks around your neighborhood to let him get his bearings and familiarize himself with his new environment. The sooner he feels at home, the better.
An older JRT should adjust quickly to your home and lifestyle. They are “no-regrets” dogs. With patience and understanding, he will soon be his happy, eager Jack Russell self. You can be proud you have offered him a second chance and a wonderful new home.

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Jack Russell Terrier Routine

A routine is helpful to all Jack Russell Terriers. Upon rising, they need to relieve themselves and play, then go back to rest some more. After their morning nap, they are ready for more play and exercise, and then their afternoon nap. If you work at home, you have an ideal companion. If you work away from home, it is best if you can get back at midday to spend some time with the dog, let him out, and play with him. If your dog must be alone during the day, leave a radio on to keep him company and use gates to confine him to one or two rooms, but don’t leave him by himself for too many hours, and never leave him crated for more than a few hours at a time. This is especially hard for puppies, who may feel they are being punished or abandoned.
Perhaps a friend or neighbor can help by spending some time with the dog in the early afternoon, as JRT’s really do cherish companionship. If you have no alternative but to be gone all day, and no one to help, you might want to consider waiting and
getting a dog or puppy at another time in your life.
When you get home, take the dog outside immediately and later, after feeding and watering, take him on a long evening walk.

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JRT’s love their crates and use them as dens. When the door is left open and there is a comfortable bed inside, the dog will seek the crate for privacy and rest. Either a wire crate or a molded plastic carrier is suitable, as long as it is large enough for a grown Jack Russell to stand up in and turn around comfortably. If the crate is too large the dog may choose to sleep at one end and eliminate at the other.
The bed or pad inside should be one that is not easily torn. An added baby blanket will let a puppy snuggle in and will help provide warmth and protection from drafts, especially in cold weather. A crate should not be used for more than a few hours at a time and should never be used for punishment. The crate should be a safe and happy place for your dog – a place where he will go willingly, whether you put him there or he goes in of his own accord.
Where you place the crate in your home is important for your dog’s comfort. Keep it out of drafts and direct sunlight (for a wire crate, a sheet or blanket can be used as a cover for privacy and draft protection, and removed when not needed). It is also very important that the crate be in a “people area”, not in a place where the dog will be isolated from his family.
Choose a time to start crate training when the dog is ready for rest, after he has relieved himself and has had plenty of exercise. Start by feeding your dog in the crate with the door open. He will quickly associate the crate with this reward.
Now that he has been eating his meals in his crate, you can use a small treat and happy voice of encouragement, and add a command, and he will enter the crate. At first, just quietly close the door and don’t latch it. Later, when he is comfortable with the door being swung shut and he is busy with a treat or a meal, latch the door a few minutes at a time. If he fusses, wait until he settles down to let him out.
By offering him special treats and chew toys in the crate, he should not be upset by the door closing. Take these special crate toys and goodies away when he is not in the crate. When he is in the crate and occupied with a treat or special chew toy, leave the room quietly and return. Teach him this important  lesson without discussion: When you leave, you always return.

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Jack Russell Terrier Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Finally, the day has arrived to pick up your dog. Before you get the dog into your car, give him a chance to relieve himself. If the breeder has not taken your puppy for a car ride before, ask them to skip the pup’s breakfast that day so he won’t have an upset stomach in the car. Carry paper towels with you, just in
case. Most Jack Russells learn very quickly to love riding in the car.

You can prevent much of the destruction puppies can cause and keep your new dog safe by looking at your home and yard from a dog’s point of view. Get down on all fours and look around. Do you see loose electrical wires, cords dangling from the blinds, or chewy shoes on the floor? Your pup will see them too!

In the kitchen:
– Put all knives and other utensils away in drawers.
– Get a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.
– Put all household cleaners in cupboards that close securely; consider using childproof latches on the cabinet doors.

In the bathroom:
– Keep all household cleaners, medicines, vitamins, shampoos, bath products, perfumes, makeup, nail polish remover, and other personal products in cupboards that close securely; consider using childproof latches on the cabinet doors.
– Get a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.
– Don’t use toilet bowl cleaners that release chemicals into the bowl every time you flush.
– Keep the toilet bowl lid down.
– Throw away potpourri and any solid air fresheners.

