Friday, July 08, 2011

Nanny Dogs?

The face,
above, is of a woman who got in a tangle with a Jack Russell terrier.

All dogs, no matter the size, are capable of doing serious damage to people under the right circumstances. The President of France was once hospitalized after he was attacked by his Maltese!

Does this kind of thing happen very often?  No.  Almost never, in fact. 

That said, all dogs are capable of biting, and I stress with prospective Jack Russell terrier owners that these are hunting dogs bred for hundreds of years to pursue small animals that make high-pitched noises and which have jerky uncoordinated movements.  If that sounds a little like a human baby to you, then please heed the warning!

Also, please heed the warning that not all dogs are blank slates. Many breeds, especially molosser, stock herding, and stock-guarding breeds, come with genetic codes that need to be respected.

Part of respect for any dog is understanding and acknowledging the genetic behavioral code that is within the dog. Genes are not 100 percent determinative, of course, but it's harder to cut across the grain than with it, and code can explode, especially if it is ignored by the ignorant.  And are there a lot of ignorants and fools in the world of dogs? There are! 

The latest bit of craziness are Pit Bull puppy peddlers pushing this breed as a "nanny dog".  A nanny dog?  No dog is a nanny.  None.  Zero.  Zilch.  Empty set.  If you have a very small child, please do not leave that child unattended with a Pit Bull.... or a Jack Russell Terrier... or a Labrador Retriever... or even a Maltese. 

As for Pit Bull puppy peddlers pushing this breed as a "nanny dog," please ask them to drink a nice big cup of STFU.  All dogs deserve more respect than this, and Pit Bulls demand it.


grapfhics said...

Nobody can explain stupid to most people, they will never get it, but some seem to Ace this test without ever learning the lessons. The dog unfortunately is often not given another chance in the this crazy world we live in.

Ruth said...

Hmm, I'll admit that I don't always follow the media trends, but the only references to Pitbulls as "nanny dogs" that I've seen was a page pointing to some movie rolls the breed had a while back, rolls where they were kinda portrayed that way. On the other hand it wouldn't surprise me to hear that someone has taken that and is attempting to go further with it.

PBurns said...

See links at >>


seeker said...

When I was a little child, some fifty years ago, I lived on a small farm with my grandparents. On good weekends we went to visit my great grandparents who still lived on their big farm. I had a nanny dog, a cocker spaniel mix, that followed me around. He killed snakes, challenged dogs and growled people who tried to bother me.
However, having said that, I DID NOT take his food, jump on him, hit him or tease him. If I was mean, he growled; if I bothered him when he was fed, he'd bite me. I was taught to respect him as a dog. If I mistreated him, I was spanked.
He wasn't a toy, he was a service animal with feelings and rights.
Nanny dogs can exist, but now a days, kids aren't taught to have one. They don't want a nanny, they want a punching bag or a kick ball. So, once again, not the dog but the parents are to blame. A dog will protect a child, but the kid must deserve his loyalty. Disrespect him and perhaps that bite is deserved.
My male was in the pound on death row for biting a child. He's much better now 6 years later and actually likes the right children under controlled circumstances with both me and parents watching.

Debi and the TX JRTs

Ruth said...

Ok point made, I shoulda hit Google first (I was in a rush, sorry).

I do have to at least partially agree with Seeker though, kids now are often not taught how to handle pets properly. My neice and nephew are growing up with dogs, and have been taught from baby-hood how to interact both with their dogs and strange dogs, and the difference between them and the random kid on the street is huge.

trina said...


I've read that JRTs have a "different" idea of personal space than most dogs, especially that they will not tolerate rough handling. I'm wondering what your observations are on this issue -- the rough handlling bit is obvious; I'm wondering about the notion of them requiring more personal space than the average breed.

My JRT seems to merely tolerate even gentle petting or touching and definitely has a limit to how much of that, and where, he'll allow before he lets me know he'd like to be left alone, thank you very much. Your thoughts?

PBurns said...

