We adopted a 10 month old Jack Russell Cross: holy ****

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  • Sep 27th, 2019 8:23 pm
Deal Addict
Dec 28, 2005
4515 posts

We adopted a 10 month old Jack Russell Cross: holy ****

Recently, my mother-in-law moved in with my wife and I. She is widowed and has been living alone for the past decade or so with a Shih Tzu as her companion. Her beloved Shih Tzu died and we decided to get a dog to keep her company. Everyone in the household was on board with the decision and we opted to adopt a dog from a local small dog rescue. Don't ask me why, but both my wife and mother-in-law thought they were up to handling a Jack Russell Terrier. The first few weeks (i.e., the honeymoon period) were relatively smooth. She would go to her crate to sleep or whenever we ate dinner. She happily waited for her harness for walks and generally was well behaved. Fast forward a month and things are quite different. She will at what seems like at random walk into a room, piss on the rug and walk out. She nips at people non-stop whenever they pet her (she hasn't broken skin, yet). She fights strenuously against the harness and leash.

I know some of this is the dog getting comfortable enough to show her true personality and some of this is just the breed, but is there anything we are missing. She is never left home alone (my mother-in-law is home all days) and I work from home a few days per week. She gets walked 2 - 3 times per day plus regular backyard play. We have looked into obedience training, but most schools will not accept her until a month has gone by. Her vet check-up showed no physical issues.

I forgot to add on walks she has started to become aggressive against men.
3 replies
Deal Addict
Apr 25, 2011
1347 posts
British Columbia
I suppose the rescue has no insight on prior family/living situation? Is her age a guess? Frequently a rescue says a dog is a number of years younger than it may actually be... which, if true, does nothing to help with correcting set behaviour patterns. If she's really a puppy, then is she spayed?

The house breaking and fear/aggression aspects a behaviouralist or trainer may be able to help with if you're not sure where to start getting a handle on it. Also a vet visit to rule out any potential health concerns like UTI or pain causing the snappy behaviour (unless you have visited them since these issues had already began)... While there, you can discuss behaviour and they may have some suggestions on where to start or a referral to a trainer etc.

I'm not sure how pronounced the aggression of men is, but if I were you I'd carry a bag of treats in your pocket at all times and find willing guys on the street to hand her treats. Every day. Multipule times a day. Different guys and different races (dogs pick up on this and all kinds of other things; such as many dogs have a fear of hats hah). Make sure they move slowly and make sure they are aware she is fearful so they don't try to pet her. If you are unsure, discuss this with a trainer before implementing. You don't want her to bite someone. Make sure the guys are comfortable with dogs! Someone not sure of how to interact with a dog causes a fearful reaction in may dogs! Dogs pick up on their body language.

JRT are a handful at the best of times -- my family owned one a number of years ago and as much as she was lovely... never again. The prey drive was just too much. Aggression with other dogs can be a real issue too.

What sort of exercise is she getting outdoors? And for how long? She may require more. They can be a fairly active breed... Biking or running with the dog may help (not while still a growing puppy). Setting an activity routine with lots of play time outside to run may help settle the dog, and engaging her in some mental stimulation such as with a Kong toy may help as well.

Does she know any commands? Training in obedience can help set boundaries and build a relationship with the dog. This is really important. Simple things like making the dog sit and wait to be fed, or sit and wait before being allowed out the door, set a pecking order.

All family members should also be on board for the rules of the house... I say this as the only one in my family with any control over my dogs because I'm the only one that put the work, training, and follow through in. Alas. Basically they know they can run wild without me around because they know they can get away with it and/or my family will do what they want eventually. It's pretty shocking what they get away with without me in charge of the sitaution.

I wish you luck! But you'll likely need time, training, and lots of patience getting through this. Some of these issues may never fully resolve while others may just need more time to work themselves out, you haven't had her long.
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2014
3297 posts
Yes, Jack Russell Terriers can certainly be a handful. They gained a lot of popularity during the Frasier TV show years - Eddie, the Jack Russell.

I suggest you look for a breed specific forum. We also have had - and have - a high maintenance dog and have found that breed specific forums have helped. You are not alone.

Most definitely training - with everyone following the same training regimen - otherwise the dog will be the boss. I know.
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Jul 7, 2017
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