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Just about all of us have seen Disney’s 101 Dalmatians and/or photos of dalmatians sitting proudly atop of a firetruck lending a helping paw. Sure, you may think you know dalmatians, but did you know how friendly, confident and intelligent Dalmatians truly are? One family in Houston, Texas is not only educating fellow dog owners about Dalmatians, but they are also a growing and popular Instagram account: @jackson_the_dalmatian. In this Fan Feature, you’ll get to know more about this beautiful dog breed and we also have Jackson’s Mom, Julie, sharing some of her photography tips!

If you’ve been following Jackson and his brothers, Heath and Bennett over the years, you know Jackson is the star of this handsome trio. If you are new to Jackson’s Instagram account, let us introduce you to the family: Jackson, who is now 3 years old, has lived with his Dad in Texas from the start of his puppy days. Jackson’s brother, Heath is a 4 year old Weimaraner that lived with their Mom, Julie, in Ohio until they moved down to Texas and married Jackson’s Dad.

After they were settled into their new home, Jackson and Heath welcomed a baby brother, Bennett, now a 1 year old Dalmatian.

While it was brotherly love from the start for Jackson and Heath, adding Bennett to the mix was a bit of a transition period for Heath. It took Heath about a month to adjust to having another younger brother in the house. At times throughout the adjustment period, whenever Heath would become agitated with Bennett, Jackson would recognize Heath’s irritability and interject himself in between Heath and Bennett. Yes, Jackson physically inserted himself in between Heath and Bennett! Julie believes that Jackson would do this to not only shield Bennett, but to also signal to Heath to calm down.

When we asked Julie why she decided to start an Instagram account for her dog, Julie said that initially it was set up to keep in touch with Jackson and share his puppy photos while she was still in Ohio and Jackson was in Texas. It was a way for Julie to stay connected to Jackson despite being thousands of miles apart. Instagram also provided Julie with a way to share Jackson’s puppy and growth photos with her family and friends. And while Julie had no plans on becoming Instafamous, she is continuously delighted to watch as Jackson’s following has grown to over 50,000 followers!

Instagram fame is not what keeps Julie motivated to post adorable photos of Jackson and his brothers. According to Julie, the most rewarding part of Instagram has been the connections she’s made with fellow pet parents. Instagram has allowed her to meet dog lovers both internationally and domestically that she would not have met otherwise. Julie and Jackson have also used Instagram as a way to meet local dogs within their Houston community. Setting up local play dates within your community is a great way to socialize your dog and make new friends.

Jackson and his brothers certainly reap the benefits of Julie working from home, as their typical day includes lots of time with Mom, going for walks, playing fetch and swimming in their pool.

And since Julie works from home, she is able to use the natural daylight, which she says is key for Jackson’s fantastic photos. It also helps that Jackson is a natural in front of the camera. Whenever Julie pulls out her phone or the camera, Jackson seems to naturally pose. It also helps that Jackson is highly treat motivated and knows that picture time equals treat time!

But, while Jackson is the ham of the family, Heath and Bennett are a bit camera shy, which is why they aren’t regulars on Jackson’s Instagram account. Since it can be a bit of a challenge to get all 3 boys to cooperate, Julie sprinkles in Heath and Bennett’s appearances occasionally.

For any newbie dog accounts or pet parents looking to take photos of their dog, Julie says that natural light is best to help showcase your dog’s eyes. For Jackson, much of his personality and expression is captured in his eyes. Another helpful hint from Julie is to have lots of treats and squeaky toys on hand to help grab your dog’s attention during photo time.

And yet despite all the love that Jackson receives, there can still be misconceptions about this breed. In the past, Dalmatians have had a reputation of being high strung, untrainable and not the best with kids. However, Julie says that she has never seen any of these qualities in her Dalmatians and that they are nothing but “confident, intelligent and outgoing”. A big part of Jackson’s outgoing personality is, in part, due to Julie socializing Jackson as much as possible with not only other dogs, but other people as well. Julie and her husband take Jackson to as many pet-friendly places as possible. So far, Jackson’s favorite so far seems to be the beach. Galveston Island to be specific.

Sure, Jackson has a lot of energy, but with the right amount of exercise and stimulation, Julie says it’s not unheard of for Jackson to nap the rest of the day away.

So next time you see a Dalmatian, look past all the spots and preconceived notions. These dogs are just as fun and loving as any other breed. Don’t take our word for it, give Jackson and his brothers a follow on their Instagram account to keep up with their adventures. This summer is sure to be packed with swimming and road trips. But, no wet grass. That is where Jackson draws the line! 😉

 

You’ve seen this popular breed all over your Instagram feed. Those big beautiful eyes and perfectly long hair…. Of course we are talking about Australian Shepherds. Maybe it’s the natural beauty of this breed that captures your eye or maybe it’s the beautiful photos that they seem to magically take. Either way, our next Fan Feature, “Oli The Aussie” captures all that and more!

