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Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Basic Obedience Q&A

Basic Obedience Q&A

Basic Obedience Q&A

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I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.


Question:

Hi Ed,

I have a problem with my 2 year old male GSD which I bought approximately 3 months ago. We started obedience training approximately 1 month ago but I am still having problems getting him to heel in direct alignment with myself he always wants to be approximately 1-2 foot in front of me. I started using right about turns which made him take notice of me then It was almost like he had eyes on the back of his head he could tell when I was turning so he turned. So I said fine lets try left about turn straight into him to get him to move back. He does move back into alignment for about 10sec and then moves about 1-2 foot in front again so every time he does this we do the left about turn straight into him again after 2 weeks of doing this for approximately 15-20mins a day. Not sure what to try if it is something I am doing wrong or something else.

Kind Regards,
Rayner

Answer:

Rayner,

Lets try something new with your dog.

Unless you are interested in dog sports there is no reason for him to walk next to your knee in a formal heeling position. Think about it - why should he do this? Because you want it is not a good enough reason. If all you want is a nice pet then all you need is a dog that walks on a lead without pulling your ass down the street. Here in our country we use a prong collar. I think in Australia prong collars are illegal. Not a big deal - laws like that only prove that most politicians are fools and smuggling is a lot easier than law enforcement leads you to believe.

If you want to get involved in dog sports then you have to get a lot smarter about dog training than you are right now and that cannot get done through emails.

One last comment - 15 to 20 minutes of training at one time is too long. Look at it like a lecture from your x-wife. What sounds better 15 minutes of misery or 1 1/2 minutes meaningful conversation about your kids?

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Question:

I am having some problems with my GSD. He's five months old and showing almost every sign of aggression and dominance listed on your site. Even as I am typing this he is giving my husband a hard time(growling and barking because he has been forced into a down position and wants to get up). I made the HUGE mistake of buying him from a woman advertising puppies in our local paper ....I didn't know I was making a mistake then...but I have certainly learned a lesson.

This may seem lengthy but I think I need to give you details. First of all I cannot afford training....not at all ..things are tight around here right now. I got him at 4 weeks old ...which I now also know was a mistake. So needless to say I know nothing at all about his parents etc.... Luke (the dog) has been trained to sit,stay,shake,down,high five, open and close cabinets and drawers when told to do so. He was doing all of this by three months old. However ...I think I made ANOTHER mistake by training him with treats ....right or wrong??? Uhhggg I hate to admit that I may have screwed up ....but ...I need advice.

Now that he is five months...he is starting to deliberately ignore what I ask of him(i started off with treats in his training...then weaned him from that and had him doing it when I commanded...his only reward being praise). He is also showing major aggression problems. He bit my seven year old tonight because she tried to take a piece of paper that he had chewed up...it was beside him,not in his mouth. That was certainly not the first time he has done that. He snaps and growls at the children,myself and my husband when we try and get things from him. He only growls louder and gets more aggressive when he is corrected. Sometimes he will actually drop things when told...then there are the times,,,,which are becoming more frequent that he displays horrible "our bursts". I really want to keep this animal,but I also do not want one of my children scarred for life. I understand that my daughter should not have been allowed to take something from the dog....she has been told not to do so. But...on the other hand I can't have the dog biting her that hard or at all because she did something he didn't like. I mean he really bit down..she has scrapes and bruises on her arm. I am more than willing to do what needs to be done at home ....I am not at all afraid of having to work with him.

How can I tell if this is just "normal" dominant behavior that can be corrected or maybe it's something that came from breeding? I fully understand the mistakes I have made where Luke is concerned. But now that I have him I do not want to shuck the responsibility of raising this animal. Not to mention that I love him a great deal. Oh yes ...I've read that neutering may help in calming aggression and might help your dog to not challenge your authority as often. True or False? Any advice to my email address would be greatly appreciated. I understand that there is limited info where email is concerned. I just don't have any clue as to whether to keep this dog or not. I would hate to be one of those people that gets a dog then gets rid of him or her because the dog is not perfect.

If you actually were able to read this lengthy email then I thank you very much,
Angela

Answer:

Training a pup with food is the correct way to start training. Weaning the dog off of food at 5 months is the wrong training. Use food to take something away from the dog – trade him what he has for a piece of food – PROBLEM SOLVED!

You can slowly wean a dog off of food but this is not something that needs to be done quickly or at a certain age. Fact is you can use food the entire life of the dog. Teach him that he can intermittently get food and praise – my gut feel is this dog like food more than your praise – probably because you have done so much training at such a young age. In my opinion you should also be using toys to train (assuming the dog likes toys) teach him if he minds you play with a toy. That gives you TWO TOOLS to use in training.

If you cannot afford training tapes (I would recommend my Basic Dog Obedience tape.
I would recommend my web discussion board.

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Question:

I have a 2 year old black lab mix that chases any thing that moves and will take off and not come back until he is ready. I do not want to use a prong collar. I think it is cruel. He doesn't pay attention when he sees a bird or anything else. HE listens to come when leashed but when unleashed he doesn't. What can I do.

Answer:

You can find him a new home where his next owner will have some common sense. With a little luck the new owner will obedience train this dog and realize that humane training with a prong collar or an e-collar is better for the dog than getting killed by a car or attacked by a pit bull.

You sound like you have a very nice dog. I hope he makes it.

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Question:

Hi,

I have a deaf australian shepherd and she is really a good dog except she can't hear. So I keep her on a reel leash or a run line. Am afraid she will get hit by a car or truck as she can't hear traffic.

My problem is that when she gets out of the truck(on a reel leash) she takes off running so am wondering if a choke lease collar would be a training tool for her. She pulled me out of the truck onto the ground and am recovering from bruises. Did not beat the dog!

How can I train her without being mean to her. Need help. She is spayed and only 7 months old.

June

Answer:

There is no reason a deaf dog cannot be obedience trained.

Get a PRONG COLLAR read about them on my web site.

If I had a deaf dog I would train it with food, hand signals and a prong collar. Later an electric collar. Some of the electric collars I sell have a vibrating buzzer that could be used in training.

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QUESTION:

I am in a desperate need for a help with my dog. I was reading your article on internet and thought you would be able to give me some suggestion.

I have a male pomeranian. It is one year and six months old. I've had him since he was three months old. Since little, he is very very shy and intimidated around other dogs. Every day I take him to park where 20 other dogs are running around off leash. First few months he was just scared that he would be on my lap. After getting used to the situation, he started roaming around making little distance from me, however, would never go play with other dogs. When the other dogs came close to him, he just jumped back on my lap. Recently though, instead of simply run away from them, he started having the habit of barking and trying to bite other innocent dog who are just being friendly, and this habit gets worse day by day.

This morning he picked up fish bone on the road and ran away from me with it. After 30 minutes of chasing, I finally caught him with rage on my face. I grabbed him aggressively and he bit me. He had never done this to me no matter what. I could take away his toy, his water, his food, anything I want while he was enjoying them and he would've still not got aggressive at me like that, nor any other human being. He is not shy at all around people, young, old, male, female, as long as it was human being, he would love to play with them. (Last night however, he snapped one of my friend whom he used to like the best when she tried to pick him up).

I started using jerk chain a couple months ago since my friend who has a very trained dog suggested me to use it. I was wondering if all these aggressive behavior has gotten anything to do with it.

He had been couple times attacked by a big dog at the park, and two weeks ago by a German Shepard who had thank God muzzle. I think that changed his personality a little also.

Whether it's the jerk train or the attack by the other dog, is there anyway to bring him back to non aggressive attitude? I am willing to work with him on whatever it takes to remove any psychological damage I might have given to him. Please please help us..

Thank you

ANSWER:

These problems are all caused by you.

Read the article I wrote on my web site about dog parks.

You have not trained your dog well enough. Had you trained the dog he would have come when called. This has NOTHING to do with using a choke chain. In fact you should have been using a prong collar. I also suggest that you change your attitude on obedience training. What you are currently doing does not work.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

Get this tape and a prong collar and train your dog and stop going to dog parks.

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QUESTION:

I have your Basic Dog Obedience Training video which is great and we are SLOWLY proceeding with our mix golden retriever/yellow lab. now 18 months-neutered male.

I have to use a leash from house to car and back as I can't trust him not to bolt if he hears a dog, and he usually hears one somewhere. Also I would like to control his barking at dogs when in the car.

I've been told a remote training shock collar will work. . He did learn quickly not to try to jump the back fence. Took only 3 contacts with the electric fence wire to convince him that staying away from the fence was better.

I would only need a 100 ft. range on the collar.

Questions:
1. Does the closeness increase the shock? I'm thinking of in the car.
2. Will it effect the implanted ID capsule in his neck?
3. Shocking him would be accompanied with a loud "NO."

I would welcome your comments.

Thanks
Bob

ANSWER:

All very good questions. I give you credit for thinking this through.

Here are the answers:

1 - The range a dog is from you has no effect on the stimulation. I would recommend a Dogtra 1700 NCP – its what I use and an excellent product. Don’t think you only need 100 ft. What if you really get a handle on the dog and decide to allow him off leash. Then he bolts.

2 - It will have no effect on your ID chip.

3 - You ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use a No command before you shock the dog in training. When people use a collar to train it not to get into garbage or to chase animals they will often just shock the dog. I prefer letting the dog know before you shock him. The goal of our training is to teach the dog to mind a voice command. The shock is just a reinforcement if the dog refuses a voice command.

4 - If your dog is a level 5 in hardness – set the shock level to a 7 or 8 – not a 10.

5- Dogs always need higher shock levels the higher they are in drive. So a constant shock level is wrong.

Good luck

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QUESTION:

I have a Yorkshire Terrier who is a little over a year old. She is well behaved until it comes to grooming (although she is fine and calm with bathing). She tolerates it until it hurts (or she thinks it will) and then growls and snaps. She goes absolutely ballistic when we clip her nails. The bitter apple hasn't worked. Lately I have been putting her in the submissive position like they taught us in obedience training and she sometimes relaxes and sometimes struggles. What should I do?

Thanks,
Charlotte

ANSWER:

This is an obedience issue. The dog needs to be trained. You have allowed he to be stupid now you have to beat her up until she realizes that SHE MUST mind. My girlfriend is a groomer – she sees this ALL THE TIME. Dogs that act stupid with their owner because the owner treats the dog like a kid and will not discipline the dog. There are many, many, many people in your boat. Some can change some cannot (people that is).

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

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QUESTION:

I adopted a almost two-year-old, White German Shepard Dog from the local Humane Society. He has not been a problem dog as yet. However, after reading much of your site I found that I am in the process of "grooming" him to be a problem dog. I now firmly believe in basic obedience training for all dogs as well as owners. Here are some questions I have before purchasing advice.

1. So many sites claim White German Shepard Dogs are different than regular German Shepard Dogs and need to be trained differently, but don't offer sound advice as to how. I thought that the color gene was the only difference. Is there any truth to this controversy?

2. The odd thing about our dog is, he does not know how to fetch, play tug-of-war, or any form of constructive play. I am a single mother with a 5-year-old son and a 3-year-old son. The only time he seems extremely playful is when I'm wrestling with the boys on the floor or when we place chase in the back yard. He tries to pounce on me and jump back then jump forward when I wrestle with the boys, and when we play chase he just runs with us or he starts sprinting around the yard in laps. I know that I will be busy enough working with him on basic obedience, but I want him to have a sport, a job, something he can do to continue using his intelligence once we all understand and enforce obedience. Should I continue to wrestle with him? Will your basic obedience tape give any information on jobs or is there another source you recommend?

3. Since we have owned him (7 weeks) he has been crate trained. Currently we live in an apartment complex, but I have been working on a house for couple of weeks and we plan to move in next week. While I've been working at the house he has been accompanying me. Now that I have a yard (a huge yard) should I continue to crate him when we leave him at home, or make him an outdoor kennel run, or alternate between the two?

Thanks for offering your wisdom. Your site has been the best I've found.

Tiff

ANSWER:

You ask some very good questions and I will do my best to answer them and then put this email on my web site because the answers will help others.

