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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

National Pet Dental Health Month!☆


February is National Pet Dental Health Month!
Dental health is a very important topic. We don’t think twice when it comes to keeping our teeth healthy. We teach children proper hygiene habits when they are little, and encourage them to brush their teeth twice a day, floss, and use mouth wash (in addition to regular visits to the dentist.)
But what about our furry, four-legged family members?

Their dental health is just as important.
Keeping their teeth healthy and plaque-free helps prevent dental diseases, gives them fresh breath, and can even add years to their life.
Did you know that dental disease affects 89% of dogs three years and older?
Dental disease can cause many health issues in your dog if left untreated.
Weekly teeth checks can help you catch a problem before it becomes serious. Signs of a problem include red gum lines, bad breath, and cracked or chipped teeth. You can teach your dog to target the top of their muzzle to your hand by using shaping and positive reinforcement when you want to look at their teeth. By making it a fun and positive experience, your dog won’t mind if you take a look inside their mouth.
Good doggie dental hygiene starts at home.
You can easily teach your dog to enjoy having their teeth brushed, and there are many types of doggie toothpaste available on the market.
Please make sure to never use human toothpaste with your dog, as they contain chemicals that are dangerous for dogs if ingested.
Once you have a brand of toothpaste you like, you will need to get your dog accustomed to the taste. If you put a small spot of the toothpaste on your finger, most dogs will lick it off. Dog toothpaste is safe for dogs to swallow, and you don’t have to worry about rinsing it out of their mouths once you finish brushing their teeth.

Finding a doggie toothbrush is easy. There are a few different varieties you can choose from; including a rubber finger toothbrush, a toothbrush with soft bristles, a toothbrush with rubber bristles, a self-chewing toothbrush, and a multiple head toothbrush designed to reach every side of the tooth at once.




 






When you decide on the type of toothbrush to use, you will need to familiarize your dog to having his teeth brushed. An easy way to get your dog used to having their mouth handled, and having something touching their teeth, is to put a tasty treat such as peanut butter or spray cheese on your finger, and let him lick the treat off.
Most dogs will easily get used to you brushing their teeth, but if they don’t take to it right away, you can start slowly, by taking it one step at a time. Start by touching your dog’s muzzle, and give a treat. Then lift your dog’s lips, and give a treat. Once you have this step, progress up to gently touching their gums with your finger, then their teeth with the empty toothbrush, all the way up to adding the toothpaste, then slowing brush their teeth; each time giving a treat for the individual steps. Going at your dog’s pace will help make having their teeth brushed a positive experience.

Daily dental chews are a great addition to a dental hygiene regimen. There is a wide variety available to choose from including edible dental chews, rawhide, bully sticks, tendons, bones, and chews made of nylon that have been infused with flavors such as chicken, beef, or bacon.

        
When choosing a dental chew for your dog, it helps to be informed about not only what goes into the chews, but how they are made, and where they are sourced.

The edible dental chews have ingredients that fight plaque and tartar, as well as give your dog fresh breath, and are usually given as a daily treat for healthy teeth. Each brand has a unique design created specifically to encourage dogs to chew, and to reach all the way back to the molars for a full mouth clean.
DentaStix are one of Jesse’s favorite dental chews, and he loves getting them as a special treat after a nice long walk or a game of fetch at the park. The DentaStix have a unique X-shaped pattern that has been clinically proven to decrease tartar and plaque build-up; easily cleaning between the teeth, and at the gum line. Some flavors even include green tea extract and parsley for an extra cleaning effect, and added fresh breath.

There is a wide-variety of dental chews available at PetSmart, with different shapes and flavors that are sure to satisfy your dog’s palate. PetSmart is having a sale on their Dental Chews right now in celebration of
"National Pet Dental Health Month!"

While there are many cooked bones available for purchase on the market, the best bones are ones that are raw, and easy for a dog to chew. Safe handling practices of raw treats will ensure you and your dog don’t get sick. Cooked bones can cause a couple of problems when dogs chew on them including a choking hazard, gastro-intestinal issues, and broken or cracked teeth; resulting in expensive surgeries.

