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Marker Training Q&A

Marker Training Q&A



ASK CINDY YOUR DOG TRAINING QUESTION
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with nearly 3000 previously answered questions.


  1. I have a 7 month old male. He is very submissive and is doing very well overall. I been using TRAIN YOUR DOG THE POSITIVE WAY DVD and wanted to go a little further. Do you think for someone like me your basic DVD would be recommended or do you have another suggestion?

  2. Our Rottweiler pup is 6 months old. I don't feel we are developing the bond I want. Do I stop all formal commands, sit, down, stay and just begin marker training?

  3. I just started using markers and have a ton of questions about teaching new behaviors, etc. Can you help me out?

  4. I have a large male German Shel. He is not afraid of a gun shot, thunder, or most any sound but he hates a clicker. What do you think?

  5. I have a five year old German Shepherd. In competition he sniffs I can not break him from this. Have any hot tips?

  6. I am reviewing the marker training and am lacking when it comes to breaking down the exercises. I understand the concept but am not clear on how to do it. I would appreciate it if you could tell me how to break it down into small steps.

  7. How do you deal with an unpredictable dog than can nicely perform obedience exercises such as send away with jump over hurdle, make weave poles without assistance, quick down on the table 30M from his handler and the next few minutes just runs away without saying 'good bye!'?

  8. My dog is not very toy motivated, and I've been trying to teach him to fetch as a game to get him some more exercise. Do you have any suggestions?

  9. Is my dog obsessed with food because I have marker trained him? How can I teach him better food manners without quitting marker training - or do you think I should stop marker training?

  10. I want to work on commands becoming an immediate response. Any advise would be appreciated!

  11. My dog has come a long way, but still growls when told to get off the couch, etc. What do you Suggest?

  12. I've started marking eye contact, but I'm unclear about when to switch from YES to the command.
    How do I know when to transition?


  13. What equipment to you suggest when training with markers?

  14. We have had our pup for 1 1/2 weeks and live in a suburban neighborhood on a 2 acre corner lot. I developed a routine of walking her down our long driveway and then along the curb/street edge surrounding our yard. All of a sudden she will no longer walk to the end of the driveway. I would really appreciate any suggestions you may have.

  15. I have a great GS who was trained to be a guard dog. I am disabled and my service dog died. He is doing well with people interactions but he has on occasion barked at a patient. How do I correct this behavior without destroying his protective nature? And how can I keep him busy?

  16. I have a 12 month old German Shepherd that I can’t get to jump (into the back of the truck or even over things). I have tried to use toys and food and this work with the rest of his training. He is very smart and does everything that I ask of BUT just won’t jump. Any advise?

  17. My GSD has been trained in advanced obedience, and is well-mannered when I am present. In the last year I have had a baby, and am now pregnant with my second. Any suggestions for the nuisance behavior and for helping him feel more fulfilled?

  18. I have a 4 month old boxer puppy. Is ‘Building Drive and Focus’ a good video for me to start with, or is that more suited for folks who have a dog headed for police dog training? I would like to learn the proper way to train for personal protection, would I have to put him through full fledged protection training?

  19. I want to try Marker training. Will the Marker DVD explain how to retrain an already trained dog? Will it give me the skills to break down new commands that I will face in the next step of AKC obedience trials?

  20. I just received the Marker Training video yesterday and I noticed how similar it is to Balabanov's training style. Do they work together if I mix and match different parts of the training methods or if I'm missing some important detail for each that would make it impossible to do that?

  21. My daughter's dog has developed a fear when traveling in the car. Is there a way to get to the root cause of the fear? How common is this behavior in dogs? How do we help him overcome it?

  22. We have a male neutered white GSD. On our staircase the steps are wood, but there are no risers behind them. When he was a year old he was going up the stairs and on the second step he slipped and hurt himself and is now afraid.  Is there some way we could help him?

  23. I am having the hardest time getting my pup to wear his collar. As soon as the collar goes on he lays in a corner and whines the entire time. Help!

  24. My dog has become handler aggressive from poor corrections. What can I do to fix this?

  25. My dog is so sensitive to any correction that I'm really reluctant to do any serious training with him as every time I gently correct or even say no, he turns into a quivering mess! He has also developed some bad habits.Do you you have any suggestions?

  26. How would you use marker training in teaching the sit, down and stand  during recall while being able to do this exercise from 50 yards away?

  27. My dog is very smart but I believe he has weak nerves. He is very nervous around strangers and any quick moves he reacts as if he is going into fight or flight mode.  Any advice?

  28. During the training with my dog I have indivertibly made commands which sound very similar and wish to change them, Should I mark the behaviour as I first did and when the dog is offering this behaviour then add new command just as if I were teaching a new behaviour/command?

  29. My dog refuses to wear his collar. What do you suggest?

  30. Do you have any other work (podcasts, videos, etc.) that may apply to retriever training? In the Marker DVD you said that you have a new DVD coming out, when will that be available?

  31. I've been working on building a tug drive using Susan Garrett's techniques. My dog has a lot of tug drive but always wants to grip really close to my fingers. How do I get him to grip lower on the toy without killing his drive?

  32. I have a 5 year old  Lab. She has learned a lot of obedience but refuses to return the ball or whatever we use for fetch. She wants to play keep away. HELP

  33. When you are correcting your dog for an unwanted behavior and he complies but he will whimper and whine to express his frustration, should this verbalisation be tolerated or should it be corrected at an appropriate level to stop the behaviour after a verbal “no”?

  34. My dog is the greatest little show man in the world except for the judges exam. The judge was a new provisional judge and scared him to death and we've had problems ever sense. Please help!

  35. My dog will not let me touch his paws or ears for cleaning/checking, I have tried marking my hand touching his paws and slowly adding time with my hand on paw with little success. Do I continue this approach and just be more patient, or follow the advice I have been given below?

  36. I have a Neapolitan Mastiff who hates water. I would like him to be able to get in the water. I bought a life preserver in the hopes he would feel more comfortable. Is there some way I can get him more comfortable with the water?

  37. Is it possible to be sufficiently aloof but still provide some form of training during Phase 1, or should this phase have absolutely limited interaction?

  38. I have a small problem with my Doberman, when I give the command down, he drops but starts to whine(cry) non stop. Is there a solution for this?

  39. I want to change my marker from a click to the word YES, how do I do that?

  40. I’m trying to teach my puppy the place command and he’s avoiding the “place” What can I do?

  41. My young dog is trying to bite me if I block her from having something that she wants. She is marker trained but won’t listen to me unless I have food.  I don’t use a long line anymore because she gets tangled in it, what should I do?

  42. Do you use a shake can for training (a coke can with pennies in it)? Also, how do you teach the retrieve?

  43. My dog doesn't respond to marker training so how can I correct her from unwanted behaviors?

  44. My puppy is more interested in everything except retrieving, is there an easy solution to this?

  45. My dog is 18 months old and I’m taking rally classes. In class I can’t get her motivated but at home she runs like a bullet. She won’t engage with me anymore unless we are at home and we are playing with toys. What can I do?

  46. Which tug toy would you recommend using with the new Tug DVD?

  47. I have most of your DVDs and I just bought training with markers and training with food. I read that they both work very well together. The question I have is, which do I watch first? Is there one that will help make the other one make more sense to me?

  48. I'm confused about the release in marker training, can you please explain it briefly?

  49. My 10 month old Rottweiler is being trained with Michael Ellis’s methods.  When my dog doesn't do his positions, should I correct him with a pinch collar or an ecollar?  He also doesn’t have very much energy, how can I motivate him?

  50. When adding the command to a signal in marker training, do you do the signal and then say the word?

  51. I want to train my dog to the whistle, would the marker DVD be helpful?

  52. We are training our dogs using the Ellis dvds. We have a number of questions about using YES in this training. We are unsure if our dogs understand that YES means they are released. They know it means a reward is coming but how do we know if they understand the release?

  53. When training dogs to an invisible fence, should I “mark” when they turn towards the safe part of the yard?

  54. I need some clarification on the release in marker training. Do you have any thoughts or recommendations?

  55. I have a 2-year-old neutered male sheltie. He has a lot of drive and he is impatient and does everything fast and "frantic." He is smart and can do things with "half a brain." What is it I am doing wrong and what should I be doing?

  56. Do you have any suggestions for training a deaf dog?  Would Michael Ellis’s methods work?

  57. Do you address teaching behaviors that are needed for the show ring on any of your videos?

1. Question:

Ed,

Very informative web site (A level). Although I did catch a typo which you may want to address.

I have a 7 month old mini long hair male doxie. He is very submissive and is doing very well overall. I been using TRAIN YOUR DOG THE POSITIVE WAY DVD and wanted to go a little further. My main concern is off leash fun. I do take him off leash (in parks and such) and he pretty much follows me everywhere but sometimes he is slow to come to me when called or just stops and looks at me when I ask him to come. He is also average on the leash however is making strides as he would not even walk on the leash a month ago. Not a puller. He just stops walking sometimes. I have to lure him with a treat and lots of encouragement and that usually gets the ball rolling and once the ball is rolling he is very good with loose leash walking until the cycle repeats itself. Ok, that is my background aside from the fact that I am a first time dog owner.

Do you think for someone like me your basic DVD would be recommended or do you have another suggestion?

What are your thoughts.

Thank You.

-Corey

Ed's Comments:

If you only found one typo I am amazed :-) I am a much better dog trainer than speller. I do have an employee working her way through the web site though.

I would recommend my Basic Dog Obedience DVD

I believe and use in motivational training - you can read or listen to my podcast on training with markers

I have a page on pod casts that you may find interesting Listen to the one on my philosophy of dog training.

In this article you will find the mistake and foolishness of those who promote motivational training without corrections. Its just stupid.

You may also want to reads the article I wrote titled the THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRIANING.

Good luck with your dog.


2. QUESTION:

Hi,

I just ordered the Basic dog training DVD. Our Rottweiler pup is 6 months old we have had him since 12 weeks. We just finished group obedience classes. He learned a little and does follow me around the house and obey some commands " when he wants to." However I don't feel we are developing that bond I had with our last Rott. My wife and I were my old dog's world. He never took his eyes off of us. He always knew where we were and he followed us everywhere. I want to develop that with my new pup. My question is do I stop all formal commands, sit, down, stay and just begin marker training? He already works for his meals. "Long sit stays" works for going out, stuff like that and is crated. Would the transition be to just stop everything we already know and begin with teaching him "Yes" + treat? The DVD won't arrive for at least 5 more days and I want to get started. Sorry for the long email I just wanted to give a little background.

Thank you for your time and great web page
-Joe

ANSWER:

I am a little concerned about how much obedience you have put into this pup - or I should say expect from the pup. What jumps out is LONG SITS - the longest I would expect a 6 month old pup to hold a sit is 4 or 5 seconds - no longer.

To get long sits requires corrections and young pups should not be getting corrections for not sitting and staying.

I would recommend that you start marker training today. No corrections are involved here. You won't go wrong if you do this. Wait until the DVD gets there and really study it. This is not a one watch program - you made a good decision.

After watching the quality of information in this DVD you may want to consider my DVD titled BUILDING DRIVE and FOCUS.The work in this DVD when done correctly is the best I have seen for building a bond with a dog and owner.


3. Question:

I frequent your site often and own several DVD's--thank you for providing such excellent resources!

I just finished the "Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months" and listening to the pod cast on marker training.

When teaching a new behavior, when do you suggest is best to "name" that behavior and give it a command word? For example, when teaching a "sit," are you saying sit before the dog knows the associated motion, as you guide it into position with food? Or, are you waiting until the pup anticipates the sit and starts to offer it reliably and THEN say "sit"?
Or, do you use a marker word, and if so in combination with the command word?

I know this must seem like a ridiculously simple concept, but everyone seems to have a different approach to when to introduce the command word.

Do you think it matters? If so, what's the most effective way to teach the dog to associate the behavior with the command word?

Many thanks in advance for your time!

Sincerely,
Deb

Answer:

When teaching a new behavior, I use more of a gesture at first. No command.
I do the gesture (such as lift my hand over the dog's nose for sit) when he sits, YES and reward. When he is doing this consistently, then I add the word. SIT, gesture, YES and reward. Fairly soon the dog starts to offer the behavior when I say the word and I can phase out the gesture.

If the dog gets "stuck" I can add the gesture back in to help the dog be successful.

Does this answer your question?


