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Paw-casso: Aberdeen dog with talent for painting auctions canvas for charity

An Aberdeen cocker spaniel who loves to paint is auctioning a canvas for charity.

Leo will be taking part in an auction by the Tripawds Foundation, which raises money to help support amputee pets and their owners.

Alongside his painting, there will be 19 others that will be up for sale.

The auction is set to start on Friday, May 27.

Emily Anderson, 31, who owns and trains Leo says: “He learned to paint about April last year.

Leo standing with his painting ‘Pawsitivity’ which is up for auction. Picture by Paul Glendell 

“He invented his own painting trick. Other dogs just poke the brush, whereas Leo does his own version of painting.

“I taught him in separate parts. First, we worked on picking up the brush in his mouth. Then we worked on putting paint on the canvas. Finally we worked on putting the brush back which is quite hard as he has to turn the brush in his mouth.

‘As soon as I go to the paint drawer the drooling starts’

“We normally train three times a day for 10 to 15 minutes.

“Painting is one of his favourites. He stands in front of me asking me to paint.

“As soon as I go to the paint drawer the drooling starts, he gets so excited.

“That is the main reason we do tricks, it is really led by him.”

Leo with his owner and trainer Emily Anderson. Picture by Paul Glendell 

Leo, aged 3, has previously won UK-wide dog talent and international dog trick competitions.

But he had been very ill during the pandemic with giardia, which lead to him “losing all of his confidence”.

Miss Anderson, from Foresterhill, says “He was so sad. That is why I thought that I would try to do tricks with him.

“Training is good for anxious dogs who lack confidence.

“It creates a good bond with your dog.”

Miss Anderson and Leo have been getting increasingly popular on social media. A TikTok video of Leo painting went viral and now has over 3.4 million views.


He loves painting!! 🎨 #art #creative #mustwatch #fyp #foryou #dog #dogtricks #dogtalent #talent

♬ Unstoppable – Sia

She now works as a professional dog trainer, and teaches others how to train their dogs.

“You have to use positive reinforcement when you are training a dog.

“You can’t use negative reinforcement or shout at your dog.

“Training has to be fun for both the dog and the trainer.

Leo has been learning how to do tricks with lots of different toys. Picture by Paul Glendell

“I think when people try to do tricks, they push their dog on too far too soon and then get frustrated that they can’t do it.

“But if you break it down into small steps they could do it.

“Even dogs that are older or struggle walking, you can even teach them mouth tricks such as licking their lips or sticking their tongue out.

“The list of tricks you can teach your dog is endless.”

To have a look at Leo’s painting or bid for it at auction, click here. 

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