Rawhide is another chew that can cause illness to your dog; depending on where the rawhide is made, as well as the additives added to the treat. If the rawhide is of low-quality and laced with chemicals, your dog can become sick from ingesting the rawhide. Many rawhides made overseas in China include chemicals, and are even painted white when the hide has become rancid from travel. This makes them a hazard when chewed on and ingested by our dogs.
High-quality, USA-made, all-natural rawhides are the safest rawhides to give as treats.

The Whole Dog Journal has a great article on
"How to Choose the Best Rawhide Chews for Your Dog"
If you want to go all-natural, bully sticks and tendons are the perfect choice to help clean teeth! They are low in fat and provide a great source of protein to your dog. Pig ears, cow ears, and lamb ears are also a favorite of Jesse's.
There are even dental toys available to help clean your dog’s teeth when they play with them. The toys brush against the teeth, helping to loosen plaque.

Sometimes brushing and chews alone don’t catch all the plaque on your dog’s teeth.
A dental additive added to the water can help get the hard to reach plaque off your dog’s teeth, and give your dog minty fresh breath.



A tooth scaler also works wonders at removing plaque. Make sure your dog is comfortable staying still while you gently scrape away the plaque on their teeth with the scaler. I wouldn’t recommend using these on a rambunctious dog or puppy who won’t stay still, as you can cause serious injury if they move while you are scaling their teeth. Teaching your dog to accept, and even enjoy, dental health routines will make you both much happier, and your dog healthier.

Making a schedule for your dog’s dental routine can make it easier to remember to take care of your dog’s teeth.
Below is an example of a dental routine I use with Jesse.
Doggie Dental Hygiene Routine:
Brushing your dog’s teeth at least 3 times a week
Giving Daily Dental Chews to help remove tartar
Once a month plaque removal with a scaler
Water dental additive to help keep breath fresh
Regular visits to the vet to keep your pup healthy and happy

It is never too early to start a dental health regimen. I have been giving Jesse appropriate chewies since he was a puppy.
I love finding a variety of chews for Jesse, and make sure to give him a selection to choose from. He gets to choose different flavors of his chews to chew on.

Jesse’s dental health has been an important part of our grooming schedule, his whole life. He’s had that pearly white, award-winning smile since he was a puppy.
By keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy all year round, you are adding to their quality of life, helping to prevent various dental diseases, and keeping your dog happy and healthy for years to come!
 
Stay Happy and Healthy!
~Heather and Jesse~

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

~LVE is in the air!~
It's Valentine's Day today; a day full of love
Every year I love making Jesse his own special Valentine's Day "chocolates" to celebrate the many years he has been the perfect little gentleman;
always sweet, loving, and loyal :)
I use carob chips to create Jesse's "chocolates" in the video below.
Of course, Jesse enjoys lending a helping paw when I make these special treats :)
Jesse also loves acting, and stars in special holiday themed videos on YouTube.
A few years back, we created a Valentine's Day themed video, where Jesse helps out his buddy Kaine when he gets rejected by a girl he likes.
You can watch the video below. I won't give away anymore details, but if you love seeing Jesse's skits, you will love this video :)

We hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's day;
filled with that special someone who loves you unconditionally
(whether they are two legged, or four-legged fur balls with soulful eyes.)
"Will you be my Valentine?" ~Jesse~
Stay Happy and Healthy,
~Heather and Jesse~

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fido Friendly Magazine: Valentine's Day Dog Contest!

Valentine's day is coming up very soon, and Jesse has been chosen as a semi-finalist in Fido Friendly Magazine's Wednesday's Valentines Day Dog Contest!! :D
Could you please VOTE for Jesse by clicking on the picture below, and hitting the LIKE button on his Valentine picture on Fido Friendly Magazine's page?
[The picture with the most LIKES as of 2/11/15 at 10:00 pm EST is today's winner]

Thank you for all of your support, and we hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day!
Stay Happy and Healthy!
~Heather and Jesse~

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

35 Amazing Dog Tricks performed by Jesse

Jesse performs 35 Amazing Dog Tricks in 3 minutes; including a walking hand stand, somersaults, skateboarding, fetching the mail, playing the piano, driving a motorized car, and shopping-plus many, many more!