Oli is a almost 3 year-old handsome, blue-merle Australian Shepherd that lives in Portland, Oregon. And while you may be used to seeing those big beautiful blue eyes, one additional feature that Oli brings to his social media feed is a fabulous smile! Oli’s Mom, Alicia, has taught Oli to open his mouth and smile on command, which certainly comes in hand for his modeling and social media career. 😉

But how is Alicia able to get such fabulous photos of Oli? According to Alicia, she began teaching Oli how to sit, stay and pose for the camera from the day Oli came home at 8 weeks of age. Starting basic training from the start was key in Oli’s photognetic ways. And, of course, treats! Lots of treats were used to help Oli during his training.

Today, Oli can best be described as a serious, yet energetic goofball. Oli loves to run, play, swim, hike and fetch.

But, his favorite activity of all time is by far swimming. Oli swims like a fish and can fetch a stick in the water all day long. When weather doesn’t permit Oli to go swimming, his favorite indoor activity is to squeak any squeaky toys that he can get his paws on! And, this is exactly how Oli spends most of his days. Oli lives the good life in that he gets to play with this toys all day, go for a couple of walks or runs and then takes naps in between.

A personality trait of Oli’s that you don’t always get to see on social media is his protective nature. Oli is very protective over his house and his family. But, while Oli barks and growls a big game at anything that remotely looks suspicious, truth be told, Oli wouldn’t hurt a fly!

If you can’t get enough of Oli’s cuteness, head on over to his Instagram account for your daily cuteness fix. And keep an eye out for a possible sibling heading Oli’s way! Alicia says that once they have more room, she would love to get a black tri colored Aussie brother for Oli.

Would you like to be our next Fan Feature or know a dog that should be? Leave your name in the comments below or tag us in your Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter photos. We are always on the lookout for dogs enjoying our newest product, the Pawplexer. Don’t forget to hashtag your pawplexer photos with #pawplexer so that we see them.

All photos: IG @oli_the_aussie_

 

One of America’s most popular and regal dog breeds is the German Shepherd and our next Fan Feature is a prime example of why this breed is so beloved! Met Rex Von Deutsch, a 2 year-old purebred German Shepherd living in South Carolina.

If you are intrigued about Rex Von Deutsch’s name, you’re not alone, so were we and had to get the details behind this fabulous name. Rex Von Deutsch’s mom, Maria, watched a show when she was younger called “Commissary Rex” that featured a German Shepherd who became a police dog. “Von Deutsch” is German for “from Germany”. Translated, “Rex Von Deutsch” means “Rex from Germany”. What a fun and creative meaning behind a name.

Since Maria was a young girl, she knew that she wanted a German Shepherd, but had been searching for the right puppy to bring home into the family. When Marie went to meet Rex Von Deutsch, his litter mates and parents a little over 2 years ago, it was love at first sight! Out of all the puppies, Rex Von Deutsch came right over to Marie and she knew he was the one for her and her family. After that, they made the 3 hour drive back home, which might be where Rex Von Deutsch’s love for car rides started.

Rex Von Deutsch is always the first one in the car, anxious to see where their next adventure will take them. As soon as Rex Von Deutsch sees Marie putting on her “adventure” shoes and grabbing her bag, he knows that they are going somewhere fun and special. Rex Von Deutsch is always extra excited to go to the dog park, go hiking and play some soccer.

As you may have guessed, being a German Shepherd, Rex Von Deutsch certainly has the protective trait in him, as he is very protective over Maria, however, he turns into a super sweetheart when he wants attention. Rex Von Deutsch will lay his head on Maria’s lap and give his best puppy eyes until he gets her full attention. This desire for love and attention is the main reason why Rex Von Deutsch stays with Maria’s mom when she is at the University.

When Rex Von Deutsch sees the mailman or UPS delivery man, he will go into his super protective mode barking and yelling at the “intruder”, however, once he sees that there is a package being brought to the door, his barks quickly turn into tail wags. Because, more than likely the packages are for him!

While a typical day for Rex Von Deutsch may start out like most dog’s days, it certainly doesn’t stay that way. Rex Von Deutsch starts most days with a few naps and some outdoor playtime, but then he does his daily training …. in 3 different languages! Yes, that’s right, 3 different languages. Rex Von Deutsch understands English, Spanish and French! Just when you thought you were having a productive day, Rex Von Deutsch comes strolling by, performing tricks in various languages!

If you haven’t checked out this handsome boy’s Instagram page yet, you should do yourself a favor and do so! Marie created Rex Von Deutsch’s Instagram page to showcase her love for dogs and in particular, how much Rex Von Deutsch is loved. But, what she didn’t realize is how much Instagram would connect her with fellow pet loving parents. Marie has turned her Instagram account into a community place for dog parents to share thoughts, ideas and see what products Rex Von Deutsch is currently loving.

