Nothing beats the joy and contentment of owning a dog. There is just something magical about these creatures because they teach you so much about life, love, and commitment. Loyal dogs make devoted companions for people and act as their strength in trying times.
However, bringing a dog home is just as difficult as being the parent of a newborn baby. You need to understand and be aware of the specific characteristics of the dog you plan on adopting. You need to know their breed and personalities well to take care of them properly. This is especially the case for Jack Russells.
Jacks are very specific to their breed, and it takes quite an effort to raise a terrier. They’re a handful, to say the least, and do have streaks of jealousy too. However, this is not to discourage you from adopting a Jack Russell. If you think you’ve got what it takes or have experience with this breed, then there is no better prospect in life than being the pet parent of such a fine dog.
Jack Russells- Their Jealous Side
It’s common to hear people unfairly label terrier breeds with different names. Countless tabloids falsely stigmatize these impressive dogs. Perhaps their history and their famous hunting drive is the cause of it. You see, Reverend John Russell created this particular breed back in the early 1900s.
The Reverend wanted a breed that would serve as hunting companions, who would work foxes and help farmers and landowners in this mission. He wanted a dog that would have a compact body to fit through marrow earth passages underground and be fearless. Hence, these terriers came with a streak of ferociousness, independence, remarkable instincts, intuitiveness, and courage.
They have small bodies that fit easily through fox holes and a spirit that not even the fiercest and most cunning opponents can suppress. Is it any wonder that such incredible creatures would also be possessive of their own?
Do Jack Russells Get Jealous?
Yes, I’m referring to the jealous side of your Russell. If you have been wondering whether or not your puppy Russell will turn into a jealous dog anytime, then I tell you, yes, it will. However, certain conditions can exacerbate this.
Russells can turn aggressive and dangerous, but there can be various underlying causes for this. Belonging to the terrier class, these dogs naturally possess a high prey drive, and the hunting instinct often drives them towards jealousy and aggression.
Jealous When Someone Threatens Their Territory
Jacks are very territorial, and often they look on their owners as their property. This generally comes from the close and devoted bond they share with you. But at the same time, this same attachment makes them intolerable of anyone else getting close to you,
Hence, if a Russell sees a new child or another animal getting close to you, you should not be surprised to see their jealous side springing into action. This can be particularly a dangerous situation if you have small children in your house.
You must never abandon precautions or let your guard down when your Russell is in close vicinity to other animals and children. While I may stress the necessity of taking extra precautions with a Jack Russell as a pet, I also do not want to single out the breed.
Like mentioned above, Russells are a fine breed, but certain characteristics, like their role in hunting, demand that you pay extra attention.
Children and Jack Russells
These dogs are born with natural hunting instincts, so this particular breed is extra fierce. Consequently, even turning them into house pets cannot suppress it. Hence, you cannot even imagine a situation where you will see your pet Jack living in harmony with a kid in your house.
The dog’s nature makes it averse to cordiality with the little beings and especially more if the dog sees the child getting close to you. Abandoning precaution in these situations is equivalent to deliberately giving rise to danger.
Jack Russells may not particularly have anything against the children, but they just cannot help feeling jealous when they see a child in close quarters with you particularly. If you bring in another pet, and the pet Russell sees you sharing closeness with it, this too will cause jealousy.
So what does the problem trickle down to? Remember that there is always a way to counteract the negative behaviors in your Russell pet, but it should start from puppyhood. Socializing your puppy Russell with young kids and other dogs will teach it tolerance and even amicability.
This is why you will see almost every article and resources stressing the importance of training from an early age for Jack Russells. Proper training, along with obedience commands, will curb the problematic behaviors in your Jack and fine-tune its jealous and aggressive nature too.
If you brought your JRT as a puppy into your household and brought up your young child and the terrier together, helped them socialize nicely, they would learn to live in harmony with each other. However, please note that you must never ever leave your Russell unsupervised with the child.
How you can Curb Your Jack Russell’s Jealousy
You can adopt some strategies to ensure you encounter no difficult situations with your Jack in the future. To curb its jealous streak, you can adopt the practices below:
If you have a pet Russell at home already and you find yourself expecting a baby soon, the best strategy is to familiarize your pet with similar situations. You can introduce your dog to baby sounds such as crying and etc.
Under strict supervision, leash, and control, you can introduce your dog to new kids in the park, in the neighborhoods, etc. You could also use baby products such as lotions and powders in advance so that your dog becomes accustomed to smells that babies emit.
Before your baby comes, your dog will be used to a lot of baby-related habits already, and this will surely make acceptance easier for the terrier.
In this case, training your child would be helpful, but of course, if he/she is of the age of understanding and learning. It is best to teach your child what boundaries they must maintain in the presence of the terrier.
Teach your child how dogs get scared of us too easily and that it is important for us to be gentle in our approach. Teach your child not to jump or react in case the dog growls or barks because that is simply the dog’s way of communicating.
When you see your child and dog playing cordially together, you must also never fail to reward both for their behavior. The reward will teach your dog to treat your child well and reinforce positive interaction.
Give Full Attention to Your Russell
I know children are a demanding lot, too but ignoring your Russell when your child is around is the biggest mistake. This will definitely ignite the fire of jealousy and provoke your dog into unpleasant reactions.
You must strive to incorporate your pet more when the child is around. Allow the dog to sniff the baby, then reward it for its calm and welcoming behavior towards your child. Also, offer words of praise when the dog is calm and on best behavior with children around.
Give Your Russell a Safe Haven
This does not need to be anything elaborate; a crate, a blanket, bed, or a space with dog gates will suffice. The main idea is to give space that the dog knows belongs entirely to it and where no one will ever invade.
So, whenever your dog feels overwhelmed or just wants to calm down. You can allow it to retreat into its haven and calm its ruffles.
Jack Russells may have a prey drive and volcano-like energy, but there is something utterly endearing about them.
Once you learn to train and treat them well, you would know how rewarding an experience it is to be a pet parent to a Russell. It only takes a few good practices and strategic handling to teach your Jack how it never needs to be jealous.
In the end, do remember to lavish as much love and attention as you can to assure your Jack that no one can ever take its place in your life.