These people that write that a white GSD needs to be trained differently are full of BS. To begin with they are not dog trainers or they would not make such stupid comments.

To train any breed of dog you either need prey drive (so you can reward with a toy in training) or food drive. Some white German Shepherds have food drive. Food can be used in obedience training but not in protection training. Food can also be used in tracking.

For a dog to be trained in protection work it must have prey drive. You will need to read my site for more information on that because there is no time to rewrite what is already on my site. Without prey drive a dog cannot deal with defensive drive – he has no way to release the stress caused from defensive work. White German Shepherds (most of them) have very little prey drive.

Dogs must also have good nerves. This means that things like loud noises, strange places, strange people make them fearful and untrusting. Most if not all white GSD’s have weak nerves. So combine no prey drive with weak nerves ad these dogs cannot be trained to protect.

Without food drive and without prey drive the only way to train a dog is with compulsion (force) This is a hard way to go and does nothing to improve the relationship between handler and dog. I hate that kind of training. It’s the old “JERK and PRAISE” kind of training. Stupid stuff.

You need to take your dog through an obedience program. My basic obedience tape is where to start. It is an excellent tape.

I would always recommend a dog live in the home. Especially when you have a crate and the dog is crate trained. That’s the perfect way to raise a dog. Playing with him the way you do will not hurt anything.

You should neuter the dog. This always calms a dog and will make him a better pet.

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QUESTION:

Ed,

Quick question. I have a 9 mo GSD Male about 80 lbs. He has been great, very good with our 1 year old and very out going, has not shown signs of bad nerves, etc. Recently though he has been getting a bit possessive of his kennel I think. He has snapped at my wife twice when she has tried to reach in and pet him in his kennel and he gas growled at me twice (never snapped) and yesterday he barked and snapped at my sister when she tried to pet him when he was in his kennel. He has not showed any signs of dominance otherwise. I can take his food bowel away without a problem and he doesn't mind me taking away his toys either.

So, this morning he gave me a low growl when I was putting him away and then reached in to test him. I gave him five or six real sharp corrections with the prong collar and then pulled him out and got on top of him while telling him how bad of a dog he was.

Do you think this is the right approach? Is this something I should be worried about? Could I be doing anything better to deal with this problem? Thanks!

Zach

ANSWER:

I think this was exactly the wrong approach.

You should be using food to get the dog to go into the dog crate. I have this opinion on dog training – WHY USE FORCE WHEN YOU CAN USE MOTIVATION? Force is the last option.

Getting on top of a dog to dominate him is stupid and dangerous. It may work on a 1 year old puppy. But what will you do if the dog is 2 or 3 years old – mature and pissed off? It’s a great way to have your face eaten by your dog – because that’s exactly where your face is – right in his face.

I suggest that you spend some time learning how to obedience train your dog.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

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QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley,

Your training tapes seem to be aimed at large dogs. I have a very small dog. Would your methods work as well with smaller dogs and will I need to make adjustments for a small dog?

Maddy

ANSWER:

Dog training is not breed or size specific – it's temperament and drive specific. I have trained protection and police dogs since 1974 and the worst dog bite I got was from my mothers toy poodle.

Obedience training is exactly the same, the difference is that you would obviously reward a small dog with very small pieces of food. It is also harder on the handler because you are bending over all the time – hard on your back unless you put the dog on a ledge of a wall or a table or something to save your back – these are not issues with the dog though they are people issues.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

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QUESTION:

We just adopted a 2 year old lab mix, un-neutered male. He is a very sweet dog, EXCEPT...the second he is free (outside), he bolts for the road. If we can immediately go after him, he will come to us when called. The problem is, we sometimes have to chain him up. He maneuvers out of his collar, digs under the fence and is gone! So far, he has returned a few hours later, but we can't keep this up! How can we train him to stay home? (He will get neutered later this week).

If this a habit that cannot be fixed, we will have to take him back. He does show some signs of past beatings. His history is: he was a stray, adopted out to a family with no fence-he, kept running away, they took him back. We'd really like to keep him, can you help??????

Thanks,
Kae

ANSWER:

These are handler problems – I should say they are training problems and not a dog problem.

The dog should never be off leash. If you have this problem, why would you ever take the dog off lead. Get a 20-foot line and clip it on every time the dog goes outside.

Obedience train this dog. If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

You either need to put up a dog kennel with a concrete (or patio block) floor or stay out when the dog goes out. If you have a dog crate inside the dog does not have to be loose outside. You go out with him when he has to go outside. When he is finished he comes in – if you don’t want to fool with him in the house put him in the dog crate.

If you want to keep this dog in the back yard get one of the Innotek in-ground fences and attach the wire to the top of your fence – this will keep the dog back away from your fence. It will not go near the fence – if it does, it gets shocked. Problem solved.

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QUESTION:

Hello Ed,

I have searched your site this evening trying to get help with training my shepard not to eat antifreeze. We have horrible neighbors that just poisoned another neighbors dog with it. Alex is just like one of our children. My husband has done some training under a man in Oklahoma City and purchased Maxwell Rude Von Raughlen a Rottweiler. ( I'm not sure the correct spelling). At any rate, when Max passed away we got Alex. He done some training with him but was unable to spend the amount of time to fully train him in all areas. He didn't want to (not sure what its called) but train him to only eat food from his bowl made by only he or I because we have kids who feed him also. He is wonderful and extremely cautious about food. He rarely takes treats from us rather he inspects first then slowly begins to eat. He has worked with him and Alex knows his boundaries but at times when our girls ride there bikes he goes with them. I am afraid these people who do not like any animals will do this to our dog. Not only would it break my heart its just pure cruel for any animal. My husband says we have to place it in front of him let him know the scent and very harshly reprimand him so he remembers its a bad thing. If there is any other "training" or ideas to help us it would be greatly appreciated. I realize you're busy but if you could help in anyway please let me know.

Sincerely,
Buffy

ANSWER:

You will NEVER train this dog not eat anti-freeze. With that said your dog will not do this if he can not get on this mans property. So control your dog. Keep your dog in a dog kennel or a fenced yard. Do not let it go with your kids. They cannot control an adult Rott.

If you had to write me, you and your husband do not have the skill to poison proof your dog. It difficult for a professional, much less a novice.

I would have a friendly talk with my neighbor if I were you. I would tell him that I am doing everything I can to keep my dog safe on my property and as long as he did not poison my dog I would not burn down his house and car. People like this understand things more clearly when they fully understand the ramifications of their actions.

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QUESTION:

Hi Ed,

I have a 16-month old Boston Terrier and I bought your basic dog obedience training video. My BT obeys my commands very well when he is off leash at home and on leash on the street. He can stay on the street for 10 min. and the distance between he and I is about 50 feet, but I have a problem when I bring him for a walk and try the off leash work. My BT tried to run away. I trained him with a 20-feet long leash before and reduced the length of the leash to 3 feet and at last 1 foot, but when I tried to train him without a leash (a prong collar was still on his neck), he thought he got had freedom and tried to run away. I would like to know how to solve this problem and when do I know I can start to train him without a leash? My friend has a Pit bull, and he doesn't need to use a leash to go out with his dog, but his dog won't run away and stays close with him wherever my friend goes. Is there any method to train my dog to stay close with me when he is off-leash? Thank you for your help.

Justin

ANSWER:

No two dogs are 100% alike. That's one reason there is a difference between your BT and your friends pit bull.

The way to approach a problem like this is to not take the dog off leash for a long long time. Let it drag the line so it thinks its off leash but there is still a line there to grab. The fact is that there is very little reason for a dog to be off leash when you take him someplace. I never take my dogs off leash when I am out in public.

If (in training) the dog does run off you should always calmly walk after the dog (not chase him and don't get mad or excited). Walk after the dog and when you catch him you clip the line on him and automatically correct him all the way back to where you were when he ran off - even if it's a block away. The dog MUST LEARN that he will ALWAYS get corrected if he refuses to come when called.

If you have a need to have the dog off leash then you should get an electric collar and use it. But there is a protocol for starting and using this - I don't have time to go into that right now.

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QUESTION:

Hi Ed,

I've read about not staring into the eyes of your dog,as it's suppose to be a dominating factor.In your opinion is this true and does it have any bad effects on a dog? Especially a GSD.

Thanks,
Peter

ANSWER:

You miss the point by a country mile! It's the handlers job to be dominant over his dog. This is called being the pack leader. 99.999% of all the behavioral problems that dogs develop result from a weak pack leader.

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QUESTION:

Hi Ed,

I just inherited a 2 1/2 year old Labrador Retriever who has had no obedience training thus far. Not even a "sit." Silly question, but is he to old to get it corrected? Can an older dog with 2 1/2 years of willy-nilly under his belt be obedience trained to be a well-behaved house dog?

Thanks!
Ken

ANSWER:

Dogs are NEVER to old to train. Here is the science on it.

You need to repeat an exercise 30 times for a dog to remember it - a human needs 7 times. When a dog has learned a bad habit and you want to change it to something else, you need to repeat the exercise 90 to 100 times for it to change the behavior. Most people will not make the effort and therefore say that old dogs cant be trained - when the fact is they are lazy and quit too soon.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

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QUESTION:

Ed,

My Shepard is now almost 17 months old . He was born August 8th, 2002. He's from a reputable breeder (von kenwald) but we are guilty of not socializing the dog enough. We live in the country and just don't have that many visitors. I've been thru basic obedience at a class and have been practicing everything in your Basic Obedience tape. I've now also just started another class for more socialization. The problems I have are as follows:

1) He knows all the obedience exercises and does them perfect at home around no other dogs. But when other dogs are there to distract him I can't seem to get his attention. He also has this bad habit of whining at other dogs. We carry a water spray bottle and squirt him each time he whines. Eventually he quiets up but does the exact same thing next class.

2) Here is my most serious issue. We took this dog to training class back in August and he was the most friendly and loving dog there. Kids, adults, and other dogs came up and he loved them. No issues. But now 4 months later we go thru the same class again to work with distractions and he is noticeably more aggressive. Growled at lady, loved another guy who came up and petted him, does not know what to do when other dogs come up to him. It seems he is not sure whether to play or attack them. If the other dog nips at him, he growls. Is it to late to neuter the dog and would that even help. We wanted to show the dog because he is beautiful but I don't want a liability.

We are going to continue to work even harder to socialize the dog and obedience train him. We won't stop till we have accomplished this.

I would sincerely appreciate your advise, especially on the neutering.

Thanks for your time,
Richard

ANSWER:

Your choice of obedience instructors was not as good as it could have been. There are three levels of obedience training. The LEARNING PHASE, THE CORRECTION PHASE and the DISTRACTION PHASE. You have failed to finish the training by not doing a good job in either the correction and distraction phase.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. Get this tape and a prong collar.

If you do not have experience with a prong collar I have written an article on my web site that explains how to fit a collar, and how to take it on and put it on.

Your problem with aggression is that the dog is starting to mature. His nerves are not that good (a genetic issue) and his training is not finished. I DON’T ALLOW a dog to act aggressive in any way to other dogs or people. They learn very quickly that this is not a behavior that is acceptable. The fact is your dog is not ready to be taken back to this place. Use obedience classes for distraction lessons.

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QUESTION:

I have a 1 year 4 mo. old mutt who is very aggressive towards our visitors. We have been told she is chihuahua mixed with bisenji (forgive my spelling), and perhaps some fox terrier? She weighs about 20 lbs. Basically when guests enter the house she runs towards them barking and immediately dives to nip/bite at their feet. After the guests are in our home she is fine as long as they are seated. Obviously this is no way to host an evening for friends! We adopted her at about 7mos of age and have tried training her since we got her, but striking has no weight on her conscience, neither does yelling at her or ignoring her. What should we do? I fear she is actually going to bite down and cause someone to bleed someday. We have thought about 2 options: 1) obedience school 2) putting her up for adoption to someone who has few visitors- because with us she is the cutest most wonderful dog I've ever seen!

Please reply!

