Lacey is the one inside the kennel. This was the first day we met. This is how I watched to see how well these dogs are going to get along. Remember, with dogs it's always important that you are in charge. They will fight if not closely supervised. This is my experience with Jack Russells and I'm not a dog trainer by profession but I've taking in unwanted Jack Russells since 1999.
Jack Russells can be difficult to live with because they bark...a lot... They also are very territorial and when there are more than three dogs present you have to be the pack leader and always, always be ready to step in.
Here are some warning signs:
1) Hailey is the Jack Russell in the upper right with her ears back and looking away from Lacey. She's doing that because I'm watching her and she wants to go after Lacey. Hailey is the alpha female in this pack and Lacey is brand new so I'm going to have to watch Hailey carefully and I'm not sure about Lacey because this was her first day with me so I'll give them both 100% attention until they settle in. A good sign here is that Lacey is completely uninterested in Hailey.
2) Tootsie is the all white one. She is older at this time and pretty mellow...unless Hailey goes after something. If Hailey goes after something Tootsie will jump in immediately so it's a mistake to think that because she seems so easy going that she's not a potential threat. In fact when she plays she will bite you quite hard if you're not careful. When she was younger she wouldn't bite so hard but now at this age I'm not sure she realizes it. I keep my hands and face away from her mouth. She also had a role in attacking a smaller dog I had some time ago. Looks are definitely deceiving here.
3) The black one partially visible is Tucker. He's a chihuahua and I don't normally take them in but this one was desperate and I had a large yard set up so I took him in. He's small but feisty and has something to prove. He expects me to look out for him. Whenever he feels threatened he looks to him right away. If I wasn't paying attention a situation could develop but I always am watching. When he looks to me I pick him up to show the others he's under my protection and we get along just fine.
All of these signs are pretty good for having a brand new dog coming into my pack so I'm going to let Lacey out and see what happens. I feel good about it because Lacey is relaxed and ignoring the other dogs like she's been socialized with other dogs already. My feeling was right, when I let Lacey out they all sniffed each other up but I was standing up in the middle of them and and they all accepted the new girl. Big sigh of relief. Except Lacey is already latching on to me and Hailey doesn't like that.
Hailey has been my alpha queen for some years now. Hailey has trained the other dogs to stay away when I get home from work until she is done greeting me. She has taught them this by standing on my knee and baring her teeth at the others as they approach. I get Hailey's attention back on me when this happens to let her know it's NOT ok but she's a Jack Russell and she doesn't care what I think sometimes. See the rolled up newspaper taped to a long stick? That's to smack on my hand when I really need to get their attention. Yes, you really need to show Jack Russells who'se the boss or they will fight and kill each other. It's a dog pack in real life.
In spite and because of all these challenges I continue to take in unwanted Jack Russells but I'm down to two of them and I train them to be support dogs. They are trained to remind me when it's time to take my medications. The bottom line is they are great companions, exceptionally intelligent, and great watchdogs. They are not recommended by me in households with small children. They get excited easily and even with the level of control I have they still nip at me now and then. Show them fear and God help you.
Lacey's First Day