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How To Cope When It's Time To Say Goodbye - Jack Russell Crazy, Issue #06
April 05, 2010
Dear fellow Jack Russell Lover,

Thoughts on coping with the loss or death of a Jack Russell

Happy Easter everyone,

This issue of the newsletter is going to be a bit different. Most of the time I focus on training issues - and there are some training tips in the Question and Answer section. But in this issue I've written some thoughts on something that many of us fear and would rather not think about: how we will handle it when our JRT is gone. First, a quick update on the site:

New Content

A few new pages have been added over the past two weeks:

Quick Guide To Housebreaking a Jack Russell
Quick Guide To Jack Russell Behavior
Tips To Stop JRT Barking
Can You Handle a Jack Russell Pet? (This is more for people considering buying a JRT, but might be a fun read for some folks who already own one).

Coping After a Jack Russell Death or Loss

There was a post in the forum the other day from a woman whose Jack died recently. You can view it here: It's impossible for a JRT owner to read that and not feel a lot of sympathy and sadness. This got me thinking about the roles our Jacks play in our day to day lives.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that many people are in the same boat as me when I say my dogs are something of a life support system through the hard times. I can think of numerous occasions where some event in my life has had me so stunned that I havenít had the energy or concentration span to do anything more than hang out with the dogs. It's funny, because although they seem to sense something is wrong they carry on with their normal cheeky behavior. It's like they want to cheer you up. Itís the reaction you wish youíd get from friends when something big happens, rather than empty words of consolation you often get: "Iím so sorry," "Time heals all wounds," etc. When youíre hurting, hearing that kind of thing can almost make you feel worse because of how useless it is to you. But your Jack Russell stays perky Ė that's what you need. Life goes on.

So what happens when the tragedy is losing that support system Ė your dog? How do you cope with it? I have to admit I donít really have a good answer for this. I canít imagine how I would react if I lost one of my dogs. My two younger ones I delivered myself and hand-raised for much of their puppyhood. Louis came out with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and by the time I got it off and opened the sac I was worried it was too late, but he pulled through. Runty became very limp and weak on the fourth night of his life and I feared he would die then and there, but after a very long and sleepless night together he pulled through too. That's about as close as it comes to having a parent-child bond with an animal, and they are like children to me.

It's something we all have to consider Ė unfortunately JRTs have a much shorter lifespan than people do, so this is something most of us will have to face one day. How do you cope? As I said, I'm not going to try to offer up any words of wisdom Ė I don't have a good answer. You just cope. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time, until life becomes bearable again.

But here's some advice I can offer: think on this for a minute and ask yourself if you've been taking your time with your dog for granted. I talk about games and bonding in terms of their usefulness for training, but there's another level to this. It's simply about enjoying each other while you have your time together. You don't have forever, so make the most of it. The greatest mistake you can make is to allow yourself to feel like your time is infinite.

If you have anything to say on this subject or you want to offer your condolences, join the forum thread:

The 7 Day Crash Course

It's nice to see so many people signing up for the free course and I'm enjoying all the emails from people getting good results. If you haven't run through the course, you can still sign up. Here's the page: free Jack Russell Training Course.

Questions and Answers

Question: "is it a good idea to take my puppy to go see his mum? i got the jack russell pup on wednesday and we are going to go see the mother today but i dont know if it would cause the pup or the mum stress if i take the puppy with me???"

My Answer: There should be no problems as long as the pup is fully weaned. Yes, they will know they are family and no, they shouldn't have any fights over territory - just keep and eye on points of aggression like food, toys, sleeping places, etc. If you are really concerned, keep one or both on a lead when they meet so you have some control, and if they appear fine let them off after a few minutes. Apart from that they should just run around like lunatics together.

Good luck, :) Tom

Question: "Can I give my 18 week jack russell/toy fox pupperoni to use to train him? When my dog was younger he was given treats and had a hard time with his poop. But now that hes older and im trying pupperoni will it be better? Will he be able to handle it?"

My Answer: The reason the pup originally had "poop troubles" may have been due to the amount of treats given, rather than the type of treat itself. New owners tend to go overboard and give too many treats. Cheese is another good example - it works great as a treat but if you use it too much you can cause constipation. Puppies have pretty sensitive stomachs and the sudden introduction of a new form of food in a large quantity can cause a bad reaction.

My advice would be to try the Pupperoni out, but in small amounts. Mix it up with other treats as well. As long as you don't overdo it, you shouldn't have any problems. But if you do have more "poop problems" it's obvious that the food doesn't agree with the dog's stomach. Individual dogs don't handle certain foods well, just as humans have allergies. In that case just cut the problem food out of the pup's diet.

Hope that helps,

Question:"help!! jack russell cross, and a baby on the way? i have a 1 year old jack russell cross, so ofcourse he's very hyperactive, tends to get carried away with barking, jumps up on people a lot and always wants attention.

anyway, im having a baby in less than four months, and ive been trying to train my dog to stop jumping up on people, limit his barking, and basically calm down, because i know i wont be able to handle him the way he his at the moment once the baby's here, and im afraid for my baby's wellbeing (incase he jumps onto the bed and jumps on baby one day)

im hoping he'll calm down if maybe i have him sterilised?...or does his breed make him this way no matter what?"

My Answer: The first step, as you say, is neutering. This is quite a tricky situation - for safety's sake I generally recommend not keeping a JRT in a house with kids under the age of six, purely because they don't know how to deal with a dog and if they do the wrong thing by accident they could provoke a bad response. This is not to say that it can't be done and there aren't plenty of families who have raised kids with a JRT - it's just a general guideline. Remember that babies look very different to a dog than adults do. If the dog was socialized to younger children when it was young, you have a better chance of getting along alright. There are some training steps you can take to mitigate the problem, but you have to realize that you may never be able to create a 100% safe scenario for the baby and you will need to make absolutely sure they are never in contact with each other unsupervised. If it's a possibility, you may be better off in the long run rehoming the dog, but I know this often isn't practical.

In terms of training, build a strong foundation in the basics - sit, stay, come, down, etc. Practice training out jumping habits by kneeling to greet the dog on his level and use the "Off" command to wean him off the jumping problem. Other than that basic principles like ensuring he gets enough exercise to burn off most of his energy will help. He will still be an active dog no matter what you do, but you can take control of that energy somewhat.

Best of luck,

The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training

For more information on getting your JRT to be more obedient, order a copy of The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training. This is my complete guide which covers basic commands, problem behaviors, tricks, puppy raising, training JRT mix breeds, and more.

'Til Next Time...

Any comments on this issue, or ideas for upcoming issues of the E-Zine? Don't hesitate to contact me. Simply reply to this email. Your question may even be featured in an upcoming issue of the newsletter!

Know of a friend who might be interested in this newsletter? Go ahead and forward it to them and encourage them to sign up. Let's continue to grow the Jack Russell Lover community together.

Thanks for reading and best wishes,

Tom McSherry

Click here to order a copy of The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training

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