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Re: what to do

Posted by:  Jane McClay
Posted on:  May 09, 2001 at 22:10:02

In Reply to: what to do
Posted by:  catherine T
Posted on:  May 04, 2001 at 02:17:26

Question:

: HI, I have so many questions and problems I don't even know quite where to begin.
: I guess i will start by saying I have owned my Jack russell for 7 years now, and am completely conflicted about this animal. I absolutely LOVE him, but hate certain things he does, i.e.: He Barks, he Bites, he hates kids, ( I have a 3year old), he's aggressive, and yet sheepish. He is just plain odd. I think he is just as conflicted with himself.
: He is also one of the sweetest dogs too, loves to curl up between your legs, always sits on my lap, comes to me for protection during a thunderstorm, licks my child's face goodmorning, and makes us laugh.
: The real problem is his unpredictablilty.
: I have taken this dog to obedience, read all the books, and know alot about the breed, but still I struggle. should we keep him. I am just crushed at the thought of letting this dog that I adore so much go. when our son was born 3 years ago, our dog Ike was great...we never had any jealousy problems with him.luckily for us our son is also a great kid, who has always respected Ike and leaves him alone.
: The other night my son was getting ready for bed and I told him to get his blanket, he went into the dark bedroom to get it, and Ike bit him. (he happened to be laying on the blanket) He didn't break the skin, or make him bleed. but our son was terrified. This was not the first time.
: today, someone left the gate open to our backyard and our neighbor came over screaming "your dog is chasing a kid down the street!!" We don't know how this happenend, it's usually locked. He chased the kid back and forth up the street trying to viciously attack. I am at my wits end.
: I love my dog, but fear this is all building up to some big crescendo where someone is going to get hurt.
: I wonder if our home is no longer suitable for him, or if he is really happy here. he sleeps ALL day long, I admit I no longer walk him, or very rarely because of his aggressiveness. What kind of life is this for him?
: 18 months ago we brought home another dog, a beautiful black lab puppy. I bought her for two reasons, a playmate for Ike, and a dog that my son could actually play with. she is a great dog, very loving, but she is a BIG playmate for our little dog. trust me, he is still the top dog, she is submissive, but she torments him. for awhile I thought we had the best of both worlds, big dog/small dog etc. but now I am full of doubt. our Lab was the one left sitting in the front yard watching the little dog go up and down the street.
: my husband seems to think its painfully obvious what we should do with our little dog....
: I am sure you see all sorts of red flags here, but I would sure appreciate any insight or help you could offer.
: I am just in need of a little guidance...
: thanks.
: catherine

------------------ Response Area -------------------

Hi, Catherine,

Have you read
Bad Dog Talk, because everything you list as being bad is covered right there. It sounds like your dog is underexercised and acting out. He was probably the center of your attention before the child came, and when the child came not only did he loose your attention, he lost his outlets for his "jackishness." (New word I just thought up!)

I'm always so sad to see people unhappy with their dogs just because they're Jack Russells. An underexercised JRT is a poorly behaved JRT. They'll use all kinds of things for outlets when they aren't provided with a healthy outlet for their boundless energy. If the dog wasn't an aggressive little jerk before the baby came, obviously something has gone wrong. Even if he's sleeping all day, it is most likely that he doesn't know of anything else to do, and is likely suffering from a bit of depression.

And I'm not condemning you, by the way. I'm sure your life has gotten busy, but before you fixed the situation with your Russell, you unknowingly brought yet another influence that will likely complicate things (another dog). I don't see your terrier as being a bad dog, or you being a bad person, I just hope you can give him more time than you have been.

I hope you'll try to work through this. It may mean keeping the dog separated from the child for most of the day, assuming your house has some rooms with doors, and taking some time to bring the terrier somewhere so he can burn off some energy and get some quality time with you.

Jane