In the bedroom:
– Securely put away all potentially dangerous items, including medicines and medicine containers, vitamins and supplements, perfumes, and makeup.
– Put all your jewelry, barrettes, and hairpins in secure boxes.
– Pick up all socks, shoes, and other chewables.

In the rest of the house:
– Tape up or cover electrical cords; consider childproof covers for unused outlets.
– Knot or tie up any dangling cords from curtains, blinds, and the telephone.
– Securely put away all potentially dangerous items, including medicines and medicine containers, vitamins and supplements, cigarettes, cigars, pipes and pipe tobacco, pens, pencils, felt-tip markers, craft and sewing supplies, and laundry products.
– Put all houseplants out of reach.
– Move breakable items off low tables and shelves.
– Pick up all chewable items, including television and electronics remote controls, cell phones, shoes, socks, slippers and sandals, food, dishes, cups and utensils, toys, books and magazines, and anything else that can be chewed on.

In the garage:
– Store all gardening supplies and pool chemicals out of reach of the dog.
– Store all antifreeze, oil, and other car fluids securely, and clean up any spills by hosing them down for at least ten minutes.
– Put all dangerous substances on high shelves or in cupboards that close securely; consider using childproof latches on the cabinet doors.
– Pick up and put away all tools.
– Sweep the floor for nails and other small, sharp items.

In the yard:
– Put the gardening tools away after each use.
– Make sure the kids put away their toys when they’re finished playing.
– Keep the pool covered or otherwise restrict your pup’s access to it when you’re not there to supervise.
– Secure the cords on backyard lights and other appliances.
– Inspect your fence thoroughly. If there are any gaps or holes in the fence, fix them.
– Make sure you have no toxic plants in the garden.

Be sure to get the paperwork and health records from the breeder, and some of the food the dog is used to eating. If the breeder provides you with the signed pedigree and required stud service certificate you will need when he is a year old to register him, keep those papers in a safe place so they are not lost.

If you already have a dog at home, introduce the new dog (puppy or adult) on neutral territory, such as out on a walk at a park, keeping a brisk walk until they have observed each other and gotten the scent and attitude of the other dog. It is always good to introduce any two adult dogs this way to prevent any problems of dominance by just ringing a new dog into another dog’s territory.

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You still have work to do before the big day to provide a safe environment. You will need to puppy proof your home to preserve both your Jack Russell and your sanity. The box on pages 48–49 explains puppy-proofing.
Curious busy little teeth on terriers have been known to chew up dentures, hearing aids, and eyeglasses. It is better to be safe and not leave anything with your scent on it that can be reached and chewed by your puppy or adult dog. They are little athletes and can get up on things to reach items that interest them.
If you bring a puppy or adult dog home in the summer, make sure he cannot accidentally get into a swimming pool. Lots of JRT’s love water and swimming, but your dog should always do so under your supervision. When your dog is allowed to swim, install a safety ramp so he can get out of the pool without the danger of drowning.
Inspect your fence regularly. Make sure there are no gaps under, between, or through any part of the fence and that it is tall enough to contain a small dog who can jump several times his height. Because of their inquisitive nature, without attention to protection and good containment, JRTs can wander. Rather than risk your dog being picked up by animal control, and possibly not being reunited with you, keep him safely contained at home and safe on a leash when you’re out.

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Jack Russell Terrier Time To Shop (Part II)

Crate and Bed

You will need a crate, of course, with a pad and bedding inside. You might also want to get another small bed for use outside the crate. A bed that is his own will give your dog a feeling of well-being and security. If allowed to, JRTs will be happy to snuggle next to you in your bed or on the couch. Do make sure the dog always knows it is your bed, though, and that they must never be bossy while in your “lair.” Some JRT’s have a tendency to take over. Don’t indulge the dog in behavior that may become troublesome later.
A particularly appealing bed for JRTs is a cup type made of sturdy, plush, washable material. Have a few soft, washable pads available so you can rotate them for washing as needed. Keep your puppy’s crate and bed out of drafts and direct sunlight.