And while Rex Von Deutsch is a only child for now, keep an eye on his Instagram account. You never know when Rex Von Deutsch may get a fur brother. Maria is in total love with the breed and has been on the hunt looking for a German Shepherd to adopt. If you happen to see a German Shepherd in need of a loving home, be sure to tag Marie and keep Rex Von Deutsch in mind.

All Photos: @rex_von_deutsch

Usually when a family goes house hunting for a new home, they consider many things, but how often is your dog’s comfort and happiness at the top of the list for new home requirements? This was exactly the case for D’Ann and her husband, Brian, when they recently purchased their new home. Having 2 beautiful large breed yellow Labrador Retrievers, D’Ann was adamant that their new home not only have plenty of backyard space, but also a indoor layout open enough to allow her dogs to romp and play both indoors and outdoors.

When D’Ann, mother to Rocksy and Rexford of @2rockstarlabs, lost her beloved Labrador, Boulder, a few years ago, she had a void in her heart. It had been 9 long months since Boulder’s passing before Rocksy came into her and Brian’s life. Rocksy was not planned, but like a Christmas miracle, fell into her arms 6 days before Christmas, 2013. While, Rocksy’s name is quite unique, once you learn the meaning of it, you can’t help but love it! Being that Rocksy helped to heal D’Ann’s heart, she was like her little “rock” and to keep in line with Boulder’s legacy, Rocksy’s name was born.

A few years later, Rocksy would welcome home a baby brother, Rexford. Rocksy’s little brother is both her brother figuratively and literally, as he is a full sibling to Rocksy. After seeing many photos of the newest litter posted online by Rocksy’s breeder, which included 7 males, D’Ann saw one little puppy that particularly stood out to her for his playful ways. Just for fun, D’Ann began to think of names that she would name the puppy. Then, one evening, they decided to contact the breeder to see if the playful puppy was still available. And, as luck would have it, they were on their way the next day to pick up the puppy they decided to name Rexford. Just as Rocksy’s name has a special meaning, Rexford’s name was to keep in line with an “R” name and after the mountainous city of Rexford, MT.

Transition periods for each dog can be different and Rocksy’s was no exception when Rexford came home. Rocksy has an incredible sense of smell, which actually played a role in their transition period, as it was Rexford’s smell that Rocksy wasn’t a fan of. After a few days and a bath for Rexford, Rocksy took to her new little brother quite well.

Rocksy learned to adjust to her new “toy” that had razor sharp puppy teeth with endless energy. Today, they are the best of friends and the cutest snuggle buddies.

Knowing that Rocksy and Rexford a true blood siblings, you can see how they get their almost identical good looks, but what about their personalities? Well, Rocksy is described by her Mom as laid back, enjoys her personal space and loves meeting new people. Rexford on the other hand is more “whimsical, timid and clingy.” Rexford’s personality traits have earned him the nickname of Peter Pan, as D’Ann and Brian say that he’s never outgrown his puppy personality. However, don’t let Rocksy’s calm personality fool you. When it comes to playtime, Rocksy’s inner puppy comes out and she always gives little brother, Rexford, a run for his money.

If you’ve ever had a Labrador or known anyone that has, you know that these are high energy dogs, which is exactly why D’Ann demanded a large fenced in backyard when her family moved. Each morning, Rocksy and Rexford start their day with a morning romp and play session outside.

This playtime also includes a wildlife check throughout the backyard, as deer are often spotted and chased by both Rocksy and Rexford. Once finished their patrol of the backyard, both dogs will come inside for their daily breakfast and then head out the door to take their human sister to school. Next, D’Ann and the dogs take a stroll to their local park where there are often geese waiting to greet them. While at the park, they play fetch and practice Rexford’s leash walking manners, as Rocksy embraces her big sister role and shows Rexford how it’s done.

Once they return home, while Rocksy and Rexford rest up and/or chew on some toys, D’Ann will check in with their Instagram friends. Afterwards, D’Ann takes each dog for a afternoon walk separately, so that each one gets some alone time with Mom. And, rest assured both Rocksy and Rexford know exactly when it’s time for dinner, you can’t slip dinner past these smarties. After dinner is finished, they will go on a final evening walk together over to a nearby duck pond. Sometimes, their fellow doggie friends will be there and they will all play together, but regardless, a game of fetch is always a must before bed time.

Being that both Rocksy and Rexford like to be outside so much, they are are bound to run into some interesting outdoor creatures. While deer are their favorite wildlife to chase, both dogs like to chase and scare off the birds in their backyard. Back in 2017, Rexford actually saw his first snake! Despite this puppy’s playful ways, even Rexford stopped, froze and stared at the snake. We are happy to report that Rexford is okay and no snakes have been seen since then.

