Can You Handle a
Jack Russell Pet?



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A Jack Russell pet is a huge responsibility - small and cute, many potential dog owners find the look of these dogs appealing. But there's more to a Jack Russell than meets the eye. Just because they're little and appear cuddly, doesn't mean they can be treated like a lap dog.

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Unfortunately, many people rush into getting a Jack Russell without learning about the breed first - these are the people who keep animal shelters and Jack Russell rescue organizations busy. They think that because a dog is small, it must be low maintenance - this isn't the case. When they can't handle the Jack Russell's natural behavior, they give it away, or worse - abandon it.

If you are considering getting a dog and you're eyeing up a Jack Russell Terrier (JRT), here are the main things you need to know to make sure you can have a happy life together.

Cute Jack Russell pet

Jack Russells Need a Lot of Exercise

This is the big thing that catches a lot of people by surprise as their puppy starts to grow up. They suddenly have a very intense, high-energy dog and they simply aren't prepared. If you want to get a Jack Russell, you absolutely must be ready to take it for a long walk every day. Not exercising your dog can lead to health problems like obesity. It can also lead to behavior problems, as the Jack Russell will find other ways to take out the built-up energy - such as running around your back yard barking constantly or digging lots of holes in your garden.

Although they are extremely popular as house pets at this point in time, a hundred years ago the life of the average Jack Russell was very different. They were first bred for fox hunting and later used for catching rats and hunting rabbits and badgers. You can learn more about how the JRT developed on the Jack Russell Terrier history page.

Jack Russells May Form Destructive Habits If You Don't Train Them Early

This is closely related to what I just said about Jack Russell hunting instincts. If you understand those hunting instincts, they will start to come out in ways you don't want - like your Jack Russell puppy chewing on the couch. It's best to be aware of the main hunting instincts Jack Russells have - chewing, barking, digging, etc. - and have a plan in place to deal with them before they become a problem.

Jack Russell Need One-on-One Time

If you're planning to tie the dog up in the back yard for hours at a time, forget about it. In fact you shouldn't do this with any dog, but especially not a Jack Russell. You need to have plenty of spare time when you'll be home to look after your Jack Russell pet, to build a strong bond with your dog. The weaker your bond of friendship is with a Jack Russell, the more out of control the dog will be in its behavior.

Jack Russells Need a Particular Type of Training

There's a couple of opposing myths floating around when it comes to Jack Russell training. One is that they're intelligent and easy to train. The other is that they are stubborn and impossible to train. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Jacks are certainly intelligent - but that doesn't necessarily make them easy to train. Intelligent dogs are usually more independent, which can actually make the harder to train.

They Sound Terrible!

I realize that as you read this you may be somewhat put off from thoughts of getting a Jack Russell Terrier. Well let's face it - they haven't earned the nickname "Jack Russell Terrorist" for nothing. That's partly the point - I want to let people know about the work, responsibility and commitment that goes into owning and training a Jack Russell pet, so that only those who know what they're getting into will end up buying a JRT.

If you are a committed and repsonible person and you get a JRT, you're in for a lot of laughs and fun. This is a really exciting breed with a human-like cheeky sense of humour. Having a Jack Russell pet is a bit like living with a professional comdeian. It takes strong character on your part to handle it 24/7 and there may be times when you lose your sense of humor, but it's definitely worth it for the good times you have in the long run.

Click here to learn more about the Top Ten Jack Russell Training Mistakes.

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September 2011 CONTESTANTS for CUTEST JRT of the MONTH