Everyone loves puppies, but there is a lot to be said about older Jack Russells, too.
A puppy is in need of constant supervision, in-depth training, and is almost always a ball of excited energy that can wear out even the most active person. They chew, they can be noisy, and let’s not even get started on house training.
Most of the time, an older Jack Russell will be calmer, better trained, and generally more well-behaved than a younger one. This is largely due to the facts that they aren’t exploding with energy like puppies, and because they have quite a few years of experience that has taught them what is and isn’t acceptable. They are usually already housetrained, so that entire process can be avoided and your older Jack Russell will be reliable in letting you know when he needs out, or holding it until then.
Training an Older Jack Russell
That isn’t to say that some older Jack Russells won’t need training, and that old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” is absolutely incorrect. If the correct methods are used, there is no reason why an older dog can’t be taught the same behaviors and commands that a young dog can; it’s just that older dogs usually have already created habits that will take a bit more time to break.
Our D.O.G. training system works with all breeds of dogs at any age, because it communicates to dogs in a way they naturally understand. With older Jack Russells, you may have to work on teaching him that some behaviors are not acceptable by offering an alternative behavior that rewards him more greatly. Repetition and consistency are vital to training an older Jack Russell as they’ve had a lot longer to get comfortable in their habits.
What Happens When a Dog Ages?
The general lifespan of a dog can vary greatly between breeds, size, health conditions, and living environment. In general, a dog’s lifespan can be from 8-15 years. Smaller breeds usually live longer, but there are so many factors in the calculation, that most dog professionals start considering a dog a “senior” at around 6-7 years.
Physically, an older dog will be less active, and this is normal. Arthritis is common, especially in any limbs that have been previously injured, and general muscle soreness can be present if the older Jack Russell overexerts himself. If your older Jack Russell experiences arthritis or prolonged soreness, your vet may be able to help by providing long-term arthritis relief medication.
As far as exercise, an older Jack Russell should never be forced into strenuous activity. Pay attention to the body language of the older Jack Russell; if he looks like he is tired, let him rest. Older dogs need a bit more rest and sleep than younger dogs, and tire out faster.
An older Jack Russell’s appetite may change. Usually, they eat less or seem to not be very hungry compared to younger dogs who seem to live to eat. It’s a good idea at this time to talk to your vet about your older Jack Russell’s changing diet and you may even want to switch to a type of food that packs more nutrients into a smaller amount to make sure your Jack Russell is getting the vitamins that he needs even if he does eat less. There are plenty of dog food types that are specifically made for older or senior dogs, and you and your vet will be able to determine which one would be best.
The teeth of an older Jack Russell will need to be monitored, especially for decay and breaking. While a dog’s teeth are strong and made to last, there is still some decay to be expected. If your older Jack Russell is missing teeth or has painful mouth or gum issues, talk to your vet about helpful procedures can be done, and what kind of food will be easiest to eat.
Generally, the same types of changes that happen to people as they age happen to dogs as they age, too. Activity levels slow, the need for rest rises, and extra precautions and care should be taken when doing anything strenuous. More communication with a veterinarian is a good idea, just to stay on top of problems that can arise in an aging dog.
Caring for an Older Jack Russell
And just like people, different care should be taken for an older Jack Russell than a young one. Whether you have adopted an older Jack Russell just recently, or the puppy you got in the past is growing older, Jack RussellsMadeEasy.com has every facet of caring for an older dog covered, and can help you make the best decisions for your old friend.