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Adopting Jake the Jack Russell
Member Name: melinda3536
Date: 27/11/09, updated on 03/11/13 (201 review reads)
Advantages: a great character, great fitness trainer for me!
Disadvantages: barking at other dogs, (almost) boundless energy
We took over a two year old Jack Russell almost two months ago, from some friends who were moving house and couldn't take him with them. My husband and kids had been campaigning to have a dog for several years, but I wasn't keen as I knew that I would end up being the one doing all the walks etc and didn't think I could cope with the extra work. However, I'd gradually come around to the idea and decided that a Jack would be the breed that I'd most likely risk, as they were the only type of dog that I'd had experience looking after, as we used to dog-sit Nipper the Jack for my in-laws when they went on holiday. So when our friends asked for anyone who could give Jake a home at short notice, we decided to go & meet him, and consequently brought him home.
The first night he was here, he slept in our bed, between us, initially with his head on mine. We bought a bed for him the next day, as he didn't have his own one due to him having slept on the sofa previously. It has taken a few weeks but he is now settling quickly into his bed most nights, although he is still in our room, shut in with us. Initially, his bed was part way between a giant chew-toy and a thing of oppression, so we had quite a battle of wills.
He was brought up with a retired greyhound, so is used to being around another dog and playing. Jacks have a reputation for being yappy, which he is so far unfortunately living up to whenever we see another dog. He seems to want the other dogs to play with him, which most owners we've come across actually aren't too happy about. This is something that we will try to work on in the coming months. He does have one doggy friend, Amber, who is a German Shepherd cross, who he will play with for a couple of hours solid and be thoroughly worn out! He has several walks a day, as he walks the kids to school with me either end of the day, then has a long walk in the middle of the day to the local park, and an evening 'maintenance walk' before bed-time. Before he came to us he was producing poo 3 or 4 times a day and sometimes in the house during the night, he was having dry food but supplemented with 'human' meals too. Now he's having mainly his dry food and the occasional tin of dog food as an interesting supplement, he's settled down (so far at least) to twice a day.
Character-wise, he has a beautiful temperament, he's a real lap-dog, loves to have loads of fuss, loves his toys and his hide bones, is very talkative (the vocalisations, not barking or growling, that Jacks are capable of is fascinating!), is very nosey indeed, and thankfully had passed through the chewing everything stage before we had him. Our daughters are aged 12 & 9, and he is great with them, even letting the youngest pick him up the first day that we had him! He is not too keen on being left on his own, but hasn't caused any damage when he has been; I suspect that he's barked the whole time though - which makes us gladder still that our home is detached. He needs routine to be settled, which I guess is true of all dogs, the same basic walk routes, for instance. We've tried to keep things as constant as possible, so that he can learn what we're about & what we're like. He has on the whole settled remarkably well into our family so far, bearing in mind how quickly the swap-over happened, which must have been quite a shock. It has been a bit of a shock to us too, suddenly becoming dog-owners, and has been a very steep learning curve, but I think that it will be good. I have lost weight with all the extra walking, which has to be a plus!
The main thing always to remember though is that having a dog is a huge responsibility. It really has felt like having another child, it's that much of a commitment. It's something you should never do on impulse - although we took Jake on at short notice, we had been thinking very seriously about having a dog for quite some time, and also he had the benefit of a good character reference from our friends!
3/11/13 - four years on and he's still with us, he has become a very loved (and probably spoilt!) member of the family, still doesn't like to be left on his own, and loves nothing more than to cuddle up with one of the girls (now 16 and 13) or me on the sofa. His social skills have improved a bit, he even helped to rehabilitate another terrier who we meet on walkies, who had been housebound along with his elderly owner and was never socialised with other dogs. They are now great friends :) I still get frustrated by other dog owners who assume he'll go for their dogs purely on the basis of his breed, but I have met so many people whose dogs have been bitten by Jacks that I'm willing to allow people that caution. He has one sworn enemy, a border collie that went for him on the playing fields, so we avoid it as best we can, and their owner is aware of the problem and has changed their walk time too (at last!). He is very neurotic, but we work around or with that as appropriate, with largely good results. And we love him to bits :)
This review has also been posted on Ciao.
Summary: He's a challenge, but we wouldn't be without him