Jack Russell Terriers with Children [Pros, Cons + Advice & Tips]

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Jack Russells are a dog breed that you need to prepare for in advance to ensure you have all your ducks in a row.

One of the concerns many individuals have before adopting a Jack Russell is the personality of a Jack Russell and the behavior they may display around children.

It is a valid concern, and I was in the same situation 2 years ago.

2 years ago, my Jack Russell would have been 10 weeks old, and my son would have been 2 years old.

I was concerned before adopting my Jack Russell how she would interact with my son and if any potential problems may pop up in the future.

After enough research and speaking to several Jack Russell breeders, I began getting a grasp of what I could expect, and I ended up adopting my JR shortly after.

Now that I am in 2 years into this journey, I wanted to take the time to put everything I have learned and witnessed with my Jack Russell into one easy to read and understand article for you all to enjoy and to use as a valuable resource towards making your decision as to whether you should adopt a Jack Russell or not.

I plan to cover this topic in its entirety and let you know about the good and the bad that comes with owning a Jack Russell with children in the home.

More specifically, I have an outline directly below that will allow you to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire to read or learn more about

You can consider this your ultimate guide to owning a Jack Russell with children in the same home.

Here are the topics and questions I plan to cover for you today:

As mentioned just a second ago, if you need to skip around in this post or perhaps you are short on time, feel free to use the links directly above to skip to any section you desire.

Otherwise, give me roughly 2-3 minutes, and I will break down everything you need to know about owning a Jack Russell with children in the home.

Here are the essential details you need to understand.

Jack Russells and Children Recap and Overview

Every individual that is considering adopting a Jack Russell or any dog for that matter should likely be in the same position as you are right now.

Especially if you have kids or intend to have kids in the future.

It is essential to know how specific dog breeds are going to behave around children.

Jack Russells are no different.

While Jack Russells on the grand scale can certainly be good family pets and excellent with kids, it is still important to understand how you make sure your Jack Russell has strong bonds and relationships with the kids in the home and what other methods you can use to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

That is how we are going to kickstart this post today.

Next, I want to break down the importance of getting your Jack Russell around kids right out of the gate for the best results and to allow both the Jack Russell and the children to live in harmony under the same roof.

Get Your Jack Russell Around Your Kids Immediately

The most important thing you are going to do after adopting a Jack Russell is get busy and get busy right when you get home.

This goes for much more than introducing your Jack Russell to children.

You want to begin getting your Jack Russell acclimated with the family, the kids, and other pets if you have any.

The sooner the process begins, the faster your Jack Russell is going to realize that this is their new family, the way the household operates, and help your Jack Russell adapt to their permanent living situation.

Training and discipline should also begin right out the gates, which we will touch on more shortly.

Training, Interaction, and Boundaries are Crucial

Once you understand that timing matters and that your Jack Russell needs to begin socializing, interacting, and being around children and family, you need to start programming the tiny moldable and intelligent minds that they have.

They are very smart dogs.

I speak about how important it is not to be distracted by their cuteness in the early days because it can cause problems with behaviors such as jumping and potentially even excessive barking.

You need to begin allowing your Jack Russell to interact with the kids while actively monitoring them and ready to reward good behavior and correct bad behaviors.

Bad behaviors that you want to correct with Jack Russells around kids or children can include behaviors such as the following:

  • Jumping
  • Nipping or Play Biting
  • Placing Front Paws on Legs or Body of Children
  • Growling
  • Chasing

Now, do not get me wrong here.

Sometimes chasing is nothing more than chasing and can be entertaining for your Jack Russell and your children but always remember one thing.

Your Jack Russell has a crazy prey drive and was bred to hunt over 200 years ago.

They go after things, and when they capture, they can be relatively violent.

I have had no issues with this personally, and both my Jack Russell and my son are hyper in nature, but I wouldn’t want to be programming a chasing type behavior or anything within my Jack Russell that could potentially activate that prey drive.

I know that for sure.

I highly recommend utilizing some form of strategic training.

I love using clicker training for my Jack Russell and my yellow lab.

It is a fantastic way to get your dog’s attention and to use reward techniques as opposed to disciplines for negative behavior.

In a nutshell, so that we can wrap up this section of this post, get your Jack Russell around kids, family, friends, and dogs right out of the gates and do not be lazy.

Always start training your dog and keeping an eye on them.

Especially in the beginning.

