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Old 05-07-2010, 02:46 PM
261 posts, read 1,467,118 times
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I brought home an 8 month old Jack Russell Terrier for my 5 year old son this week. Now I am finding out that I may want to return him because on three different websites, I have read that:

(1) These dogs arent good in home with children under 10
(2) These dogs require alot of attention and daily exercise or else they get irritated and tend to be destructive
(3) These dogs are not a good fit for first time dog owners

In regards to the above specifications, I do have a 5 year old and a 9 month old at home, as for exercise, I leave him our big back yard all day so he is free to roam/run around, (I could take him for walks each day 3-4 times a week too) and I am a first time dog owner.

So according to the above, this dog is technically not a good fit for our family at this time. However, the people that have seen him (neighbors, friends, etc) so that he is a very good dog (compared to other dogs they have seen and know). He is energetic but not reckless, obedient, calm at times, affectionate, etc. He doesnt seem to have any anxiety issues either.

So I am debating of whether to keep him because he may be an exception to the characteristics mentioned on these websites.

If you have had Jack Russell Terriers or know of their personality, please share.
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:00 PM
Location: Dallas, Tx
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You can't leave a dog in a yard as just the only form of exercise. It still needs to be walked at least 3 times a day. As far as I know JRT's are known to jump fences too.
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:35 PM
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I'm not a JRT expert but I do know that while there are breed traits each dog is very individual. All is not lost and I'm quite sure there are at lease a couple of thousand JRT's (not to mention all the other similar terrier breeds) out there in homes with small kids and the parents aren't Cesar Milan.
Where did you get him? If from a reputable rescue or a humane society they may be able to hook you up with someone who can act as a first time dog owner support system. Heck even a reputable breeder should do this.
Call around and see if there is a JRT or even terrier club of any kind in your area. You may run into some hoity toity types who will be upset if you bought your dog from a "backyard breeder" but you might get lucky and find someone who can give you some idea of how this/your dog is doing and well actually how YOU and your 5 year old son are doing - that's key. Maybe come over every so often and assess its personality and how if your son at a stage to interact well with a dog. You might not see "the real" dog for a couple of weeks while it adjusts to a new environment. JRT's need a lot of exercise yes but they are smaller sized so they can get some racing around the house and yard. The biggest thing about the yard is that no dog wants to be out there alone and alone anywhere doesn't provide exercise. You also can't leave your kids alone with the dog, at least not for a while. Regardless of the breed and exercise requirements dogs add work. Rewards can be great but you've got to be committed.
So yes you might want to rethink your ability to take on the extra committment of a dog with two young kids. But if you really want a dog I wouldn't give up on this dog quite yet. Honestly 50% of this is you and your son and how you let your son act around the dog. I don't know you and I'm not saying but anyone who thinks that a kid should be able to do anything around and to a dog is being unrealistic. Both need to be trained.

My one JRT story - I'm walking my Aussie on a trail in some woods. I hear someone coming. Its a Mother and yes, 2 boys and THREE JRT's on leash.
You know how in cartoons when the dog barks really really hard it sort of floats up in the air on the end of its leash because its barking so hard? Well those JRT's saw us and went nuts! I swear to god they were straining and barking so hard their feet did not touch the ground! I'd never seen anything like it. The kids were just running ahead not paying attention, the Mom was totally exasperated and the dogs were cracking me up. OMG I was laughing till I teared, I think she thought I was a little off but they looked so much like something from a cartoon.
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Old 05-07-2010, 04:08 PM
Location: east of my daughter-north of my son
1,928 posts, read 3,464,828 times
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My daughter has a Jack. They don't have kids yet so I can't speak to that. I will say Bella is full of energy and a handfull. But she is the best dog as far as being loving and funny. She knows I'm "Grandma" and when we visit she is all over me and loves to sit with me and talk to me. Yes she talks. What a riot she is.

She does tend to be a little nervous also and does still chew on things. She loves the dog park and socializing with the other dogs. Her sister is an American Bulldog three times her size but she rules over her! But she is also very protective of her sibling and her mother. My daughter always feels safe walking Bella alone. She is a joyful handfull as I call her.

Probably not much help. Sorry.
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:25 PM
Location: 500 miles from home
33,957 posts, read 20,856,529 times
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My girlfriend had a JRT at the same time she had two small children; and she had no problem. A yard is a must - sounds like you have that - and she was also a runner and sometimes took the dog with her. I seriously doubt that she walked him three times a day - cause I know her well!