ANSWER:

Yelling and hitting have no place in dog training. This problem is a handler problem not a dog problem.

There are several things that need to be done to make this a part of your family.

1- Get a dog crate and use it with this dog. Train it to go to the crate when people come over (this is not the place to explain that process).

2- Get a puppy prong collar (we sell them on our web site) and train this dog.

3- Read the Q&A sections of my web site. You have a lot to learn about dogs and dog training. The web site is a good place to start. It has 3500 pages – not all of it pertains to your problem but there is a lot there.

4- Also read the archives on the web board. There are 4300 registered members.

5- Buy the Basic Obedience Dog Training video. You need this information and taking this dog to a training class is not going to solve your problem.

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QUESTION:

I have a Yorkshire Terrier that is VERY hyper. What do you suggest to correct a small dog?

ANSWER:

Dog training is not size or breed specific – it’s temperament and drive specific. I have written that about 300 times on our web site. Small dogs are no different than big dogs.

This means you use a prong collar for dog training. A nylon choke collar is not a training collar for anything other than aggression. It is not an obedience training collar.

There are only 3 obedience collars:

1- a flat collar (nylon or leather)
2- a prong collar
3- an electric collar

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QUESTION:

Hi Ed-

Having some problems handling my 7 month old and I wonder if you can explain them.

3 things happened today-

1. He's almost always on a leash, but sometimes I let him walk along as I'm going to the car or garage. I had him outside with me today for a minute as I went to grab something out of the garage- next thing I knew I heard a lady yell out --- hey!!! She was walking a dog and mine went over to see it. I walked over calmly and then grabbed him by the back of the neck and carried him back- this has happened before and I've always done the same thing to show him he CAN'T leave the yard. (the lady yelled because he almost got hit) He cowered and lied down on his back when I had him back safely- I let up a bit to try to reassure him, but he bolted again- I did the same thing- the lady goes, "now he's really scared." shaking him and firmly talking to him all the way back to our yard. Then he seemed ok in the house.

2. Later he was out with me and I went to brush my teeth- he chased the cat into the bath tub and I said "NO!" loud and firm... I was surprised that he peed as he left the room.

I don't understand him because sometimes he doesn't seem to mind correction at all- sometimes he frustrates me by repeatedly doing things I've corrected him pretty clearly for- then other times he cowers and even pees.

3. He was sitting with me while I was checking email in my room- he jumped up on me for attention I guess, but I sort of pushed him away- then he jumped up on my bed and peed all over the pillows and blankets-

I really yelled then and put him back into his crate- I guess its not good to put them in the crate as punishment- but it was all I could do not to crack him- putting him there lets me calm down.

He also has a cat crap eating problem- he actually sneaks now to get it because when my eyes aren't on him I listen to whatever he's doing- He knows he shouldn't do it because if I catch him, he runs back and cowers.

I know he needs obedience training. But what's the deal lately?
The bed peeing incident seemed totally intentional.
What am I doing wrong?

Appreciate your advise-
Chuck

ANSWER:

This is a handler problem not a dog problem. As you said you don’t know what’s going on.

There is an old saying "NEVER PICK A FIGHT YOU CAN’T WIN.” The same goes for how you handle your dog. Don’t set yourself up to fail. You seem to be doing this all the time.

1- Allowing the pup to be loose when you go in the garage begs for a problem – which is exactly what happened. The dog should be on a leash or a long line – it is never off leash.

2- The dog is a soft dog. Read the articles on my web site about a HARD and SOFT dog. You can read about this on my web site in the list of training articles.

3- The dog is not house trained. If it were he would not be pissing on the bed. Back up your training. Use the dog crate, read the articles and Q&A on my web site about house training.

4- Almost all dogs love cat shit. They look at it like a delicacy. Move the litter box to a place the dog cannot get into it.

Dog training is not rocket science. Its 99% common sense.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

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QUESTION:

Dear Sir or Madam:

After reviewing your web site I learned that I should have contacted you guys about getting a German Shepherd dog to train in Schutzhund as my next purchase. I have had my German Shepherd mix that I adopted as a rescue from the local humane society. He is highly intelligent and has been trained by me and behaves perfect when on the leash. However, when off the leash he tends to want to do his own thing but obeys nearly 70% of the time. He's smaller than most German Shepherds which is a problem when it comes to defending himself. There are two neighbor dogs that roam and there have been a few near misses. I didn't know if there was any way yo train him to be more protective of himself because of his size. He is half German Shepherd and I don't doubt he's capable, but I just wanted some input from a kennel like yourself that deals in protective work even though that protective work is for people. Any assistance or direction you can provide is most appreciated.

Ann

ANSWER:

You have a basic misunderstanding on how things should happen. You need to become a student of pack behavior.

A dog must mind 100% of the time; not 70% of the time or it is not trained. (It's like saying a women is 70% pregnant.) This means you either learn the proper way to train the dog with a prong collar and a long line so that it minds 100% of the time, or your get an electric collar and teach it to mind 100% of the time.

As far as the neighborhood dogs go - I NEVER ALLOW my dogs to be around strange dogs. If strays come around it's my job as pack leader to run them off. It's not the dogs job to be TOUGH !

Read the article I have written titled DEALING WITH THE DOMINANT DOG. I believe you will find the answers you need in that article or in the Q&A section of my web site. There are simple solutions to these problems. The question is if you are willing to do the work necessary to make the changes that will fix the problems.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had a clear understanding of the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

Ann's RESPONSE:

First of all, YOU must learn that when someone compliments your technique you don't reply back on how little you think they know. Second of all, you totally avoided my question. Why shouldn't a dog be tough? Don't people keep some breeds of dogs around to defend flocks of sheep against predators like a wolf? Duh! I'm sure you, as "pack leader," would be out there chasing off a wolf or a pack of wolves. IS the dog expected to cower? What good is he/she (by the way, a dog is not an it - is a human an it)? Let me ask, do you and your dogs share the same bowl? That's great, but I expect my dogs to defend not only me but themselves as well. Third of all, you might want to run a spell and grammar check next time you send a so called professional email. Thanks again for all your "help."

P. S. Let me know when you do find that 70% pregnant woman...

ED'S RESPONSE:

Dumb asses never stop amazing me.

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QUESTION:

I was wondering if you could help me. I am having my dog trained by a very reputable trainer in my area. The pup is 5 months old and when the trainer works with the dog he does everything. When we work him we are causing marks on his neck. Some are scabbed over. It seems like we are not having great success with using corrections on this dog. We are using a choke collar and our trainer says that we should give him a good correction instead of many little ones. We are afraid to hurt him and now with the problem with his scrapes we are nervous to use this type of training. We were told to use more motivation that anything but the dog starts to bite us and jump. When we correct him he gets aggressive. What should we do? Is there a training collar you would recommend instead of the choker?

Thank you,
Tom

ANSWER:

Please – pass this on to your so called REPUTABLE DOG TRAINER.

You have a puppy. A 5-month old dog is a baby. To correct it the way you are talking about, is not only stupid it is asinine and one of the dumbest things I have heard in an email in a long, long time.

I don’t blame you – you don’t know any better. I blame this idiot who has you convinced they know something. ANYONE can train a dog with FORCE and corrections. That’s easy. Odds are you have probably destroyed the relationship with this dog – odds are it is not recoverable – at least not by you. Find it a new home and start again.

Here are a couple of very inexpensive videos that will make you realize why I am so upset with this fool that has worked your dog:

Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months

Basic Dog Obedience

I have this saying:

You need to be careful about who you listen to on training your dog. “Everyone has an opinion on how to train your dog – just ask your mailman, your neighbor, your hair dresser or barber, or your best friend – the problem is that very few people have the experience to back up their opinions which results in a lot of bad information being handed out”


QUESTION:

Hi Ed.

Thank you for the continually informative web site.

I'm currently doing obedience work with my 7 month old GSD female. She's a fast learner and eager to please, so I don't have much trouble with her. I do take her to training, but I've also ordered some of your videos. She passed her 100 yard down, stay & recall test with flying colors to graduate from puppy class. There is only one problem that I'm encountering that has me puzzled. When off lead, like doing the long down, stay, her recall is perfect. If we're just in the house and I call her to me from another room, she finishes in perfect position. She comes in straight and finishes in perfect position when off lead. However, we're now going to distance work on a retractable. For example, I'll have her in a heel, put her in a stand stay and continue to walk away from her, while extending the retractable until I'm about 15 feet away. If I give her the "come" command while on the retractable, she keeps trying to come into a heel position instead of the recall position. This is the only time that she does not finish in the right position when called to come. I just don't understand why attaching a leash is confusing her. I'm sure it's a handler problem, but I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Can you help?

Thanks!

Stacie

ANSWER:

You have identified a part of your training in which you went too far too fast.

1- I don’t like to call my dogs out of a stationary position i.e. the stand-stay and the down-stay. Rather it’s a clearer picture for the dog to have you go back and release the dog. They are more solid on the stay if you do this.

2- With the dog coming to a heel – start with the dog sitting 2 feet in front of you – then call it – when you can back up 2 or 3 feet at a time and the dog still comes to the front position then it understands.

3- Going into the heel position is best started by having your dog at your side in the sit position – you pivot to his front while he remains sitting – then give the heel command and help him in the learning phase.

4- Bottom line is you need to break down the problem and back up the training and it will come together.

With all this said – I don’t make pets do FRONT and FINISHES – no reason for this. But if you enjoy the work maybe you should go on to more advanced training.


QUESTION:

Hello Ed,

Our Golden Retriever who is almost two is still biting...we have tried everything! Sometimes it seems as though she is very serious and uncontrollable. In addition, she hates to walk. Whenever we attempt to go on walks, she jumps up over the leash and bites at our hands and refuses to walk as we try to fix the problem. Also, she is very timid around other people and especially other dogs. She does not show aggression, but puts her tail in between her legs. When attempting to take her places to get over her fears, she will not even enter the store, such as Pet Smart. One more problem is when we have her in the house, she is fine if someone is petting her, but as soon as we stop she bites. And if we even step away from her, she will go wild, running at very high speeds with her tail in between her legs all around the house. We are very frustrated with her and feel as though we can't handle her. Please help if you have any suggestions.

Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

This is an issue of an owner who is not assertive owning a dog that requires assertive training. A bad combination.

Most of the time people like you cannot deal with a dog like this.

This dog requires a prong collar, a good leather leash and a handler who is not going to be influenced by a dog that acts like this. You have had this dog so long and allowed it to act stupid so long that the dog is not going to be re-trained in one session. It will take a number of sessions. The dog needs to learn that acting stupid results in a hard multiple POP’s from a prong collar. The pops continue until the behavior goes away. In other words the dog is rewarded for being calm.

I am too busy to write down everything that needs to be done with a dog like this If you care to learn what my training system is you can get my 4 hour DVD Basic Dog obedience.You can see how to fit the prong at (http://leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm )

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QUESTION ON DOG OBEDIENCE:

I have a purebred GSD that is 11 months old now. he went to puppy classes at 10 weeks old and has been going to socialization classes and walks with the class and he is fine around the other dogs and people. He wears a pinch collar and a choke collar when we are at home and he wears a Halti collar when we walk with the class. we bought the Halti collar because he went after a strange dog on the trail one evening.

Last night my wife had him out and he went after a dog that he has been around and has played with. He pulled so hard my wife lost hold of the leash (it was hooked to the pinch and choke collar) but he had his mind made up to go, hair standing and barking, he did not get into a fight but he would not listen to any command come, stop or down.

We also have a tri-tronics collar that we use it was not on him at the time.

This is not our first GSD and I know that they all have different personalities.

I am hoping that this is just a stage he is going through.

Any ideas that you have would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Bob

ANSWER TO QUESTION ON DOG OBEDIENCE:

The problem with a lot of people who own dogs is they do not have access to sound training advice. That’s what has happened here.

The following is a list of things that jump out at me from your email:

1- A choke collar is not a training collar. There are only three kinds of training collars: a flat collar (like a leather or nylon buckle collar), a prong collar and a electric collar. Choke collars are terrible collars and damage dogs neck muscles.