Leash and Collar

You will need a leash and a collar or collars that fit properly at all stages of growth. Rolled leather collars work very well and are comfortable. Be sure to adjust the collar so that it fits securely but not tightly, and check it regularly, particularly as your puppy grows. (The collar should be snug enough that it will not slip over the dog’s head, but loose enough to allow you to comfortably insert two or three fingers between the collar and the neck).
A nylon leash is often best for puppies, who find great joy in chewing leather leashes. A leash with a larger clip is much easier to get on a wiggling dog than one with a tiny clip. Make sure the clip is sturdy and will not release accidentally. A retractable leash is good for walks in open areas. It allows the dog freedom, but you do give up some control. With a length of up to sixteen feet, instead of the six feet of most leashes, your dog will be harder to control. The retractable leash is never a substitute for the better control of a six-foot leash in areas where there are other dogs, cats, and people. You always need to keep your Jack Russell under control for safety. It’s a challenge to assume control over a Jack Russell Terrier, with or without a leash!


You will not want to give a puppy free run of the house until he is housetrained. Even an older dog arriving into a new home may be excited and make mistakes. It is easier to keep the dog in a safe restricted area until the dog settles and relaxes. That means, in addition to the crate, you will need baby gates or some kind of portable pen so you can restrict your dog’s freedom in the house.


Jack Russells love toys, and appropriate ones are necessary for all stages of their lives. Hard rubber or nylon toys are best, but soft rubber squeaky toys are not at all suitable. They are easily torn apart, and the squeaker is small enough for the dog to choke on. The soft rubber usually ends up shredded and swallowed.
Hard rubber balls are always a favorite, and the ones with a channel cut through them are easy for little mouths to carry. Rope toys with hard rubber chew areas are very suitable and come in many shapes and sizes. Just be careful you do not leave your dog working on any toy he can chew into dangerously small pieces.
Chew hooves are a good source of hours of chewing for a Jack Russell. Rawhide chew strips are favored by some, but do not offer the ones with the twisted ends. A dog can get the end pieces loose and choke to death on them.
Never give your dog an old shoe or slipper to chew on. He will not know the difference between the old shoe and your good shoes. In fact, never allow your puppy or dog to chew on anything that is not meant for that activity, and always be ready to provide him with a good toy as a substitute for whatever forbidden item might be in his mouth. In distracting the puppy from such negative behavior, be sure to praise him for accepting the substitution.

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Jack Russell Terrier Time To Shop (Part I)

You’ll need to go shopping before you bring your puppy home. There are many, many adorable and tempting items at pet supply stores, but these are the basics.
Food and water dishes. Look for bowls that are wide and low or weighted in the bottom so they will be harder to tip over. Sturdy crock bowls are very good for JRTs. They are easy to clean (plastic never gets completely clean), difficult to tip over, and tough for your puppy to pick up and carry off to who-knows-where. Avoid bowls that place the food and water side by side in one unit—it’s too easy for your dog to get his water dirty that way.
Leash. A six-foot leather leash will be easy on your hands and very strong.
Collar. Start with a nylon buckle collar. For a perfect fit, you should be able to insert two fingers between the collar and your pup’s neck. Your dog will need larger collars as he grows up.
Crate. Choose a sturdy crate that is easy to clean and large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down in.
Nail cutters. Get a good, sharp pair that are the appropriate size for the nails you will be cutting. Your dog’s breeder or veterinarian can give you some guidance here.
Grooming tools. Different kinds of dogs need different kinds of grooming tools. See chapter 7 for advice on what to buy.
Chew toys. Dogs must chew, especially puppies. Make sure you get things that won’t break or crumble off in little bits, which the dog can choke on. Very hard plastic bones are a good choice. Dogs love rawhide bones, too, but pieces of the rawhide can get caught in your dog’s throat, so they should only be allowed when you are there to supervise.
Toys. Watch for sharp edges and unsafe items such as plastic eyes that can be swallowed. Many toys come with squeakers, which dogs can also tear out and swallow. All dogs will eventually destroy their toys; as each toy is torn apart, replace it with a new one.

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Bringing Home Your Jack Russell Terrier

With preparation and planning, your new dog’s arrival will be a happy event. Jack Russells adjust very quickly to new situations and adapt themselves nicely to a new home.
If possible, visit your new puppy a time or two before bringing him home. Check with the breeder first regarding his or her policy about visitors before the pups have had their first protective inoculations. It is also good to meet the dam (mother) and the sire (father) to give you a better understanding of the personality and characteristics your dog may have.
For the first few days, try to keep visitors and activities to a minimum. Give your new family member a bit of time to become acclimated to his people and his surroundings.

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