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My Jack Russell Terrier is a Spy: Living With a Dog That Loves to Burrow

Updated on October 15, 2014
It started with a playpen
It started with a playpen | Source

It's in Their Breeding

One thing I learned about this breed is that their job was to capture small critters that made their way onto farms. They were trained to chase their prey and dig deep in the ground to reveal their dens. That yappy bark you find so annoying? That was their signal to the owner that they caught whatever animal was a danger to the farm animals.

In modern living, we have no need for these great rodent hunters--thank goodness! But, they still have the instinct to dig and burrow. And, boy do they ever! Some dig holes around the yard and others like to hide away in the bed covers.

It started when she was very young

Misha was about 4 months old the first time I saw her attempt to dig something up in the house. Yes, in the house. I still had Sierra's large dog bed. It was like a continent for Misha as it was so big. One day my little 5 lb. dog began digging furiously at the side of the bed, then she lifted up the heavy edge, and crawled right underneath. I was worried she was going to suffocate. But, a few seconds later, she ran out the other side. This became her new game. Sometimes she'd drag toys in with her. It was funny to watch. She was like a miniature Atlas holding the world over her head.

She graduate to the blanket in her playpen soon after. Sometimes I couldn't find her and wondered if she jumped out. Lifting a corner of her blanket I'd find her asleep with a pile of stuffed animals.

Now it's a regular daily affair to find Misha under a quilt, blanket, the dresser, the bed. You name it. If she fits, she is under it. But, now I think she's got other plans besides old instincts to hunt mice. I think she is spying on us.

They love to burrow


This was Misha at about 6 months old. If you look closely, you will realize that she has an entire dog bed on her head. I don't mean a Jack Russell sized bed. This was Sierra's old bed and Sierra was a 70 lb. Lab/Golden Mix.

Misha loved to pick the whole bed up over head, a la Hercules, and crawl around underneath it. I don't really know how she did it. It outweighed her several times over.


Exhibit A

Here's looking at you with one eye

I was in the bedroom one night doing whatever. I heard rustling behind me. I turned around to see this. One eye poking out from under the quilt.

I'm not sure but I think she was taking notes under there. She kept watch for some time.

She has done this many times over the years. She's so dang nosy! It made me think I should watch my back. You never know when a Terrier will spring out of a hiding place and hit you from behind. Never under estimated a 10 lb. dog.

A Safe Way to Keep a Dog Warm

One thing I've learned about Misha is she hates being cold. She's under her blankets when it's 85 degrees outside. Anything under 65 degrees outside and she's shivering. I bet if you have a small dog, you've noticed the same thing.

I came across self heating blankets years ago. I bought one for my previous dog and we're still using it. This is how they work. There is a type of thin foil in between the blanket material and padding that reflects the body heat back to the dog. I can attest that it works. Misha comes out of her tent toasty warm.

The best advantage over other warming blankets is that you don't have to do anything to make it work. There are no power cords to get their leg caught on. You don't have to put it in the microwave to heat it every half hour. When the dog lays on it, they get warm. It's simple.


Exhibit B

A head poking out of the pinkness

My Mom and I like to talk in the living room while watching TV. Sometimes we notice that someone who is supposed to be sleeping is gently moving under her blanket. Soon there is a nose, and then, at least an eye is poking out of the blanket.

In this case, her spying was subtle. You can barely see her head. But, she is there, always keeping an eye on what's going on around her.

Exhibit C


Cuteness is Her Disguise

Oh, I know what you're thinking. That Jack Russell is just too darn cute with all those blankets on her head. Sure, she's cute, but she's also smart.

So, don't be fooled. It's just a ploy to make you smile or giggle. That way she has you distracted. I'm pretty sure she knows how to use a video camera. I've seen her change the screens on my tablet with her nose.


Exhibit D

Where's Waldo...I mean Misha?

You don't need a blanket to be a spy. (Did Mata Hari ever say that?) Any stack of clean laundry will do.