2- A halti is NOT a training collar. It certainly should never be used by a dog like you have. Diverting the dogs gaze IS NOT A CORECCTION

3- Dogs that are animal aggressive when on leash have RANK issues with their owners. They don’t respect the owners pack leadership. The pack leader decides when aggressive is appropriate – never a lower pack member.

4- A dog like this should never be take outside without his electric collar on – the best of all worlds is to make the dog wear it and NEVER Have to use the button. The biggest mistake in the world is to own one and not have it on the dog when you need it. In this case you have to change the way you approach the dog – it has to wear the collar ALL THE TIME and it must get a shock for even LOOKING at another dog. It cant EVEN LOOK at one much less fight. When you allow it to get to the fighting level the dog will think that the pain of the correction comes from the other dog and not from the handler.

5- Your dog is not obedience trained. If it were you would be able to stop the dog from doing this – and you cannot. The goal of all obedience training is to teach the dog to follow voice commands. So in not being able to stop your aggression with a voice command indicates your dog is not trained to distractions.

I would also recommend my Basic Dog Obedience training video.

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QUESTION ON DOG OBEDIENCE:

Hi Ed,

I'm a trainer/certified behaviorist in Virginia. I've been training dogs by the good old "German Methods" for years, since that is where I'm from. The way I deal with my dogs and attempted to deal with clients dogs with behavioral problems seem to be almost identical.

The reason I'm writing you is because I'm finding myself in a lose-lose situation. In the DC Metro area, everyone seems to have been brainwashed and wanting to do "positive reinforcement" as they call it only ...which of course is clicker training, bribing a dog constantly with food, not enforcing any groundwork and ignoring a dogs bad behavior. I'm about to lose my shit (pardon my language).

Of course they come to me once their dogs are screwed up and want me to fix it. However, at this point they are badly brainwashed, I manage to start formal training with them and their dogs. We even do what we call the "foundation session" during which we cover all important aspects of groundwork, trying to fit it into an hour long session.

Now for the tough part: Clients are simply not willing to correct their dogs, assert themselves as pack leaders and our training school is made out to be the school of "bad asses". It is becoming a rather frequent occurrence that I send dog owners on their after 3 lessons because they're not doing their homework and refuse to accept change. I do not feel that they deserve nor appreciate my knowledge and experience and that I shouldn't waste my time with individuals that are too selfish to really change anything to help their dogs.

I refuse to change my methods just to please 80% of dog owners in this area that want to "fix" their dogs with more modern methods as they like to call it.

My question to you is, do you come across many clients like that? How do you deal with them?

I'm very frustrated. Unfortunately, my business is not limited to working dogs. I find that owners of working dogs and/or herding dogs are much more willing to adapt. I don't like for my reputation to be the hard ass that can fix almost everyone's dog but they will have to be "harsh" and put prong collars on their dogs.

I would greatly appreciate your input. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and I look forward to hearing from you.

ANSWER TO QUESTION ON DOG OBEDIENCE:

You would be advised to learn to sell your services a little differently. The basic method of training is to go through a learning phase where the dog is either going to learn the meaning of the exercise through the use of food or toys or handler praise – then the distraction and correction phase.

In the learning phase you would be advised to learn to use MARKER TRAINING. Read my article on MARKER TRAINING.

Marker training is the same as clicker training, only you use your voice rather than a clicker. Then you explain the need for distraction and corrections.

This will point out the lack of understanding of basic dog training that these strict clicker trainers miss.

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QUESTION ON DOG OBEDIENCE:

Mr. Frawley,

I recently came across your site and have spent all morning reading your advice on training dogs with behavioral problems. I'm hoping you can take a moment to give me some 1-on-1 training. I have a 2-year old Smooth Collie who has been in obedience training since he was 12 weeks old. The obedience center we attend strongly encourages use of a Gentle Leader while training, and equally as strongly discourages the use of prong or shock collars. My problem is this: When we're out for a walk, the dog becomes uncontrollable if a bicyclist rides by us. He lunges toward the cyclist, hair standing on end, barking and whimpering. I've tried several different methods to regain control in these instances including diverting his attention by walking in the opposite direction, trying to get his attention with "high reward" treats and trying to be dominant over him by sitting him and standing between him and the path of the cyclist. I've also tried desensitization methods which work to an extent-especially if the biker/rollerblader is across the street or at some distance away. The problem is worst when there's an element of surprise like when the biker comes up from behind us or passes right in front of us. I'm well aware that I'm failing as an owner to control this behavior, but I don't know what other methods to try. I've recently considered using a shock collar on him, but he's a very sensitive dog (as collies can be) so I'm a bit leery about it. Can you please tell me if I should continue working with the desensitization method or if it's time to try something else?

Thank you

ANSWER TO QUESTION ON DOG OBEDIENCE:

The first thing you should do is discontinue doing business with this foolish obedience trainer you have been working with. Their position shows a complete lack of understanding on the principles of good dog training.

I shake my head at trainers who pass out this halty information and tell new pet owners not to use prong collars or training collars. There are only three kinds of training collars:

1- a flat collar (leather or nylon)
2- a prong collar
3- an electric collar

I don’t have time to educate you through email - my web site is about 5,000 pages and my web discussion board has 6,600 registered members - its very active.

If you want to learn the correct way to obedience train your dog you should get a prong collar and my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience.

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QUESTION:

Hello. I have a lab mix who will turn 2 years this October. When I first got him I took care of him inside 24/7. Since then, he has been completely an outside dog. I will be moving into an apartment in August next year (2006), and I will have to keep him indoors. I was told by family it was cruel to do that to a dog. I was told it would be taking away the "freedom" he's had. So...my first question is...Is it cruel to change an outside dog to an inside dog. Second is it okay to crate train him being that he is not a puppy??? Thank you so much.

Candace

ANSWER:

I have a saying that I tell people – it goes like this” Everyone has an opinion on how to train a dog – just ask you barber, your mailman and your neighbor” The problem is very few people have the experience to back up their opinions. This results in a lot of bad information being passed out So people like yourself need to figure out who has the experience to warrant listening to.

Your family fits into this category.

Their comments are 100% wrong.

The fact is it comes down to how much you are committed to getting your dog exercise. I recommend an hour a day – let the dog wear a weighted collar (we sell them) – this gives the exercise more meaning.

The bottom line is that this all comes down to how much time you spend with your dog.

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QUESTION:

Hi,

I was wanting to buy your Basic Dog Obedience - Video 302 - 1 Hr. 50 Min. I have two small dogs 10 and 12 pounds. The 12 pound dog cannot wear a collar because of a trachea problem. Do you have any videos that would deal with this. How would I do a correction on her without a collar? I wouldn't think it would be possible to give a correction with a harness. I am doing positive food rewards with her now to get her to walk with the halter on. (she is very gentle,shy)

Thank You,
Terri

ANSWER:

The only trachea problems I have ever seen were from a choke collar. I explain in the training DVD that a choke collar (like a harness) is not a training tool. The choke collar is an abusive tool. A harness is an ineffective tool. Same thing really.

Get one of the mini prong collars we sell – this will not hurt your dog's neck. I explain how to use them on small dogs in the DVD.

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QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley,

I am very glad to have found your site. I have spent many hours reading the great material you have posted. I have ordered and am waiting on your video Basic Obedience. Having read your philosophy and the basics of marker training and the three phases of training, I have one small question for you.

Our dog is about a year and a half old. I have been on the scene for the last several months and gradually learning how the dog should be trained. Due to mishandling things in the past or whatever, when she chooses to not obey a command she will also move to evade me. Inside the house she can't get very far, but if it takes 5 - 10 seconds to catch up with her, is what she did still enough in her mind that a correction is still relevant? Or is she now only aware of running away?

Perhaps I need to shorten the time with the use of a drag line in the house, but she might still evade for a few seconds and when she does I'm no longer sure whether the correction is actually telling her anything about what I didn't like.

If this is already answered in your video then please disregard but otherwise please point me in the right direction. She is an 18 month old pit bull who was top dog in the house until I started to take that position from her. She seems to have recognized her place now, but the training was very haphazard and there was no correction/distraction used.

Thanks for all your fine work,
John

ANSWER:

You need to switch from a drag line to a leash in the house. The dog is NEVER off leash in the house -

You need to run this dog through the work I describe in THE GROUND WORK TO BECOMING A PACK LEADER.

The drag line comes after this. You have jumped the gun here. When not on a leash it's in the crate.

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QUESTION:

I got this puppy in July. He was 3 months when I received him. I work 2 full time jobs therefore,leaving me with little time to train him properly so, I FOUND A TRAINER FOR HIM. HE WAS AWAY FOR THREE WEEKS IN TRAINING. I want to know if that was a good idea. He learned the very basic: sit, stay, down, and recall. The trainer instructed me that I'd need to work with him still. I was under the impression that if I sent him to be trained that this would do it,however the trainer said that my dog was somewhat stubborn and sometimes will not obey the commands that he was taught. My question to you is was this a waste of my hard earned money? I really love my dog and he is a good puppy I just need to know what to do from here? Do you have any suggestions for further training for my pup? And now also since I HAVE HIM BACK HE SEEMS TO BE VERY FRIGHTENED. He seems to be afraid of everything even sometimes his own shadow. Please give me some advice.

ANSWER:

I never recommend people send dogs out for training. This kind of thing happens all the time. I also recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

You may be better advised to find a new home for this dog where the people have time for it.

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QUESTION:

Hello, I was wondering if all breeds, even toy breeds (Havanese) should be trained in the fashion described on your web site. I read all the puppy articles.

One question I especially have is Should I get a prong collar or just try a normal one? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Dog training is NEVER breed specific. It is always temperament and drive specific. This means you train a hard Poodle just like a hard Rot. (You just don't give as hard of a correction).

Some soft dogs do not need a prong collar - most do.

There are only 4 types of training collars to consider:

A flat collar
A prong collar
A e-collar
A Dominant dog collar

No one can tell you what to do - you need to figure it out according to your training needs.

Get my Basic Obedience DVD and it explains this.

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QUESTION:

My almost 5 month old miniature schnauzer puppy has been in puppy obedience class for 3 weeks. She is doing very well with her commands (sit, down, come) and up until this past Saturday has interacted well with all the other handlers and dogs in the class. However, at our last class, she growled at and bit the training instructor when she touched her feet. The bite did not break the skin or leave any red marks. I was very surprised by her reaction since she has never before displayed any behavior like this. She has been to the groomer once so far and was nothing other than a wiggly puppy. I have her on the table weekly for beard cleaning and brushing and nail trimming every two weeks – no problem. The previous week she was held and handled by all the other dog owners without incident. We have now been expelled from class and referred to a certified dog counselor with whom we have an appointment.

My gut feel is this is was a one-time-incident possibly spurred by any one of the following conditions:
- The instructor is a very, very, very large lady (Ellie did growl the first time she saw her).
- All the other puppies in the class are BIG (great dane, german shepard, doberman)
- All the other handlers had assistants or other family members with them (my husband was not able to attend this time - first time I was alone)
- Just as Ellie was dwarfed by the size of the other puppies, I'm a small person myself.
- I had stepped away from Ellie preparing to do a recall when the instructor approached and touched her. Her attention was focused on me.

I have talked with the breeder and the owner of Ellie’s father and they assure me none of the dogs they have ever bred have been aggressive – both
are very reputable breeders. I have a 4 year old MS (from the same breeder) that I have raised and obedience trained. He is Canine Good
Citizen – so, I’m not wet behind the ears in this regard.

Should I be concerned?
Lin

ANSWER:

You should tell the instructor not to touch your dog or it will bite her again. NO ONE touches my dogs. Why should your dog allow this person to touch her? Because she is a human? I don’t think so. Dogs are pack animals and this person is not part of her pack.

The instructor needs additional training. If you want my advice – don’t go back. Train your dog at home yourself.

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QUESTION:

Hi Ed,

I am interested in purchasing a DVD from your site. I have a couple of questions about which one I should purchase. I have 2 dogs both 2yrs old. 1 is a Cavalier King Charles and 1 is a Maltese Shitzu.

