Bedding, Insurance, Toys, Exercise, Vet Care ,Training
Warmth and Bedding
The Jackahuahua can have either the coat of a terrier or Chihuahua depending on the genetics of each match, in some cases the coat may be wiry and tough, in others soft and very fine.
I have found that many of them have the finer coat of the Chihuahua and this coat is not built for as much warmth and toughness as comes with the more weather repellent terrier coat.
The softer coated dogs may benefit from the wearing of a 'rug' in extreme weather and in the harder rain storms will need a waterproof garment to help keep warm and dry. Remember that they will feel the cold more when stood still, make walks brisk and if you do stop to talk to other walkers, be very aware of the comfort of your dog, if he is cold and has no coat on, do not stand around making him colder.
Dogs need their own bed or den in which they feel comfortable and which also help to keep the dog feeling secure and warm. One tenancy that seems very common in the Jackahuahua is the need to sleep 'under' blankets. Blankets can be provided in the dog bed and these allows them to 'tunnel under' the bedding. Max will 'burrow' when ever he has the chance. If he is allowed on my bed, he will get straight under the covers and is happy there.
All bedding should be clean and should be washed and aired often. In choosing a bed, pick one that is well made, well padded and easy to keep clean. Some beds are tougher than others, however expensive does not always mean better! Look at the stitching, make sure the material is strong, robust and washable. There is no point in paying for a bed that looks wonderful but is impractical when it comes to keeping it clean.
Invest in good quality vetbed. This is soft, dog friendly and be can be washed may times. Your dog needs comfortable material to lie on and I feel a soft vetbed / blanket / pillow helps prevent the scabby elbow marks seen on many dogs.
Choose your vet with as much care as you chose your Jackahuahua. As well as looking in the Yellow Pages or on the internet, ask your trainer or fellow dog owners for recommendations.
Drop in and visit the practice before signing up as a patient. Things to bear in mind include location, cleanliness, range of services on offer, general feel of the place and most importantly do you feel confident with the staff and vets that you meet there.
When you go for your first injections the practice should take all details from you including DOB of dog, your emergancy contact numbers, breeding of dog and it's current health and any recent treatments for worms and flea treatments.
My own vet gives all puppies a full check over with the first injections, this includes, heart, lungs, eyes, ears, teeth, claws and even 'chaps' bits. All details are fed into a database and on each visit a check is made that all is well since last visit. I am also happy that they look at Max as an individual and take care to explain treatments and to care about him.
Vet treatments can seem expensive at the time, however it is important to remember that for a start your vet will have undergone at least 7 years intensive training, the equipment they use is expensive to buy, they provide a 24/7 service and they have to pay staff, rates and nurses. The vets also have to undertake to carry on with progessive and ongoing training and have to keep up with all the latest treaments, drugs and procedures.
Most vets now take 'plastic'. If you are worried about ongoing costs, a good practice will be able to give you an idea of costs and should be able to offer ways to help keep costs down.
Being small does not equate with little exercise.
Again you need to remember the heritage of a Jackahuahua. The Jack Russell is well know for its 'on-the-go' attitude and manner and this is a strong traint in the Jackahuahua.
Build up exercise gradually and take care with very young dogs not to overdo it as young bones still need time to strengthen and form.
Making the walks part of your training also helps vital lessons to be fun. Combined with a walk, requests to sit, stay, wait and come all help form good ethics in the dog and his response to commands.
Max has his exercise split into two walks a day. Early morning and late afternoon. We have found that walking him on the road on his normal lead and then moving to his long flexi in fields helps combine walking to heel on lead and having a good 'blat' in one walk.
Terriers will run until they drop, and this keeness is seen in many Jackahuahas, so you have to be aware when enough is enough in the younger dog and get the dog to be calm and to take a rest when needed.
On longer walks do remember to take a bottle of water and to stop for short breaks for younger dogs.
Also remember to always carry poo bags! It is a requirement of UK law that you collect and dispose of correctly any droppings made by your dog in any public place, this includes country footpaths and byways.