4. Question:

I have a large male German Shel. He is not afraid of a gun shot, thunder, or most any sound but he hates a clicker. I can't get him use to it because if I use it he avoids me and I am afraid it will damage our trust bond, so I don't use it. He needs to get use to it though. What do you think?

Roz

Answer:

Use a word instead, like yes.

Cindy


5. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a five year old German Shepherd. In competition he sniffs I can not break him from this. Outside the ring he's good. At practice I use a e-collar which I seldom have to nick him but he knows the park. I have been taking him on different walks. Have any hot tips?

Thanks,
Dave

Answer:

This can be a tough problem, because sniffing is an immediately reinforcing behavior.  Even if he gets a correction it may be worth it to him because the act of sniffing is so important to a lot of dogs.

I would teach him something to do INSTEAD of sniffing, like give you eye contact. If his eyes are up and looking at you, it will be much harder to put his nose down on the ground to sniff.

I would teach this using markers this way if he goes to sniff, you can redirect him to a positive behavior and then reward with food and/or toys. I think it may take a while to retrain, but I think this is the best way to try to solve the issue at hand.

Good luck!

Cindy


6. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a question for you.
I am reviewing the marker training  and am lacking when it comes to breaking down the exercises.
I understand the concept but am not clear on how to do it.  I get it on some things but am clueless on others. Also, the concept of not giving a command until the dog knows the exercise is beyond my understanding at the moment but I am working on it.
I am so impressed with your sit in front with the 13 week old pup and on some of the DVDs there are pictures of you with a perfect heel sit with a young pup.
I would appreciate it if you could tell me how to break it down into small steps.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Also, thanks for the tip on the odor for the dog's run.  The washing and raking has finally gotten it done.

Thanks
Patricia

Answer:

It’s really not possible for me to train you via email on this.  I’m sorry but it’s too detailed and there are too many variables.  

Do you have any of our clicker related books? This one is excellent.

We are also in the process of producing a marker training video that picks up where the article leaves off.  If you are receiving our monthly newsletter then you will be notified when it’s being released.  We will announce it in the newsletter.

Sorry I’m not more help on this matter, but actually the most important part of marker training is OUR learning curve. It is simply but not easy, that’s for sure.  It’s a constant learning process but the journey is a lot of fun and you can’t really hurt anything by trying new things if you are using markers.

Cindy


7. Question:

Dear Ed,

How do you deal with an unpredictable dog than can nicely perform obedience exercises such as send away with jump over hurdle, make weave poles without assistance, quick down on the table 30M from his handler and the next few minutes just runs away without saying 'good bye!' ?

This is the case of my friend's G.S (1yr old). She was trained together with a labrador and one day she suddenly reacted strangely by running away. Usually she is quite scared of Rottweilers and it seems that she took the labrador for one.

To summarize, she is always reacting unpredictably. Like for instance, usually she was undisturbed by children with rollers and one day she reacted differently and was quite affected by those and just like another example where she is usually undisturbed by a couple of stray dogs and one day she suddenly decided to chase them which of course never happened before and during training sessions. We tried to reproduce the same situation using a long leash this time but she knows that she is not free and does not react to provocations. What must I do to solve that instability problem? Please reply as soon as possible as this is very dangerous. Last time she crossed a road chasing stray dogs and we thought it was over, fortunately it wasn't. So we can't trust her when it comes to obeying and it happens just like that with no particular signs or events.

Thank you for your kind consideration,
Lilia

Answer:

I would have to say first that a one year old dog doing all of those exercises off leash seems to be rushing the dog a lot in training. I’m not saying that this is the case with your friends dog, but in order to get the kind of control and precision required to work all those exercises at a distance there needs to be either a lot of time spent training or pressure put on the dog. A one year old dog is not ready to do all of those things over and over, off leash and with the distractions of other dogs in my experience.

I would say that the dog is reacting to the amount of stress she’s feeling during training, and she doesn’t know how to communicate this so she leaves.

The easy thing is to keep this dog on a line and do not allow this behavior to continue happening. I would be using marker training and making things really fun for her. Also, if she is not spayed she may be having some hormonal fluctuation and in some females it can cause erratic behavior. Here is the article on Markers
http://leerburg.com/markers.htm I would back up the training and work
on building the basics, because if the dog won’t stay with the handler then all the other exercises don’t mean much.

I don’t know what the goals are with this dog, but she’s young and there
is plenty of time to work off leash later. When dogs react differently
off leash than they do on leash, then it means you have “trained” the dog to know the leash controls her, not the handler.

Cindy


8. Question:

Hi, Ed and Cindy!

I've been enjoying your newsletter for a while, and I've got a pretty minor training issue I'm hoping you might be able to help with. My dog (papillon, 2 years) is not very toy motivated, and I've been trying to teach him to fetch as a game to get him some more exercise. He will chase a toy and pick it up, but the second I say his name to get his attention to call him back, he will drop the toy and run back to me, because he would much rather be with me than play with a toy. We get a great game of chase going, but I can't seem to get him to understand he is supposed to bring toy to me. He is very well trained. I can get him to "come" or "down" no matter what he's doing or what the distraction is. I just can't seem to communicate the concept of bringing the toy to me, since the moment I try to get his attention, he drops it and runs to me. I know if I can let him know what I want him to do and associate it with a command, he will do it.

Thanks for any ideas you might have!

-Kris

Answer:

Hi Kris,

Have you done any marker training with him?

I am actually training the retrieve to one of my own dogs right now, and I start by teaching him to hold the item first. Once he will hold it, then I ask him to walk with me holding it, then come front while holding it. Whenever he does as I ask, then he gets a YES (or click if you are using a clicker) and then gets some really great food like chicken or steak.

Once he will hold and come front with a variety of items (I use remote from the TV, can opener, pvc pipe, shoes, etc..) then start placing it on the ground and have him pick it up. Try starting close (like a foot away) and have him come straight to you with the item. I think the whole “throw, run, pick up, turn around and return” is an advanced skill that needs to be worked up to.

I hope this makes sense! I’m working through this also, so let me know how you are doing. :-)

Cindy


9. Question:

Hi,

I've just finished reading the new page on marker training, wow, what a clear description! Thanks for all the great resources on the website and forum.

I wanted to ask you a question, and hope you'll have the time to answer it.

About 5 years ago, I adopted a 4 year old bull terrier. He had almost no training, and I had to start from scratch. I did marker training with him with food and a clicker, which he loved. A couple of years ago we moved into using toy rewards in training (using info on your forum!). That gave him a great recall & even allowed us to do a few obedience competitions. He's not perfect, but he's much better than he was, and far better behaved than most dogs I've met.

Anyway, since then I've become engaged to a lovely man who has a background in dog training. My fiancee is very against using food rewards in training. He thinks that giving a dog food rewards will encourage it to become obsessed by food. He says a food trained dog will beg for food, and will steal and snatch food from peoples hands since it is used to taking food from the hand.

In truth, my dog is very interested in food. He doesn't have bad manners - he doesn't steal food if I tell him to leave it alone, and he won't snatch food from peoples hands unless they offer it to him.
But if there are people eating in the room he will stare at them, and won't leave them alone until I tell him to go away. And if anyone goes into the kitchen, my dog makes tracks to go see what they are
doing in there! I never considered this interest in food to be a
problem, but it really annoys my fiancee.

Is my dog obsessed with food because I have marker trained him? How can I teach him better food manners without quitting marker training - or do you think I should stop marker training? My fiancee thinks it would be best just to feed him in his bowl at meal times, and not use food for training at all.

I am hoping you could clear this up for us, since it's been a source of a few arguments at our house!

Thanks heaps,
Rachel

Answer:

Some dogs are food obsessed, marker trained or not. Personally, I think NOT training with food is a mistake. I want my dogs to make a positive association with the training process so I use things that hold high value to them (food, toys, praise, playing with me) If I don't use food I am missing out on a valuable training tool. I don't let dogs just snatch food or beg for food, as it's not part of the training process.

I use markers and food for all the beginning positions like sit, down, stand, heel and front and this makes my dog more able to think clearly and get a concrete reward for a new skill. I use toys much later after the initial learning has been established for each exercise. My particular dogs are toy & food driven but it's never been anything I consider a negative.

I think that people who think training with food makes the dog reliant on the food or obsessed with the food are probably using it as a lure or a bribe, instead of as a reward. There is a big difference! I don't dangle food out in front of my dog and then try to teach him something. The food is always hidden in a pocket or bait pouch and I don't get it out until the dog has correctly done the behavior and I have marked it with YES (or a
click) Many old school trainers also think training with food means the dog isn't really "obeying". These are the people who say "I want the dog to work for ME, and not for the food" I find this way of thinking to be opposite of mine! :) These are usually (not always, but usually) people that use corrections or physical manipulation to teach their dogs. Marker trained dogs are problem solvers and love learning, dogs trained in other ways tend to have a 'wait and see" attitude because they are afraid of making a mistake. I'm not saying this is the case with your fiancé, but it’s a pretty common thing that I encounter every day.

I will say that I don't let my dogs stare at or follow people around my house, whether they have food or not so this has never been an issue for me.
My dogs know the rules and abide by them.

My dogs have beds they lay on or they go to their crates if I am having lots of people over. They tend to be focused on me, not the food.

Cindy


10. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I'm in love with the Leerburg website, DVDs, and products, but I do have a question. My 6 month old GSD pup knows basic commands (sit, down, etc) and will perform them anywhere, even the public park. I only give the command once, but even if we are inside the house with zero distraction, she often takes up to 5 seconds before complying. What can I do to get her to understand that when I give a command, she should perform it instantly? I know in one of the videos Ed says to give the dog a chance to think before correcting it, and she does obey eventually, but I want to work on commands becoming an immediate response. Any advise would be appreciated!

Thanks so much,
Lesley

Answer:

I would NOT add corrections to a 6 month old puppy.

I’ve had great results with training all my dogs with markers.  Once they understand the “game” they comply very quickly and with a wonderful attitude.

Read the article titled Training With Markers.

I hope this helps!

Cindy


11. Question:

Hello,

Just wanted to say thanks....

I sent you an email many months ago on some behavioral problems my 2 year old jack russell had, I purchased your basic dog obedience and training a competition heeling dog DVDs and they worked like magic...he obeys each and every command and I have a lot more control over him when dealt with distractions (especially a jack russell).

The only thing that kind of remained from the behavioral issue was at times he would sneak and sit/lie down on our sofa, but when I would turn and look at him or come in to the room and notice him he would let out a growl and snarl, but when I would give the command OFF! he always obeys and comes off and automatically sits on the floor (but still lightly growling in the process). He knows he can't sit on the sofa because we would say no anytime he was ready to hop on it and off when he was already on it. The same happens when he gets caught jumping on the kitchen chair to investigate what is left on the table... but always obeys the command OFF!

Also when he is in the crate and you come near him he growls but always obeys the command COME!! but still with a light growl as he is coming out. Although his head and ears are always down with his tail slightly wagging as he is lightly growling. Same thing kind of happens when we check him for fleas, a growl starts but when we say NO! he stops. Just wanted to get your opinion on this or suggestion of another DVD etc. This is 98% better than where it used to be. He wouldn't stop growling/snarling..stand his ground almost as if wanting to challenge me and never listen to any commands. I reinforced everything with your DVDs and he listens to every command but just a little stuck with the above.

I want to ask you if the harnesses you sell are good for my jack russell and if so which one do you recommend..I would be interested in purchasing.

Also..which other DVDs/products you have, would you suggest...(for a jack russell) your personal protection or tracking DVDs..look very interesting. Do you think a jack russell would be decent at personal protection? I know they're small but they never seem to back away from anything.

Any info would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you,
Evan

Answer:

Maybe you can try some marker training with him to make things like obeying commands a bit less stressful. I think he’s growling because he’s feeling a bit uncomfortable. It sounds like you have done a good job re-establishing yourself as his leader but he’s a little bit uneasy with the new structure.

Read the article titled Training With Markers. I would use markers and reinforce things like grooming and anything you can think of. Try to catch him being GOOD and then mark and reward with a favorite treat, something really special. If he starts to growl I would use a quiet NO, not too harsh and then if he stops and is quiet I would say YES and give him a reward. Believe it or not I have a horse that always has her ears back and she always looks ticked off. She doesn’t get aggressive with me, but she’s kind of pissy (for lack of a better term) I decided to start using marker training with her and would reward every time she looked “happy” with ears forward and a nice expression. I didn’t know if it would help or work, but I thought I had nothing to lose. Several sessions later and she is always making eye contact with me and has ears forward and a happy face. I don’t know if animals are like people in this way, but I know it’s hard to feel bad when I am smiling. :-)

As far as harnesses, I would suggest one of our adjustable nylon harnesses or the Sensation harness (if you want the harness for walking with him).

