How to Train Your Jack Russell Terrier

Week 2 at Puppy Training

Trainer: Okay, Mike. Bring Killer into the center and let’s see what he can recall. Let me see a sit and stay.

[Mike walks Killer (the pit bull) into the center of the room.

Mike: Killer, sit.

[Killer sits and waits quietly]

Trainer: Now walk away and get him to stay.

Mike: Stay

[He walks back to his original position. Killer stands up and pounces on Mr. Pickles (the Dachshund). After two horrifying shakes, Killer releases Mr. Pickles and then returns to his position.]

Mike: Good boy.

Mary [Mr. Pickles’ owner]: Why does your dog keep attaching mine?

Mike: I guess he loves pickles.

Trainer: Miles. You look confused. Are you okay?

Miles [The owner of the Afghan Hound, Lara]: Sorry. I just realized that I’m supposed to be at Lara’s acupuncture appointment. Kitty and I felt she might benefit from some light meditation and acupuncture therapy.

Trainer: Why, what’s the problem?

Miles: There isn’t a specific problem. It’s more preventative. Kitty and I get acupuncture all the time. It helps us to relax.

Trainer: Kitty is a nervous wreck. I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in the therapy.

[Miles turns to Kitty and says something inaudible. Kitty hurts into tears and runs out of the class.]

Trainer: David, why don’t you show the class how you train a jack russell terrier. Bring Wiki into the center and get her to sit.

[I walk my jack russell terrier into the center of the room. She’s pulling on her leash and panting.]

Me [softly]: Wiki, sit.


Me [again softly]: Wiki, please sit.

[Nothing. I lean in to Wiki and whisper.]

Me: Wiki, please. Don’t embarrass me. Just sit down. I’m begging you.

[Nothing. I lean in again.]

Me: If you don’t sit right now I’ll never give you another treat so long as I live. I’m dead serious.

[Wiki stops, looks up at me and then poops on the floor.]

Trainer: Wiki, bad girl. David, I see you haven’t been doing your homework.

Me: What do you mean?

[Trainer points to the pile of poop.]

Trainer: She was supposed to sit.

Me: Oh you wanted me to get her to sit? Like S-I-T? I misunderstood.

Patty [owner of the pomeranian, Abiel, and member of the Trinity Church]: I’d like to show the class what Abiel’s been working on.

[Patty races to the center of the room and drops a small dog pillow on the floor. Her husband, Arthur, sets up a few additional props next to the blanket such as a pile of hay and a plastic lamb.]

Patty: Abiel, who wants to be the baby Jesus in our church’s Christmas play this year?

[Abiel spins around three times, barks and then jumps in the air.]

Patty: That’s a good girl. Okay now, go practice your baby Jesus.

[Abiel, who was sporting a pink jean jacket and light blue booties, prances over onto the dog pillow, rolls onto her back and crosses her front paws. She blinks her eyes several times in a row. I have to admit, it was fairly impressive. She nailed the vulnerable yet courageous look. If Wiki played the part she would have interpreted the character to be more like Rosemarie’s baby. I’m sure of it.]

Trainer: Well, okay. I can see a lot of hard work went into this.

Patty: Opening night is Thursday. We wanted to make sure we set Abiel up for success. Practice makes perfect.

[Killer entered from the far left and sprinted toward the nativity scene. Killer pounced onto the plastic lamb. The impact tossed the pile of hay into the air. Killer ripped the head off the lamb with one jerk of his head. Patty screamed. Killer then grabbed the corner of the pillow and ran back toward his owner, with Abiel in tow. Patty, with her purse slung over her shoulder, raced toward Abiel. Arthur followed her. Of course, Wiki pulled me in because she loves to chase stuff. The entire class imploded into a shit show. Barking, knocked over chairs, Patty screaming, Kitty in the corner still in the midst of her nervous breakdown.]

Me: And I’m paying for this?


I’m Being Eaten Out of House and Home


A rare moment when Wiki and Hobbs are both sleeping (or at least still). I can finally focus on some writing, and home repairs. LOL

They’ve been devils this week. Here’s a list of what they’ve eaten:

  • Antenna from internet router
  • Tea light candle
  • My Visa credit card
  • My health insurance ID card
  • All of the flowers from an Iris plant
  • Part of our down comforter
  • Two corners of a throw pillow
  • 11 socks
  • Part of a pair of jeans
  • A rather large portion of the bottom of our leather couch.
  • A 6 foot section of baseboard
  • The shoelaces from 2 pairs of my gym shoes

I have literally sprayed the entire house with sour apple. Let’s see if that works.


Doggy Style

My first day at puppy training


Trainer: Okay, let’s all gather into a circle with our gorgeous pups. I’d like us to introduce ourselves first, then our fabulous little doggies. And maybe share with the group what you hope to get out of this class.

Participant 1: Hi. I’m Miles. I’m here with my wife Kitty. [Miles glares at Kitty until she steps forward and stands next to him.] Our dog’s name is Lara. She’s a purebred Afghan Hound. We had her bred last April. She comes from a distinguished bloodline. Two of her relatives have been national champions. We’ve had several dogs of this breed in the past. It’s a superior breed. [Miles looks to Kitty and smiles.] We think so. [Lara squats down and pees on the floor].