It is your job as a responsible dog owner to make sure dogs do not get a 'bad press' for fouling and leaving mess uncleared.
Please get your dog insured.
Should your dog need major treatments you will find costs mount up fast, you need to be able to feel secure in the knowledge that you can afford to get the best for your loved member of the family.
There are many options to choose from. It is a good idea to discuss choices with your vet as they will have dealt with many schemes and companies and will be able to give you some pointers as to the companies they have found to be reliable and reputable.
Do not skimp on insurance, read the policy wording and get the best you can afford.
Also make sure you cover third party liability.
I have a strong feeling that these dogs need to be well trained, well socalised and well mannered. They are very trainable, but you do need to be sure that you have consistant ongoing training. These dogs can are very bright. Boredom can set in with these intelligent little beings and training helps keep the mind busy.
Find a good trainer before you even bring puppy home.
Visit the trainer and watch a couple of classes before deciding. It is VITAL that you find a trainer who you can trust as well as learn from. Classes should be fun, dogs and owners should be happy and most of all the enviroment must be safe.
Attending puppy school from first week home is important, your puppy needs to meet other dogs in a safe controlled manner.
From experiance I have seen classes, where the trainer, was not only as dull as dishwater, but also had little interest in ongoing development of the dogs in their class. The dogs looked bored and there was little or no interaction between trainer and handler. Not really a great way to have fun with your dog.
Look for a trainer that offers a wide range of classes and ideally who will work towards the Kennel Club Good Citizen Award, from Bronze to Gold. You dog does NOT have to be KC registered, just well trained and well mannered. From there you can also go on to other things you can do with your dog.
Do not be mean about paying for a good trainer, but do be sure that you get your moneys worth. Again, from experiance, I have seen 'high earners' who have flashy websites, and have some very high ideas, however the interest was mainly in the 'cash register' rather than the dogs.
Jackahuahuas can of course, also do mini agility. Max has had a little try along high walk, A frame, been on a see-saw, gone through a tunnel and even jumped through a tyre! All at a very sedate pace and only as an experiance, not fast, not in competiton and only while he was happy to do so. He LOVED it. HOWEVER, you puppy is not ready for proper training or partaking in this activity, until he is about 18 months old. I would not go to any trainer who would take a young dog for classes before it was well matured and strong enough. Max's experiance was about 10-15 minutes and was to give him a curious Jackahuahua insight into what he can do when he is a little older.
You may find your dog acts quite out of character at class, this is more than natural and is normally just excitement. Be guided by your trainer, not your emotions.
All puppies chew and the Jackahuahua is no exception!
Start the mindset in the right way. Give your Jackahuahua his own toys that he can do with what he likes.
Jackahuahuas can be destructive in play.
Choose toys for strength rather than cuteness. Avoid at all costs the 'cheap fluffy' toys, they will not last long and you may be shocked at what can be found inside a destroyed toy. I have found (and written to manufacturers!) gafffer tape, plastic wadding, plastic bags and even elastic bands inside dog toys! Cheap toys imported from some countries are nothing short of a health hazard and can be potential killers.
Jackahuahuas seem to like to toys they can chew, rattle, shake or chase. Be careful to note that most toys should only be left with dogs under supervision.
We have found a good 'sock monster' is a toy that can be left with the dog when he is alone. They are strong, cheap to replace when needed and can be washed time and time again.
Rope toys are very popular, and can be played with to point of destruction, just be careful to check teeth do not end up wrapped in thread and be sure to clear up all debris and not to let dog swallow great lumps of cotton thread.
Check all toys before you buy, a good pet shop will be happy to chose the right toys for your dog. Small these dogs maybe, however they have strongs jaws and teeth. Bear in mind as well that the expensive toy can be just as harmful as a cheap one. Do not be afraid to pull at the stitching etc, to be honest as far as I am concerned if the retailer is selling substandard toys he should be told and have this pointed out. One dog dying because it swallows gaffer tape is one dog too many and I have no qualms about pointing out shoddy toys.