Here are the dvds I recommend for tracking and personal protection. I think JRT would be great for personal protection, a friend of mine had a great little dog (he just passed away last year) that thought he was a big dog when it came to protection work. She actually showed him in Schutzhund competitions. :-)

* Building Drive & Focus with Bernard Flinks

* The First Steps of Bite Training

* The First Steps of Defense

* Training Personal Protection Dogs

* Training a Competition Tracking Dog

I hope this helps!

Cindy


12. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I train dogs, mostly rehabilitating troubled dogs in animal shelters to help them to be adopted and not live a life in a shelter or be put down. I also have been training my second pit bull rescue. I've been using force training for years (Koehler-type training). I've had much success with this training, however, due to your info. I've become more open-minded.

I've poo-poo'd marker training for the same obvious reasons Ed previously had (positive-only blah blah). Now I'm embarking on this new adventure. My rescue has not done well with my training and since she has high prey and food drive, I'm hoping marker/e-collar is the right choice for her.

Basically, since I've already done so much training with her, I don't want to make any mistakes moving forward with marker training. I've watched the Basic DVD and have the e-collar DVD to watch next. With all of the above said, my question is simply... I've started marking eye contact, but I'm unclear about when to switch from YES to the command.
How do I know when to transition?

Thanks,
Kathy

Answer:

Have you re-read the marker article? Ed has been adding to it every day.

As for adding a command, we recommend adding a command when the dog is performing the desired behavior at least 80% of the time. It helps if you also have a signal for the dog, in case they don’t “get” the command right away.

A good example is to teach the dog first to look at your face by touching the side of your face then mark, reward. When they do this correctly 8 out of 10 times, you say your chosen command like “LOOK,” wait a split second then use your signal, the dog complies and then mark and reward. Very soon the dog will begin to respond only to the word but you always have the signal as a back up if they get stuck.

Just remember-command, signal, mark, reward…. Once the dog is doing this 80% of the time then you can try leaving out the signal and see if he understands the verbal cue. I like this system because I always have a way to help the dog (by using the signal) later on when I add distractions.

Cindy


13. Question:

Hi,

I want to thank you and Cindy for all the work you have put into the web site. It is incredible; lots of expert information available to anyone looking to better their relationship with their animals.

I will be purchasing another DVD, #219D The Power of Training Dogs with Markers, and I would like to ask you what accessories I should purchase. I need to train my 4 GSD's in a non-confrontational way. I am hoping to further bond with my pack and make training fun and interesting.

Thank you for all of your expertise,
Janine

Answer:

Thanks for the kind words.

One of the beauties of marker training is that it doesn’t require a lot of training gear. I would recommend one of our bait bags. We personally use the snap open kind.

Depending on what you have for lines- you may want to get one of the light weight 20 foot lines.

Good luck on your work - this DVD will change the way you look at dog training for the rest of your life. Not sure of you looked at the streaming video yet.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley


14. Question:

Thank you so much for all that you do. I have learned a lot from your web site and videos while preparing for and working with our new Aussie puppy (8 weeks old). We have had her for 1 1/2 weeks and she has been doing well. She is submissive in the crate, housetraining is going very well, and we have started a little obedience work. Here's my question: The dog seems to be about midway (maybe a little soft) on the scale of soft to hard. We live in a suburban neighborhood on a 2 acre corner lot. I had developed a routine of walking her (always on leash) down our long driveway and then along the curb/street edge surrounding our yard. The walk has hills but she never seemed to become overly tired during the exercise. Cars and/or construction vehicles drive along the road occasionally but it is not a busy road in the least. All of a sudden, with no precipitating incident that I can recall at all, she will no longer walk to the end of the driveway. She literally lays down and drags her claws if I try to take her to the end of the driveway for our walk. She shakes and pulls backward. She seems to be terrified of the road. I have tried to jerk the collar with varying levels of force and she still resists. I have reversed the direction of our routine and she seems to fear the road from other starting points as well. Her bathroom spot is near our house so she hasn't had potty issues as a result, but it is very difficult to exercise her when she won't walk more than 50 feet down our driveway. I have tried picking her up and carrying her out to the road but she still resists all along our route. I'm guessing that the cars/trucks on the road must scare her but that will not change and I can't alter our walking path b/c I don't want to venture too far from our home (small children at home). I would really appreciate any suggestions you may have. She otherwise is, so far, an obedient, willing to please dog.

Thank you,
Ashley

Answer:

This is a really common issue with puppies of this age, it’s been covered on the website.

I would also recommend training this puppy with markers, to reward positive behaviors like walking forward on the leash. Read the article titled Training With Markers. We also just finished our DVD The Power of Training with Markers. You can read about it at this link. This DVD will be ready for shipment in November 2008.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


15. Question:

A question which probably does not interest many but here goes.... I have a great GS who was trained to be a guard dog (not by me). I am disabled and my service dog died so this dog needs to change hats. He is doing well with people interactions but he has on occasion barked at a patient, my medical pt. So: how do I correct this behavior without destroying his protective nature? And an additional question, he is very smart and is bored with reg. obedience - my impression - he is near perfect. So some to work on but since I do not have the time to engage in schutzhund, agility or such are there some neat training I can do with him. I have almost found him a new home because I felt like I was not providing enough stimulation like ...."Teach Your Dog 20 Tricks" Joking but serious. I thank you for your consideration. And I am a regular reader of your newsletter.

Thanks,
Ellen & Seamus

Answer:

In all seriousness, I think teaching dogs tricks (or anything else) is a great way to give them mental exercise. I spend a lot of time in winter teaching my dogs fun things to do just to keep them interested in learning.

Read the article titled Training With Markers.

We also sell some great books about clicker/trick training.

Cindy


16. Question:

I have a 12 month old German Shepherded that I can’t get him to jump (into the back of the truck or even over things) the vet says nothing wrong with his hips so I’m at a loss. I have tried to use toys and food and this work with the rest of his training. He is very smart and does everything that I ask of BUT just won’t jump. Any help you can give would be great.

Thanks for your support,
Jeremy

Answer:

Have you had x-rays done on your dog’s hips? If you haven’t, I would do that first. Unless there have been x-rays taken, there is no way to know whether there is a problem or not.

If you have had x-rays done and everything looks normal then I would suggest teaching the dog to jump something very small (like a few inches) so he understands what you want. You gradually increase the height as the dog gains coordination and confidence. I would teach this with markers. Read the article titled Training With Markers. I also highly recommend our DVD The Power of Training with Markers.

With all that said, at 12 months old your dog is still growing so I would limit jumping until he’s physically mature.

Cindy


17. Question:

Hi,

I have a 4-year-old GSD who I adopted 2 years ago. He has been trained in advanced obedience, and is well-mannered when I am present. In the last year I have had a baby, and am now pregnant with my second. I admit I haven't been able to take him all over the place like I used to, and now he mainly goes on jogs and walks, and gets to play fetch 2-4 times a day. It never seems like it is enough though. He always seems deprived, and in the house he will spend a half hour whining off and on out of boredom and chewing on himself (even though he has kongs and other toys to chew on)...he does eventually go to sleep. I work with his obedience every other day during my daughter's nap and play with him a lot. He never seems satisfied enough though. He has recently started chasing up and down the fence and barking at people, dogs, cats (that aren't mine), squirrels, and trucks. He never used to do this before I had my child (when I had more time to spend with him and take him places). He only does it when I am not there or I am in the house. If I am outside with him he will ignore everything and put his attention solely on me. I can leave him in the house unattended and he is fine, not destructive or anything. If I hear him barking outside, I will go out there and call him and he will come away from whatever he was barking at every time. It seems to me that the barking and chasing is because he is bored. Also, he has a demanding side of him, and if I go outside and just sit in my chair, he will pace and whine and get frustrated that I am not playing ball with him. I simply ignore him, and he will eventually go scout the yard for things to chase, or run around and stare at me to try and get my attention. Why can't he just relax when I am relaxing and deal with it? Even when I do play with him for a while, and then go sit down, he still gets anxious and paces because I am not playing with him. Why does he do this? If I tell him to go lay down he will, but he always seems so put out about it...kind of annoying. Any suggestions for the nuisance behavior and for helping him feel more fulfilled? I feel like I do quite a bit for him, but it never seems like it is enough for some reason.

Thank you!

~ Kellie

Answer:

It sounds to me like your dog is not getting enough mental or physical exercise. Dogs like this can become neurotic is they are not getting their needs met and it's our responsibility to provide a safe and healthy outlet for them.

I know how busy it gets being a mom, but you have to make the time for exercising the dog's body. A tired dog is a good dog. I have found that using the Chuck It for my very high energy dogs will tire them out much more quickly than just a walk or throwing a ball by hand. I can throw it much farther with the Chuck It.

I would also stimulate his mind in new ways. Marker training is a great way to work with your dog, and it doesn't require fancy equipment or a lot of room. Giving the dog a task or trick to learn challenges him, and mental exercise is a great way to tire out a dog as well. Read the article titled Training With Markers.

I highly recommend our DVD The Power of Training with Markers. You can teach your dog to do tricks and interact with you in a healthy way, instead of whining and pacing. This dvd goes over the foundation to marker training and explains the concept behind it. We also carry a couple of books that are great, Getting Started: Clicker Training for Dogs and The Everything Dog Training and Tricks Book.

For the barking outside, I would recommend a no bark collar. You can find information on No Bark Collars on the web site. I use them in the kennel every day.

Cindy


18. Question:

Hi,

I have a 4 month old (on Nov 1st) boxer puppy, Judah, who has just completed puppy kindergarten and is about to begin beginner obedience at my local dog training facility. He’s doing exceptionally well in his general behavior as well as obedience, however in reading through some of your articles, you speak about a dog working obedience with drive instead of compulsion. You defined working with compulsion as a dog who appears to at best tolerate obedience training. I see so many dogs who are like that and Judah is becoming that way as well. He does really well, he’s a quick learner and is very responsive to my verbal commands, but he just doesn’t seem to enjoy it. I haven’t done an extensive amount of work with him yet as he’s still a baby, I keep sessions very short and end them with play, but as we progress in obedience I need to work harder with him and I don’t want it to become something he hates.

I have read through quite a few of your articles and as you have so many different training videos…

First question:

I have a pretty good handle on establishing leadership and basic obedience training, aside from how to make this fun for him instead of drudgery. Is ‘Building Drive and Focus in Working Dogs’ a good video for me to start with, or is that more suited for folks who have a dog headed for police dog training?

Second question:

I would like to learn the proper way to train Judah for personal protection, but in order to do that, would I have to put him through full fledged protection training? I’m sorry for my ignorance here, I don’t really need an attack dog, but I would like to know the best way to teach him how to protect me and protect the home, if I ever needed him to. Is this something I can do on my own with him?

Thanks,
Jaime

Answer:

I would recommend you work with Judah with markers.

You will see my young dog in a lot of the trailer for our new video The Power of Training Dogs with Markers. I think if you start using this system, you will see your puppy’s enthusiasm really increase. I won’t ever train a dog without this system.

I think Drive and Focus is great if you want to build prey drive in your dog, and if you do plan on protection work I would definitely recommend it.

We have a Q&A section on personal protection training, and protection training pups.

Here are the videos we recommend for Personal Protection:

* Raising a Working Puppy
* Building Drive & Focus with Bernard Flinks
* The First Steps of Bite Training
* The First Steps of Defense
* Training Personal Protection Dogs
* Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs

It’s not really possible to do all the training for a protection dog on your own, there will come a time that you would need to work with a trainer. You can do a lot of the preliminary work yourself though, and that is actually better and less stressful for the dog. They learn the mechanics and techniques with you, and then when the dog is mature (usually 18-30 months old) you can work with a decoy/trainer.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


19. Question:

Thanks for putting this video [The Power of Training Dogs with Markers] out. I am waiting patiently and I am rejuvenated in my training aspirations. I have trained my GS in obedience and achieved a CD title in AKC. I now want to try Marker training and move up the ladder in AKC obedience. I trained my GS with high praise and yank and crank. I am really excited about trying this method.

