Dexter (Terrier)

Dexter - Jack Russell Terrier

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Update: September 2011 Dexter has found his forever home with a couple from Campbell River. He has joined their family that includes two other Jack Russells so he is in Seventh Heaven...or maybe I should say Terrier Heaven! His new mom and dad report that he's doing great and they love him to pieces. Way to go, Dexter! We miss you but we're so happy you've found such a great home.

Dexter, our number 10 foster, came to us from the mainland. His previous owner requested that he be put down due to aggressive behavior. Fortunately, the vet did not agree with the owner's assessment of the dog and refused to euthanize him. Dexter lived at the vet clinic for a couple of months before we heard about him and decided to offer him our home while we did our own assessment of him. He is a bright, playful energetic little guy. The baggage handler at the airport said Dexter was very well-behaved during his flight over to the island. He whines a little bit when he's crated in the car (I think he may suffer from motion sickness) or if he's left alone in his crate but settles down after a few minutes. We had him sleep in his crate for the first couple of weeks he was with us. He had trouble settling down at night and would jump up on the bed as soon as we fell asleep. Now, however, he is fine sleeping in his little bed on the floor in our bedroom. He goes right to bed when asked and sleeps through the night, no problem. He has never had an accident in the house since he's been here so his house-training is 100%.

As it happened, we were very happy to have Dexter at our house right from the start. We were boarding a very young, very large bulldog puppy the weekend Dexter arrived. As is often the case, the other dogs in our home were not tolerant of the puppy and her high energy playfulness, but Dexter was perfect with her. He could match her energy and playfulness, giving her a good chance to exercise and burn off some steam. It was wonderful watching them play together in the yard. Dexter was just perfect in his way of letting her know when he'd had enough, teaching her to respect her elders and the boundaries they impose on a puppy. Dexter likes to play with a ball and has been taught to do the usual types of 'tricks' such as roll over, dance, catch, etc.

Though I've not had experience with a Jack Russel before meeting Dexter I would say, from what I've read and heard from other JR owners, that Dexter is a pretty typical example of the breed. He is very smart, has medium high energy, probably could not be trusted with a cat or other small prey. We've been told that he does not like to be pulled by a hand to his collar so we tried it. He froze in place and looked distressed. We are now working on desensitizing him to that by just holding his collar and giving him praise and affection when he relaxes. Gradually we will increase the contact in hopes that it will no longer frighten him to have his collar held or gently pulled. He is fine with a leash and very good at walking to heel. As to the question of whether or not Dexter is aggressive or would bite: I have seen Dexter become very excited and vocal when he is asked to do something he doesn't want to do, such as go indoors or go into a crate. This could easily be misinterpreted as aggression by someone who did not recognize the difference between vocalization and aggression. If a person reacts with fear to a dog who is vocalizing excitement, the excitement can actually turn to aggression. It's natural for a dog to attack weak energy and fear is weak energy. I'm guessing that if Dexter ever bit anyone it was due to a scenario like this or else one where he was pushed to some unacceptable limit. We have not seen any tendency for aggression or any indication that Dexter would bite--not even a raised lip or a growl.

Dexter Profile

Dexter is not a lap dog but does enjoy curling up next to you on the floor or sofa. He's a good eater but could easily become overweight if given excessive treats so care should be taken to restrict his food intake. He loves his raw veggies so that makes a healthy snack for him. The vet pronounced him extremely healthy and in good form including the condition of his teeth and knees. We recently had his vaccines updated and a microchip inserted. As with most terrier breeds who tend to be smart and capable of dominant behavior, Dexter requires a human companion who will be firm and consistent with a calm, authoritative demeanor. If you gain his respect he will behave beautifully for you. His recall is excellent. This little terrier is a gem, full of personality and charm, and will make a great addition to a home that will provide what he needs in the way of leadership, lots of exercise and, of course, heaps of affection.