Posted by: JOY | 2006/04/18


My daughter cried for a dogg for years and we bought a jack russel. Now we struggle keeping him in the yard. We stay in a townhouse complex with own enclosed garden. He jumps a 1 1/2 meter fence and doesn't obey us when we call. Help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Joy

Jack Russels are very active dogs and they need lots of stimulation. You would need to help him with this. I would suggest you take him for walks in the morning and evening and during the day when he is at home, keep his brain stimulated by giving him toys, etc. Get him a toy box. Jack Russels love hunting. With the toy box (that is his), you put all the goodies in for him. Remember to alternate or add new toys and chews in the box as he will get bored with the old toys. They are like children that get bored with the same old toys everyday. He would now have to use his nose to find the new chews and toys which will stimulate his brain and assist with exhausting him. You can also take a plastic coke bottle, make hole in it big enough for his pellets to come out when rolling it about and put his breakfast in there. Also play hide and seek with his breakfast. Put it under a container here, around a pot plant there, some under a chair, etc. Be very inventive and alternate your routine.
If you can, also make it unaccesable for him to jump over the fence. Some positive reinforcement training could definitely assist you when you recall him. I am sure if you ask your vet, they should know of someone that could assist you with this. Training is fun and should be for both owner and dog. This way, you will get the dog to do anything you want it to do. Clicker training will assist you greatly because you could stimulate the dogs brain enough and teach him wonderfull things.

Good luck
Animal behaiviourist

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Our users say:
Posted by: JR L | 2006/04/19

Thanx for Supporting my Point Acineth,
I also wanted to mention the petshop thing, besides not taking advice from them, its not a good idea buying pets from them either, but thought that would sound to negative, and some people might have problem with that too...

Reply to JR L
Posted by: Acineth | 2006/04/19

Pet shop owners are not the best place to get advise about dog breeds. If you are going to do breed research then get your info from an unbiased source. I volunteer in rescue, and we get lots of jack russels because of the same thing. A complex garden, and I'd even say an average house garden is too small for a jack russel. They have an enormous exercise requirement. Rescue and the SPCA would be a lot less full if people did proper research before buying that cute puppy at the pet shop, which was supplied to them by a puppy farmer.

Reply to Acineth
Posted by: WR | 2006/04/19

Hey no sweat! You probably didn't see the smiley face at the end of my previous post? I'm not defensive. About what should I be. Anything I say here is done in a good mood and with good intentions, and nope, I won't diss people! And like I said, you have got a good point about what you said re JRs in general, but that didn't help JOY, with her current situation. Cool? Keep well! ;-)

Reply to WR
Posted by: JR L | 2006/04/19

Yup WR,
Joy might care, and you gave him a couple of ideas that will definitely help. Well done!
My comments are all still relevant, seeing that its not only Joy reading the post.
No point in being so defensive as I have never attacked anything you said, I just stated why I commented what I did on jack russels in townhouse complexes.

Joy, Enjoy your doggie, they are lovely dogs, and good luck!!!

Reply to JR L
Posted by: WR | 2006/04/19

By the way JRL, I think maybe Joy (the original author) cares what the original post was about. ;-)

Reply to WR
Posted by: WR | 2006/04/19

Hi Joy!

Visit the KUSA website www dot kusa dot co dot za, click on clubs and enter your search criteria.

Good luck and enjoy your dog!

Reply to WR
Posted by: JOY | 2006/04/19

Thanks for your reply. Although it is a townhouse the garden is not as small as you would think. We live in a corner unit with the garden stretching from the front to the back. Secondly when we bought the dog we explained to the pet shop the size of the garden and she said that the Jack Russel won't be a problem there. We do give alot of attention to him and we do care for all animals. I just think this specific JR is showing abormal tendancies. No we have not nutered him yet. He is not even a year old, but I would defenitely do that. Should have done that. Then also I think I must take him to obedience school because the biggest problem is not him getting out it is him not listening when we call him. He just runs around and think it a game. How would I go about getting the number of a school in my area: Alberton Gauteng? Do anyone know.

Reply to JOY
Posted by: JR L | 2006/04/19

Who Cares about what the original post was about????

Another issue came up and certainly people that are interested in this topic will be ones joining this thread seeing that the threads topic is"JACK RUSSEL DRIVING ME UP THE WALLS"

Yes, your solution is workable, whereas I did not give a solution to the owner who already had a JR. I gave a warning (however not too diplomatic) to people that they should not make the assumption that JR's are good complex dogs, just because they are small.
Seeing that this is public forum and other people not only The original poster reads it, it is certainly appropriate to give extra information to possible future JR or any other dog owners.(I might save another JR from eternal boredom).

Yes, it certainly is possible that other things could also contribute to problems or cause ending up having "problem dogs".
HOWEVER, what you dont seem to understand, is that the one COMMON factor in all of these are smaller gardens, and another is the fact that all of the issues identified, results mostly from lack of stimulation, and its also a fact that the smaller the garden, the less simulation...