My question is, will this video explain how to retrain an already trained dog? Will it give me the skills to break down new commands that I will face in the next step of AKC obedience trials?

Thanks,
Mike

Answer:

This video breaks down the marker system for the PERSON so that you can use the techniques to train your dog.  Retraining a dog with this method is really no different than training a new dog.  It’s all started with fun and food and once they realize that they are a partner in the training (as opposed to a recipient) you will see them really enjoy and start trying to problem solve.

We will be doing more videos in the future that will show training steps for more exercises, but having a good understanding the foundation techniques is the key to being a successful marker trainer.

I hope this helps!

Cindy


20. Question:

Hello Cindy,

I just received the Marker Training video yesterday and I noticed how similar it is to Balabanov's training style.  I'm new to all of these different training styles and to dog training in general.  Kind of confusing actually with everything out there now.... Leerburg, Balabanov, Ellis, Dildei, etc.  Can your training methods work with Balabanov's methods?  Am I just keying in on the overall concept and not the specifics of how to use markers for your training methods vs. Balabanov's methods?  I'm asking this question because I like a lot of the ways that the Leerburg videos train dogs and I like a lot of the ways that Balabanov trains dogs.  I just don't know if they would work together if I mix and match different parts of the training methods or if I'm missing some important detail for each that would make it impossible to do that.  I tried to a search on the web board, but I couldn't find too many threads by you or Ed Frawley on Balabanov.

Thanks,
Courtney

Answer:

Hi Courtney,

The reason you find it similar is because marker training (or operant conditioning) is a very simple way to train dogs, and while every trainer can put their own little twist on it by using different words or rewards the concept is scientific and quite simple in theory.  If you try to change the principles too much, you destroy the whole beauty of the system.  I have found that ALL marker trainers who apply the concepts correctly actually have very similar styles. 

So to answer your questions, it’s a great idea to take the ideas that you like and that work for you and your dog and use them even if it’s one thing from Michael Ellis and two things from Ivan, and a couple things from us and so on...  That’s how you create your own style and that’s when you can really call yourself a 'trainer.'

I hope this has helped.

Cindy


21. Question:

Dear Cindy,

I have written with concerns about my daughter's dog previously and you have always been very helpful, so I am coming to you again. This dog was the runt of his litter. He is smart, sensitive, very attached to my daughter and has more a Border Collie than a Lab personality.

His fear of walking on ramps and over metal disappeared after observing another dog walking on the ramp. Following your suggestions, we've seen substantial progress in his overcoming his fears of strangers. But in the past three weeks, he seems to be developing a new fear when traveling in the car. The first occurrence was when my daughter was driving on the highway and came to a bridge, (they had been on this highway and bridge many times previously without incident). Suddenly, the dog jumped into her lap and seemed quite frightened. She had to pull over in order to get him back into the back so she could resume driving. Since then, we have observed him getting down on the floor and visibly trembling when coming to that spot and increasingly this behavior seems to be generalizing to other bridges, other highways. We don't know whether the original fear was triggered by a scent, sight, sound, light falling through the structure of the bridge, the car speed or what. He seems to be OK in town or on quiet country roads, (at least, so far), but we are concerned that his fear will generalize to increasing car situations.

My questions are, 1) is there a way to get to the root cause of the fear? 2) how common is this behavior in dogs? 3) how do we help him overcome it? I know, from your past counsel that the worst thing to do is to console or comfort him when he is in his fear state. We live in a beautiful rural area of the Pacific Northwest and we like to take the dogs out to rivers, beaches and woods as often as we can. We don't want anxieties of car travel to interfere with this dog's enjoyment of his outings.

We'd appreciate any advise you can give.

Thanks,
Marilyn

Answer:

I don't know that it's possible or even really that helpful to get to the root cause of this particular fear. You need to address the fear, and how it came to be may never be discovered. I'll be honest and say that I would not let any dog ride loose in my vehicle. This is a safety issue, for the driver and the dog as well as for any other vehicle on the road. I have a friend who was in a pretty severe accident when her dog jumped onto her lap while driving. Airbags deployed, car totaled, it was quite a scare for all of us.

I would start out fixing this issue by getting a crate for the vehicle.
This would serve two purposes. 1) it will give the dog a safe and secure place to travel where he didn't have to feel worried and 2) it will keep him contained so he can't jump around and cause problems in the car.

If can't fit a crate in the vehicle then at the very minimum I would get one of those seat belt harnesses for him and attach it so he can get on the floor of the car if he feels safer there.

If this dog likes food, I would use marker training to mark and reward GOOD behavior in the car, at first avoiding the bridge or areas that you know are going to make him nervous. Make sure he completely understands the game away from the vehicle first. You'll mark/reward just being in the car, then mark/reward driving in the car, then mark /reward driving on the road where the bridge is, and eventually mark driving under the bridge. This will create a positive association with something that used to scare him.
We just completed a DVD on The Power of Training Dogs with Markers.

Keep in mind that you need to make very small steps in working through something like this, and it will take two people. One to drive and one to mark/reward the dog.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


22. Question:

Your Q&A’s are extremely interesting and helpful.

We have a three year-old male neutered white GSD named “Trigger.”  He can be a bit fear-based dominant and aggressive (I have your DVD).  We are working on this aspect of his personality and making good progress.

We would appreciate your advice on one small issue.  Our bedroom is a duplex.  There is an “open” staircase from the first floor where we have our home office and the second floor where the bed is located.

By open staircase, I mean the steps are wood, but there are no risers behind them.  When Trigger was about a year old he was going up the stairs and on the second step he slipped and hurt himself (not badly).   Ever since then, when he comes to the second step, he gets very agitated and  goes back and forth until he works up enough courage to charge up the stairs.  He has no problem going down the stairs. He also does this on other  stairs that do have risers, but to a much lesser extent.  Is there some way we could help him with this phobia? 

P.S. We have your marker training DVD on order.

Thank you,

Joel

Answer:

I would use marker training to get him through his fear.  Start by reading the article, if you haven’t already done so.  then when you get the dog understanding what the marker means, you can use it to get him up one step, then two, etc….  Take it really slow, slower than he wants to go and it will build his confidence.

I’m glad you have the video on its way, it is what I would have suggested.  I’d make sure to use REALLY high value food rewards, something your dog really loves and doesn’t get regularly (like steak or chicken)  

Cindy


23. Question:

Hello,

I need help with my 15 week old dachshund. I am having the hardest time getting him to wear his collar. I've had dogs my whole life and have never encountered this problem before. As soon as the collar goes on he transforms into a completely different dog. He lays in a corner and whines the entire time it is on him. He does not move! He won't eat, pee, or poop while it's on him. From previous experience, I decided to just leave it on him and he would eventually get used to it, but after 2 days he was the same. He didn't eat, pee, or poop. Just layed in the corner the whole time and cried. He didn't even go in his bed to sleep that night. After realizing that he could make himself sick, I decided to take it off. I praised and rewarded him for wearing it. As soon as it comes off, he's back to the same active, playful Doxie puppy. My vet advised that I try to put it on him for a few hours every day until he gets used to it, but that's been 4 weeks now, and now he runs and hides as soon as he sees the collar coming. He's still exactly the same when it's on him. Because of the collar issue I can't even put a leash on him. He acts like a pig about to be slaughtered when the leash is on him! It's horrible. He has got to get used to his collar, because it's slowing down the training time and I know that this is the crucial time to train him. I've tried different kinds of collars and even a harness, but it's still the same. Please offer me some advice if you can about my stubborn Doxie. I just don't know what else to try with him.

Thanks,
Casey

Answer:

The way I would work with this pup is with marker training.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

You can desensitize dogs to just about anything and teach just about anything using markers  (nail clipping, collars being put on, grooming, tricks,etc).  You can see a preview of the work on the link above.

I’d also recommend giving this pup firm, fair leadership and try not to baby him too much.  I’d read some of our puppy articles, especially the one on puppy groundwork.

We have Corgis and they behave a lot like Dachshunds when it comes to collars, but if you make it a game and don’t become impatient or worried about it, you will find that the marker training works.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy


24. Question:

I ahve been a big fan of your work for the past year and a bit. I am hoping that in my club that I can show your article to a few of my friends stating its source and not taking any credability. Basically showing a print off. I don't know if I can. Please let me know. Thanks

Also....

I have a dog that is very good, very trained and I love him but he has problems. What has happened and I repent everyday for it is that I have mis-timed corrections and severe corrections as in hittings and striking.

This dog is a labx with rotty. Very friendly and a soft dog. You know a small correction will do he is great really. But when I was hitting him and he is too soft and he has submitted ages ago I'm still mad and hitting him and in an agressive state myself and I take the correction too hard, he is now handler aggressive as in if I hit him on his nose, he will snarl with his tongue out, now in all fairness it is too touch and I shouldn't be hitting him and I've stopped, but what do I do about this tendency. The dog adores me and I thought it respected me. He won't do anything without permission and is very attentive to me. I recently got the BH Begleithunde, but this issue I don't like. I think it is just himself being defensive and not agressive but I don't know what to do. I was thinking a rank reduction program but my trainer told me to lift up the dog, for a long period of time not letting it breathe. I've read all your articles I think and I'm not sure what to do, how to this correction properly and sefetly without makign matters worse.

I would really love your help and would really appreciate it.

Thanks a million,
Barry

Answer:

It’s fine to print off an article to share. We don’t allow people to put our articles on their websites, but printing them off to show to your friends is ok.

As for the issue with your dog, I totally disagree with the advice from your trainer. Using more violence with this dog will only damage your relationship further. If this was my dog I’d start all over and try to rebuild the trust and do not hit the dog anymore. Hitting is never an acceptable form of correction and dogs can only take so much before they shut down or fight back. Your dog is totally justified in snarling at you for being hit, he’s telling you in the only way he knows how that he feels that you are being unfair.

I would use our pack structure program and re-establish myself as a firm and fair leader.

I’d start with our Groundwork program.

I would then start working with him with markers we recently released a new video on this as well, The Power of Training Dogs with Markers. Once you both understand the marker system, you can then start working on all of his obedience using them.

I applaud you for asking for help, instead of just continuing down the same path. I wish you the very best. Let me know how it’s going with your dog.

Cindy


25. Question:

I have some basic to intermediate experience with dog training. I have never tried a remote electric collar before, and just purchased one locally, made by SportDog (I have no idea if this is a decent product or not). I just found your website, and would really appreciate some advise as I have a very unique dog. I am a veterinarian, and this dog came in on emergency one night after being hit by 2 cars. The history on this dog was minimal, he was seen by someone in the town being hit in the morning, no-one could catch him, then was hit again in the evening. He crawled under this persons deck, and a member of the SPCA dug him out and brought him in to me. He was pretty traumatized, but interestingly has never tried to snap, growl or bite anyone. He is a rottie x pit bull, probably something else too- not sure. Further investigation revealed that this dog had no home, and had been running around in this village for about 8 months- no-one could get close to him.

He is very gentle, and fine with other dogs, but he is absolutely terrified of people and any loud noises or quick movements. Genetics or
environment- we'll never know. Every client I have says that their dog's been beaten, but with this guy, I really don't know what has happened. I don't believe he'd every been in a house, never on a leash, and hid under a tree for days when we first got him. He still can't walk with anyone walking behind him, has major trust issues and bolts if any stranger even looks at him. I've frankly never seen anything like it.

So, the problem I have with him is that he is so sensitive to any correction that I'm really reluctant to do any serious training with him as every time I gently correct or even say no, he turns into a quivering mess! However, he has developed some bad habits: 1) he will run away when given the chance, even with a long lead on, 2) he chases wildlife and 3) he won't come unless he has the long lead on- he knows we can't catch him. He is very slow to respond to a command...he just starts shaking when we put any pressure on him. He just recently started trusting enough to take treats and actually eats when we watch him now, he will sit, down, heel, come, and a few other polite basics on-leash, but any intense training and he falls apart. I started agility with him and he seemed to catch on really fast, but I am afraid that he will run away if something distracts or scares him. We have had him for a year already, and have made slow but steady progress, but recently had a housesitter that allowed him to run wild- on the street, on other peoples farms, on walks etc, and I feel that a lot of our patient training has completely gone down the drain. I think remote training might be the way to go with this guy, but having no experience myself, and being unable to find anything comparable to our situation on your website, I am a bit afraid to try it and cause more damage. He is a great dog, and we have a pretty tight bond despite his challenging "special needs," so I'm willing to try whatever I can. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you can share your expertise to help me help our guy.