Trainer: Your Best in Show winner is peeing on my floor. Cleaning supplies are across the room. Kitty hustles to the cleaning station].

Miles: We’re in this class because it’s a prerequisite for the dog handling class. We feel we have a future Best in Show winner here.

Participant 2: Name’s Jack. Dog is Killer. Pitbull mix. A little aggressive so keep your dogs away. At least until he settles in. I’m in the class because it’s required as part of my probation. It’s a long story. I was accused of running a dog-fighting ring. It’s complete bullshit. I guess everybody who owns a Pitty is a criminal.

Trainer: All righty. Thank you for sharing, Jack.

Participant 3: Hi Everyone. I’m Mary Francis Pallard. Dy mog. I’m sorry, I’m so nervous. I don’t get out much. My husband died three years ago. It’s been lonely. I don’t have many opportunities to socialize. My dog’s name is Mr. Pickles. He’s a Dachshund. He’s such a sweetie. And he’s dashing. Just look at that face. I call him the Dashing Dachshund. (She giggles nervously). I’m hoping that Mr. Pickles meets some new friends in the class. And me too.

[Killer lunges toward Mr. Pickles and bites him on the nose, shaking him from side to side. Mary screams. Killer drops Mr. Pickles and struts back to his owner’s side.]

Participant 4 [Ignores the puppy fight and starts talking]: Good evening. I’m Elizabeth. This is my Labradoodle, Bailey. He’s hypoallergenic and non shedding. My son, Cornelius, has severe allergies. We had to rehome our Collie because Cornelius couldn’t tolerate the allergens and all of the hair. He spent two days in the hospital last year because of a severe reaction to our Collie’s hair. You may not know this but it’s actually not the hair itself. The allergies are caused by something called dander. For those of you who don’t have hypoallergenic dogs, which by looking around is most of you, it’s really important to maintain the correct Ph balance of their hair. And if you need a great allergist, I would highly recommend Dr. William Frazier. He’s outstanding. And he’s right over the hill in Cranston.

Trainer: Ma’am. Your dog is taking a dump. You know where the cleaning supplies are.

Participant 5: I’m Mike. This is Bonnie. Cocker Spaniel. She’s a fucking nut. I didn’t want to get a dog but my wife insisted. Her fat, lazy cat died in June. She said she couldn’t have another cat, so we rescued Bonnie. It’s been a nightmare. Piss and shit all over the house. It’s like living in a chicken coup. [He turns to Elizabeth]. You think your son has allergies? Try living in my fucking house for a day. You ever inhaled piss and shit. It fucking burns. I stopped for McDonald’s on the way here and all I could smell and taste was dog piss. You know what. Fuck it. I’m outta here. [Mike storms toward the exit with Bonnie dragging behind him].

Participant 6: We appear to have some energy in the room tonight. Anyway. Hello. I’m Patricia. My friends from my Bible study class call me Patty. You know what they say, “the shorter your name, the closer you are to Jesus.” This is my husband Arthur. We belong to the Trinity of Christ church. We’re always looking for new members. We have an open house this coming Tuesday from 7 to 8 pm. I’ll be baking my famous seven layer bars.

Trainer: Can we get to your dog, please?

Patty [Glaring at the trainer]: This is our little angel, Abiel, which means, “My Father is God”. [Patty picks up Abiel and shows her to the participants. Abiel is sporting a sequined jean jacket. A pink bow rests on her head. Abiel looks like a contestant on Toddlers and Tiaras]. She’s a sweet, adorable Pomeranian. I know Jesus sent her to us. I just know it. We’re hoping to share Abiel’s love of life with the other dogs here tonight.

Me: I’m sorry. This is puppy training, right? [A few participants nod]. Okay, because for a minute there I thought I was in rehab.

[Jack laughs].

I’m David. This is my Jack Russell Terrier, Wiki. She’s a puppy. She pees. She poops. She plays. She’s 12 weeks old. I haven’t thought about this in more detail. I’m here because I’d like for Wiki to be able to sit. Lay down. And come when I call her. That’s it.

Patty: That doesn’t seem very ambitious.

Me: Let’s get some perspective here. Wiki’s not looking to make friends or explore theology. She has no interest in bathing in Argon oil or wearing doggy Uggs. She won’t have her own calendar or a line of grain-free doggy treats. She wants to run into the field across the street and kill rabbits. And the only reason she’s not there right now is because I have a firm grip on her leash. That’s what she was designed to do and I’m sure that’s what Jesus would want for her.

Patty: Someone woke up in the wrong place today.

Me: You mean, Arthur?

Wiki and Hobbs


Here is a formal introduction.

Wiki is the Jack Russell Terrier. A better description would be the 12-pound tornado. She was born in April and arrived here in late May. Hobbs is the Chihuahua, or as I refer to him “The creator of the tiny turds left behind all of the furniture.” He was born in May and was rescued from a shelter in Arkansas. He arrived here in September.

At 6 and 5 months old, respectively, I am in house training hell. I woke up this morning and walked into a scene from the Exorcist. I needed a HazMat suit.

Wiki is salt of the earth. A bit blue collar. Hobbs is an elitist, which is odd because he came from a shelter and Wiki came from a breeder. I captured this picture the other day. It sums up Hobbs’ personality.

I just can't.

I just can’t.