Unlike most dogs, these two fun loving labs love water! In fact, D’Ann often thinks that they get dirty on purpose only to be able to come in and take a bath. If they had their way, Rocksy and Rexford would be in water everyday!

If you’re not already following these two fun loving labs, be sure to head over to their Instagram page and give them a follow. You’ll love watching their daily adventures and playtime. Be sure to keep an eye out for their birthday celebrations, as they always go all out with themed decorations, gifts and more!

Would you like to be our next Fan Feature or have an account that you would like to nominate? Let us know in the comments below or tag your dog’s photos to our Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter accounts and keep an eye out to see if you are our next feature!

Sure, you may hike with your dog during the spring and/or summer months, but do you continue hiking throughout the winter months? Even more, do you continue to hike in snow and negative degree temperatures? If you answered no, don’t worry you are with the majority of the pack. But there is one pair that no matter the elements, continues their hikes throughout the year. Met Ryan and his Australian Shepherd, Fen, of @fen_the_aussie. This hiking duo is known on Instagram for their sense of adventure and beautiful outdoor photos.

It’s no coincidence that Fen came into Ryan’s life 2 years ago. Having had Huskies throughout his life, Ryan fell in love with the Australian Shepherd breed while visiting his brother in Arizona, but wasn’t exactly sure that Fen was the right dog for him. It was Ryan’s wife of 29 years of marriage, Debbie, who had a good feeling about Fen and convinced Ryan to get Fen. Fast forward to March 6, 2016, Ryan and Debbie welcomed home an adorable 8 week old Fen to live along side Debbie’s ragdoll kitten, Lilly.

Ryan works 3-4 days a week and on the days that he is working, Ryan and his wife split caring for Fen. Ryan’s wife leaves for for work at 8:00 a.m., but will come home for lunch on the days that Ryan is working to let Fen out of his crate for a mid-day potty break and stretch. Once Ryan is home from work around 3:00 p.m., Fen knows it’s time for his afternoon play session. Fen will grab a toy and run throughout the house as Ryan chases him. Afterwards, Ryan takes Fen on a short walk around the neighborhood and then they return home for dinner. One might think that Fen’s day comes to an end after dinner and that he later goes to bed awaiting his next adventure …. Well, you would be wrong. Fen doesn’t have to wait long for his next adventure, as after dinner, Ryan and Fen are back at it for a walk around town. And, when we say around town, we literally mean around the town. Fen and Ryan will walk about 2 -5 miles around their home town of Buffalo, depending on the evening weather.

The only thing that changes their long evening strolls around town is if Fen went to daycare earlier that day, as Fen plays hard at daycare and will come home exhausted. While this is not a weekly activity, but an every once in a while activity, Fen absolutely loves going to his local doggie daycare. Being the “only child”, Fen welcomes the opportunity to play with other dogs and while he doesn’t have a particular breed he is attracted to, he enjoys the larger, more active breeds that can try and keep up with him! 😉

When Ryan has the day off with Fen or the weather somehow keeps them from venturing outdoors, Fen will often go on indoor scavenger hunts. Since Fen is “very food motivated” and hasn’t met a treat he doesn’t like, Ryan will hide a dog biscuit somewhere in their dining room and Fen will search around until he finds it.

And while Ryan posts the most stunning photos of Fen on his Instagram account, the secret to his amazing photos is simply that Fen loves the camera! Ryan says that from the start, Fen loved the camera and posing came second nature to Fen. When Ryan takes out his camera and kneels down, Fen stops what he is doing and looks directly at the camera. Fen is so good at posing that Ryan actually finds it hard to get a candid photo of Fen not looking directly at the camera.

While this supermodel is always poised on camera, Fen has one of the funniest quirks around. Being an Australian Shepherd, obedience and good training may be in his genes, however, Fen doesn’t hold back his true feelings. For instance, if you tell Fen to lay down and he doesn’t necessarily want to, he will still do so, but on his way down, Fen will let out a groan. Ryan believes the groans are Fen’s way of “letting him know he will do it, but he’s not thrilled about it”. As you can imagine, this gets a ton of laughs at Fen’s obedience class.

While all of us love our dog and the bond we have, Ryan and Fen truly have a special connection. Ryan describes Fen as being an incredibly loyal dog who always has a strong desire to be near Ryan, which is what Ryan absolutely loves about Fen. Whether it’s sitting at Ryan’s feet while he eats or laying his head on Ryan’s lap while they relax, these two are always together!

Their bond over hiking and being outdoors is one to be admired. This active duo gives inspiration to all us pet parents to get outside and explore our town with our dog. If you’re in or around the Buffalo area, be sure to keep an eye out and say hi to  Ryan and Fen if you see them on their daily walk. If you’re not around the Buffalo area, be sure to follow Fen’s Instagram account to see what adventure he goes on next!

All photos: @fen_the_aussie