They have both attended 10 weeks of obedience training with a halti/gentle leader collar. The dog trainer there recommended I get an electric collar for them as they bark incessantly at home and around other dogs.

My question is should I purchase your basic obedience DVD and a prong collar (which I have never tried) or skip straight to the electric collar and DVD. I have already decided to get an automatic bark limiter collar for them when I am away.

In hindsight I should never have bought 2 dogs at once, and I am now wondering whether I will ever be able to take them for a walk together.
Taking them separately is a huge hassle, as the one left behind plays up. - not to mention the one on the lead barking at everything in sight.

Thank you for your help
Regards
Emma

ANSWER:

I strongly recommend that you get my Basic Dog Obedience DVD before you start the e-collar training.

Get a prong collar for your walks. I call the power steering on dogs. I have an article I wrote that shows how to fit them.

Only get the Tri Tonic no bark collar. You can get cheaper ones but they are not worth the money.

The bark collar will work the day you put it on. The barking will be done.
For dogs that bark on the walks I would probably be using one of my dominant dog collars.

Read the article on how to fit these collars. In the beginning train with each dog by itself. I don't allow a dog to be stupid on walks. I wrote an article on corrections that you should read. You will see that I am not a fan of training with a Halti. They are stupid. Turning the dogs head is not a correction.

I hope this helps.

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QUESTION:

Hi Ed,

First I want to say thanks for your videos, web page, and all of your products. Everything I have from you is top notch.

I'm training my dog using a prong collar because of your video (Basic Dog Obedience) and your articles. I use the collar on our walks and during any training sessions. Here's my question (I hope it's not a dumb one): Is the ultimate goal to "graduate" to a flat collar after the dog listens, or is the prong collar intended to be used for the rest of the dog's life. My question mostly pertains to our walks.

Thanks very much,
Craig

ANSWER:

One of the things I need to add to the Obedience DVD is the value of the dominant dog collar. Some dogs get a little hectic with the prong – those dogs need the work with the dominant dog collar. You can read about how to use this on my web site. Once a dog understands what those collars can do – they RESPECT THEM and only need to have the slack taken up a very little.

Hope that answers your question.

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QUESTION:

Hello,

I have an 8 week old puppy. I want to get your DVD Basic Dog Obedience - Video # 302, but I am not sure what program to put him on first. I do not want to make the same mistake that most inexperienced owners/trainers make by teaching him too much too soon. At what age do I initiate the crate training to show who the pack leader is? What puppy DVD is right for me? At what age do I initiate your Basic Dog Obedience Training? Finally at what age do I initiate advanced training? I also have 2 GSD's one male and one female that are not completely trained. I would like to take them all beyond just basic obedience training but I am also unsure of what advanced training is right for my dogs. Your advice is appreciated and your dedication to your dogs is admirable.

My last problem has less to do with dog training and more to do with an empty pocket book. Do you provide discounts for multiple DVD purchases? I intend to purchase at least 3 DVDs maybe 4 depending on your advice for the above mentioned items.

Thank you for your advice in advance,

Jason

ANSWER:

You can get by with two DVDs.

Get the YOUR PUPPY 8 WEEKS TO 8 MONTHS and BASIC DOG OBEDIENCE.

If you were going to get involved in dog sports there would be a couple more, but for pet owners there is no more.

You will not need the Basic OB DVD for you pup right away - but you need it for yourself.

You have more to learn than your dog. I am not being a smart ass here. It’s the simple truth. The Basic Ob DVD will not be needed until the dog is 4 to 5 months old. What I tell people like you is that you should study the work now and not wait until the week before you need to start the training. I compare that to a teacher who tried to prepare a lesson plan the night before they teach a class.

I strongly recommend that you read the article I wrote on WHY IT’S A BAD IDEA TO TRY AND RAISE TWO PUPS AT THE SAME TIME. This is a huge mistake unless you keep these dogs separated for 8 to 12 months. If I can't raise two dogs that are allowed to live together you can't. I don’t mean this in a mean spirited way - it's just a fact. DON’T DO THIS you will regret it.

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QUESTION:

I have a 3 year old weim and my neighbors are giving me a hard time about his constant barking when he is in the back yard. Now, I don't really have a problem with his barking. I like a vocal dog. It makes me feel better when I am not at home to have a loud dog that distracts burglaries.. etc. I think it is safer for my family. However, back to the neighbors. I remember the way that we used to stop dogs from chasing cars by throwing a bucket of water out of the car. Would that work for the dog if I threw a bucket over the fence or is there a better remedy? I don't want to completely silence the dog, but I do need to get the barking under control. Any advice you could give me would be helpful.

Thanks,
Charley

ANSWER:

Charley,

Use this BARK COLLAR. We use it here in our kennel and have no problem with barking dogs.

Your problem is behind you on day one. Show your neighbors what you bought --they will love you!

It's not worth PISSING UP WIND!!

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QUESTION on Dogs Swimming:

My 8 month German Shepherd accidentally fell in my swimming and I had difficult time pulling him out of the pool. Can German Shepherds swimming and I had difficulty time pulling him out of the pool. Can German Shepherds swim naturally or must they be taught to swim. Thank you.

Joe

ANSWER:

They can all swim – I have a pool and every one of our dogs is taught to swim to the steps and climb out. We carry them into the pool and release them about 3 or 4 feet from the steps and guide them to them. We gradually increase the distance and one or two times will let them struggle at the side where there is no steps – so they see they cannot get out and they quickly learn the only way out is the steps.

If you don’t have steps I don’t know what to tell you to do – other than don’t screw up again.

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QUESTION:

Hi My mother got a white German Shepard.She is 73 years old and lives alone.She wanted the dog for protection to let her know when someone comes up.She has a problem with the dog jumping on her and skinning her arms up. and nipping at her shoes. When she walks.She wants the dog but I don't think she can handle him.He's a smart dog. I thought about getting a shock collar. I have seen some from 90.00 to 450.00.I don't know which one would be best for her. She is on a fixed income. any help would be thankful.
Kim

ANSWER:

Kim

Get her an Innotek 300 ADV shock collar but ALSO get her the DVD I did on Electric collar training for the pet owner. If you don’t get the DVD then don’t get the collar. Seriously. I show how to deal with jumping and how to train the dog to walk without pulling.

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QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

We have 5 of your videos and just received 5 of your leashes. Thank you for the quality products that you offer.

We have been teaching our 14 week old puppy using the marker training outlined in your videos with GREAT success. The puppy minds 95% of the time in the house. However, every time I take him out in public, he gets very distracted and does not mind, doesn't seem to even hear me or my commands, requiring that I go to great lengths to get his attention.
I'm thinking it's normal for a puppy to be this distracted and that he'll naturally grow to be less excitable and more focused as he matures (tell me if this is wrong). For now, however, I'm not clear on how to handle training under distraction.

So my questions to you are: 1) at what age should a puppy enter the distraction/correction phases of training? 2) Until then, should I simply refrain from giving commands to him at all in distraction environments? Part of me says, I should continue training him and exposing him to distractions. Another part of me says, if I give a command that I know he's too distracted to obey and I can't in fairness correct him b/c his mind is not yet mature enough to focus under distraction, am I not setting him up for failure and tainting the command by making it optional?

Thanks in advance for shedding some light on this dilemma for me. Along the same lines, at what age is a puppy ready for the tree stump and formal heeling work demonstrated in the Tom Rose video?

Thank you
Mindy

ANSWER:

Here are the only commands that we train a puppy for:

1- Look at your face - LOOK
2- Touch or smell your hand when your hand is extended to it - TOUCH
3- Turn and come to you - COME or HERE
4- Sit Down without being told
5- Go to a certain pre-selected spot or place that you like ( i.e. his crate or bed)

At this stage of training (we call it the learning stage) it's important not to correct a pup for not coming when called. Not coming is the puppies way of communicating with you. He is saying a number of different things:

1- I don't understand the word "Come"
2- I am not hungry
3- I don't like the food reward you are offering
4- What I am doing right now is more interesting than your old food reward

We don't add much in the form of correction until the dog is 5 to 6 months old.
We simply control him with a 20 ft cotton long line. The only things we correct a pup for are not coming when called and not spitting something out of his mouth when told - we call this the YUCK command (not minding here can kill the pup).

I hope this clears things up.


QUESTION:

I have disciplined my rott to the point that she is scared of me. When I walk towards her she turns the other direction, if she knows I'm after her she will pee. When she is next to me, any sudden moves by me causes her to jump. My cousin said I broke her spirit, is this true? And is it correctable? We also have a toy poodle/yorkie mixed and she likes to eat her pooh, how do you stop that? The main reason we got her was to protection.

ANSWER:

A lot of people who don’t know much about dog training make this mistake.

You may be able to turn it around if you educate yourself and don’t screw up anymore.

I recommend that you visit my web site and read a training article I recently wrote titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING.

The reason I wrote this article was to help people understand how to motivate their dogs in training. Most people either use the wrong kind of correction or over correct dogs in training. I am not a fan of “force training” (although I most defiantly believe that every dog needs to go through a correction phase). By exploring corrections in training you will become a better dog trainer.

I recommend that you get the 4 ½ hour DVD I did on my Basic Obedience program.

You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the training steps for training your dog. A dog must go through training steps before it can be considered fully trained.

When you read the description of the DVD on my web site you will find out why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. No professional dog trainer would ever take his dog to an obedience class with 15 or 20 untrained dogs and try and train it there. Dogs cannot learn when faced with this kind of distraction.

If you read the testimonials on my DVD you will see that my customers feel the same way.

While obedience training is not the solution to all behavioral issues it most defiantly is part of the solution for every single behavioral problem.


QUESTION:

Hello Ed, I would like to know what video I should buy from you.The Basic Dog Obedience or the Schutzhund DVD. My German Shepherd knows how to sit,stay,and down. He's 19months. He pulls on the leash unless he has the prong collar on. I also bought a E-Collar for him. could you please help me. I want him to obey every command off leash instantly. I have the time to put in if I knew what to buy. I don't want the S&R or the protection phase of Schutzhund, but I've seen the obedient part and would love to have Dakota learn that part of it. please steer me in the right direction on which is the better video to buy. thanks a million, Tom ps Why don't you tour the U.S. and do seminars.you have so much information to give.You are one of a kind, and I am not blowing smoke up your ass,people spend hours on your web site.,including me. I wait for more information to be written. Do you know anyone in Pittsburgh that you could turn me.

ANSWER:

I train my dogs with remote collars - I would recommend the DVD on Remote Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

You do not need Schutzhund DVDs - I can't comment on the need for Basic Obedience - it's an excellent DVD. Why not try the remote collar DVD.

Thanks for the kind words.

Sorry I don't know anyone out there.


QUESTION:

Hi Ed;
I am from southern Alberta Canada. Weather is a major factor in winter for walking and training dogs here...And I am an outdoor person! I wanted your opinion on this particular dog I rescued last year.

Zing, is shep/dobi and very intelligent.He learns fast,and hopefully this year he will be trained for tracking,as he seems to have the qualifications for it. I am a firm believer in Ceaser's (Dog Whisperer) and your type of training, and have been for many years. My issue with this dog is, his high energy level, and his lack of respect for me. I have worked closely with this dog for almost one year now.To explain a little, he was left by the neighbors on a long leash all day and began to howl. I always went over to him,made sure he had water,and food,and attention. He went with the previous owner running after the quad,only once. The 13 year old boy would abuse him somewhat,and he was allowed in the house to sleep by the previous owners bed.He also has the run of our house,only certain rooms.

Now,since I rescued him,he has had a separation problem, we leave him indoors in his crate, and he will howl and cry,when we leave. He is never left for long. I have tried every trick in the books, literally, and advice from your web,to get this dog trained.... He scratches,constantly, this has been going on since we got him. We thought at the time,he had sarcoptic mange and maybe allergies. A lot of money and time was spent relieving the scratching problem,from changing food to almost everything the vet and ourselves could think of. He is better now, no patches of hair missing, but STILL scratching. Maybe now it could be somewhat of a habit?

