Ask the Dog Guide: Mill Rescue JRT’s Bad Habits

January 16th, 2009 by Dan

I have a now 10-month-old male Jack Russell. I got him from a couple who had about 15 dogs in a small cage. (dodgy breeders/puppy mill?) He never had the chance to learn to go outside, as I believe they kept the dogs all day long in that small cage. (I got to see that as an incident/ I was working with this couple and saw the puppies. I felt so sorry with them, that I decided to take one with me. The smelly dirty cage was that horrible.)

Anyway I already managed it that he poops outside and he was quite okay with the peeing inside (1 accident every day). Since about 10 days it started to become really bad again. He pees on his dog bed and sleeps in it. He also tries to jump on my bed to pee on it. He stands in front of me, looks at me and pees (not just a little bit)… Today he urinated in the kitchen and was sleeping in
the pee with his head in it!

I am really desperate and have no idea what to do. I go outside with him all the time. We go back in and half an hour later he pees again. I went to the vet with him, he has no urine infection.

The 2nd serious problem is that my dog tries to eat everything he finds and it is impossible to get it out of his mouth again. (He eats plastic, aluminium foil… everything he can get, if I am not fast enough. ny helpful advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier

As you’ve no doubt realized, dogs raised in cages can be among the most behaviorally complex and difficult of all rescued dogs. Puppies raised in cramped conditions don’t learn to differentiate between bathroom areas and eating, sleeping, or play areas. Your JRT likely has permanent behavioral scars from the neglect he suffered early in life. However, he can and will become a more tolerable house pet with fewer unwanted behaviors, if you’re willing to put the time and effort into it.

First of all, a dog who doesn’t understand that sleeping in urine is inappropriate should never be unsupervised in an area where you don’t want urine. If you’re in the house, put your pup on a 6′ leash and attach the leash to your belt. As soon as you see any sign that the dog is about to urinate, take him outside, and softly praise him as he does his business in the great outdoors. When you must leave your pup alone in the house, either crate him with a thick layer of puppy pads on the bottom of the crate, or put him in a puppy-proofed bathroom with puppy pads all over the floor.

Of course, you don’t want your dog literally attached to you at the hip forever. After a few weeks, if accidents have decreased, you can let your dog wander a little bit, but purchase a canine belly band designed for male dogs and fit it to him first. The belly band will catch any urine if he does have an accident.

Also, I’m presuming your dog is neutered. If he’s not, have him neutered! It may not solve the problem, but it will help.

As for the garbage-disposal habit: The constant supervision mentioned above will also help with this. Supervision and management are of utmost importance with dogs who tend to eat dangerous items. In addition, train strong “Leave it!” and “Drop it!” cues. Pick up a clicker, some delicious treats, and a book on basic clicker training, and practice these two commands for at least 15 minutes twice a day, every day, until your Terrier would rather drop items at your feet and receive a treat than eat them whole.

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