Dog training tools
Pumpkin and Lola have become good friends and rough-housing buddies. See video below.
Two days ago I let go of his leash after a training session and we played fetch for a while. He doesn't bring the ball back directly. He first has to run around a bit, showing off with it. When he sees that I don't run after him like the other dogs do, he eventually comes back and drops the ball nearby. We have much work to do to get him to place it in my hand.
On another training angle...he has learned to touch the target stick in all directions as well as look at it on cue. He will also take and tug a canvas tummy on cue. His sit and down stays have improved to the point where I no longer need to use the Comfort Trainer or leash. His heeling often still requires the Comfort Trainer if he is in a distraction zone. We are also working on the "sleep" cue, where he'll lie on his side with his head down. He can hold that for about 10 seconds with me close by his face.
While he and Lola have become good friends, he still challenges Princess and Jasmin snaps at him every time he gets near her. She also goes after him when he plays with Lola. She really dislikes Pumpkin. Princess tolerates him, but only because I make her.
Pumpkin is settling into his routines and the girls are finally accepting his presence. Jasmin doesn't grumble as often and the scuffles between Princess and Pumpkin are almost gone; even when they're eating ice cubes, pizza or other "accidentally" dropped food stuffs.
I have taken to putting Pumpkin in a crate at night which has curbed his early morning carpet pissing. I also put him outside much more often.
He still doesn't like bathing but does put up with brushing, nail clipping and other grooming activities. In fact, he loves the individual attention.
Pumpkin is working well off leash, though by no means reliable with distractions. He has learned appropriate heeling and recall positioning. We've also accomplished more tricks along with starting the targeting game with a target stick. He's not very quick on the uptake with this exercise. It's tough opening up a brain that's been shut down for years.
Pumpkin - 2 year old, male, Australian Shepherd.
Miriam Fields-Babineau is the author of 42 pet books and is an animal actor agent.