Can a terrier be a happy apartment dog?


Close to five years ago my car stranded by a trailer park. I was casually walking through the area, to see if someone had a phone I could use, when I was oh so cheerfully greeted by a small dog who was badly limping, and quite dirty.
I picked it up and was chauffeuring it around all the trailers, when a tall slim woman came running out, and announced that the dog was hers. "She just keeps wandering off." She kept muttering, so I suggested she keep the dog indoors, or buy a steak and leash it up outside.
She remarked that she was taking the dog in to be "put to sleep" in a couple of days, and that it was no matter.
I asked her why, and she explained that she got the dog a month ago when her daughter had wanted one for a birthday present. Then her husband and she were divorced, he got custody, and she was stuck with the dog, who had problems with crapping all over the house and had gotten loose and bothered a pack of larger dogs, hence the injured leg..
I felt for her in the situation, and of course for the dog–to be killed, so I asked if I could buy it for 0.
She agreed right away, and ran inside to get the AKC papers, as it was a purebred Jack Russel Terrier.

Hence the beginning of a lifelong friendship between me and Zoi(e), the JRT.

When I brought her home, she wasn’t potty trained, she yelped when I touched her, she was very badly injured and was miserable most of the time.

With a lot of work and cooperation from my amazing vet and trainer, I have accomplished a lot with this beautiful dog.
Now she’s more well behaved thn most labs, she is potty trained to a fault, crate trained, leash trained, she loves kids and other dogs, and gets along fine with my three cats.
Since she is AKC, she has been put in certain events(that don’t require a dog to be intact , as she is spayed) She’s current on everything from the vet and all injuries are completely gone.
I have entered her in a few shows, meaningless local shows that don’t require a dog to be intact, just for the fun of it, and she has done very well. She doesn’t mind being handled… I mess with her teeth, ears, paws, eyes, etc on a daily basis just so she stays tame and so I can notice any
She tolerates having her teeth brushes, nails clipped, whiskers trimmed, and having ointment applied to her pads, then having them bandaged—as, due to her poor puppy-hood environment, she has very weak paws and after long walks they tend to blister and crack, and must be treated.

She is a wonderful dog. She knows the basics, "sit" "come" "lie down" "stay there" "roll over" "speak" "stop" "drop it" "bring it" "look" "jump" "play dead(or "bang"), and more that I can’t think of at the moment.
She’s friendly with everyone now.

But the problem is, for her whole life I have lived in a large, 5 bedroom 3 full bathroom 3 story house, and she is used to having a 2 acre (fenced) yard to play in. She has never been "hyper" in the house, simply because she gets two walks a day and has a puppy door leading to her yard.
She is my only dog and is spoiled to a fault..
Unfortunately, though, my father has fallen ill and by sometime in the middle of June I will be moving to his town which is to a town about 6 hours away from here, so I can be close to him. He is 68, and I expect him to live much longer, but he is having a hard time right now and I want to be there for him for the next few years, maybe much longer.
I will move into an apartment and live there for the first 8-12 months while I figure things out and build up a income. Eventually of course I will move into a larger home, one that I will own, with a nice sized yard and such, like my current home….
But I don’t know if Zoi could handle being an apartment dog for 8+ months! I would be able to walk her twice a day,but no fenced yard for her to play in and it will be a relatively small apt and she won’t be able to tear around like she does outside without offending the neighbors.

Would it be fairest for me to fnd her a new home, or to try it out?

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    3 Responses to “Can a terrier be a happy apartment dog?”

    1. Hoolagal says:

      awwww, with that story, you can’t give her away !!! i think you should try it first to see how it goes … i have a jack russell terrier myself and currently we live in a 400 square foot apartment … she was conceived and born in a high rise in downtown vancouver and has lived in several canadian cities, two american cities and even the cayman islands … we have lived in big houses with big fenced yards and doggie doors and one summer we camped the entire season … she has done fine in all situations … right now we live in a small place but i work from home and as long as she gets her exercise she is perfectly sleepy in the apartment … if she starts to get squirreley i know i have been working too much and we head to the beach :O) dogs are very adaptable … she just wants to be with you and not your backyard :O)

    2. Gina says:

      Dogs will adapt to most lifestyles and living in an appt will be no big deal providing you can take her out on her walks. You might find that you have to do an extra walk here and there but it shouldnt make much difference at all. If you find she is getting restless in the house then you have a few choices. One would be to extend her walks or take shorter walks more often throughout the day or as she is a terrier you can get a piece of cloth and take it to bed with you (so it picks up your scent) then hide it in the appt/garden for her and try letting her find it. Start off easy, then hide it in harder places. This will get her to use her brain more and therefore wear her out. You might have to combine the walks and hisng the cloth to wear her out but it can be done. Good luck!