Dog training tools
Pumpkin is making good progress. He's still extremely stubborn and bull-headed, but I know that's mostly due to his breed. He loves to be underfoot; literally, which makes it hard at times to move about when cooking and cleaning.
Jasmin still hates him. She snarls at him whenever he looks at her or gets within 4 feet of her position. Lola tends to remain at a distance. If he gets too close to her (i.e. in her personal space) she will growl at him and move away. Princess will challenge him, especially when it comes to fetching toys or vying for my attention. They've had a few snarlies back and forth.
His training is coming along. I can now go off to about 20' of distance and drop the leash on stays and comes. His heeling is good provided he's wearing his Comfort Trainer, especially when there are distractions present. Pretty soon we'll have to do some work in public to get over this problem. I believe he's almost ready.
I've been working on teaching him the Speak cue. He actually responded, once. But, that's a start. He can twirl, sit-up and life a paw. We've also been working on Take and Drop. He was a quick study on that one.
We had a great training lesson today. Pics below.
I was able to drop the leash on sit and down stays as well as recalls. Pumpkin is picking up nicely on his basics. We've even begun the stand/stay which he really likes because it comes with a tummy rub.
I've had to separate him from the K9 visitors as he's become "amorous" with some of the guests. He does not try this behavior with my girls or they'll attempt to kick his butt. Pumpkin respects them sometimes but still challenges them into dog games from time to time.
I am using both the Freedom Harness and Comfort Trainer to obtain some nice heeling and overall attentiveness so that I need not use any harsh methods. No more pulling, lagging, distraction or play while working. Just complete attentiveness and an overall pleasant walk.
Yesterday we played some indoor fetch. He knows to return to my area, but only once did he return the large ball to my hand. This will take some work. It's nice to know he enjoys the game though
I finally did it - put a Comfort Trainer on Pumpkin. What a difference a training tool makes. He instantly began to remain near and heel properly. I should've done it sooner.
He has also finally accomplished a sit and down stay with complete walk around. I can do most of his behaviors indoors off leash - heel, sit/stay, down/stay, come and finish along with tricks. He can perform one twirl to the right, sit-up/beg, lift right front paw slightly. We still have a long ways to go.
One thing he has really taken to is riding in the mule. He prefers to be on the seat as glued to my side as he can possibly get. As that's the side with my currently broken rib it isn't pleasant for me. Pumpkin will need to learn to relax enough to use his own space and not mine.
He is doing better with the girls, but only because they have accepted him as alpha. Jasmin still gets growly with him when he nears her and luckily he has enough respect for her to remain at a distance when she gets in these moods.
Pumpkin is great with the cats. He just puts his nose nearby and follows them around. He has made great friends with Zelda, my orange tabby girl. They like to do the nose-to-nose every morning, then she rubs against him. He's smiling the whole time and wiggling his butt.
Pumpkin - 2 year old, male, Australian Shepherd.
Miriam Fields-Babineau is the author of 42 pet books and is an animal actor agent.