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Your Jack Russell Puppy Care Checklist - Jack Russell Crazy Issue #23
October 13, 2011
Time for a Little Meet and Greet
Got your Jack Russell Terrier? Check. Got a leash? Check. Got a little training under your belt? Check. What's next? Friends! Socialization is very important in your Jack's life and should be something that is ongoing. Slow and steady wins the race. The more places and people your Jack meets the better off he will be in various situations. And the more experiences your Jack has with various people, the less likely you will see aggression towards strangers.
Socialization can begin as early as 3 weeks. Socialization is how your puppy can learn about the world - their litter mates, bikes, cars, people, etc. Running straight to the dog park with your pup might not be the best way for him (or you!) to begin this journey. Start by introducing your Jack one on one to other dogs that you know are well socialized and friendly. Hopefully you yourself are well socialized and have friends that have friendly dogs :-) Meet on neutral territory like a street sidewalk or along side each other on a walk. The best way to begin a new friendship is for both dogs to be on a leash so they can carefully sniff each other out. While the leash is on, keep it slack. A tight leash can signal a flight or fight response. Dogs can easily pick up on fear, so make sure you are as calm as possible. And have plenty of treats on hand to reward good behavior. Keep it short and sweet, just a few minutes will go a long way. Relaxed and calm is the name of the game. Another consideration or a next step could be obedience school. Obedience school is a structured setting where dogs not only get training but there is a built in socialization factor (and trained instructors if anything goes wrong). Move on to walks in the park and play dates or some doggy day care.
Progressive training like this will also work for an older dog. Some dogs that were adopted after the puppy stage may never have learned how to properly socialize due to various reasons. It may be up to you to teach your Jack this skill. Gradually introduce new situations and new people to your Jack just like in the above example for puppies. While puppies can learn to socialize rather quickly a more mature dog may take a few weeks and even then may never fully be able to be completely comfortable. The ultimate goal is calm behavior around other dogs. Watch for any signs of discomfort, you don't want this to turn into a negative experience. You may want to consider a head harness so that if your dog is a puller the leash doesn't catch his neck. One technique to try is to take your Jack to the park and just sit on a bench. Anytime a dog approaches, even if your dog is tense and growling a bit offer a treat in a timely fashion so that your dog makes a positive association. Soon you can fade this and give treats at a decreased interval. Let the dogs sniff each other but make sure there is no physical contact. Make sure your mood is positive when a dog approaches and have a happy tone. Dogs will sense fear in their owners and react. If you see any hair raise on either dog then it's definitely time to call it a day and try again some other time.
So remember, patience is a virtue when socializing. Don't expect to conquer the social world in one day with your Jack. Take it slow and keep things positive positive positive. And as a rule, know your Jack's limits. If things are going well, don't push it and stay too long. Lavish praise and treats but then retreat! And if a scuffle breaks out, don't despair. It may just be a signal that you need to slow things down a bit for your Jack. Need a more detailed guide to every aspect of raising, training and looking after a Jack Russell puppy. The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide to Training is the only resource you need – and it's available for instant download for only $14.95.
We absolutely love receiving photos of your JRTs. That's why we are holding our fourth, October cute JRT contest. Send us your most adorable JRT photos with a brief explanation of who your JRT is and what your JRT is doing/thinking/scheming about in the picture. It's okay if you've already entered in the past, just send us a different picture of your JRT than the one you've previously submitted. The winner will be announced on October 20th, will be featured on our homepage, and will receive a prize from our new JRT Amazon Store. Submit your photos here!
'Til Next Time...
Take care - and take care of your JRT!
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