New to Jack Russells - help!

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New to Jack Russells - help!

This is a discussion on New to Jack Russells - help! within the Introductions forums, part of the DogForum Community Welcome category; Hi All, We are a young family about to embark on our first canine experience. We have decided that we would like to include Jack ...

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Old 08-21-2014, 08:47 PM
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Smile New to Jack Russells - help!

Hi All,

We are a young family about to embark on our first canine experience. We have decided that we would like to include Jack Russell terriers in our growing family - the kids have been asking patiently for a couple of years now. We would like to get 2 dogs to ensure that they have company and are occupied while the kids are at school and we are at work.

My questions are this - what are the cons to this strategy? Which sex are easier to care for? Would you get a male and a female or 2 of the same sex? And (assuming we are not planning to breed) does it matter if the 2 come from the same litter or would it be better to get 2 from different families?

Many thanks in advance for all of your advice!
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:24 PM
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I love Jacks. I don't recommend them for a family's first dog. Especially concerning is your plan to get two. Read up on littermate syndrome. Jacks are wonderful dogs who have strong personalities. They were bred to hunt independently and with a lot of fearlessness. They can make wonderful pets if you understand that they are not easy dogs in many respects.

Whatever you decide, please don't get two puppies.

Look in the stickies for articles and advice on getting a puppy.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:48 PM
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Hello, and welcome! I am so glad that you are asking questions before you get your dogs! I have kept Jack Russells for years, and so has @Grabby. Her advice is very sound.

I would first like to point you in the direction of the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America's website and their "Bad Dog" Talk. This breed club has this discussion because so many JRTs are surrendered to rescue because they very quickly become too much dog for many people who see Eddie and Wishbone and think that these cute little dogs will be sensitive and well-behaved like these actors and forget that they are extremely athletic and intelligent dogs bred to hunt and kill.

You can read it in its entirety here: The Bad Dog Talk

These dogs will happily keep themselves occupied while you are at work... by eating your furniture, taking the kitchen cabinets apart, and digging through your walls and your floors and having a blast tunnelling around in your subflooring. Two dogs mean that they will be able to get into way more trouble. They really need to be crated any time you are gone, or very carefully introduced to the house over a period of months before they can be trusted to be left out.

Here's another article that gives a pretty clear portrait of how these dogs can be: For Prospective Terrier Owners.

You definitely don't want to get two at once. Littermate syndrome is really difficult to go through, and you really should wait until a pup is at least a year and a half if not longer before adding another. Jack Russells can take two or three years to really grow into maturity, but this is offset by the fact that they live forever.

Do you think your family is capable of owning two Border Collies? Because these dogs can match them in intensity and stamina, but tend to be more independent, more destructive, and more forward (what you might think of as aggressive but is actually social forwardness bourne of confidence) just in a smaller package.

As a community, we would love to see you paired up with the right dogs, and there is nothing saying that Jack Russells are not right for your family, but it's really good to get a clear picture of what ownership entails.

Have a read through the links, read up on littermate syndrome, and we will be here to answer your questions.
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:37 PM
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Definitely NOT two at once, and not litter mates.

How old are your kids? Some JRTs don't do well with cats, kids, or other dogs, especially of the same sex (the dogs, that is, not so much the kids!).

Very few JRT's do well with cats, actually. They are prey driven. They will, however, rid your yard of all squirrels, rats, opossums, cats, etc.

My JRT Lab Mix brought a dead opossum back to bed with her after her 3 AM potty break. Her bed is our bed too... if that helps clarify the situation... 4 AM bed stripping....yay! Dead wildlife, in your bed, at 4 AM. Think long and hard about signing up for that!

I got a device called a whistle (Whistle Activity Monitor - Stay connected to your dog) to track LuLu's activity because she is what I call a "6 mile a day dog". She needs two good walks plus some fetch and obedience training and lure chasing to not be completely climbing the walls. Sometimes, she still climbs the walls. For example, here is one graph from my Whistle:



I love to hike, and hike local trails weekly. So LuLu was picked specifically because I wanted an active dog to hike and camp with me, and help me work off a few extra pounds by requiring me to exercise her! My 17 year old son helps me out, too, when I just can't get enough walking time in with her. My husband runs her sometimes, and I have a thing that lets me attach her to my bike so I can get her a run in, too.

I worked from home full time for the first 2 months I had her, and I still work from home 2-3 days per week, so she spends very little time in a crate or alone.

Active is an understatement. If I still had school-age kids and worked in an office 5 days a week and preferred to watch TV rather than go for a hike this dog would have eaten herself a Terrier-sized hole in the wall and run for the hills. Thankfully I find her adorable even when she is a terror, and I don't mind being very active with her!

Here is a good example... last night we had to do something after work, so she only got a short evening walk plus some fetch and lure chasing in. Here is what she did between 6 and 7 AM:

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Last edited by Loraura; 08-22-2014 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:07 PM
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Hi Delmax,

Welcome to the DF! It's really wonderful that you are asking questions now and doing some research.

First of all, please, please, please read up on littermate syndrome:

Littermate Syndrome: The risky downside to raising sibling puppies | Jeff Stallings, CPDT-KA

Raising Siblings

It doesn't matter if the dogs actually come from the same "litter" or not. Two puppies together sure look cute, but typically once they become adolescents, they can become very, very difficult manage, especially for novice dog owners. Take a look at these threads:

https://www.dogforum.com/dog-training...-fight-116137/

https://www.dogforum.com/housetrainin...ssible-115338/
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:24 PM
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Secondly, no one on this forum loves Jack Russell Terriers (JRT) more than Grabby does, and I would heed her advice in all-things dog!

A few months back, a prospective first-time dog owner asked members to list their top five choices and worst five choices for beginners. Jacks ended up in the second list more than a few times.

https://www.dogforum.com/dog-breeds/t...-first-143666/

If I might, I'd like to suggest a different approach to your dog search. What characteristics are you looking for in a new dog? What is your lifestyle like? Then we can suggest breeds that might be more suitable for your family.
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