I was working on my computer when I felt eyes on my back. I turned around to see this. A small dog under a whole lot of sweat shirts and jackets.

How did she get under there without knocking everything over? Shhhh...that's her secret. And, she will never tell.

How to Create a Hiding Spot for Your Dog

Misha is an expert on this topic, trust me. She's been making hiding spots to burrow into for years.

In her opinion, you should start with a tent. A tent serves a dual purpose. It provides cover which small dogs seem to like. For whatever reason, they like having something over their head. A crate or small dog house would work perfectly for this purpose.

I like the idea of a nylon/polyester type tent. They are lightweight. This means you can move them around from spot to spot. This is important if your dog likes to be up on the furniture, but you don't want them there. They can have their tent up on the bed during the day and not mess everything up. At night the tent goes on the floor where the dog normally sleeps. (Can you tell Misha is spoiled?)

If the tent you use doesn't have a padded bottom, you might want to add a dog bed. This will add more stability to tents that are put on furniture. You would be surprised how indignant a Jack Russell can be when their tent has rolled off the bed with them inside.


Exhibit E

You can't even see her

Misha's got a pretty cushy life. Here she is in her Princess Jasmine style tent. Inside is a small dog bed and three blankets. You think she'd be satisfied.

But, I can tell she is watching me while I sleep. I've got the camera ready just in case. There! I caught it. A small head peaking out trying to see what I'm doing.

Maybe I should be worried. I hope she doesn't have any weapons hidden in there.

Her "cover" is blown


Burrowing isn't just for Terriers

Does your dog like to burrow in the covers?

See results

Okay, I couldn't resist the pun. No matter how hard Misha tries to be covert, sometimes she just can't get the blanket right way.

In this instant as she tried to move around to get into position, she managed to reveal herself. She got the cover away from her eyes but in the effort she revealed the rest of her body. I don't think this is a very good disguise, do you? She should work on that part.

Misha is a constant source of delight and laughter to everyone she comes in contact with. I keep a close look out though...just in case.

© 2014 Melody Lassalle

Did she make you smile? - I hope so

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      Thank you AJGodinho! I tried to be clever. I think it worked. ;)

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I just found the cutest spy in the whole wide world lol :) Misha is unique and cute indeed. Loved reading her spying stories and I liked how you titled many of the pictures "Exhibit A", "Exhibit B", etc and of course "Her "cover" is blown" lol :) I'm sure she keeps you entertained! :)

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      Nancy, I'm sorry for your loss. I can understand your decision. I have severe arthritis and it does impact what I do with Misha. I'm glad that you enjoyed the article. I do think she is spying on us, too. This is how she keeps track of when anyone makes a move towards the kitchen and food.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I love this story, and the photos are priceless! Misha is a cutie pie, but she's definitely spying on you. I lost my last dog in March, probably won't get another because I'm unable to take care of one properly anymore. But I sure do enjoy other people's stories and photos of their dogs. This was so cute and lots of fun.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      She looks very cute under all those blankets :) I didn't know Jack Russells burrowed.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      Thanks Paula! I didn't realize Jack Russells were so entertaining until I got one.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Funny and cute. :)

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      Diane, until I got her I had no idea terrier were such burrowers. She would much prefer to sleep under a pile of blankets than on top of her bed. It could be 80 degrees in the house and she's still under her blankets.

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 3 years ago from New York

      Your dog is hilarious. She acts like she is part ferret. So cute :)

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      @paperfacets: You survived two? Just kidding. They are very intelligent and entertaining, but they keep you on your toes.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      @flycatcherrr: Thank you flycatcher! It's hard to be mad at her when she is so darn goofy.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 3 years ago

      Oh, that little Misha is so cute - I laughed and laughed at the photographs of her trying to hide!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 3 years ago from La Verne, CA

      We have a jack russell too. Our second one. Ours likes to look very intelligent while we talk to him. Though we have not trained him to do much I feel like if we did he would gladly jump to action because he listens so well.