Thank you for your time in advance.

Sincerely,
Elena

Answer:

I think with this dog, based on his fear and lack of self confidence I would work with him using marker training. It’s one of the best systems I have found for any dog, but especially for dogs that need self esteem.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

I also use an ecollar, but since this guy seems to have such trust issues and is worried about normal everyday stuff I think I’d work him only with markers until I saw his personality start to open up and his confidence increases. He could wear the collar daily, just don’t switch it on at this point. He needs to realize that the collar doesn’t mean anything is going to happen.

When you get ready to use the collar, I would recommend this DVD, Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner. The training is the same no matter what brand of collar but I prefer the Dogtra simply because you can increase and decrease the stimulation level in tiny increments. Most of the other collars have a huge jump between stim levels.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


26. Question:

Hi Cindy,

Happy new year, again. You had shared with me that it will be down the road when you and Ed will do another DVD on the power of marker training. In the meantime, how would you use marker training in teaching the sit, down and stand  during recall while being able to do this exercise from 50 yards away?

Blessings,
Ron

Answer:

It’s pretty difficult to train someone how to train their dog via email.  If you know the foundation of markers, you teach the dog the positions and then add distance and distractions just like in any good dog training program.  How fast and far you progress depends on your skill, how much time you can devote to training and the drive and temperament of your dog.

I will say that no matter how well trained my dog is, I’m certainly not going to work him on positions at a distance of 50 yards away very much.  I will do it to proof once in a while, but then will move closer so I can be maintain more of a connection with my dog in everyday training.

I’d recommend you get to a Michael Ellis seminar this year if you can, you won’t regret it. 

Cindy


27. Question:

Hi,

I have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old male Sable German Shepherd that I truly love; however, he has issues that I desperately need help with resolving.  Bandit has gone through basic obedience training and I continue to work with him with what I know.  He is very smart but based on the pod casts from your web site I believe he has weak nerves. He is very nervous around strangers and any quick moves from anyone other than me he reacts as if he is going into fight or flight mode.  

I have had him since he was 6 weeks old and never left him for any amount of time other than 2-3 days occasionally for boarding since he turned 2 years old.  I have learned to be stern with him and he listens very well and we have a great bond but I can't take him anywhere around other people or other animals without him acting out.  He loves being groomed and we do that weekly because he enjoys it so much and so do I.

He is crate trained and does not have a problem with being crated while I am away. I always crate him when I leave home.  He is a big dog, I have attached a picture so you can see but I can't take him anywhere. I have not been able to find a trainer to help me with this new problem and am hoping that with all of your years of experience in working with German Shepherds that you will have some advice.

Looking forward to hearing from you.  I would appreciate your help.

Thanks,
Delores

Answer:

Dogs like this always respond to increased feelings of security, and that comes from putting them on a schedule that promotes you as a leader in all situations through out the day.  By upping the leadership and structure in and around your home, it will help Bandit to let YOU be the leader and be less worried about strangers or other things that are out of his control.  A good leader lets their pack members know that they will always be protected.  This goes against what most people think when they get a dog, they think the dog should protect them but in most cases this is not going to happen.  The dogs look to us for leadership and it’s our duty to provide it.

I’d start with our Groundwork program. http://leerburg.com/groundwork.htm 

Pack Structure for the Family Pet http://leerburg.com/308.htm  

Dogs with confidence issues also really benefit from marker training.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy


28. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a couple of questions I have been thinking about for a while and would appreciate your input.

Firstly in regards to marker training - changing commands and relearning old commands.

During the training with my dog I have indivertibly made commands which sound very similar and wish to change them, I have used "with me" as the command for my dog to follow me/come with me, and I have used "watch me" as a look command, obviously there is an area for confusion with my dog now. If I wish to change the "watch me" to "look" should I mark the behaviour as I first did and when the dog is offering this behaviour then add new command just as if I were teaching a new behaviour/command?

Also can I re-teach old commands such as "sit" using markers if  the command was originally taught without markers, or is it ok just to leave already taught commands as the are and just mark and reward.  

Second - walking a dominant dog.

In a couple of your DVDs it is mentioned that it is not necessary to have a dog walk at your side while walking your dog but can be on a 6 foot lead, I understand this but is it still true with a dominant dog, would it be best to keep a dominant dog close by your side and slightly behind me?

Also my dog always walks with some forward pressure on the lead, not much but still pressure, is this to be accepted or should I expect a slack lead ? I have a dogtra collar, should I stem him as soon as feel slight forward pressure on lead?

Is it also feasible to have to micro manage these types of dogs there whole life? I find he is very good at finding holes in the way I control his daily life it seems he is always looking to take any opportunity to test my leadership, If I give him the slightest freedom he sees this as some weakness and will misbehave and act pushy at any opportunity, is this just the way a dominant dog is or does he not respect my position as leader or is it just his age?

PS My dog is a 15month old GSD intact male.

Kind Regards,
Neil

Answer:

It’s fine to use markers to “re-teach” things the dog already knows. The more practice you can get using markers the better it is for your dog. I’ve had to change commands, when I found I was confusing my dog.  Obviously it’s best to NOT confuse the dog, but it happens to the best of us. Just pick another word that’s easier for both of you to use. Say “LOOK”  then use the old command, then mark and reward. Very soon you won’t need to use the old command at all.  I hope that makes sense.

I’d make sure a dominant dog was never in front and I would not allow any tension on the leash at all. Low level nick on the ecollar is very effective with many dogs because you don’t actually have to move your arm or the leash to remind him of where he belongs.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


29. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I recently sent you an email about my 4 month old Dachshund absolutely refusing to wear his collar. I really do hate to write to you again regarding the same problem, but I really am pretty desperate right now.

When the collar goes on him, he refuses to do anything. He won't eat, drink, pee, poop, play, or do ANYTHING at all. All he does when it's on is go in his kennel and lay there the entire time. You suggested that I handle this problem with "marker training." I bought the tape from your company "your puppy 8 weeks to 8 months," which I found very helpful. I also read the article about marker training. I think this is an incredible way to train dogs, in fact, after the first training session with my pup he was sitting and laying down and performing the "touch" command. It has been very useful and he has picked up very quick on the commands that I want him to do. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked that great with the collar training. The only thing that it has accomplished it to get him to where he's not scared of the collar. He doesn't run and hide anymore when I pull it out and put it on him, but as soon as it goes on he refuses to do ANYTHING. He runs away, rolls over, scratches, whines, and then runs in his kennel and does not come out unless I drag him out of it. He won't perform any of the commands, he won't even take his favorite treat from me. I've tried ignoring him thinking that he will get used to it, but after 3 days of lying in his kennel with no eating, drinking, peeing, or pooping I took it off of him. As soon as it comes off he's back to his active puppy self and eats, drinks, pees, and poops, and plays, and does all of his commands. I've been taking it off once a day to let him to all of his "natural" duties, but as soon as it goes back on him, he runs in his kennel. I"ve been trying this method now for 1 1/2 weeks, but I see no progress whatsoever. I am so frustrated and aggravated about this situation because I've never encountered anything like this before in a puppy. I have asked everyone I can possibly think of, have spent money on websites that say they can answer "any dog training question you have," but noone can seem to help me with this issue. I am pretty much desperate right now and will try anything at this point. Please offer me more advice if you possibly can.

Thank You so much for everything. The leerburg website is wonderful and I have it saved in my "favorites" because I refer to it very often.

Please help me out,
Casey

Answer:

If your puppy isn’t responding then you haven’t broken it down small enough increments for him. What type of collar are you using anyway?

If this was my puppy all food would come from my hand, from now on.
Obviously something has happened that has made your puppy think that a
collar is bad. There is not going to be an easy fix, since he’s been
allowed to mope around with the collar on, then you’ve dragged him out (very negative thing that just reinforces in his mind that the collar brings bad things) You’ve had anxiety about the collar, and he does too.
You are supposed to be his leader and you need to be more matter of fact about it.

You can bet if I sense your desperation and frustration through an email, your puppy is picking up on it big time. This will only make the problem continue and become a neurosis. Be creative, think outside the box.

If this was my puppy, he’d see the collar ( or piece of string or whatever I decided would be easy to tolerate for the first step), click & treat. He’d eat his food one piece at a time, from me when I had the collar in my hand. Then I’d put it near him, click and treat. I’d get this dog to beg me to put the collar on, and when I finally would put the collar on, I’d click and treat and take it off immediately. I’d make everything good happen when the collar is around him or on him.
When he doesn’t have the collar on, he’d go in his crate… no attention, no food at that time. Use reverse psychology.

If you understand marker training, this will make sense to you.

Cindy

Thank You:

Thank You very much for your very quick response. Everything that you have said makes complete sense. I will definitely try this method and try to ease my own emotions when working with him on this. I really like the idea of putting him in his crate when the collar is not on. I didn't even think about that, but it's definitely good advice. Thank You very much once again. I hope that this will help my pup and I'm going to approach this with the utmost confidence.

Response:

That sounds MUCH better :-) Project confidence!

Let me know how it goes. I am betting you’ll do great.

Cindy

Progress Update:

Hi Cindy,

I just thought I'd fill you in on the progress with my Dachshund and his collar training. It's been one week since I got the advice from you and I am happy to say that he is now wearing his collar and actually cooperating. He's still not quite as active as when the collar is off, but he now obeys commands, eats, drinks, plays a little, and runs around when the collar is on him. It's amazing how quick it worked. The part about putting him in the kennel and giving him no attention when the collar was off is what really bothered him. Once I got him desensitized to the collar, I would not let him step out of his kennel without the collar on. I would make him sit right by the door and wait until I got it on him. Once he realized that, he was completely fine with it, and now I don't even have to tell him to sit. He now comes out just far enough for me to reach his neck, sits and waits until the collar is on.

After it goes on, he runs around and plays. No more whining or moping around from him. Thank You so much for the advice. I should have already known how to do this, because I am a psychiatric RN and very familiar with all of the operant conditioning and other methods of psychology, but sometimes I guess you need to hear it from someone other than your self to help pull it out of your brain. Thanks again for the wonderful advice. I will definitely be buying more from your company and using it quite a lot for all of my future needs. Your site is by far THE best one I've ever come across, and that has been quite a lot with this little problem I've been going through. You were the only person that responded to me with a logical explanation. I will most definitely be referring other people to your site as well.

Your loyal customer,
Casey


30. Question:

Hi Ed,

My name is Mike and I'm a retriever trainer & competitor in Michigan. I just watched your marker training video and I am looking to bring more of market training into my field. I see a lot of applications.

I compete with labs in retriever hunt tests (HRC, AKC) and 99.9% of the trainers are force & correction crazy. Do you have any other work (podcasts, videos, etc.) that may apply to retriever training? In the DVD you said that you have a new DVD coming out, when will that be available?

Enjoyed the video and have read most of your eBooks & listened to your podcasts. Great work!

Mike

Answer:

Mike,

I certainly agree with you on retriever training. The majority of trainers are old school train ing with barbaric training methods.

Later this year I wil be doing a number of training videos with markers – one of which will be the motivational retrieve. You can get a glimpse of the beauty and reliability of this work by going to my web site – streaming videos – (look on the blue side bar of every page for streaming videos. There are some short videos there of Cindy doing retrieve work with her young mal.

I'll be doing this video with Michael Ellis.

The think about marker training is that the power lies in the foundation. Once you have a good foundation in markers and play with the dog (I will do a video on this too) training the exercises is drop dead simple – basically because you have then establishing a language of stress free communication that your dog understands. It doesn’t matter what dog sport you care to compete in – or what exercises you care to train your dog to do.

If you get my newsletters you will see when I come out with these new DVDs  

The bottom line is field trial trainers are living in the dark ages. Schutzhund and the biting sports used to be there. More and more the only people who win in Schutzhund or Mondio Ring are marker trainers. This will come to field trials – it cant not come. Sooner or later there wil be marker trainers in your sport that will win everything  - then the others will change. In our case dogs that were winning in the early 1990’s wouldn’t even be in the top ten finishers of a competition today.

