Carmine, a 5-year-old Australian shepherd, is becoming a skilled artist.
A show dog with a vast bag of tricks, Carmine also knows how to paint using a modified paintbrush against a canvas.
Now, he’s putting those skills to good use to help disabled dogs.
Carmine is one of 15 painting dogs worldwide who have artwork in an online auction that’s raising funds for a program that delivers care packages to pets battling cancer as well as the Tripawds Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps dogs missing a limb.
Other painting dogs in the auction are from Canada, England, Scotland and Australia, said Carmine’s owner, Susan Brogan, of Front Royal.
“He is quite a happy boy,” Brogan said. “He loves everybody and everything. He definitely enjoys his painting.”
Brogan, who has other agility dogs, said Carmine learned the trick of painting to earn a title.
She liked the trick so much, that they kept doing it, she said, and now proceeds from his paintings go to helping organizations like the Humane Society of Warren County.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Brogan said. “It’s therapeutic for me, too.”
When it comes to tricks, animals need to enjoy it, she said.
“He’s just a very, very happy boy that loves to do stuff,” she said.
Whenever it’s painting time, she’ll ask him, “Are you ready?”
Carmine is also highly motivated to learn different types of painting strokes by earning treats for each trick he does.
“He gets rewarded,” Brogan said. “I do a high rate of reinforcement for everything that I train.”
Because doing a paw print was too messy for Carmine’s white paws, Brogan taught him to bump a wooden stamp with his nose so he could add his signature to his paintings.
“Just about any dog can learn to do this,” she said.
Carmine is her third Australian shepherd. She also raises golden retrievers and Welsh corgis and offers dog training services.
In his agility competitions, Carmine does rally, obedience and freestyle.
“It’s an enjoyable activity for them, as well,” Brogan said of show dogs.
The 2021 Tripawds Charity Painting Dogs Auction runs through Sunday and is available at auction.tripawds.com. Carmine’s painting is called Carmine’s Spring Bouquet.