Dog training tools
It has now been a week and a half since Pumpkin entered my life. At first he was good as gold as many dogs are when in a new environment. He was "feeling" out his new world; how to interact with my other dogs, the cats, my husband and myself.
I began formal training sessions with him the day following his arrival. I am using a Freedom Harness and treats for positive reinforcement. At first he did not like any treat and I had to use cheese. Now he's ammenable to almost anything I can offer.
Pet interactions: When he first meets another dog he's friendly and playful. Living with them is a different story. He can be quite challenging as he does not give in to my girls. After a week here he began snarling at the other dogs if they had something he wanted or were located somewhere he wished to be; namely, my feet.
Pumpkin loves toys and we've already started learning the rules of Fetch. While he readily returns with a toy, he usually drops it nearby instead of handing it to me. I'm sure he'll catch on to the rules soon.
He's quickly learning obedience skills. Come and sit was accomplished within days. Stay is started with slight movement in front of him. He will go down on command. His heeling needs lots of work but he quickly learns with lots of turns. I can now walk with him without his pulling too hard all the time.
At night all my dogs do tricks for treats. Pumpkin has learned sit-up and is learning shake as well. He readily performs side by side with my other dogs without distraction. He does, however, try to take the treats from the other dogs when I offer them. I've had to push him away when this occurs.
Pumpkin has begun chewing on inappropriate objects such as area rugs, chairs, my desk, etc. Luckily, this has only been done in my presence so that I can easily redirect his actions. He does not seem to do this when I'm not present.
Another behavior he's tried lately is urinating indoors. I caught him in the act yesterday and he hasn't done it since. It seems that with gentle guidance and persistence he gets the message and is learning how to achieve rewarding goals.
Overall, he's a very sweet, personable dog who wants nothing more than to be caressed and nearby.
Pumpkin - 2 year old, male, Australian Shepherd.
Miriam Fields-Babineau is the author of 42 pet books and is an animal actor agent.