Learning and practicing tricks is one of our all-time favorite activities! Jesse always has that big happy smile, and a prance in his step when learning a new trick, or practicing one we've learned since he was a puppy. All of Jesse's tricks are taught using positive reinforcement and relationship-based training. You can find out more at Jesse's Official Website.
We had a lot of fun filming these tricks, and we hope you enjoy :)
 
 
Stay Happy and Healthy!
~Heather and Jesse~
"Jesse the Jack's ABC Zoo" is available in the iTunes App Store!
 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Useful Dog Tricks

When people think of dog tricks; the words “silly” “stupid” or “funny” normally come to mind. Sometimes even “useless” or “pointless” enters the conversation.
Jesse and I wanted to make a change to this stigma. We have been learning tricks together since Jesse was a puppy, and have had so much fun over the years; working together as a team. We know that dog tricks are not only a fun way to play and learn from one another, but a great way to build a strong and lasting bond.
With this goal in mind, we set out to let people know that dog tricks not only can be fun, but useful too; and thus “Useful Dog Tricks” was born!

Jesse loves following me around the house, and when I am doing chores he will try and help by himself. One day when I was putting away the dishes, I dropped a plastic container on the floor. Jesse picked up the dish and brought it to me. He delivered the dish with a big smile on his face and a wagging tail. He was so happy with himself! I was surprised since I didn’t ask him for help, and let him know what a good boy he was. :)

After Jesse did this, I thought it would be fun to teach him to help out around the house; since he was eager to help out all by himself. Since Jesse started trying to help me with the dishes, I started working on teaching him how to work the dishwasher. He would naturally bring me his dish when he wanted some food, so I taught him how to load his dish into the bottom rack of the dishwasher.

When he put the dish in the dishwasher, I then encouraged him to push the bottom rack back into the dishwasher with his nose. I showed him how to do it by pushing it in myself, and then I asked him to push it. He did this with such enthusiasm the first time it pushed the rack off its tracks! After he understood how to push the rack, we moved on to having Jesse shut the dishwasher door. Jesse already knew how to shut doors, but this door was low on the ground, and at a different angle than normal doors. He would have to go under the dishwasher door, and push it up into the air, before he would be able to shut it like a normal door. We did a shaping session, and within a few seconds, Jesse was going under the door and pushing it up with his nose. As soon as he understood this was what we were working on, he then raised his paws onto the door, and shut it! I cheered and told him what a good boy he was, as his whole body wiggled with delight. :)
Having mastered this trick, we started working on some more cool and useful tricks; including helping out with the laundry. I taught Jesse how to take off my socks, load them into the washer, and shut the door. Jesse would even take the laundry out of the machine once it was done, and carry the laundry basket with the clean clothes in it into another room of the house.

Then I practiced having Jesse open and close the front door for me when my hands were full from carrying groceries into the house. When I dropped an item from the bag, he would pick it up off the floor, carry it to me, and put his paws up on my leg to hand me the item like a little gentleman. We added onto this behavior by having Jesse help pick up the keys if I dropped them, or even his lead, and handing it to me from the floor.

Jesse kept picking up the new tricks really quickly, and after learning the one we were working on, he would look at me with a smile on his face and that expression of “What’s next?”

Pretty soon Jesse was able to do amazing things such as start a pot of coffee, fetch the newspaper, close cabinet and drawer doors, make breakfast, clean up spills on the floor, vacuum, take off my jacket, strip and make the beds, open and close the blinds, get the mail, pack his suitcase, give a back massage, put items away in the pantry, take out the garbage to the curb, put on a DVD or VHS, and carry his own basket to shop.
Jesse closing the cabinet door
Jesse making toast
Jesse cleaning up a spill on the floor
Jesse giving one of his back massages
Jesse putting some flour in the pantry
Jesse putting a dog movie into the VHS player
Jesse carrying his own basket while shopping
He even learned how to clean the windows.
Complete with his own special booties.
Once Jesse mastered these fun house chores, we decided to head out in public and work on some cool and interesting tricks around town.
We headed to our local Pet Store, and I taught Jesse how to load up his own mini-shopping cart with his favorite toys, and push it by himself around the store. After we finished shopping, I taught Jesse to return the big shopping cart to its rightful place in the cart collector space.