The real question here is, why he is so intelligent and yet doesn't listen for a long period of time.

For example, he is outside, comes inside, and is told numerous times, (sometimes up to 23 times) to stay at the door. He sneaks in anyhow.He is corrected time and time again,and still gets corrected.

This is just a sample of his listening. He respects my husband,and listens better to him,but again the door and staying there is an issue. Could this be a test or a fear of not seeing one of us,and scared we will leave? Or a game for him?

I was thinking he would be a candidate for the invisible fence (he also leaves the premises a lot,and goes snooping) and a prong collar for better control.

We also have 5 grandchildren,and he has a bad habit of jumping. This is also a pain,and we have corrected him, and eventually put him in the crate. The kids range from baby to toddler, to 6 years old. I have walked him,played him out running,and he still is difficult to work with.

Last year in october he was out running in our yard (acreage) playing with our older shep, and he wasn't looking,hit me and I flew up in the air, I crashed on the gravel on my left side, damaged my shoulder. Now I may need surgery.

I have never in 25 years had a dog like this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,as I am determined I took him on ,and he is a challenge, to work this out!

Thanks so much,
Linda

ANSWER:

You make a common mistake by talking about the past of this dog. If you are indeed a fan of Cesar's then you know he always says, "Dogs live in the moment."

The time you spend feeling sorry for your dog because of his past only keeps you from being an authority figure to him.

Please read this article about becoming an effective pack leader.

The first sentence in this article says it all: "You can feed water and love your dog and he will like you, but he very well may not respect you." 99% of all behavioral problems are a result of dogs not respecting their owners.

This happens as a result of poor handling and/or poor training.

This article was written for people like yourself, people who have great intentions but not enough knowledge of pack structure. There are links within the article that will take you to other articles on my web site.

At the end of the article I tell people that I wish I had time to train them through emails but I don't.

I would recommend the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience.

You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the training steps for training your dog. A dog must go through training steps before it can be considered fully trained.

When you read the description of the DVD on the web site you will find out why we are not fans of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. No professional dog trainer would ever take his dog to an obedience class with 15 or 20 untrained dogs and try and train it there. Dogs cannot learn when faced with this kind of distraction.

If you read the testimonials on the DVD you will see that our customers feel the same way.

I also recommend that you read the recently written article titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING.

While obedience training is not the solution to all behavioral issue it most definitely is part of the solution for every single behavioral problem.

Go to the web site and read articles I have written, buy some of the training videos. We have been doing them since 1980. Go to the web discussion board and read the archives of the board. There is a great deal of information here and I make sure it is valid information. This board has almost 6,000 registered dog members like yourself. Use the search engine on the web site (it's on the tool bar on the left side).

I hope this helps.


Question:

I have a springer spaniel/black lab mix who is approximately 4 years old. He is a great dog in all aspects expect strong prey drive and aggression toward other dogs especially. I have bought two of your videos ...Basic Dog Obedience and Dealing with Dominant Aggressive Dogs. They have both helped tremendously but I can't seem to get him to walk behind me or stay at my side during a walk. I say no..and 99 times out of 100 he will come back to position but it seems i'm saying no every 5 seconds or so. I walk him for an hour in the morning and 45 minutes at night. Any advice on teaching him the proper position. I have navigated your site and could not find the answer to my question. In your Dominant Dog video it suggests to have them walk to your side or behind you and so I want him to do this. I have a prong collar for him and it works very well. I just don't want to be saying no for our entire walk. Any advice would be greatly appreciated even if you tell me where to go on your site. Thanks.
Erin

Ed's Response:

Erin,

Possibly you and I have different expectations from our dogs.

In my opinion a dog should walk on a loose line. He should not pull when walking on a leash and he should determine what he has to do to make sure the line does not become tight.

I don't believe in keeping a dog on my left side in a formal feel position when we walk. This is a human artificial created position.

So with that said - I would be saying NO when the leash tightens and then if he does not instantly loosen the lead he would receive a correction (based on his temperament - hard or soft) that he remembers and respects the next time he tightens the lead.

Read the free eBook I wrote on THE THEORY OF CORRECTION IN DOG TRAINING - its also in a free podcast.

The thing about a HEEL POSTION is that the dog is given a HEEL COMMAND and cannot leave that position until he is verbally released from that command with "OK" (or whatever release command that you use).

I hope this clears things up.


Question:

Ed,

I have a 1 1/2 year old working male Bouvier who is defiant about taking the platz/down command. He knows it, but is giving me the finger. Any ideas?

1. Use the e-collar and MAKE him

2. Use his dinner as the food reward

3. Prong the piss out of him

4. Wait until he gets through this stage...

I respect your knowledge of working dogs and this is why I am writing you.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Howard

Ed's Response:

First – this is a dominance issue more than a obedience issue. You can do any number of things to FORCE the dog down – many of them will work but you take the chance of wrecking any kind of a bond you already have.

I recommend that you read the Free eBook I wrote titled THE GROUND WORK TO ESTABLISHING PAC STRUCTURE WITH AN ADULT DOG My web site has a large number of FREE eBooks that I have written. Go to the main directory for eBooks.

This is not a stage he is going to get through. The dog (at 18 months) is starting to mature. So he is just entering the point in his life where he either gets a respected pack leader or he assumes the role. It is easy to brow beat a dog into submission – it takes your brain to get him to understand you are a fair leader. When that’s done he will be more willing to work for you

With this said – I always train my dogs with remote collar. But you need to know HOW TO DO IT. I did a DVD on it – Remote Collar Training For the Pet Owner. I use a Dogtra 1700CP on my personal dog.

Cindy (my other half) used Dogtra 200NCP on her dogs.  It’s a little smaller in size than the 1700.

There are less expensive collars on the market but I don’t believe there are better collars.

I prefer the 1700 because it has a digital read out on the transmitter that goes from 1 to 127. This allows very precise control. I am raising a GSD right now and he started wearing the collar at 4 months. I would never own a dog again without using a remote collar.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Hi,

We're doing really well with the training guides online and with the eBook. Our pup usually pees and poops when asked and when taken to the area we designated for this; however, two of our cats love more than anything to roll, tumble, wrestle and play with Jinx. When they are around, training is out the window! I have been just carrying Jinx back into the house to his crate and then trying peeing and pooping time again in about 20 minutes.

Walks are hard too. The cats have total freedom and I have very little control over their actions. They  love to tag along on walks and when they run ahead, Jinx pulls on his leash. The good thing is I can use the cats playtime as a reward and he always comes on command when I decide playtime is over. Any suggestions?

Wendy and Jinx

Cindy's Response:

This can be an aggravating problem, I know.  We have some outdoor cats who love to show up when I am potty training a new puppy.  If I can’t chase the cats off then I will use them as part of my daily training with my puppy.

Have you been using markers to work with Jinx?  I would certainly do so, if not.  Then use the cats as a distraction ON PURPOSE, and pull out the tastiest treats ever when he listens to you. 

I would probably not allow Jinx to play with the cats at all right now, because that is a self rewarding activity.  I want all rewards to come from ME.   Later, when the training is really solid, then you can ease up and allow him to play with the cats, under supervision.


Question:

Hi,

Thanks for all your helpful articles, DVDs, nice leather leashes, etc.

I have a question regarding my second male labrador retriever.  He is currently about 7 months old.  About a month ago, I was trying to introduce the Dogtra Electric Collar into some training to advance things a bit.  I used the collar one time for a short period (5-10 min) but after watching your Electric Collar Training DVD again, I believe I used it incorrectly.  Instead of "Command," "No" and Quick Stim... I was doing "Command" and Continuous Stim if the command wasn't met.  Although this was only a 5-10 minute session done once with the E Collar, my dog seems to have developed nervous urination at times when I'm now trying to go through basic sit, down, stay commands with food.  

I've held off on using the E Collar a second time on him until I can hopefully get his confidence back with basic training using food rewards.  With my first Lab who is 4 1/2 yrs at this point, I can confidently go through commands without worrying about making him nervous.  With the younger dog, I'm now more cautious because it seems even the tone of my voice can set him off into a nervous, urine spitting mode....He is a very healthy, young dog with great behavior otherwise, so I'm confident he got a little traumatized by that one session with the E Collar...

Do you have any suggestions on how I can get his confidence back or how I should approach training with him given this situation?

Thanks - Bob

Answer:

Thanks for the nice words, we appreciate your business.

I would probably work on marker training with him,  while putting the collar on and off.  Just make the collar going on and coming off mean good things, and when he’s happily accepting the collar then just play with him.   This may take days or weeks, depending on the sensitivity of your dog. 

I wouldn’t use it at all until he seems completely oblivious to the collar at all. At that time then start over with training as outlined on the E collar DVD

Hope this helps.

More Questions:

Hi,

Thanks for the reply.  The immediate issue right now has nothing to do with the E collar.  He hasn't worn that since the incident that traumatized him.  So I'm trying to get back to basics (which I believe you do prior to even introducing the E collar).  The problem I'm having is even through basic training for Sit/Stay, Down/Stay, Come... he is not consistent.  I am using food to reward at times and also walking on the prong collar/leash to have him go through this routine.  The problems I'm seeing when he doesn't obey the command (usually about 50 % of the time now) is the following:

1) His sit is not a good solid sit but more of a half sit with his ears back submissively

2) He won't go down all the time and that's typically the command that gets him to spittle a little bit of urine out of nervousness (this happens occasionally, not all the time).

About half the time he's pretty good, and the other half I'm facing the issues above, which I never had prior to the E Collar episode. So it's not the collar itself or putting in on or off that's the issue at this point.  It's trying to instill his confidence back using basic training... Down the road I'll look at the E Collar again, but I'm most concerned with him getting through a training session without being nervous or fearful.

I guess my real question is, how forceful should I be in basic training given his lack of confidence?  Should I just rigorously go through Sit/Stay, Down/Stay, Come.. a couple of 5-10 minute periods a day using food until he just gets it?  Or should there be some other, gentler method I should follow given his nervousness at this point? 

Thanks again.

Answer:

I wouldn’t be trying to enforce any commands right now.  Make training a “game” for him right now, with no pressure and lots of fun.  I would use food all the time right now, to help alleviate the stress the dog is feeling.  Be aware that he is at a funny age too, where young male dogs (some, not all) go through funny little phases.  Ignore things you don’t like and make a big happy party over any little success.

I think your dog is not giving a solid sit because he is stressed and it may be that he isn’t exactly clear on what you expect from him.  If you know the down command is a problem area, either take a break for asking for down or start retraining it using a different word that he doesn’t have a negative or stressful association with. 

I have a 7 month old pup myself, and he does sit, down, stand and off leash heeling, all with only a reward based training system.  http://leerburg.com/markers.htm  and http://leerburg.com/clickertraining.htm  I don’t ask for much duration but he has a happy, exuberant attitude and that’s what we want to instill in young dogs.  There’s plenty of time to demand duration once he is confident.

5-10 minutes at a time is much too long for most young dogs, I do 3 very short sessions each day (usually about 2-4 minutes).  I usually play a game of tug or fetch for a minute before training and then for a couple minutes after.  I then put my dog in a crate for about an hour so the lesson can "soak in."  I see great progress using this method with young dogs.  

Last Response:

Thank you for the feedback.

I'll shorten the sessions, and make them more playful.  I may even omit the down command temporarily and eventually consider another trigger word for this command if it's necessary.  I'll read up on the markers and review the obedience DVD I already have from you guys.  Consistent treats during training is a good tip because I was not doing that.  The crate idea after training is excellent also.  Because I have another dog... getting some alone time will probably be helpful too without the distraction of his older brother...

Thank you.
Bob


Question:
Some answers in red within the email.

Hi Ed,

I have written before and hoped you may be able to help me again. I have a 16 month old English Pointer bitch who has really come along well with her training. I had a problem with her recall which is loads better although I know I have to work with her more. I admit I have been a bit slack recently.

