Rosemary’s Puppy

I am losing my mind.

Think Damien from “The Omen.” The head twisting horror of Linda Blair in “The Exorcist”. I am living with Rosemary’s Puppy.

It's Alive It’s Alive

Don’t let this sleeping dog lie–she’s as alert as a highly caffeinated college junior during finals. We just returned from what can loosely be called a walk (she dragged Angus, poor Martha and me down our “practice” road, the one so boring it gives me a small chance of getting a tiny portion of her attention span) and while everyone else is knackered, she is merely cuddled next to Gus, pondering her next fiendish move.

We begin puppy school next week. In the interim, I’m supposed to be loading her with a Marker Word. And it can’t be “Nooooooooooo!” Damn. It’s actually “Yes”. I say “yes” and then shove tasty treats into her mouth.

The idea is any time she does anything that could remotely be construed as good behavior, I say “yes,” shove food, and she will magically make the connection between the word, the desired behavior and the food. Uh huh.

I’m meant to ignore all undesirable behavior. Digging up the plants in the garden. Chewing my sandals. Chewing the legs of my chairs. Chewing her crate. Jumping on Martha. Basically, ignore her at this point.

She does sit. She learned that the second day. So I reward that. “Yes,” I say, and shove food into her mouth.

I will either have the fattest, worst trained dog on the planet, who sits on command but tears my arm out of its socket when I walk her, chases cars, bikes, cows, horses and chickens, or I may have to start looking for a priest to perform an exorcism on a tiny puppy.


  1. littlehousebytheferry · October 7, 2013

    I second what Jenny said. JRTs are amazing dogs, but oh, dear God! The energy, the mischief, the cheekiness. On the other hand, there’s also the personality, the dedication, the love and the sense of fun. Hang in there — we’ve had our JRT mix for 3 years now, and though for most of the first year I was one step away from killing either myself or the dog, we now have a wonderful and loving dog. He’s still energetic and mischievous, but he’s not so insane, unruly or unpredictable anymore.Honestly, every day with him is a treat, and I can’t imagine life without him. Here’s a little video of him on our recent holiday.

    Looking forward to hearing how “Rosemary’s Puppy” fares in training.

    • Going To The Dogs · October 16, 2013

      Oh, God, you mean there’s hope??? πŸ™‚ Thank you. I’ll come check you out. I live by a ferry, too, but in the PNW. When I let Willow out of her crate, I often think of it as letting Pandora out of her box!

      • littlehousebytheferry · October 16, 2013

        Yes, there absolutely is hope!!!! You just have to get through puppyhood… It does seem like it goes on forever, but it does eventually end. A couple of things we’ve learned the hard way with Wrigley…..

        First, there is no such thing as too much exercise. A tired Jack Russell is a well-behaved Jack Russell. As they get older, they can do with a little less exercise, but during puppyhood, there’s no such thing as too much!

        Second, do whatever you can to socialize her early with all sorts of people, animals and situations. I used to take Wrigley with me to the bank machine, to the dry cleaners, in the car, everywhere I could get away with it. I used to take him to the dog park, but to be honest, I got turned off at how irresponsible a few of the dog owners were. Now, he goes to a doggy daycare a few times a month, just to have a chance to socialize with other dogs, and to burn off some energy.

        Third, nothing inspires good dog behaviour like a pocket full of treats. Our dog is, as the trainer put it, food-motivated. Somehow we missed the part of the training where you wean them off treats. But the good news is that Wrigley will do almost anything if he knows there’s a treat in it for him.

        Fourth, try to find toys that challenge her. Wrigley has lots of toys that just squeak, but his favourites are those that offer a challenge. The hide-a-squirrel toy is one of his absolute favourites…

        Also, I found this great piece about toys that keep dogs busy. These sorts of things have worked really well with Wrigley.

        Hope this helps!!

        Amanda (and Wrigley, the mostly-well-behaved dog)

      • Going To The Dogs · October 16, 2013

        Thank you, my new best dog friend! Yes, Willow is my fourth JRT. She is mostly good but has her horrifying moments that go with puppyhood. Thank you all the good ideas. She killed a rat today (see my blog from today). I am weirdly both proud and disgusted.

        She goes everywhere with me and my two other dogs. At the moment leash walking is not going well. Unless you define going well as going down the road pulled by a 10 pound puppy. We are a work in progress.

        Thanks for your response. I love your profile picture!

      • littlehousebytheferry · October 16, 2013

        Oh, I didn’t realize this was your fourth JRT… then you KNOW! πŸ™‚ Some of what I told you earlier is probably old hat to you. Wrigley is the first dog my husband and/or I have had as adults, so it’s been a huge learning curve for us, too!

        Never in a million years would I have voluntarily adopted a JRT, but now that we’ve got a dog that’s part JRT (and in terms of his behaviour, primarily JRT), I don’t think I’d ever want anything else.

        Leash walking took us forever to get right. I find that sometimes this getting stuff right sneaks up on you…. Just when you think all is lost and there’s no hope, they figure it out. The most frustrating part for me has been that with Wrigley (and maybe with all dogs…?) it’s been two steps forward one step back.

        Great that you have other dogs… Willow will probably learn from them. Wrigley is an “only dog”, and sometimes we’re not sure he gets that he’s not one of “us.” That’s another reason he goes to doggy daycare every once in a while. πŸ™‚

        Ooh, a rat?! Yikes. Gotta go read the report. I’ve heard that JRTs love to hunt smaller critters… Willow is a credit to her breed.


        P.S. Thanks for your comment about my profile pics — it’s probably my favourite pic ever.

        P.P.S. Where in the PNW are you? We

      • littlehousebytheferry · October 16, 2013

        Oops, hit POST too soon. Where in the PNW are you? I lived for 25+ years in Vancouver, and spent quite a bit of time in Bellingham/Sudden Valley/La Conner … love, love, love the PNW!

      • Going To The Dogs · October 16, 2013

        I live in rural Kitsap County on the north end of the Peninsula. I love it. Are you in the Bahamas? Can we come? πŸ™‚

      • littlehousebytheferry · October 17, 2013

        LOVE that part of the world. No, sadly, we’re not in the Bahamas full-time. We’re in Los Angeles. Almost as good, but the beaches can’t compare. πŸ™‚ Eventually, we hope to spend half the year in Vancouver/Victoria and the other half in the Bahamas. Then you can come! πŸ™‚

      • Going To The Dogs · October 18, 2013

        Thanks!! We’ll get our snorkels together and get ready!!

      • Going To The Dogs · October 21, 2013

        Deal. If you come down my way, let me know. We can wear tiaras together!

  2. thevetsminion · September 24, 2013

    Haha this made me laugh out loud! I am a puppy preschool trainer, and I see those words written on people’s faces when I tell them how we are going to train the young hooligans tearing up the room. Hehe the end result is hopefully a dog that is weaned off the treats, but not weaned off the manners… with persistence it works! Jack Russells are definitely the tiniest terrors to train, I admire your bravery! But I am glad to hear that down the track things are going well πŸ™‚ keep up the good work!

  3. jenny · September 9, 2013

    Hi Lisa, All I can say is we Jack Russellls just can’t help it. We try to be good – we really do – but it’s a constant struggle between the inner dog and the desire to please our human families. I am three now, and The Goddess Who Rescued Me tells me I am better behaved these days. There is hope. Love Alfie (

    • Going To The Dogs · September 21, 2013

      Hi Jenny. Thanks for reading and commenting. We started training in earnest now and she is doing well. You’re so right about JRTs–they are simply too smart and quick for their own good. πŸ™‚

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