 
Most stores have an electronic button outside the store, which once pushed, the door opens. They are at the perfect height for Jesse to reach on his hind legs. I asked Jesse to touch the button with his front paws, and on the first try he walked up to the button, stood on his hind legs, and pushed the button with his front paws; causing the door to swing open for someone to walk inside.
He came running to me with a big happy smile on his face!
He did a beautiful job, and on his first try~

While walking at the park, I got an idea on how Jesse can help out around the community. I thought it would be not only cute to teach Jesse to pick up trash at our local park, but helpful to keep the park clean. I taught Jesse to pick up the trash, and put it in the trash bag I was carrying. He happily pranced around and picked up the trash; delivering it to me with such enthusiasm.

After learning all these cool tricks, Jesse and I put together a fun video titled “Useful Dog Tricks performed by Jesse”, set to the song “Coffee” by Josh Woodward, and uploaded the video to our YouTube channel under the username: JustJesse197.

We hope that with our videos we can inspire others to have a better relationship with their dogs.
Jesse and I have since made 3 videos in the “Useful Dog Trick” series on YouTube; each one showcasing fun, and unique ways dog tricks can be useful and helpful. They have all gone viral, with a 31+ Million cumulative view count.

Jesse doesn’t let this go to his head though, enjoying the simple pleasures in life like a nice long walk, a game of fetch, and cuddling up together on the couch to watch a movie (about dogs, of course.)
Whenever I am around the house now, Jesse is always there to lend a helping paw. Jesse never fails to amazes me with his eagerness to learn new tricks. He is continually expanding his vocabulary every day; ready for a new adventure, with that beautiful Jesse smile on his face.
Jesse has always learned new tricks with ease. We will work on a new trick for 5-10 minutes, 2x a day. He usually picks them up within the first session, and then we work on adding more tricks to the mix. We teach using relationship-based training; putting our relationship first and foremost in all that we do. All of Jesse’s behaviors are taught using exclusively positive reinforcement. Jesse is rewarded for all his efforts with treats, toys, and praise. In the face of an unwanted behavior, an appropriate one is taught instead. Training is part of our lifestyle; it is all a fun way for us to play.
 Jesse is always learning, even when we aren’t doing a training “session.” It is my job to keep him both happy and healthy on a daily basis. We participate in a wide-variety of dog related activities to fulfill both Jesse’s physical and mental needs. Learning tricks helps keep Jesse happy and his mind sharp. In addition to tricks, we play puzzle games together, and enjoy Frisbee, freestyle, and lure coursing.

When asked how Jesse can do all these tricks, I tell people that you need to have a great relationship with your dog. Jesse is my best friend, constant companion, and heart dog. He is my whole world, and I do my best to provide him the best life I possibly can. We have a beautiful bond, and I cannot imagine my life without him. When I got Jesse, I wanted a best friend and companion-and of course Jesse gave this to me, and so much more.
Having this foundation, Jesse and I have been able to do so many things I never dreamed of. When you have an awesome relationship and bond with your dog, the sky is the limit with where you two can go; together as a team.
Jesse and I have the relationship of best friend, teacher, and guide. We have mutual trust, understanding, and cooperation. If Jesse doesn’t want to do something, we stop; no questions asked. If we both aren’t having fun; what’s the point? My goal in everything we do is to have fun together, and learn from one another. Jesse has taught me so much in the time we have been together. I am forever grateful for the lessons and experiences we have been able to share.

You can find out more about relationship-based training, how Jesse and I learn from one another, and our Top 5 Training Tips, head on over to our
Training & Tricks page on Jesse’s Official Website.

Jesse and I wanted to let people know that teaching tricks to your dog can be so much more than just “silly” “useless” or “stupid”. When you are learning with your dog, you are building a great relationship with them. You will create a better understanding of one another, and fun new ways to play; all the while strengthening the canine/human bond.

The reason Jesse and I started tricks is the enhanced communication and bond that came from spending time together. Through tricks, we have our own language, and understand each other very well. He always has a big happy smile on his face, bright eyes, and a twinkle in his eye when we are working on a new trick, or practicing one he learned so long ago. Tricks have brought us towards a deeper understanding and connection to one another.

If you and your dog are building a stronger bond through learning tricks together, and having a lot of fun at the same time, then how can that be “stupid?” ;)

Stay Happy and Healthy!
~Heather and Jesse~