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New Jack Russel Terrier owner.

by Mary
(South Eastern Massachusetts)

Last week I was informed of a 2 1/2 year old JRT in a boarding kennel that was to be put to death the following day. I was told that he had issues with men and was placed in boarding by a JRT rescue group because he was a return adoption.

I decided to bring my boyfriend along to meet with him and see how fearful/aggressive he was with men. We took him for a walk for about twenty minutes and he seemed to be okay, he was a little shy of us at first but seemed to be acting normal to both of us - considering his situation. During the meeting I was informed that his previous adoption was a total failure - he was given to a large loud man who he ended up biting after the man picked him up roughly by the back end. (for some reason)

After learning that there was no one at all interested in adopting him or even fostering him I decided to bring him home with me as a foster to buy him some time.

I have experience with large breed dogs including German Shepherds, Mastiffs, Staffordshire Terriers etc. I have also done some training with small dogs including terriers. I figured I would work with him for some time, get him neutered and find him a fantastic home.

Shortly after (the next day) I started to realize that he would not be a good candidate for adoption.

He (his name is Joe) is absolutely completely infatuated, in love, dedicated, passionate, devoted, and pathetically obsessed with me. He would completely ignore my boyfriend and just about anyone that tried to call him over or pet him. Knowing that is a problem with any breed I decided to have only my boyfriend feed and water him. (and slip him some nice treats)

Joe does not bark, has no house training issues, walks wonderfully on a leash, is okay with other dogs as long as they are non confrontational, and is even kind of okay with cats. Yes he does jump and is high energy but its manageable.

At first there were some issues with Joe growling at my boyfriend when he attempted to get him in his crate (he is awesome with his crate and was when I picked him up.)
Any time my boyfriend would try to direct him to do something or manually move him he would get a stiff growl. He has since warmed up to my boyfriend and now sits on his lap happily and comes when he calls - sometimes.

Joe also hates it if you blow on or near his face, I don't plan on making that a habit but it is problematic if you sneeze or cough when he is on your lap.

Today I found out that he does not tolerate men running in his presence. He bit a friend of mine because he jumped next to him, and also lunged at my boyfriend when he tried to get Joe to run on leash with him.
He is just fine with strange men if they are around and he can ignore them. I have taken him to parks and stores where he walks by men all day long. However if he feels the slightest bit threatened by a man its on. He is very tolerant with women.

Another big issue we are having is that he does not make eye contact consistently and will sometimes very blatantly ignore me when I call him.

I have done a bit of research since I have had him and come to one conclusion - I didn't know exactly what I was getting myself into with this JRT.

I understand that this dog will probably never be trusted with children and that I will probably always have to keep a close eye on him, but I plan to keep him and have a life with him where he can be somewhat trusted, and where he will be well trained and obedient to both myself and my boyfriend. But most importantly I want to give him a healthy, safe and happy life.

I need any advice. Please?!

P.S. He doesn't like treats. Only Balls.

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Aug 14, 2011
Jack Russell owner
by: Lisa

You have a kind heart for taking this little guy in and for not giving up. I would look into you and your boyfriend taking an obedience class together. That might be a good opportunity for Joe to socialize with other dogs as well as for you and your boyfriend to establish trust with him and to show him that you are both "leaders of the pack".
A class would help with the coming when called too.
If this doesn't work, there are trained behavioral therapists for dogs. While in may be a little expensive, it could be very positive in the long run.

Let us know how things work out for you guys!

Aug 03, 2011
by: Judy

I don't have any advice really to offer re. the men and running issue. I can only offer my admiration for what you have done so far and say that if you have made this much progress in one week, you are well ahead of the game. It took my JRT about a year to get over similar issues (he will still nip at a stranger's ankles when in my home if they turn their back on him or startle him) I've had him about 4 yrs now - he is roughly 9 yrs old and was rescued from a hoarding (in crate) situation. If the balls work as incentive, that is good tho perhaps keep looking for a treat he can't resist for training. Jacks are very protective and territorial as you know and you may always - or at least for a long time - need to keep him leashed when around other potential "victims", or at the least a very watchful eye. He sounds like such a great dog in every other way so I hope this will work out - just give him time though!

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