My Dog Misha: The Entertaining Jack Russell
Ten pounds and full of personality
Misha is my Jack Russell Terrier. When I got her, she was so small I could hold her in one hand. She's 5 years old and weighs a "hefty" 10 lbs! She's small for a typical female Jack Russell Terrier. What she lacks in weight she makes up for in attitude.
Misha's first 3 years were a bit rough. I lived with my Dad when Misha joined our family. She was developing wonderfully. Then, right around her first birthday, my Dad died. We moved 3 months later. The turmoil that results in those 3 months caused Misha to go into a tailspin. It was the equivalent of doggie nervous breakdown. My well adjusted pup reverted back to an untrained dog who trusted no one.
After we moved, we went back to square one and I spent several months retraining her. It was a difficult, long road to travel. Things have gotten much easier this last year and she's turning into a fine dog. Maturity does wonders for a dog! She's still a feisty character, but, you can't beat a Jack Russell Terrier for personality and entertainment
Ready to meet Misha? Let's start then...
How I met Misha
In July 2009, my dear sweet Sierra passed away. Sierra was a 14 year old Lab/Golden Mix who stole hearts. She was a cancer survivor and an amputee.
A week after she died, my two young nieces (and their parents) showed up at my house in the middle of the day. An unusual event in and of itself. I realized the older of the two had something very small and very wiggly inside her sweat jacket. It was my new puppy. She was eight weeks old and all of 2 pounds!
I love these paw print collars
My nieces purchased Misha the smallest collar that they could find. It was one of these purple, multi-color collars. When we first put it on her, it was still too big even at it's smallest.
She's grown 7 pounds since then. Now her collar fits just fine! It's perfect for her.
I love the purple background with the multi-color paw prints. It's a cheery, playful combination.
Where'd you get the name Misha?
There's really nothing special about the name Misha. I've always loved the name. Sometimes I would call my previous dog Misha even though her name was Sierra. I really liked this name and I knew if I got another dog I would name her Misha.
She's got many nicknames. When she was young I called her Squirmy Butt because of the way she wagged her whole butt when excited.
Sometimes I call her my Goober Girl, Goof Ball, or Little Boof (Boof being short for the Portuguese word for "fart"...not a very complimentary nickname...LOL) Most of the times she just Little Meesh.
Photos of MIsha - The first yearClick thumbnail to view full-size
Hangin' with Misha
I spend quite a bit of time with Misha. One of our favorite things to do is go for our daily walks. She has an abundance of energy so I take her for a long walk in the morning and a brief one in the afternoon.
Misha loves to play with toys especially her hedgehogs. We play fetch during the day, though most of the time I end up doing the fetching. She more than happy to play with her toys by herself. Sometimes I'll spot her throwing a hedgehog across the room. She grabs it then runs down the hall with it. She'll do this several times before pooping out.
In the afternoon, I like to sit on the floor with Misha. I get one of her wishbone chewies. She sits on my lap and chews her bone while we watch TV or read.
Misha gets excited about waffles
Misha Learns Quickly
One of the great things about a smart dog is they are easy to teach tricks. Misha knows the basics like sit, down, shake, stay, wait, and beg. Boy, does she know beg!!! She sits for her meals. It's comical to watch her. A Jack Russell has a heck of a time being patient. She sits, then jumps backwards while still sitting, she looks up to me, then to the bowl, then to me, her body quivers...it's so exciting! When I release her, she devours her food in about 10 seconds.
Now that she has 5 years of experience she's gotten pretty good at this whole trick thing. So good, that sometimes she does them without being asked. I'm sure she is hoping to earn extra treats this way.
So, what else is in her repertoire?
Jump for Joy She will jump up 3-4 feet, straight up and down, on command.
Shake and Give Me Five She knows the difference between a paw shake and give me five.
High Five She will jump up and tap your hands with both paws.
Ask for Dinner She must ask for dinner every night. This trick goes well some nights and not others. Sometimes she makes the mouth motion but no sound comes out. She thinks she can fool me into thinking she actually spoke.
Singing Happy Birthday to You I did not train her to do this! She picked it up all on her own at one of our parties. She only sings to this song, no other.
I'm trying to perfect her puppy push ups. She can go from beg to lay down very easily. The problem is she will only do it for a treat and sometimes she is so focused on the treat she tries to hit it out of my hands on the way down. I guess I'll have to make that a trick, too.
