The jury’s out about whether or not you can teach an old dog new tricks, but it seems you can teach Jesse the Jack Russell, well, any trick at all. The three-year old terrier has won over YouTube hearts with footage showcasing his exceptional abilities around the home, including closing the blinds, making the bed, cleaning windows and much more.
At just nine weeks, Jesse began to sit up on his hind legs and beg – and for a touch of extra cuteness, wave with his front paw. Since then, owner Heather Brook of Phoenix, Arizona, has taught Jesse more than 200 tricks — but adds that she couldn’t do it without his input. “Jesse loves offering different behaviors, complete with a huge smile across his face,” she says.
Brook met Jesse the day his eyes and ears first opened, which she thinks explains their strong bond. “By being best friends first, we enjoy the time we spend together through fun activities, so the training just came naturally,“ she says. She teaches Jesse using positive reinforcement, rewarding him with treats. This positive approach has given Jesse a bag of some 260 tricks. “He is always up for learning new things, and his vocabulary is continually growing,” Brook says.
A working breed, Jack Russell terriers are known for needing physical and mental stimulation. “Teaching Jesse tricks is one of the ways our family could channel his energy into something positive and productive,” says Brook. Apparently, the result has caught the eye of other Jack Russell lovers across the globe. “I receive messages from people thanking me for giving him a job to do.”
What’s most noticeable in Jesse’s video is how happy, almost giddy, the pup is, as though he’s performing on stage. “He is such a ham and knows just how to get attention,” says Brook. “A trick that Jesse does that gets a huge laugh out of guests is offering the remote; he will pick it up and bring it to you without you asking.
“I would like to teach him to do math and read,” she adds. “He continually surprises me with how fast he picks up a new task.” After all, this is a pup who taught himself to do a walking handstand. Brook had taught Jesse how do to a stationary version but wanted him to do it from a distance, so she marked the floor with tape and asked him for a handstand. He did the handstand move but then took three steps forward. “I asked again, and sure enough he did the walking handstand — and now he can do it for a really long time.”
Skeptics might think that there’s a secret to this magical pooch, but Brook knows that it’s all about how the bond you share with your pet. “When you have a wonderful relationship with your best friend the sky’s the limit,” she says.