Ed Frawley


31. Question:

I have a male Aussie that has been training in agility for about a year. In the last few months I've been working on building a tug drive using Susan Garrett's techniques. Well he's got lot's of tug drive but he always wants to grip really close to my fingers and sometimes puts to much pressure and it hurts. How do I get him to grip lower on the toy without killing his drive? What  usually do is say OWWW and Out and when he chooses a better spot to tug we go at it again. Is this a good method? He's bruised my hand a few times and I try to keep the sessions short so he doesn't get over stimulated but I would eventually like to use this as a reward without him taking my hand off.  
Aliza

Answer:

I wouldn’t say out. I’d go back to teaching the dog targeting.  I use marker training to reinforce this, just like I do everything else. If the dog is biting my hand instead of the tug, then I use my negative mark and the game stops. Dogs absolutely know where they are putting their mouths, and if you’ve already done marker training then he will already understand the concept. You may also want to experiment with different types of tugs.  Some of them promote erratic gripping. We have a variety of tugs, sometimes you also need to experiment with different biting surfaces as well as enforcing the rules of play.

Here’s the article on markers and the video we released about 4 months ago The Power of Training Dogs with Markers.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


32. Question:

I have a 5 year old Yellow Lab I got from an abused home. She has been with me for four years and has settled in nicely.  She has learned a lot of obedience but refuses to return the ball or whatever we use for fetch. She wants to play keep away. I won't chase her around which is what she wants. I was told not to chase her by the dog trainer and eventually she will learn to bring it to me if she wants to play. Well that was three years ago and if I walk away and refuse to chase her she just finds something else to do. HELP

Thanks
Judy

Answer:

I would use marker training for this. 

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

I’d teach her that she brings the toy back and you give her a high value treat OR you have a second toy that you throw as soon as she drops the original one. I’d also never play with her unless she’s on a long line so you can prevent the playing keep away. You need to give her some rules for the game and I think she’ll come around nicely.

Cindy


33. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a question on training that I would like your advice on please.

When say for example that you are correcting your dog for an unwanted behaviour like looking at another dog or chasing and barking at a cat and you put him a down stay and he complies but he will whimper and whine to express his frustration at not being able to do what he wants, should this verbalisation of his frustration be tolerated or should it be corrected at an appropriate level to stop the behaviour after a verbal “no.”

I hope this makes sense

Thanks :)

Kind Regards,
Neil

Answer:

I do not allow my dogs to vocalize in these situations.  This can be tricky to do.  Sometimes it’s best to start off by teaching the dog quiet with a reward first, by getting one second of a break in the whining and then mark and reward and gradually increasing the amount of time you expect your dog to restrain himself.

Sometimes with dogs that like to whine and squeak, a physical correction actually makes them more squeaky so you’ll have to experiment with what works for your dog. 

If you aren’t already using marker training, I’d recommend it. It can really accelerate the understanding.

Cindy


34. Question:

Hello Ed,

Thanks so much for building such a great and informative site. I have and train sporting dogs for show and field work. I never agreed with total compulsion training, but was against those clicker/positive only extremists as well. I'm glad to have found your site and videos that gives me a good middle ground. I am now rewriting all my former compulsive only methods of ecollar training and field work to inlude marker work to train the commands... but will still use the ecollar to reinforce them once they known.

My question is in relation to my 20 month male old Vizsla puppy that I bred and raised. He is the greatest little show man in the world except for the judges exam. When he was about 16 months old he was stacked for the exam at a show. The judge was a new provisional judge and scared him to death. She first came over the top of his head quickly and when he balked backwards she jumped back and pulled her hands back. Her next moves were very hesitant and she kept quickly moving her hands back... well after a few times of this he decided she was not trustworthy and refused the exam altogether. She excused him from the ring and that was that. Over the next few months we worked on having people examine him and sometimes he was fine and sometimes he is not, but overall he improved. This past weekend I took him back in the ring and this judge also hesitated on exam and he actually tried to bite me to get away from her. Of course he was excused again. I walked him around the whole show all day and he gladly met with strangers of all shapes and sizes. He is not afraid of people... but I have no idea how to get that "picture" of the "death exam" out of his mind or change it to a good thing. I tried putting him up on a table and having a friend who he has met several times go over him and he got so scared he released his anal glands and almost flipped the table over. But then seconds later he was fine with him petting him. He loves to travel to the shows, crates fine at home and at shows, loves walking around the shows and free stacking. He likes to meet people. He will walk right up and sniff them and let them pet him or give him treats. However, now that I am really paying attention, it seems to go well when it is on his terms. When he moves forward towards them it is fine... but if they come towards him with out him acknowlegding them, he usually will back up.

I realize we are at the last fear period of 16-20 months (and my vizslas mature slower than most physically and mentally-they are of European bloodlines). I also think he has an insecure dominance problem. I don't know if maybe he is trying to protect me and can't when he is restrained. I really don't know. Many of my fellow handlers and long time breeders have given many tips. I'm not quite sure how to proceed so as not to make things worse.

We did some compulsive ecollar obedience work for the field when he was younger and he shut down on me completely. It was to the point that he would not leave heal position no matter what and when that didn't work he would run back to the truck or his crate and just scream and take the corrections. It was awful. I was working together with a long time professional field trainer and followed some of his methods only to come and find out that they will not work for my dogs. We took the rest of the season off and just had fun. That training destroyed all the confidence he had out in the field and took away the drive for the birds. We have done some marker training now on the commands that he previously shut down on and his confidence is slowly coming back and he is having fun working. He is a fun little dog and likes to work. I just need to find the right amount of positive training and the right amount of correction to get what we want done. Otherwise he is a very obediant little guy and learns things quickly.

I would appreciate your advice. One more time excused from the ring and his show career is over. Not to mention, any competition that requires an exam by a judge.

Thank you in advance.

Andrea

Answer:

Without seeing your dog I can guess that the combination of his fear during the exam and being prevented from leaving has left him feeling cornered. Add the fact that he’s had compulsive training that (in my opinion) was unfair to him. You are right that his confidence in you has been broken. By continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is not fair to your dog. Instead of rebuilding the trust in you, you are letting him rehearse his feelings of fear every time you put him in the situation that you know is making him extremely uncomfortable.  It’s a no-win situation. He is NOT trying to protect you; he’s trying to get away from a situation that makes him feel trapped. 

He needs you to be a dependable and compassionate leader, he needs to have confidence in his safety when he’s with you. He doesn’t have that right now.

If you want to do the right thing for him, you’ll forget about dog show exams for a while.  I’d start over with marker training.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers - I would not do ANY other kind of training except marker training with this dog.

I’m going to recommend a book that is EXCELLENT and applies to your situation 100%.  It’s called The Thinking Dog.

The last thing I’d be worried about with him is corrections or dog shows. This may be something that never really goes away, but I think if you are willing to change your mindset and get rid of the direct line thinking (that plague all of us humans) you may be able to work him through it.  I wouldn’t get in a hurry and I wouldn’t put any time limits on this. 

You may want to join our discussion forum too, it's a great resource.

Good luck with him, I hope this helps.

Cindy


35. Question:

Thanks for all previous advice.

I am learning marker training, I started not long after you wrote the new article around Oct last year I think it was but didn’t quite get it and long story short only started the system again recently, the dog and I are now figuring it out and we both enjoy it, he is much more handler focused and its very cool to watch him offer behaviors, so thanks for the direction on that.

I have a question on nail clipping ear cleaning etc on dominant handler aggressive dogs.

My dog will not let me touch his paws or ears for cleaning/checking (if I force issue I know he will bite), I have tried marking my hand touching his paws and slowly adding time with my hand on paw with little success, he just knows were its going and is not interested in this game.

Do I continue this approach and just be more patient, or follow the advice I have been given below?

The dog trainer I am seeing has said that with some hard dominant dogs you just have to muzzle the dog and force the dog to let you do it.

Your thoughts please...

Kind Regards,
Neil

Answer:

You’re probably rushing things too much with marker training. Instead of trying to mark for touching paws, start by touching his leg in an area he doesn’t mind and work your way down slowly. It may take a long time, but it’s much better for the relationship than muzzling and force. Just my opinion.

Cindy


36. Question:

I have a Neapolitan Mastiff who hates water. We live in Phoenix and have a pool. I would like him to be able to get in the water to cool during the summer. I did get him a life preserver in the hopes he would feel more comfortable, but it doesn't help. Is there some way I can get him more comfortable with the water?

Susie

Answer:

For any kind of fear or aversion like this, I use positive association and marker training.  I use whatever the dog values most, and use it to get the dog closer and closer to the water and eventually get the dog stepping on the stairs in the pool, etc… this is how I teach dogs to swim, but it can take a really long time and you can’t lose patience and push the dog past his comfort level.  

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers Article  and The Power of Training Dogs with Markers DVD.

You may first have to condition the dog to the life jacket, away from the pool scenario.

We put a clip on our newsletter this week that shows how to start a dog with a muzzle, the training steps for a life jacket and for getting in a pool are the same.

If you are new to our website, you may be interested in taking a look at our weekly newsletter.

Not all dogs can learn to like water, so it’s best to keep an open mind about it. Take the dog as far as he’s comfortable and don’t get in a hurry. If you’ve ever forced the dog to get in you may have lost his trust in this regard, so it may make your job more difficult or impossible.

Good luck, let me know how it goes.

Cindy


37. Question:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

Hello, I hope this message finds you doing well. I am writing with regard to Kona, a 7 month old female Vizsla my wife and I own. We clearly failed to establish pack structure with her. The situation now is that she she has had trouble with impulse control and often seems unable to calm herself. She also exhibits aggression toward the leash and sometimes her handler when on walks. This behavior is coupled with constant pulling and disregard for the handler.

Taking note of this behavior, we concluded we needed advice on establishing pack structure. We purchased your DVD on it, as well as the dominant and aggressive dog video. My question relates to the pack structure DVD. 

As I understand it, Phase I begins with social isolation, including no eye contact, no toys, no lovey-dovey talk, no petting, and a lot of crate time. A few weeks ago (before buying your DVD), we started adding structure to Kona's day by placing her in the crate and only letting her out if we had something specific for her to do - walk, eat, potty, or play.  However, you will note that we still let her play and petted her, etc -- we still gave her lots of potentially pack-elevating attention. Now, we are starting over and trying to be more aloof with her. However, as you probably know, Vizsla's seem to require a great deal of exercise. This has been difficult to provide, given her behavior problems on the leash.  Thus, we have resorted to using both walks and mental exercises (that are designed to aid with impulse control) to give her the stress-relieving stimulation she seems to need. I should note that she has responded well to these exercises, in my inexperienced opinion. (We can place her favorite treats on the floor and she waits until we give the okay release to eat them.)

So, my question is this - is it possible to be sufficiently aloof but still provide some form of training (with food treats) during Phase 1, or should this phase have absolutely limited interaction (potty break, feeding, and aloof walks)? For instance, in your DVD, you teach owners how to introduce the crate to the dog, and how to walk them out the door, etc.  These activities all involved you giving them praise (petting, vocal) and treats. Are these considered acceptable methods under Phase 1, or are they for use after Phase 1?

Thanks very much for your time. I hope one day Kona will, as you note in the video, sit calmly beside my desk in the morning as I finish my first cup of coffee.

Best regards,
Jonathan

Answer:

At 7 months old I would imagine your dog is not truly what I would consider a hard case for dominance/aggression. Most likely scenario is that she’s a wild child that was given too much freedom up until now. It’s a double edged sword with young, high energy dogs. You don’t want to be giving affection for no reason or be too demonstrative but I don’t feel there is anything wrong with giving her some verbal praise or a treat for following the rules.  

If you haven’t explored marker training yet, I would highly recommend it. It’s wonderful to engage a dog’s mind.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers DVD

I hope this helps.

Cindy


38. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a small problem with my Doberman he is now 5 years old, when I give the command down or drop depends which word some handler use, he drops but starts to whine(cry) non stop, I tried everything used the e-collar he stops for a few seconds than he starts again, than I tried to release him the very moment he stops whining to give him the message that he will be released only when he stops this behavior didn't work either, and it is a problem when we are in a competition no other dog minds to be in the down position except my dog you can hear him from miles away and he wont stop till he is released. Is there a solution for this?

Thank you for your time.

Regards,
Angela

Answer:

This problem was covered in a book I recently read.  If your dog knows marker/clicker training you can actually give him another behavior to do WHILE he’s laying down so he has something else to focus on and to take his mind off of whining.  I believe the lady in the book taught her dog to balance something on his head.  It sounds funny, but it worked and she had the problem you do with competitions.  If your dog doesn’t know marker training, then now is a great time to introduce him to it. 

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers DVD

What do you have to lose? Except maybe a dog that whines.