She has taught her humans a couple of tricks as well. For instance, she sits under the cupboard every evening. She knows if she looks pathetic enough Grandma will fill a cup of Cheerios and share a couple with her.
Misha is such a clown. She does some of the funniest things like deliberately showing her butt to you, picking up a toy and throwing it across the room, or jumping 4 feet in the air straight up and down. She will also sing Happy Birthday if a chorus is going on.
My Little Drama Queen
My last dog never complained. Whether she was sick or injure she was quite stoic about it. Even when the tumor on her leg ruptured, she never whimpered.
Misha, on the other hand, is quite a drama queen. Accidentally, step on her foot and she will act as if you did it on purpose. Hit her with a toy and she goes down into a low crouch moving slowly with her ears back and her tail between her legs.
She's given me a quite a scare a couple of times though. Once she was bitten by a spider and blew up like a balloon from head to tail. She was so miserable until the shot took affect.
She has had not one, but two anal gland ruptured (a year apart). It's very painful before and after. After the Veterinarian cleaned her up, we brought her home in her hood of shame. She laid on her bed for two days whimpering any time she was left alone. She was on pain medication, but she was still miserable. And, you know, if your dog is miserable, you are, too!
Luckily, the second time was not so bad. The rupture wasn't as severe. She was subdued due to the medication and rebounded after the first week. I'm pretty sure she hoped for more medication just so she could get peanut butter.
Because of these episodes, she must have her anal glands checked every couple of months. Hopefully, this will ward off any more painful situations.
It is strange how you can have dogs all your life and the one you currently have always has a problem you never saw with the previous ones.
Misha and her Squirrel
Misha just loves her AKC Squirrel. Here she is at 10 weeks old having a nap with her best bud.
She tore the squirrel up. Darn it! She love it too much! For awhile, her biggest thrill was when my sister's dog came to stay and she brought the squirrel toy with them.
But, finally, a couple of months ago, I found another. Yeah! You should have seen how happy Misha was. It was like an old friend had come back to stay.
It is still her favorite toy. There might be 10 others in the toy bin, but the squirrel is always the first one pulled out.
Where's that dog?
I had no clue that small dogs love to burrow. If you're looking for Misha, don't look on the bed. Look under the blankets.
She rarely crawls under without rearranging everything first. She is the Martha Stewart of dog blankets. She'll drag the blanket inside her tent then pull it out. You'll see her digging it into a ball then throwing it over her head. Once she's got it right, she crawls underneath and settles into a good long nap.
Sometimes I think she just likes to spy on us.
Misha at Five Years Old - The ears haven't changed one bitClick thumbnail to view full-size
Could you handle a Jack Russell Terrier?
When Misha Gives Commands
Not only are Jack Russell's good at taking orders, they are good at giving them! Misha is very expressive--verbally and physically. She knows what she wants and she knows how to communicate it.
When she wants her neck rubbed, she jumps on your lap and turns her head in a certain way. If you don't get the message, she does the neck turn again.
If you have treats and she doesn't think you are paying attention well enough, she will tap your leg with her paw.
I think the best instance of communication came when my Mom was using a heating pad for her leg pain. At first, Misha was afraid of the heating pad (go figure!). But, once she learned it was warm on top, she fell in love with it.
When my Mom wasn't using the pad, she'd but it on the stool in front of her chair. One evening, Misha sat in front of my Mom waiting for something. When this didn't work, she tapped her leg. Then, she walked over to the heating pad and tapped it, too. She did this three or four times until my Mom got the message. Misha wanted the heating pad!
I have had smart dogs in the past. But, I have never had a dog who could communicate so well about stuff that didn't have to do with food.
Let's finish with a song
I knew that terriers are pretty much loud, barky dogs. What I didn't know is that they can sign. At least, Misha can. Not just any song either. She sings Happy Birthday to You.
This picture was taken in February when I celebrated my birthday. The candles were lit and the family started to sing the song. But, Misha joined in and then she took over! She was singing so loud and strong that she drowned everyone else out. We were all laughing so hard. It was hilarious. I finally had to remove her from the room to settle her down.
I'd never heard her get so wound up. She really takes this birthday business seriously!