My problem is this. Myself and my partner are separating shortly and the dog is coming with me. She has been a bit spoilt recently and that’s down to all of us, (probably more me!!)  I am trying her on a natural diet but she seems to have gone off her food, things have been tense at home and I wondered whether she is picking up on it, or maybe just become fussy eater that I have encouraged. The other problem is she is really digging especially if she gets on the furniture. I tell her no and get her off.

I'm just feeling that I have let things slide with the pack structure. She is everything to me and I know I'm too soft! She is a lovely dog, very intelligent, lovely temperament and has a submissive nature with other dogs.

After all that my main problems are:

1) How will she react when I move, will she settle?

***Without knowing your dog, I can’t really answer that.  The more structure and leadership you give her, the better she will handle changes in her daily life.  Keep as consistent as you can and don’t feel sorry for her and let things slide.

2) I will be working everyday and she will be crated from 8-12 then I will be home for an hour then again from 1-3. Is this too long??

***As long as she gets adequate mental and physical exercise, this is fine.

3) Some days I wont finish until 5pm but on those days I will take her to my mother's or is that not necessary?

***That’s up to you, it may be better to leave her at home unless your mother can be consistent with your rules.

4) Can I regain control with the structure and start from the beginning?

***Yes, follow the groundwork article.

5) What can I do with regards to her fussy eating?

***I would make sure she is on a feeding schedule and preferably being fed a species appropriate diet. Since you seem to be feeding chicken as a base, I would rotate the meat sources to include beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, fish, etc. The veggies are not so important.

6) Should she ever be allowed on the furniture? She doesn't sleep with me she is crated.

***She should not be allowed on the furniture until you have re-established pack structure and then ONLY by invitation.

7) Will a walk in the morning and again in the evening be enough?

***That depends on how long of a walk you are talking about.  A Pointer is a high energy dog, with a high exercise need.  I would guess this dog needs a minimum of 2 hours of hard exercise a day to be content and mentally balanced.

Since she has been on a natural diet of vegetables and chicken etc her coat is superb, and I'm hoping it will help with her skin allergies she has had. I also give fish oil tablets and vitamin E plus natural yogurt.

I have read loads of your advice and taken it on but I know I need to sort myself out for when I go and that the anxiety of the situation hasn't helped as I get stressed which is no good for her.

I know you are a really busy man and would have posted on the forum however as it's quite lengthy I hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. I just want a happy me and an obedient dog!!!

Many thanks for your time, I give out your web site address to all dog owners I meet because I feel it’s the best there is.

Lucy

Answer:

Please read this article about becoming an effective pack leader.

The first sentence in this article says it all: "You can feed water and love your dog and he will like you but he very well may not respect you."  99% of all behavioral problems are a result of dogs not respecting their owners.  This happens as a result of poor handling and/or poor training.

This article was written for people like yourself, people who have great intentions but not enough knowledge of pack structure. There are links within the article that will take you to other articles on my web site.

(Other answer in red above.)


Question:

Hi Ed,

My wife and I acquired a black lab / beagle mix (Shadow) from the humane society about six months ago.  Shadow will turn two next month.

We thank you for so much info on your site, and we've purchased the puppy DVD, basic dog obedience, and all of us have been learning a lot.  It helps that Shadow is the smartest, most engaged dog I've ever had. 

His sit / down / sit&down stay / heel, and come have been great.  We've even been doing some agility training with him with the help of a friend of whose dogs compete in agility.  He just LOVES going thru the exercises.

HOWEVER ==  Last week during one of the training sessions he just "shut down."   He refused to heel ... insisting on walking directly behind me -- and preferring not to walk at all.  I brought him alongside with a firm correction, but he didn't seem "right."  I ended the session.

Last night it happened again, but I noticed a few signs before it did.

- During a down/stay he 'vomited' a very small amount of water.
- Just before he 'shut down' he started drooling quite heavily.

This afternoon, this normally super-playful dog didn't have the will to jump over even the lowest jump settings.  He normally loves to fetch, but showed absolutely NO interest in it.

And, he's drooling again.

Any thoughts ? ?

- Dan

Answer:

I would take this dog to the vet for a complete exam.  He may have injured himself or overdone it or have a health problem that is just surfacing. He may be sore or feeling stress from the training.  It’s not uncommon for dogs to start to shut down when they feel overwhelmed with the training even if they appear to enjoy it most of the time.

If you rule out a physical problem I would re-examine the training you are doing. 


QUESTION:

Hello,

I have a question with regards my 17 month old female Rottweiler. Jasmine is spayed, 72 pounds.  She came from a reputable breeder of rotties in my area who breeds working rotts for schutzhund.  He gave Jas to me rather than selling her as she was the runt of the litter with the stipulation that I have her spayed.  I am currently working with Jas with an eye towards competing her in obedience trials.  She and I are in a basic obedience class now and she is really doing well.  Loves to work with me and very quick to pick up anything new. She has 2 issues, one when on leash she tends to be defensive with other dogs, barks and jumps towards them.  I have been working with her on this using a prong collar correction and "leave it" She is much better and now works well in class paying attention to me with only an occasional glance at another dog.  The other is when approached by a stranger she is fine, sits quietly at my side no problem its when someone she does not know tries to pet her she will lift her lip a bit.  She doesn't do this with everyone, just maybe one out of 10??? She also does not want them to touch her feet, sometimes a low grumble.  My question is this.  Do I use a firm hard prong correction with this behavior?? Or should I work more in the direction of her seeing strangers as a good thing, treats etc. I have had advise from trainers on both these methods and am a bit confused as to which tact to take.  She is fine off leash in our home with people. 

ANSWER:

You are doing the right thing. Correct the dog when it shows unwanted aggression

NO ONE TOUCHES MY DOGS - there is no reason for another person to touch your dog. I don't even let my girlfriend (who lives with me) pet my dog. I expect the dogs to be neutral to everyone unless the person acts in a threatening manner. Problem solved.

If you are going to do competition obedience and need a STAND FOR EXAM - this is simply an obedience exercise. It's a programmed exercise where the person comes up and runs the hand down the dog's back. A dog like this can be taught that they had better stand quietly or get a correction.


Question:

Hi Mr. Frawley

I was wondering if you could tell me how the pronged collar works?   I have been taking my yellow lab to obedience classes as he has an issue, which is another story, and they suggested a pronged collar.  I tried one and it works well.  He no longer pulls on it.  Before my hands were so sore after the class.  He is 18 months old.  He does all the basic commands, but he has a problem with barking at strangers and lounging at them.  So far, no bites, but I have been worried about it.  He does not have aggression towards other animals.  He is fine with them.  It is just people.  I can’t get him to stop barking until after the person has ignored him and they are no longer of interest until the person says hi to him and then he starts all over again.  Eventually after smelling the person, he starts to come around.  He is a big lab(110 lbs) and I’m not sure if this is a dominance thing or a protection thing (protecting me).  The grand kids come over and he is all over them to play, and they climb all over him, and he doesn’t care, but anyone coming into the house he runs at unless I am on him, which I am not, because people just walk in my place.  Some one said he needs obedience training so I’m trying that to see if it works.  Another trainer told me for $240 for an hour he would assess my dog and tell me what his problem is!  I was leery of that one.  So I’m going the easy was first.  Charlie is not fixed, and we didn’t want to do that.  I have raised Rotties with no problem.  They were very obedient.  I have never had a lab before and people tell me he will settle when he turns two.  I don’t want to wait. oh, he just started this behavior about 4 months ago.  Any ideas, as well as how does that prong collar work?  What makes the dog listen so well when it is on?  Its like a total transformation!

Thanks
Gail

Answer:

I would recommend the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience http://leerburg.com/302.htm

You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the training steps for training your dog. A dog must go through training steps before it can be considered fully trained.

When you read the description of the DVD on the web site you will find out why we are not  fans of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. No professional dog trainer would ever take his dog to an obedience class with 15 or 20 untrained dogs and try and train it there. Dogs cannot learn when faced with this kind of distraction.  

If you read the testimonials on the DVD you will see that our customers feel the same way.

I also recommend that you read the recently written article  titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING http://leerburg.com/corrections.htm

While obedience training is not the solution to all behavioral issue it most definitely is part of the solution for every single behavioral problem.

I believe that this recently finished DVD could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project.

This DVD is 3 ½ hours long. You can go to the web page and read the outline of what’s included on the video. My DVD's are not meant to be watched one time. The fact is anyone who needs this information needs to watch it many many times because every time they watch it they will pick up new ideas.

The prong works by pinching the skin around the neck, much like a mother dog does to her pups when correcting them.  This makes sense to most dogs and they really respect the collar.  http://leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm


Question:

Hi, I have a question regarding a training method I have been thinking about.

I have a GS almost 5 months that is highly motivated with food. He does not have a toy drive as yet. I have tried different things to build his toy drive with little success. His interest is very short if any. I'm hoping that someday he will begin to enjoy toys. I have heard and read, that sometimes dogs tend to suddenly enjoy toys later in life.

My question is this, can I use a kong filled with treats as a motivator as seen on the Building Drive DVD instead of the orbee ball? I train him using treats for heeling and he does great. If I were to hold a kong with treats in it as you would a toy for heeling, and reward with this, will it be bad in the future as a motivator?

Will this backfire on me in the future?
Has anyone done this?
Will it teach him to love the kong with or without treats in the future?

Thank you for your time, 
Jose

Answer:

Jose,

Many times dogs don’t show prey drive because it has been squished by the handler – this means the handler has been too hard on his dog and the dog doesn’t want to play.

With that said there are some dogs who lack prey drive.

Dogs who have had hard handlers are the dogs who may show prey drive at some future date – dogs who lack prey drive are not going to magically have it appear. It’s a genetic issue not a maturity issue.

As far as adding food to the Kong – I would not do it. It is going to create a situation where the dog is distracted by the food and not want to come back to you.  I am not a KONG fan. I don’t like them nor do I sell them.


Question:

Hi Ed.
I have a question before purchasing your BASIC DOG TRAINING video.

I have trained two Bouviers, a Belgian Tervuren, and a GSD to obtain our CD in obedience.  However, I have obtained my first *little* dog who is 8 lbs at 1 year.

Can I still use the methods in your BASIC DOG TRAINING?  Because I am so used to having BIG dogs all my life, I can't seem to make the same methods work on my little dog, especially with *corrections*.  I'm at a loss in my area of even finding someone experienced with training a small dog to that level.  What do you think?

Thanks,
Lori

Answer:

Training little dogs can be a challenge – I do believe the DVD will help you. You may want to either get one of the small prong collars – or one of our small dominant dog collars (they are used differently).

I do think that you should begin with marker training and get your foundation down – make it fun first. You also need to be 100% correct in establishing pack structure – this could be your problem. Often times people think “OK my dog knows I am the leader” when in fact the dog doesn’t see you as a “fair” pack leader. I just released a DVD titled Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog. My recommendation would to be the package of two (save some money) and then do the pack structure work first and part way through begin the obedience.

If you do this – keep this email and let me know how it goes in a couple of months.


Question:

Hi.

I have a 1 year old Red Setter named Lexee.  She is a very gentle dog and does not show any aggression except towards large trucks and buses when we are walking or riding in the car. She also does this with joggers passing us—not walkers.  I think she is afraid of the noise from the tires and has developed a habit of lunging and barking at them.  There has not been any negative incident in particular to cause this. (That I am aware of).  It just started and I have not been able to stop this.

Lexee also wants to chase squirrels and rabbits- which I have been told is common with bird dogs. 

Other than these 3 things- Lexee is a wonderful dog. 

I would appreciate any advice or help you can give me to make walks more enjoyable.  At this point, I am walking her in an area without squirrels, few joggers and little traffic.

We do try to practice the pack leader theory and constantly work on obedience commands.  She also attended a puppy obedience class w/me that covered the sit-stay;-leave it,-come and heel on a leash areas. 

Also- we are trying to train her with a remote Innotek collar so that we can run her in unfenced areas for exercise (play fetch).  Do you recommend any collar in particular?  Ours does not vibrate it has a warning signal, momentary and continuous shock with different settings.  While we do not like to use the collar –it is better than having our dog get away and get hit by a car.