Here’s the book, The Thinking Dog. It’s an excellent training book, one of the best I’ve read.

Cindy


39. Question:

Hi Cindy,

My questions is, what if I've been using the clicking sound with my mouth as the marker, but want to change it to "yes." What is the best way to go about it or should I just stay with the clicking sound. It's that I feel that when we're at places where I need to get her focused, I want to call her in some way to get her attention. What do you suggest? Thank you in advance.

Rob

Answer:

If your dog already understands markers, then changing from a click to YES is not a problem. Merely start with a session of charging your new marker (YES) with something simple you know the dog will do.  I’ve started a lot of dogs out with a clicker and switched them to a verbal marker quite easily.

I will caution you about using a marker word for anything other than marking a behavior.  If you start using it merely to get her attention you will diminish the power of the system.  Use some other way to get her attention, don’t use the marker for that.  The mark is to ONLY MARK the exact moment she does something you like.

Cindy


40. Question:

Hi Ed and Cindy,

I will keep this brief as I know you are innundated daily.  I have three of your DVDs (have watched 1.5 so far, as my pup keeps me very occupied and TV time is zero nowadays).

I am trying to teach my 4 month old mal the place command.  Well, I am trying to start that training.  We have used "yes" as his marker and he knows "yes" is a good thing.  I put his kennel blanket on the livingroom floor to start the training, but he avoids it at all costs.  I've tried a different blanket as well, and used his kennel one because he lies on it and is comfortable with it in his kennel, but to avail.  I know i should not "bribe" him to get on it or touch it, but he just walks around it or sits and stares at me (he knows i have treats and is highly food driven). 

I have tried putting it in a doorway and walking through the door so when he follows me I can mark it and reward him, but he does not seem to get the connection, and just sits near me once he reaches me (even after getting food from the blanket, following the "yes" and reward drop).

Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks!
Donna 

Answer:

I don’t think you are breaking the exercise down into pieces he can understand. You need to reward even a glance at the blanket and then think about placement of reward. The reward should only be placed on the blanket and then as he connects the dots in training you up your criteria and ask for more than just a glance.

I’d read this article on marker training and I highly recommend these 2 videos.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

The Power of Training Dogs with Food

The Marker DVD covers all the theory and how to break down an exercise and reward the slightest try, even if to us it doesn’t feel like much of a try.  Also, instead of looking at the dog try looking at where you want him to go.

PS which videos do you have? I checked the database and the videos I show you having are Drive & Focus and Basic Obedience. Neither of those would cover the concepts of marker training in any kind of detail at all. 

I’d also direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website. It will find posts, articles and Q & A’s that deal with your search terms.

I hope this helps.


41. Question:

Dear Cindy,

I have a 10 month old  female GSD.  We have the use of our neighbors acre size fenced yard and I take my dog over every day to let her run and exercise her. Today, she was getting into something I didn't want her messing with and when I tried to block her getting to what she wanted, she lunged at me a few times trying to bite. I literally had to kick her back to keep her from biting at me. I have seen the pack structure DVD and she has been through obedience training since the very beginning. I am also training her in SAR and she is doing very well with that. It is times like today and other times she has jumped up to bite, that I feel she is not respecting me as leader, but am not sure what else to do. I am wondering if I should use an e collar and correct her with that when she tries to bite. She has a dominant personality and is a very independent dog. I have done marker training with her and she has learned really well with it, but if she knows I don't have food she will not come when called. I used to have her drag a long line, but she kept getting tangled in it. I did a lot of research on training and have learned a lot from your website as well as your DVDs and yet I feel so discouraged with her, I want to throw in the towel most days. I have kids and I don't want her to end up biting them seriously or me. She is crate trained and is not allowed on furniture or beds. She is not dominant about her food or toys or chew things.  It is this one thing of trying to bite either me or my kids. I owned 2 other dogs who never did anything like this so it baffles me. Can you give me any suggestions as to what I should do?

Thanks so much,
Shirley

Answer:

Is this dog already trained with the electric collar? What videos do you already have? I looked you up in our customer database and don’t have any orders on file.

The recommendations I would make are this:

Back up your training to establish more leadership. Your dog does not respect you if she’s trying to bite when you block her from something she wants. At 10 months old she’s only an adolescent, not even close to being fully mature. If you don’t work on this now, then it will only continue to escalate.

Start with our groundwork program

Pack Structure for the Family Pet

Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs

Before you ever would use the ecollar for this, make sure you know how to properly use it and the dog is properly introduced to the sensation of the stimulation.

We have an excellent video on how to use the collar, Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

You say your dog will only respond to marker training if you have food. This means that you have made some big mistakes in your training. You have either used the food as a bribe, instead of a reward AND/OR you have tried to use markers when you didn’t really have anything to give the dog. At 10 months old you should NEVER EVER give your dog a command without being prepared to pay her for listening to you. You should also not show the dog the food before you ask her to follow a command. The food should be hidden on you, and used as a reward, not a bribe. 

I’d suggest this article on marker training.

These videos:

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food

I’d also direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website. It will find posts, articles and Q & A’s that deal with your search terms.

Cindy


42. Question:

Cindy,  

Here is my question. I know a lot of trainers use a coke can with pennies in it, to control their dogs in certain situations. I am new at training but i have a reservation about using this method. It seems to me it is a fear technique, and could break down trust in your relationship with your dog.

Some people would say it is no different than a collar correction, where the owner makes the dog uncomfortable or causes pain but to me there is a difference. I have a question about the retrieve also, do you use a ear pull in training the retrieve or is your retrieve totally motivational?    

Thanks a lot, 
Roz

Answer:

I’ve never used a shake can. Since the invention of the ecollar I don’t see the need for it. If I need to reach my dog from a distance I’ll use the ecollar, not a shake can.

I use marker training for the retrieve. 

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

We will also be producing a dvd on the retrieve with Michael Ellis in the future. I do not use a force or correction based retrieve.

If you check out the streaming video section of our website you’ll see me using markers and free shaping to get one of my dogs to pick up a retrieve object.

Cindy


43. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a 14 month GSD female from an expensive kennel. Shipped to me at 9 weeks. She was spayed after the first heat. She has a huge play (prey) drive and a very low food drive. She does respond to markers. Sasha is on a raw meat diet shared with Embark from Honest Ketchen. She has a good appetite. Because markers are ineffective, what is another form of correction besides the ecollar which I use infrequently. the behaviors I want to correct are: indifferent recall, jumping on and/or being aggressive with strangers.... not mean but scary to them until I get her calmed down.

Thanks,
James

Answer:

You've got me confused. You say she has low food drive BUT she has a good appetite. That doesn't make sense. If the dog has a good appetite then you should be able to use food for marker training, you just may not have made sure she's hungry enough or found a high enough value treat.

I wouldn't be so fast to write off marker training.

Have you read this article on marker training? I'd also recommend these 2 videos; The Power of Training Dogs with Markers and The Power of Training Dogs with Food.

I think you will find that if you follow the outline in these videos your dog will respond very well and the need for corrections will be much less frequent. She just needs to learn to engage with you.

We are also just getting ready to release The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog. It's the follow up DVD to the 2 I list above.

If your dog is engaged with you then you'll have her attention, and the behaviors you want to address will be much easier to deal with and you can use rewards to reinforce good behavior instead of just automatically correcting her for things you don't want her to do.

You can always go to corrections but I HIGHLY recommend this system first.

Learn to use the search function (located in the left hand corner of every page on our website). Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


44. Question

Cindy-

I have a 5 month old lab that I am trying to get to retrieve a dummy. She seems more interested in everything else around her.  She will go get the dummy then either not bring it back or drop it half way and go on doing something else. Is there an easy solution for this?

Thanks,
Shannon

Answer:

Your dog needs to be more focused and engaged with you.  If she’s more interested in other things that’s a sign that she’s not ready for the level of distraction that you are subjecting her to.  You also need to keep your dog on a leash, so she doesn’t have the option to leave you.

I’d recommend learning to use markers with her.

these 2 videos are going to help you apply the skills you need to get your dog more engaged with you.  I can’t recommend them enough.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

The Power of Training Dogs with Food

Learn to use the search function (located in the left hand corner of every page on our website) Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps.


45. Question:

Dear Cindy,

My blue heeler is a challenge as I am a first time dog owner. She's 18 mos and very alpha. I'm getting burnt out trying to figure her out. 

I'm in a rally class and can't get her motivated. She crawls through the course, but when I play with her alone, she runs like a bullet. She has a lunging problem so I started using a dominant collar. She won't engage with me anymore unless were training at home with toys. When I'm in rally she ignores me and I have to drag her through the course. She and I have come a long way but I don't know how to make things work with her.

Please help!

Sincerely,
Marlene

Answer:

I’d take a step back from the class and get her to the point that she’ll ploy with you and take food in all environments.  Until she does that, training is not going to happen (at least not training with a good attitude and motivation)

I’d start over by reading this article on marker training first.

I’d then recommend these DVDs.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

The Power of Training Dogs with Food

The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog (not yet released, but very soon). You can preorder this one.

I’d watch some of the video at this link, specifically the Michael Ellis stuff and the marker videos.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

Another Question:

Aloha Cindy,

Thank you for your reply and resources.

I was reviewing your website and Mike's videos on you-tube last night so I thought I'd try to email. I'm grateful for your response.

The dominant collar is quite successful in a matter of a couple days.  I'm working on basics of engaging her and it's coming along quickly in the past 2 days.

I tried to play with my her on my lunch hour after toy play, but as soon as I try to do class work, she gets slow as molasses and "do I have too" after just finishing go throughs at the speed of sound?!?!   

Was I supposed to just play with her and leave training for later on?

As a beginner it's really hard to figure out what kind of schedule and what is the sequence of events...a fun walk vs. training or a combination of both. Class keeps saying keep it fun, so I try but if I'm not successful with her on the field, I know I'm messing up somewhere.

I look forward to reading/viewing your information.  Do you think I should take a respite from formal class training?  A few months?? Do you think I'd do better just training from your dvds? vs going to formal classes??

I'm ready for the best decision.

Sincerely,
Marlene

Answer:

I’d completely stop the formal classes and do the work on the DVDs. I’d never take my dog to a class to teach him anything, only to proof my training once he’s fully ready for distractions. A class situation is too much for most dogs in the learning phase and you lose their attention and drive. Instead of realizing this is the case, new trainers then resort to corrections which shut the dog down further. The dog  thinks “wow, training is horrible!” and then goes into a low drive state whenever she associates an activity with “training.” Don’t practice the stuff from your class, because she has a bad association with that type of work. Start over from scratch with her.

I’d highly recommend the videos I referred to in my first email. 

Good luck with her!


46. Question:

Cindy,

I'm about to order Michael's newest DVD. I have an 18 month old Golden. Which tug toy would you recommend. I'd like to order both simultaneously and save with the free shipping!

Answer:

I actually recommend a variety of tugs, for a number of reasons.  One is that I don’t want my dog to be fixated on only one biting surface.  I want my dog to tug equally well on jute, leather and linen.  The other reason is that without meeting your dog and seeing his biting style, I can’t know which type of tug is going to be easiest for him to bite and hold on to while he’s learning to play with you.

http://leerburg.com/minitug.htm  here is a link that has some of my favorites.  The synthetic is usually easiest for beginning dogs to bite.

I hope this helps.


47. Question:

Dear Ed and Cindy,

I have most of your DVDs and I just bought training with markers and training with food. I read that they both work very well together. The question I have is, which do I watch first? Is there one that will help make the other one make more sense to me? I think I will watch both before I do anything with them, but I just wanted to know if there is one that goes before the other to help it all make more sense in the whole scheme of it all. My other questions is about exercising my dog. He turned two on September 28th but from what I have heard from the owners of his father (astana alfons), mother and grandfather (Mentos vom Huhnegrab) this line matures slowly. They are more puppy like in their appearance, color and temperament longer. He is an outside dog for the most part but does come into the house when it is too cold or hot and to just hang out with my wife and I. I have seen the weighted collars and vests. Is this something that I could use on him at this age? I lift weights all the time and wouldn’t mind a buff muscular dog as long as it is healthy for him. Also should he be running with me or along side my bike? Can the weights be added to that over time. Any help would be really appreciated! Thanks. And  you site is the best.

Omar

Answer:

Watch The Power of Training Dogs with Markers first.  It goes over the mechanics and theory that you’ll need in the food video. 

