In this chapter we have been focusing on bringing a Jack Russell puppy into your home, but this is not the only option. Consider getting an older, already spayed or neutered Jack Russell as companion to your dog—or as your only dog, for that matter. Many healthy, well-behaved older JRTs need new homes and can be applied for through the JRTCA's Russell Rescue (see the appendix).
An older dog entering your home and life for the first time will have different needs than a puppy. A new puppy adjusts easily and is more adaptable, but an older dog has a history and habits, and may be more cautious in his new surroundings. The best thing you can do is to make the homecoming as stress-free as possible and make your home a comfortable, stable environment in which your new dog will feel secure.
If you get a rehomed dog from a rescue group or other source, you may not know much about the dog's history. The more you can find out, the better prepared you will be for the task ahead. Unfortunately, some rescue dogs have been harmed by humans and will have to be patiently taught to love and trust again. Many foster homes work on helping the dog gain confidence and trust before placing him in a permanent home.
You can make this easier by being sensitive to the special circumstances of your JRT. Notice anything that seems to make him uncomfortable. Avoid movements or noises that seem to scare him. Introduce children to your new dog in as calm a manner as possible. Don't let them jump on him or make loud, excited noises that may startle or frighten him.
Take your dog for long walks around your neighborhood to let him get his bearings and familiarize himself with his new environment. The sooner he feels at home, the better.
An older JRT should adjust quickly to your home and lifestyle. They are "no-regrets" dogs. With patience and understanding, he will soon be his happy, eager Jack Russell self. You can be proud you have offered him a second chance and a wonderful new home.
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