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Meet the Trainer Behind the Amazing Jesse
Simple advice from a training wunderkind
Jesse and Heather Brook in Hollywood. Will they have a star someday?

If you’re a dog lover, you’ve probably seen “Useful Dog Tricks performed by Jesse.” The YouTube video has clocked more than 9-and-a-half million hits to date—so someone is watching the wirehaired Terrier with Cleopatra eyes chew the scenery (metaphorically, only).

With an always-wagging tail, the tri-colored Jack Russell merrily opens and closes drawers, turns a lamp off and on, cleans countertops and windows, pull off his booties, opens a wallet, closes a door, helps someone off with her sweatshirt, shoes and socks and retrieves her sandals, and on and on.
 
Who is the wise and seasoned pro behind the scenes? How many years of study and practice went into helping Jesse discover his inner superstar? Well, there’s no pro and not a lot of years either. The woman behind the clicker is 21-year-old Heather Brook of Litchfield Park, Ariz., who before Jesse came into her life had never trained a dog. Clearly, what she lacked in experience, she made up for with patience and love.
 
Heather got the 8-week-old puppy when she was 16, and discovered early on, he needed an outlet for his boundless energy. So she turned to trick books and Karen Pryor’s clicker-training website. Always relying on positive reinforcement, she helped Jesse master an impressive variety of tricks that she captured in videos that went viral and eventually landed the duo appearances on The Rachael Ray Show (“Amazing Animal Tricks”), The Late Show with David Letterman (“Stupid Pet Tricks”) and in several commercials. While the attention has been exciting, Heather says, “the time spent together is what made it worthwhile.”
 
What’s her advice to would-be trainers?
  1. Bond with your dog. “We have a relationship first,” she says. “We’re best friends, so the training comes naturally.”
  2. Dedicate time and be patient. Brook says she doesn’t set a specific time to train but works on tricks for about five or ten minutes, twice a day. She also mixes it up. “He’s better not always doing the same thing,” she says.
  3. Find a reward your dog LOVES—whether it’s a toy, treats or praise from you.
Finally, and most important, Heather says, “Just do it. If you have a dream, you will succeed.
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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

Photo by Ashley Brook (Heather’s little sister and trainer of Kaine, who can be seen at “Amazing Double Dog Tricks with Kaine and Jesse.”)

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Inzeye | March 30 2011 |

i first came across jesse looking for youtubes for zuni my fearful jrt/aussie who loves videos (and skype).
zune loves to watch the interaction between heather and friends as well as the joyful activity jessie. can't wait for a full length feature!

Submitted by Jack Russell En... | March 30 2011 |

We LOVE Jesse!!!! Heather has done such a fantastic job teaching her best friend, and the love, dedication, and bond shines beautifully in their videos. Check out their channel and you will find more wonderful videos to watch; trust me, you won't be disapointed. Can't get enough of these two!!

Submitted by Poosahkie | March 31 2011 |

When you think you and your dog are pretty good, there is always room for improvement! Thanks for the inspiration!

Submitted by Lia and Elli | March 31 2011 |

I LOVE watching both Heather and Jesse and Ashley and Kaine! Such amazing trainers and dogs. So happy to see them featured in my favorite magazine. :D

Submitted by JJ | March 31 2011 |

JRT's rule and this is one special little dog. Hats off to Jesse and his trainer.

Submitted by J.T. and Milo | June 18 2011 |

Heather and Jesse are simply the BEST!! The bond those two share, and the wonderful videos they make are awesome. Heather is one of the sweetest and most helpful canine educators I know; she gives great information and is always willing to help those in need. Jesse just has the cutest face in all that he does. That smile brimming with happiness as he helps out around the house is the simply adorable. Now that's a great relationship that we can all strive for with our best friends!! =o)

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