Adopting a rescued Jack Russell is a noble deed with its own set of benefits. First off, you are giving a dog a second chance, which is great. Secondly, chances are that your Jack Russell will be a little older, possibly at least partially trained, and will hopefully have some socialization under its belt.
What to Know Before a Shelter Visit
To choose a rescued Jack Russell, you will most likely visit a shelter. Knowing what kind of shelter you are visiting beforehand will be helpful. Is this shelter specifically for Jack Russells? Or do they rescue and shelter all types of dogs? A rescue that specifically works with Jack Russells will be more adept at specific Jack Russell behaviors and traits that will help you when choosing your pet.
Before you even go to the shelter, know what kind of dog and relationship you are looking for. This can be anything from a dog that is more independent and is fine with spending time alone, to a dog that will be your constant companion. You may want a Jack Russell with a lot of energy that can play with you and go many places and be comfortable in different situations with lots of different people and dogs, or you may want a Jack Russell that is more comfortable hanging out at home with less energy.
Learning about a Rescue Jack Russell
When you do visit the shelter, look for a dog that shows behavior that matches what you are looking for. A Jack Russell that is boisterous and excited to see you, wagging his tail and looking excited is more likely to be comfortable around people, and may have a lot of energy. Likewise, a reserved Jack Russell who waits for you to approach but is still friendly when you do will probably be more independent and likely to be fine with spending time alone, as long as he has something to keep him busy.
Watch for signs of aggression or other behavior problems. Growling, baring teeth, and being overly frightened with shaking or tail between the legs can be signs of behavioral issues, maybe stemming from past experience. While these dogs need and deserve loving homes, as well, be sure you are prepared to properly train and house a Jack Russell with possible behavior problems.
Another good way to learn about a Jack Russell’s personality and behavior is by talking to the shelter staff. They may be able to provide you with vital information about the Jack Russell’s past, including prior owners or if he was forced to be a stray for a period of time. You may also find out about medical issues, even if they are resolved, that can have an effect on behavior and personality. And of course, shelter staff have had an opportunity to interact with the dogs, and can probably give you insight into what kind of personality and relationship you can expect.
If possible, interact with the Jack Russell outside of a cage. Most shelters keep each dog separated by putting them in a cage or a kennel, which is for safety and care reasons. However, many dogs feel trapped and vulnerable inside a cage, and may be anxious or more reserved than normal. Taking the Jack Russell outside of the cage and interacting with them on a personal level will give you a much better idea of how they truly act normally, although they may be a bit more excited than normal.
If your new Jack Russell will be joining a family, bring them with you. You will want to know how the Jack Russell interacts with everyone: men, women, children, elderly, etc. This also goes for other pets, although some shelters won’t allow you to bring another dog or even a cat inside. In this case, bring something that carries the scent of the other animal, so you can gauge the reaction when the new Jack Russell smells it.
When you have chosen the rescue Jack Russell that fits you best, be sure to get as much information possible from the shelter so that you can provide your Jack Russell with the best possible care. Many shelters will give you medical records, history, and recommendations on veterinarians and other professionals.
Rescued dogs have just as much of a chance of turning into a wonderful companion and pet as a puppy from a breeder, so don’t be scared to adopt one. And when you do, Jack RussellsMadeEasy.com can provide you with everything you need to know for health, training, and the wellbeing of your rescue Jack Russell.