Yes, your dog will need walked; but it can be fun and not a chore. (Sometimes it IS a chore though!).

So, I would say it's all about this particular dog and how he/she fits into your family and whether you can keep up with the additional work that a dog requires.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:42 PM
Location: Pilot Point TX
7,669 posts, read 13,177,471 times
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#1: JRTs are extremely high energy dogs.

#2: JRTs are extremely high energy dogs.

#3: JRTs are extremely high energy dogs.


They are lovable and loving dogs, but if you don't give them structured exercise daily they will make your life a living hell.
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:56 PM
Location: On the west side of the Tetons
1,355 posts, read 2,329,948 times
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I don't have personal experience with JRTs, but it is my understanding that, while they can be excellent with children, they will not be so tolerant of any sort of abusive behavior from the kids, no matter how unintentional. No dog should be left alone with/at the mercy of small children and it's critical that you teach your kids to be gentle and to always treat the dog (or any animal) with respect and kindness.

Intelligent, high energy dogs need constant mental stimulation and physical activity. If these needs are not fulfilled, they will be destructive out of boredom.

Can you and your 5-year-old take the puppy to beginner obedience classes together? That way your son will see that being a pet parent is a big responsibility and takes work; and, you'll all have some skills and information to help you succeed in making this dog a happy, healthy member of your family.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:09 PM
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 11,888,784 times
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I am a proud owner of a rescued JRT, and for many years I was into horses and along with horses come JRT's. So I not only own one I've been around tons of 'em.

You have every right to be concerned and to re-consider.

JRT's are smart and very very athletic, they can easily jump 5 feet in the air from a stand still, one day I'd gone over to pick up winter coats for the rez from a friend and took Gator with me (on leash) and she was standing there talking to Gator making kissy sweet noises and he jumped up (about 5 1/2 feet) and neatly kissed her on her cheek - scaring the crap out of her, I politely explained that you had asked for a kiss so he obliged. They can and will climb trees and anything else that they come across like fences. They are expert escape artists. They need exercise and here's the big un' huge amounts of human interaction. They are a true terrier and will need a lot of obedience training. Leaving your JRT out in the yard without interaction will turn your dog into a skitzo.

The commitment you will need to make in having a JRT with all you've got on your plate (small children) might be too much for you. No reputable breeder would ever have sold you a dog at this time in your life, these dogs can be a handful.

They also have a very high prey drive that needs to be channeled appropriately.

Quite frankly I would have never recommended this breed for your situation.

If you like this dog, I'd suggest getting involved with a trainer who's familar with the breed. He may be ok right now but without some major effort on your part things could change in a heart beat, they will challenge you until the day they cross the bridge.

Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY JRT, but even in his twilight years he can at times still be a stinker - a lovable stinker but a stinker all the same. They have fantastic personalities and are real characters. As I type this my beloved Gator is at my feet, he's now somewhere around 14-16 years old, he sleeps with me, has been a constant companion when I'm sick, has been a great protector but even in his dotage, If I'm not paying attention will take off on me if something smells good or he 'just feels like it' even though he's arthritic, half blind and going deaf - although sometimes I think he's playing up his infirmaties - they are that smart. I could write pages and pages of funny hair raising stories about living with a JRT that would make Marley look like a walk in the park.

Only you can make the decision to return or keep the dog. If you return him, do some major research BEFORE you get another dog - I would wait until your kids are much older and can help being responsible for the pet.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.
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Old 05-08-2010, 03:48 AM
7,380 posts, read 15,005,536 times
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so are you considering returning the dog because you are having problems with him, or because you read things on the internet that make you think that you may have problems with him? breed characteristics are just a general guideline; each individual dog is different. if your dog is a good fit for your family, don't second guess it because you read something about the breed in general.

that being said, a dog, any dog, needs to be walked every day. leaving them outside all day is not sufficient. your dog probably will get harder to live with with the amount of attention and exercise you are able to give, but that would happen with pretty much any dog in that situation.
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Old 05-08-2010, 03:58 AM
Location: Coastal Georgia
45,028 posts, read 56,236,063 times
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Jack Russells are very smart and funny. I think they're great family pets..the perfect size, too.
The two I know personally are couch potatoes most of the time, and the rest of the time they are engaged with their owners who take them places and play with them. A JRT which is just left alone in the yard all day will get bored and find a way to dig itself out to find adventure. Keep your dog busy.
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