So sorry for not taken the absolute minority into account where such problerms could exist for whatever other reason than the obvious(called as obvious reason by professionals).

Lack of stimulation on a farm???? HUH????
Its like talking about a lack of cold at the north pole or the artic?
Jeepers dude, I reckon a lack of stimulation anywhere is a problem, the point is all about where the dog will have the most stimulation. A smaller area to move aroun in is condusive to a lack of stimulation...

But anyhow, I reckon this thread has served its purpose. All point I wanted to make is that a JR has needs, any breed has Needs, but dont make the mistake that because of a JR's small size, a large area or making up for that in other ways is not required.

As I said, I think its cruel, but people can read what what was posted here, and make up their own mind. If they reckon they can handle it and give the dog the simulation it needs not to experience problems experienced by such a HIGH percentage of owners with the same parameters(small gardens). They are welcome to make the mistake. I just feel for the dogs.

Reply to JR L
Posted by: WR | 2006/04/19

The original post was about a JR jumping the fence - not so? I gave workable suggestions to the problem stated - thats all.

Yes; A dog that is kept in a smaller garden needs frequent excercise outings (like I said previously).

I do agree with what you are saying when one decide on the type of dog to buy.
Could the problems with the JRs in smaller gardens (and are "problem" dogs), not maybe stem from something other than just being "confined" to a small garden...??
A lack of stimulation on a farm (for eg) will also lead to behaviour problems, no?

Reply to WR
Posted by: JR Lover | 2006/04/19

My Friend, WR,
I believe that one cannot Keep a JR in a smaller garden and doing so is cruel. I know this is gonna cause a GREAT Controversial discussion, but I reckon this is what sites like these are for. Everybody voicing their opinions and then people reading those and making up their own mind.

I speak from experience, seeing that my wife is a vet in the Gauteng area which has LOADS AND LOADS of Jack Russels in Townhouse complexes. The amount of problems she encounters that can directly relate back to living conditions of JR's in Townhouse complexes are quite substantial.

In todays modern life, there is very little time for owners of these pets to give them enough attention so that they can be intellectually stimulated. So therefore, unless one person as at home the whole day to give the JR LOTS AND LOTSof attention, I would suggest not getting a JR if you have limited garden space. They are extremely intelligent and needs loads of stimulation.
I have had discussions over braais, and at social events with lots of Vets and behaviourists (seeing that my wife knows quite a few being a vet herself) and most of them aggree that one can even keep some large breed and even some Giant breed dogs in smaller areas than JR's.

As a previous trustee of a bodycorporate at more than one of these townhouse complexes I have also had the acess to information regarding problematic pets. In 80% of cases, it was JR's. Not because a JR is a bad dog, just cause they are not suited to be in confined space. Problems range from Compulsive barking, other compulsive behaviour like tail chasing, jumping up against doors, etc. and escaping just to name a few.

And please, if someone thinks "but wait, I have a JR and we have no problems". Please note that, that is you, and maybe even 2 other people you know with JR's in townhouse gardens that dont experience any problems.
Fact of the matter is, that people like my wife, sit with a much wider sample of people and their pets, and those pet's problems to make judgements on, and the percentage of JR's with owners looking for new homes because of this problem, is sky high.

So unless you are 100% certain that you can make up for the small yard by giving attention and taking your JR's for walks and runs. Consider before getting one, that they arent neccesarily more suited to smaller gardens than larger dogs just because they are small. As my Nick states, I Love JR's, but personally didnt get one because we were living in such a complex(even with bigger than average garden sizes) up until now.

Reply to JR Lover
Posted by: WR | 2006/04/18

Ok, if he hasnt been neutered, get it done, as that will cure a lot of his 'wanderlust', secondly, put up a higher fence?!
I disagree that you cannot keep a JR in a smaller garden...but that is a whole different post.....probably waiting to happen now I guess..!
Take your dog for DAILY walks, and make them long enough - not JUST to tire him out, but to allow him to mark and read the neighbourhood 'paper'.
And what about some regular obedience training at a club etc? That alone can help you to no end. I don't see why people think you need the help of Pam Whyte etc all of a sudden. JRs are stubborn, granted, but this could be easily rectified by (like I said) a better fence, regular excercise and some obedience training.
Good luck!

Reply to WR
Posted by: Ilse | 2006/04/18


We have 2 male JRs and I understand your frustrations! JRs is not a breed for any owner! Try Pam Whyte. You will find her through search engines. She has assisted us with issues that we have had with our two babies.

Best of luck!

Reply to Ilse
Posted by: Jack Russel Lover | 2006/04/18

Let this be an example to people of how Jack russels are probably one of the least appropiate dogs to have when one has a town house with limiteded yard space...

Reply to Jack Russel Lover
Posted by: WR | 2006/04/18

Hi There!
Has he been neutered?

Reply to WR

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