Period and end of the story.

Provide Safety and Do not Neglect Your JR

This is something that Jack Russell owners may not realize, but I believe it can make a significant difference.

First and foremost, your Jack Russell needs to feel like the children in the home are not a threat and that they also do not cause you to neglect your Jack Russell.

This could cause some sour feelings.

Make sure that your Jack Russell realizes that you still love them and show affection to them when they are around, and the children are present.

The idea here is that you need to begin to slowly mold your Jack Russell’s mind that you love them, that will not change, and you also love your children.

It needs to be an entire family bonding.

What happens next?

The magic.

I feel like my Jack Russell is extremely guarded of my son and almost responds to him and protects him more than anyone in the family.

She realizes that my wife and I love our son, but she has also never been neglected in the process and decided to be a watchdog for my son too.

This is a much better scenario then your Jack Russell feeling threatened or like the love is ending with your children.

This is a dog that wants to please and love their owners.

Neglect can often lead to negative behaviors for Jack Russells, so ensure you provide that love and affection towards them as much as possible.

While on this topic, I also find it essential that your Jack Russell has a safe spot they can go if they need to.

It should be a spot where they can escape the commotion and noise that a kid may be causing that may be ultimately getting on their nerves in a harmful/annoying way.

Maybe it is a separate room of the home that the door is always open, but it is where you keep their dog bed and their favorite chew toy.

Nonetheless, do not force your Jack Russell to remain around commotion if it appears, they have had enough of it for the day.

This goes for nearly any dog and is likely begging for some form of negative behavior to take place if you do.

Any Dog Alone with Children May Not Be the Best Idea

Now, I believe this to be 100% true.

Especially if you have a child at an age that they would be considered defenseless.

I do not think any dog should be left alone with a child for an extended period.

It is hard to know what may set off our loyal family pets, and it just seems that if they are together, supervision is easy enough to provide.

With Jack Russells, perhaps you only do this during the first few weeks or months until you’re comfortable, and perhaps you implement this theory all the time.

Nonetheless, I feel better knowing that I pointed this out and do not recommend unsupervised children with any dog breed for any extended period.

Perhaps someday I will change my point of view on this topic, but for now, I am sticking to it.

Do Not Forget to Provide Exercise and Tucker Them Out

Jack Russells are a dog breed that absolutely needs the ability to burn off steam and get some exercise in.

So much so that I have a complete guide on Jack Russells and exercise that you can see here.

It is imperative that you provide this energy release for them.

Not just for their health.

I have found that in my time owning my JR, exercise dramatically improves her behavior.

It is not that she acts like a bad dog by any means on the days that I cannot give her exactly what she needs, but it is noticeable.

She is just mellowed out, relaxed, but still a happy loving dog if she can get her playtime and exercise in.

If you cannot take your dog for a long walk, use other options to your advantage.

Participate in extreme exercise type sports with them when you can such as swimming.

Purchase them plenty of chew toys and allow them time outside to run around on a lead or even out in the yard by themselves if you have a fenced-in yard that can keep them safe.

Nonetheless, I think that if you have a Jack Russell that you want around your children, it is extremely important that they get their needs met regardless.

It will make a world of difference as to how easy they are to monitor, control, and get to a point where they are obedient and well-trained dogs.

Jack Russells Can Definitely Be Around Your Kids

Here is the deal.

Jack Russells can make for a wonderful family pet.

I have no reservations about making this blanket statement, and yes, I understand 100% that they have gained a negative reputation in the past.

It is a bunch of baloney, and I hope I have convinced that you are having a Jack Russell around your children is 100% doable and recommended if you are currently on the fence about adopting.

They have needs, and yes, they need their exercise, and they need your attention and love.

They are like anything else that we adopt as pets that are breathing and living.

Provide the best care possible, and you can enjoy the bond for the next 12-15+ years with your Jack Russell and children.

P.S., I can promise you that your children will love the new addition to the family as well.

Luna and I certainly wish you the best of luck with your upcoming journey and your new Jack Russell if you do ultimately decide to adopt soon.

How Well Does Your Jack Russell Behave Around Your Kids?

Do you have anything further you can add on the topic of raising a Jack Russell and young children in the same home?

Any other relevant information you believe the Terrier Owner Community could benefit from understanding?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today.

Thanks again, and we will see you next time.

Also Read: Teaching Dog Safety To Children: A Quick Guide

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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