I’d condition your dog first without any weights and then gradually add weight to his vest or collar. If you know how to lift weights properly, then conditioning a dog is very similar.  Work the dog up gradually, and give him rest days in between. He can run with you or with your bike, but start slow and watch his pads.  Run him on soft dirt or grass if possible.

I’m limited to the type of exercise I can give my own dogs here in the winter, but in summer I try to rotate between swimming, tugging, sprinting and long walks on hills. In winter I snowshoe so the dogs run at their own pace. My own dog is just over 2 years old and he will begin carrying light weights on our daily walks over the next couple of weeks.

I hope this helps. Cindy


48. Question:

Hello,

I have read the article on marking training and have seen some training videos on your site and on a video I ordered from leerburg. I'm confused about the release. If I use the word yes for marking, is yes also the release? On one of the videos I saw a puppy being taught marker training and there was no talk about it. And on another video it explained the release command. Can you explain briefly please. Thank you.

Answer:

The marker (whether it's YES or a clicker) is also the release. It marks the exact moment the dog did what you wanted, so you MARK it and that tells the dog he's free to now access his reward.  That's the power of it.

I'd highly recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Markers. It explains all of this in more detail than I can in an email.

Cindy Rhodes


49. Question:

Cindy,
 
Hello, first of all great info I have recieved from your newsletters and the question and answer part of the webpage.
 
I have a 10 month old rottweiler that I am training with Michael Ellis methods. I have the 3 DVDs and I have followed them through. I have two questions on them. When I am asking my dog positions, sometimes he makes a mistake or just stares at me, this is usually when I am 2-3 feet away in front of him. Should I correct with an e-collar or a prong collar when he doesn't do the position I am asking or what should I do? He does know all the positions and does them well almost always, this question is only when those few times he does not comply.
 
Also another question I have is, that my dog seems like he doesn't have energy. I am feeding EVO red meat formula to him which he seems to like a lot, but he seems to not have energy. I put him on a treadmile walking for an hour daily and he ends up exhausted. When I take him training for bite work he trains only a few minutes before he is very tired. At first I though it was normal, because he was not used to work, but now he has been working for 2-3 months and it seems the same. He doesn't like to run for long periods of time. He likes the tug a lot but sometimes he wants to work and some others he doesn't. I do not know what to do to make him more motivated to doing excercise and to work on bite work.
 
Thank you

Answer:

Thanks for the kind words.

At 10 months old, I would not be correcting your dog with a prong or ecollar for making mistakes.  Make sure he’s not distracted and make sure you are being fair to him. If you are following Ellis’s methods you will not be giving corrections to a puppy other than a verbal marker when he’s wrong.

I also would recommend you take your pup to the vet and have him xrayed to make sure he is structurally sound.  I think a treadmill for an hour is not only too long for a dog of this age, it’s got to be incredibly boring for him too. He’s a large breed dog, that has a lot of growing left to do. I would only work short sessions and don’t work him to the point of him losing drive or getting so tired he doesn’t want to participate. You can effectively ruin him for the work by making it unpleasant.

Try having short, fun and upbeat sessions with him. Look at what you are doing from his point of view. He’s an adolescent and right now you want to build the desire to learn and interact with you, not drill him until he starts disliking the training process. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


50. Question:

Hello Cindy,

I have watched the marker training video several times and there's something I'm not grasping. When you are marking something and the dog is getting it 8 out of the 10 times, as you start to add the command, do you hand signal first then try to say it. I see you hand signal on the video when teaching the look. For example training the look, once the dog understands, how would you go about getting the dog to do that with hand signals or saying the look command? I don't understand how you get him to catch on to what your saying or signaling. I understand how to get to the stage where you add the command but I'm lost after that. Thanks.

Respectfully,
Marcus

Answer:

You do the word first, then the gesture. Word, pause, if the dog doesn't do it, then help with the gesture.

I'd highly recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Food. The way to do this is covered in great detail there.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


51. Question:

Hi,

I want to get the DVD on marker training, but I want to train my dog to the whistle. Would this DVD be helpfull or have you got anything which you would recommend?

Cheers,
Leigh

Answer:

In my opinion, marker training is the foundation for ALL training. I would recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Markers and The Power of Training Dogs with Food.

You first teach the dog to come for food when he hears the whistle and using markers makes this process quite quick.

There are a few of our free videos that show whistle recalls being used with markers.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


52. Question:

Hi Cindy, Ed & Michael,
 
We bought 4 DVDs from Leeburg: The Power of Training Dogs with Markers, The Power of Training Dogs with Food, The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog and Focused Heeling and we found them to be very informative. We have watched the first two DVDs and we have a few questions for you, which we hope you will be able to clarify for us.
 
We use "Yes" to mark the behaviour and "Yes" to release the dog, as per your DVD. We have trained our dogs to do the touch command, by putting their paws on an object a short distance away (as shown in the Training Dogs with Food). We have progressed to the point, where we say the command "touch"; we make a slight gesture/movement towards the pad; then we stop and the dog continues on and puts his paws on the touch pad.
 
Now here comes the questions:
 
As soon as the dog puts his paws on the touch pad, we say "Yes" (marking the behaviour)  Correct  or  incorrect? 

As we would be standing a couple of yards away from the touch pad, do we say "Yes" as mentioned above and lure him off the pad, by saying "Yes" again? Correct  or  incorrect? 
 
Or do we go to the dog on the touch pad, say "Yes" and reward him with a treat, lure him off and say "Yes" again? Correct or incorrect? Correct.
 
We are not sure if the dog realizes that "Yes" marks the behaviour and also, that it is a release word.
 
If the dog stays on the touch pad, and we circle him a little and he moves around on the pad, do we say "Yes" first and continue with "good" or just say "good"? Correct  or  incorrect?
 
Then, we lure him off the pad and say "Yes" again? Correct  or  incorrect?
 
If we are out in the fields walking the dogs off leash and we call their name and they turns towards us to come back, we say "Yes" and they run back to us and get a reward. They always do this, so they know/understand that "Yes" means a reward.  But, as to whether, they understand that "Yes" is a release, we are not 100% certain; even though on the touch pad, when we lure with food and they follow our hand, we say "Yes" in that situation. We think it maybe just the treat that they are following, instead of understanding that it is releasing them from a position.
 
We hope that you understand what we are trying to say and that is it not too confusing for you. We have noticed a big difference in both our dogs (German Shepherd & Golden Retriever), they are much more fun and they want to be with us, which is marvellous. We await your reply so that we can continue our training with our canine friends!! 

Many thanks,
Eamonn & Liz

Answer:

I believe the answer to ALL of your questions below are "correct."

Yes means keep doing what you are doing as well as meaning that you are free to access your reward (which equals a release), that may mean sitting, downing, standing, being lured off a touch pad, turning on a touch pad or running to me when I call. You use good to add duration to a behavior, like standing on a pad, or staying in a sit. When you say yes, the behavior is OVER and the reward is to be accessed. When you say good, the behavior is to be continued but you can still use food at first to reinforce the meaning of the word.

I believe you are trying to make this more complicated than it is.

Of course at first the dog is just following the treat, but with continued training and repetition comes understanding. It will all make more sense as you progress and watch the rest of the videos.

Cindy Rhodes


53. Question:

Hi Cindy,

After watching the obedience video, I have a question concerning "marking"... When training the dogs to an invisible fence boundary should I "mark" when they turn away from the flags upon hearing the audio signal and head to the "safe" part of the yard? Thanks in advance... Tom

Answer:

When using an invisible fence, you want the dog to be “superstitious” of the boundary and avoid it.  This is one situation where we do not mark the right choice.  We don’t want the dog to look to us for direction, we want them to avoid crossing the boundary no matter what.

Cindy Rhodes


54. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I've watched a few of the videos I've ordered from Leerburg recently. I'd like to say nice effort on your and Ed's part.

I'm wondering if you can explain something as marker training is new to me. In the past I've always used "ok" as my release command. Using "yes" as a marker seems to be a little more motivational in terms of it's auditory presentation and I'm considering that. In your Basic Dog Obedience dvd Ed uses "ok" as a release. In the Michael Ellis DVDs, if I understand correctly, he explains the marker IS the release.

My pup is just 7 months old and I've had him about 1.5 months now. I was in the beginning stage of getting him acclimated to "ok" when releasing for food etc.

Do you have any thoughts or recommendations? Should I switch to yes for the release if I'm going to use Michael's system?

Answer:

You should use whatever word YOU will be most comfortable with. It could be OK or YES or BANANA. :) Just make sure you are consistent, it doesn't matter what the word is. The word you use will have value to the dog, if you charge the mark correctly.

I have a lot of friends that train with Michael's system, and many of them use different words. It's all good.

Enjoy your puppy!

Cindy Rhodes


55. Question:

I have a 2-year-old neutered male sheltie (neutered shortly before his second birthday, a couple months ago).  He has a lot of drive and he is impatient and does everything fast and "frantic." I have been training him in agility since he was 9 months old along with obedience, i.e. heeling, come front, sit, etc. He is smart and can do things with "half a brain" and will, if allowed, do things half assed. He has been marker trained. Once I finally realized that he was being sloppy (heeling and fronts) because he was only using "half a brain and doing it half assed" and it was not because he did not know how, (out of frustration and not knowing what else to do), I have been using a slip collar and corrections to maintain criteria. The more you work him, the higher he gets, and it takes only a few times for him to get really high. When using the marker, he can get really high. When sitting at the start line for agility, he is very antsy to start, dances his front feet up and down or crouches with one foot up ready to take off. He has very low frustration tolerance which seems to be getting lower as he gets higher, and this leaking out into what appears to be the beginning of spinning (I immediately down him before he gets a chance). I want him to have a proper frustration tolerance and be able to maintain his drive without his brain going out the window. What is it I am doing wrong and what should I be doing?

Thank you for your help,
Chris

Answer:

You need to back up and take him out of the situations that overload him. This may mean not actually doing agility for a while, until he can focus and control his impulses. The more you keep putting him in this situation and let him rehearse these behaviors, the worse it will get.

If you can’t hold a sit stay at the start line with your criteria in place, then move him out of the ring, or move him out of the room or out of the building and find the “bubble” where he can do it right and reward. Move closer in increments, always being aware of your criteria. I see this a lot in people who train agility dogs, they get impatient to run the dog on the course and allow a lot of leaky behavior to slip by. 

It may take weeks or months to get what you want in the environment you need to work this dog in. Patience and persisitence is the key. If you give up and let the dog practice the old behaviors, it will only reinforce the old behaviors. I’d start small and reward any good step in the right direction.

Cindy Rhodes

Thanks:

Thanks so much for writing back. I guess I'm on the right track as that is what I had started doing.with him a couple weeks ago. I've never had a sheltie like him before and am certainly learning a lot from him. I am learning to pay attention to more minute details in criteria, including during the time I reward him, withdrawing the reward if he breaks criteria. 

Chris


56. Question:

Cindy,

One of my friends just adopted a 1.5 year old deaf female doberman. He is interested in finding a trainer or training materials so he can learn how to best handle the disability. He says that she is easily startled and is very hesitant with too much attention. He has 3 other dogs and 2 young children. Of course I love and would recommend all the Leerburg/Michael Ellis training materials. I'm not sure if the dog is 100% deaf or not, but if it is, do you have any suggestions? Any alternative markers that would work visually?

Thanks in advance,
James

Answer:

I don’t see why the Ellis methods couldn’t be used with a deaf dog, you would just have to use a gesture for your marker as opposed to a word.

I’d recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Markers and The Power of Training Dogs with Food to start.

I’ve heard that dogs learn sign language quite easily, so that’s an option.

There is quite a bit of info on our website about training deaf dogs, the forum has some discussions about this and some things that have worked for folks. The search function is located in the top left corner of every page of Leerburg.com. Hopefully you will find some useful information there.

Cindy Rhodes


57. Question:

I have a show quality Cardigan Welsh Corgi and I do some clicker training. However, after watching one of your on-line videos I realized that you have a slightly different approach which I very much like. It definitely makes sense. Do you address teaching behaviors that are needed for the show ring on any of your videos? I plan to buy several; but, as a senior citizen finances are limited so I'd like to get the right one to start with. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Maureen

Answer:

I’d definitely recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Food.

It’s the foundation of all the work in the rest of the marker based videos.

You may want to check out our streaming video section, there are some free videos about teaching a dog to stand in the conformation ring using markers (or clicker training).

Part 1 | Part 2

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes



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