Okay so for starters, Rick and I always joked that we would name one of our kids pumpkin someday because our last name is custard (and when we were younger we used to love pumpkin custard pies). Since children still aren't in our immediate future, we can instead use our humor toward an innocent baby doll!
In light of friends starting to have babies as well as TacoMo participant dogs with child socialization issues, we got her as our new little helper. No, she doesn't make noise or move on her own, but size-wise she is pretty close to an actual baby and proportionate unlike most dolls these days. Eventually we will need to find her a big sister or brother to help dogs with issues toward toddlers and more, but for now pumpkin is a great new addition!
She had her first session today and it went very well. For any one who wants to practice wIth their dog, what we used was our galaxy tablet to play assortments of baby sound fx from you tube. It was easy to hide it on our lap with pumpkin sitting on top, creating the illusion that the sound came directly from her. (You can also use your laptop, or CD recordings of baby noises, it's just as fun to be creative!) We put pumpkin into different positions- cradled, seated on lap, seated on floor, and held her up by the arms to simulate a small baby learning to walk. As we kept adjusting baby, we recorded her progress, and naturally about every 5 minutes she she continued to take positive steps toward accepting Pumpkin- respecting her space while still not being as fearful. Pumpkin's hand is shaped perfectly so that she can hold a small Zuke's training treat on top. We used this action toward the end of our session merely as a way to encourage and reward the dog for kindly approaching (we do not recommend trying this with a real baby).
Of course in any case, regardless of your dog's potential behavioral issues, learning the basics is always the first step. I would especially encourage learning the "leave it" cue so that in the instance of having a new baby your dog won't steal food from a wandering toddler's hand.
Do you have a dog that's fearful of children, or is your family expecting a new baby? Pumpkin is here with us to help you out, contact us to schedule your appointment now!
My name is Kim, I've grown up in this beautiful place we call Marquette, MI. I have always been a lover of animals and my love for them has only grown stronger with age. I love all animals from mice to cows, to pigs and frogs. Of course as dogs are the ones living most closely among us they have become my passion. I worked for a kennel for 2+ years, and I loved caring for the dogs all day. Being a kennel worker significantly benefited me while I was studying dogs however the time came to follow my calling. In April 2010 I graduated with my diploma in Dog Obedience Trainer/Instructor from Penn Foster Career School, and have since begun building my experience in the field. I am currently owned (along side my husband Rick -who is also in the dog business as a groomer, and plays an active part in TacoMo as well) by 2 dogs named Rico Suave a 50lb adorable mix (His DNA came back as one parent being 1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/4 Pomeranian, & 1/4 Dachshund, the other parent while not confirmed is potentially an English Shepherd which honestly makes the most sense) and Smorzy a 50% Australian Shepherd/50%Shetland Sheepdog. They are a crazy duo and are not perfect by any means but I love having the tools to control their behavior whenever I need to. I love my dogs so much that TacoMo was named after them (Rico's nickname is Taco & Smorzy's is MoMo)! You'll learn by meeting me or reading my posts that while I can be a quiet person, I can also babble on forever!