Contact with humans?

Almost all dogs properly raised crave it.

My own dogs want to be as close as they can most of the time. Pearl and Gideon will leap into my lap if given half a chance. Mountain is a little more stand-offish (the only dog I have ever owned who was this way) but that is just because she is scarey smart, and has figured out that if I can grab her she might be crated and the game is over. Mountain wants to be outside and in the field 24-7-365. She does not live for food or stroking, but for birds and squirrels and exploring. She lives to dominate.

So NO, a Jack Russell terrier is no stand-offish in the slightest nor are they senstive.

Now, will they do well with 4 other large dogs towering over them and bullying them 24 hours a day? No, but no dog does well in that circumstance.

That said, I do not claim to speak for more than the few dozen Jack Russells I have dug under, grabbed by the tail, and tossed out of a hole to finish up the job. I can say for a certain, however, that not a one of them sulked or pouted or acted the least like they were anything but thrilled.

Now is a Jack Russell a lap dog that is going to moon in your lap like a toy spaniel or lie by your feet like a dead bear rug? Nope. Not likely. They get bored, have short attention spans, and will create their own work if you do not give it to them. If you have a ball and an arm, however, a Russell will love you forever and (after about 30 minutes of tossing) will be happy to sleep in your lap while you watch TV.


trina said...

Thank you for those insights. Oh, and I should've said "sometimes" he's that way. He's not antisocial; it's more like it has to be on his terms, when he wants it; otherwise, he's busy. Sounds like that's not so unusual for a JRT; your description of Mountain sounds a lot like my Zeek. He does loooove a lap and a snuggle, when he wants that, but he doesn't want a bunch of stroking, petting, being messed with while lapping or snuggling.

This demeanor in a dog is new to me; I was raised (nannied) by a black lab and had lab-like dogs all my life before rescuing my current JRT. I'm continually trying to understand him better so I can give him what he needs. Your blog is very helpful in that regard.

I know nothing of how Zeek was raised except that one of the seemingly numerous owners before me (I'm at least the fourth) did abuse him. That was a man, but oddly enough, when we have company, Zeek wants nothing more than to be in the man's lap the entire time he's here, and my boyfriend is his most favorite person in the universe...

Thank you for your thoughts!

River P said...

Mr Burns's descriptions here are spot on and made me smile.

I have a small male JRT he is in "perpetual pursuit of a mouse" there is not much time to do the petting bit he is general so busy unless he is asleep by my side. So when he is I delight in giving him a cuddle and nuzzle with my head. Other than a soft tongue on my cheek and sleepy eyes half open I would be horrified and sadly alarmed if I got a growl or any kind of shy negative reaction.

When I can catch him, being sleek and slippery and extremely fast (so not often) I hold him up and blast a raspberry on his tummy with my lips, which sends him into spasms of delight making him do laps of great speed around the grounds.

He sleeps close to me always and at night he must be touching me.

If not hunting or playing catch with the big dogs he is trotting by my side. Unseen mostly because he is so small but always there when I look. He does ask to be picked up on urgent occasions so he can see what's going on up there, being so small. He will stand up against my legs his eyes almost popping with curiosity, if I ignore him he gets vocal letting out high pitched calls and starts jumping up and down on his back feet. He did this when I was preparing live crab for dinner.

I have come cross JRTs though that have character problems. How or why Im not sure but they growl when touched. Think its bad breeding myself as some seem to have no other obvious cause for it. They rumble and grumble their way through life, and will lash out if picked up when they don't want to be by their owners. They also hate being disturbed when sleeping. Otherwise they appear perfectly normal.

This is not a dog for me no matter how good it might be as a worker, I prefer working bred dogs. I would also dislike intensely for this behaviour to become known as a characteristic behaviour of any strain of JRT. But some individuals are certainly like this.

So I like to see dogs handled before I commit to one of their off spring, preferably seeing adult offspring handled too. But then isn't funny but repeat mating/pairings are quite rare unless by very popular demand.