The Jack Russell is a small terrier dog that has its origin in England. It is essentially a hunting dog that was earlier used for hunting game. The Jack Russell is a highly energetic dog with the typical temperament of a hunting dog. However, the small size and aggressive temperament of this dog makes it somewhat difficult to train as a house pet. Hence, first time dog owners are often dissuaded from getting a Jack Russell. Only owners who can handle this dog firmly yet kindly, can think of getting it as a house pet.
Caring for a Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell dogs are friendly, lovable and generally kind. They love to have visitors and can easily befriend them. They even adore children and are particularly kind to them. They are great as guard dogs and provide great protection to your home due to their inherent hunting skills and strong sense of smell. However, despite all these positive characteristic traits of a Jack Russell, what makes it a difficult pet is its fearless nature and an instinct to overrule humans. It has absolutely no regard for its small size, hence may come across as a reckless dog. Following guidelines may help you in getting familiar with Jack Russell terrier so that taming and training your Jack Russell dog becomes easier.
Grooming and Hygiene
Jack Russells may have three types of coats, smooth, broken and rough. All of them shed year around. To minimize this problem, you may try brushing his coat with a wire brush or a curry brush. Jack Russells usually do not tend to get dirty, hence bathing them once or twice a month is usually sufficient. However, if your dog has a knack of rolling in mud and getting himself dirty, then you may have to bathe him more frequently. A yellowish tinge on his coat is usually a sign that its bathing time. Dogs with broken or rough coats may need periodic trimming or plucking of hair on their abdomen, feet or rump. A regular dental clean up is also of prime importance as these dogs are prone to periodontal diseases. Similarly, trim his toenails once a month to avoid any foot problems. Inspect his ears for wax buildup and clean it whenever you find one.
Diet and Exercise
Jack Russells must be fed special dog food only, as it contains an appropriate balance of nutrients for dogs. One should avoid feeding them human food, as it makes them overweight and susceptible to various diseases and illnesses. You may consult your dog's vet regarding proper foods to be fed to a Jack Russell terrier. When it comes to exercise, make sure you have time to take your dog out for walks at least twice a day. This is a very active dog that needs enough exercise to keep his aggression in check. Playing with your dog, and taking him out for exercises will help him to calm down. Your Jack Russell is likely to be happiest and at his best behavior when provided with a natural environment with ample of free space and scope for hunting small animals.
Training is the most difficult aspect of caring for a Jack Russell. Regardless of their size, these small dogs have a natural instinct to lead humans! Hence, your first step should be to show him very kindly who is the leader. Set some fixed rules for him and make sure he adheres to them. Use tricks such as rewards and treats whenever he behaves nicely. Training must be imparted from puppy age itself as older dogs tend to be more stubborn and resistant. Pampering or over protecting your Jack Russell may spoil him altogether. It is important to be firm and kind at the same time.
Cataract, glaucoma, and deafness are some common health issues with this breed. They are also very prone to knee cap dislocation due to their peculiar body shape. Being overweight makes them prone to various heart diseases and arthritis. Similarly, they may acquire skin diseases and allergies which are common with most dogs.
Thus, Jack Russells can be great house pets when properly cared and trained. They can indeed make your home a lively place with their cheerful presence.