Thank you for your time. 
Donna

Answer:

This is a simple thing to fix with a remote collar – and you need to fix it straight away.

I think you need to learn the correct way to train with this. I did a DVD titled REMOTE COLLAR TRAINING FOR THE PET OWNER. Once you know and understand low level stimulation training you will see why I will never train a dog again without using a collar.

The way to use it for your problem is the instant the dog looks at a truck a squirrel or something that makes it bark – stimulate it with higher levels than you would use for normal training. Go for the OUCH correction.

I am not a fan of Innotek. In fact a week or so ago I decided to stop selling them. I have to say that if your collar is working then there is no reason to get a different one. If it fails you and is out of warranty then get a Dogtra 200 or Dogtra 175 – that’s what Cindy and I use (actually I use a Dogtra 1700).

Hope this helps.


Question:

Dear Cindy,

I have a 9 month old GSD, 60lbs, and I am interested to know if I am pushing her too much in training. She knows all of the basic commands for obedience and works well with an E-collar, will fetch and bring back the ball and will “out” when told. I am trying to get her to “heel” and look at me, but she is not interested even if I have a treat or ball. She is pretty good trying to get the ball away from me, but when she does she holds on and lays down while holding on. Her interest is short on trying to get the ball away from me. I guess my question is; am I going too fast in her training or should I keep pushing her?

Thanks,
Patrick

Ps, Love your web site, videos and dog products.

Answer:

I would say that whenever I have to ask myself if I am pushing my young dog too much, I probably am. :-) I am training a 10 month old right now, so I am in the same situation as you are from time to time. Remember that your dog is still quite young and you have lots of time to train her. I personally want a happy attitude and lots of drive to interact with me. Too much drilling leads to boredom and lack of drive. I would spend more time working on building her drive and slack off on the control and obedience. You can’t use the toy for a reward if it’s not that valuable to the dog.

If you haven’t been using marker training with her, I would highly recommend it.

Cindy


Question:

We were wanting to ask you about something.
As I had said in our previous email, we had ordered some things from you (DVDs, toys, treats, bait bags), however, we are unable to receive the food treats due to customs. But we are very disappointed not to be able to get these treats - they appear to work so well and I'm sure our puppies would have loved them so much. We realize it's out of your or our power to do anything about actually getting them in our country (Australia) :-) but we were wondering if you could recommend any other kinds / brands of treats that would be just as healthy, and yummy for our puppies (and that would work the same as those other soft treats you use)? In Australia, we can only get all the junk brands of everything, all the ones you don't recommend (Vets brands, hill science, advance, and plenty other junk brands etc. which we wouldn't feed our puppies).

Then we are stuck. We have been using raw red meat and chicken meat cut up real small, dried chicken strips, and dried liver treats, but these ones are too hard to chew and gulp up quickly and take way too long to eat and then continue training. What can you recommend? Perhaps you know of places and brands in Aussie where we can get good, soft, easy- for-training treats? Otherwise our puppies only get raw meat as their treats and no variation. We have searched high and low on the internet looking for good treats (such as the ones on the American market like Zukes Mini Naturals, Soft Training Treats, Plato Smart Treats, etc), but we just can't find anything. I don't think we can get treats in from America (or can we?) through our customs. Perhaps we can, we've never tried yet. But then if they confiscate them, we loose them.

What can we use as soft treats for training?
Please help us out if at all you can, we need your advice! :-)

Awaiting your reply at your convenience.
Thank you for your time again,
Kindly,
Rachel

PS.> I think my mother is sending you an email (from our other email address) about a story you would be interested in - an unpleasant experience with dogs in the past - it might be one you could use along with your other stories of dog attacks as a warning to others. Yes, dog attacks are very serious, we learned that! . . . :-(

Answer:

For my dogs, I take a roast of some sort (venison is a favorite here) and put it in a slow cooker for several hours with some broth and a bit of seasoning. When it's cooked I dice it up into tiny pieces and put it into multiple baggies and freeze.

I use this for marker training, and it works very well. I spit food to my dogs from my mouth during exercises where I want them to focus on my face so the treats have to be something that tastes halfway decent to me too. :)

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I purchased a male GSD (Steel), whose dam is Irin Vom Leerburg.  He is now 6 1/2 mos old (whelped 2/10/08), sable, weighs 73 lbs.  I ordered your DVD's on Pack Structure, Basic Obedience and E training.  I have enjoyed them all and have put the first two into practice. We live on a 200 acre farm in Michigan.  Is he too young for the e-training?

I am having a problem.  Steel is performing all of the basics well on lead only.  When off lead, he is hard headed and wants to resist commands to retreat to his "place."  Acts like "sit" means nothing to him!  He hates his lessons. I'm afraid that I lost my temper one day when he wouldn't come to me when I called. He took off chasing deer one day, scared me to death. However, I did not correct him when he finally did come back. I didn't want to correct him when he finally did what I asked.  I am not a novice when it comes to dogs.  I have had several GREAT dogs, especially Rotts. that were well mannered.  I have never had GSD's. I have always admired this breed. Could my losing patience with him on one occasion have set his training back that much?  If so, can you recommend a strategy?  Am I expecting too much at his age?  Let me say that we have an 11 month old female GSD also that is awesome.  Listens well and is in tune with me. She is truly exceptional and attentive, wanting to please always.  Steel seems aloof to that idea. 

Any ideas?

Thanks ahead of time......Marilyn

Answer:

I wouldn’t be expecting a 6 month old dog to be responding to commands off leash.  I actually wouldn’t even try testing the pup off leash because every time you ask for something and have no way to reinforce it, the dog learns that being obedient is not required off leash.  I don’t want my young dogs to know they have an option.  I set myself up for success every time I interact with them by having the necessary tools on my dog and in my possession. This may mean a collar and long line, or an ecollar.  If my dog or pup is out of the crate or kennel, they have a line on or an ecollar on.  No exceptions.

You can certainly begin using the ecollar with your younger dog now, using low level stimulation as outlined in the DVD you already have. I would caution you about having unrealistic expectations of this young male.  It may be that he is just slower to mature than your female.  I know it’s difficult NOT to compare the 2 dogs, but they are each individuals.  Females just seem more likely to follow the pack leader and boys are a bit more independent (as a general rule).

I would imagine that you momentarily damaged the relationship that you were trying to create with Steel when you lost your temper, but instead of worrying about that just move forward. Dogs don’t live in the past, so just learn from that and go on.  I would use marker training with Steel, and help him enjoy learning and interacting with you. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi, I first want to thank you for the extremely informative web site.
You guys were recommended to me from "A Better Dog Training" because you had videos and I've been very pleased. We plan on getting some videos very soon but I do have a question that I was hoping you could help me with right now.

When taking the dog for a walk does he always need to be in the heel position? He behaves very well when on a loose lease very rarely pulling, 8 month old yellow lab. I pull him close (heel) as cars are passing and if there are a lot of distractions around but do we need to stay in that position for the duration of the walk?

Thanks again for all the info and I look forward to your response.

Brian

Answer:

I only use a formal 'heel' command when I need my dog heeling in absolute perfect position with all his focus on me. This isn't really practical for everyday life, I use it for competition or severe distractions only, similar to what you describe.

As long as my dogs are walking next to me, not pulling then that's fine with me. I use the command "walk" for that. It's a more casual exercise and I can always ask for a formal heel if I need to.

It sounds like you are doing just fine.

Cindy


Question:

Our dog is a 3 year old Malinois and extremely friendly to people on our walks, and gets very excited when he sees other dogs.

I seldom let him interact with people on our walks and never with other animals. When he sees a dog passing us he strains at his leash, gets quite excited, and will sometimes start barking.

To date I have been unable to get him to ignore any of the distractions we encounter on our walks. When it is just he and I he is fine, walks properly beside me but it isn't often that there are not other people out at the same time as we are.

How do you train a dog to ignore other animals and people? I have seen another person in our neighborhood who walks his dog off leash, and this dog ignores virtually everything around him except his owner.

Thank you,
Norm

Answer:

Some dogs have a harder time dealing with distractions than others. 

The best way to deal with this is to give the dog a job he must do on command.  It can be something like “look”, where you teach him to stare at your eyes.  If he is looking at your eyes, then he can’t be looking at people or dogs.  This needs to be taught at home first with no distractions and then gradually add some distraction over time. Until he could do this reliably with no distractions I would refrain from walking him where there are people and dogs.  You will need to build new habits and in order to do that successfully, don’t let him practice the old behaviors.

Read the article titled Training With Markers. This is the easiest way to teach dogs new behaviors quickly.

You may eventually want to go to a remote collar.  This will give you a clear way to interrupt the dog’s behavior in the future when he makes a mistake or needs to have his attention refocused on you. I like the electric collar because I don’t have to make any physical movements like I would if I was giving a regular leash correction.  The dog learns to focus more on me, and to listen to my voice instead of relying on waiting for me to move my arm when using the leash.

Here is information on our electric collar video.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I will try to keep this short...I have had a fair amount of experience with training, but am certainly not a pro nor pretend to be.

I have a just turned 3 year old neutered rottie who had medical problems as a 6 mo old, requiring crating and immobility to heal a broken shoulder. He became very wary of others outside the family. I have worked with 2 trainers...one agility to get him confident and one general obedience. At the least, I would like to be able to have him accept strangers as simply neutral; right now I would have to use a distraction (food or squeaky toy) to get him around strangers... I want him to just lay down and ignore them rather than constantly watch them.

I would love to have him in obedience matches...how do I get him to accept the Stand for Exam? He is extremely eager to please, kept in great shape and shares the house with our 6 yr old female Bouvier to whom he is submissive. I can use the e-collar and also have the pinch collar. I am probably doing something wrong but am having trouble coordinating the idea of positive reinforcement with correction for unwanted behavior. The other trainers think I am doing great with him

Sorry this took so long.

Christine
Michigan

Answer:

There is nothing wrong with using food or a toy to keep your dog’s focus on you while training him to accept the presence of people.

Get him comfortable with the idea that people in his environment don’t mean anything and in order for this to work, you need to make sure that the people that come around absolutely ignore him. Start just getting him used to playing with you in view of people, and increase the level of distraction as he gets more comfortable. I would also teach him to keep his eyes on you whenever you leave him on a stay, and reward that.

Back in the days that I use to compete in AKC obedience, we always taught a sit for exam first before trying a stand and this is done with the handler staying right next to the dog at first.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

Thank You:

Hi Cindy,

Thanks you very much for this input! In all the zillion dog obedience classes no one ever did sit first...great idea as the dog is in a more stable situation (sitting)

I appreciate the newsletters and have purchased several items from your catalogs.

Again thank you


Question:

Hi- thanks so much for the great site, I currently am spending money with you guys and will continues to do so to support a great resource. I know you get tons of questions and I have read through hours of the site on multiple occasions. I have a just turned 2 year old GSD male, not perfectly trained by any means but I am working on it hard. I really want to get 1 thing under control and its the pulling on leash. My dog will come when called, stay forever, sit, down all that on command and every time, but some where I have failed on the not pulling on leash and staying by my side. I use a prong collar and have tried 3 different sizes of prongs because my dog always seems to pull straight on forward no matter, almost like he has built a tolerance. I am pretty sure they have been fitted properly I have them on tight and I apply them like you state on your site. Can a dog build tolerance to these? What would be your recommended action to help resolve,would this be to watch establishing the pack structure as this is a dominant dog issue? or just lack of training? Both? Should I work on my level of correction when he pulls and use a higher level? Any input would be appreciated, and should I use a fur saver instead of prong or is that only replacement for choke collars, thank again for any input and time you take to answer my questions, I assume this is all due to my failure to teach him properly.

Thanks Matt and Gunnar

I am trying to put an order together later tonight to ship out asap and will add some things you might recommend, so please let me know, thanks.

Answer:

Without seeing how your dog behaves I can only guess that he somehow believes that pulling is what you want him to do. It is possible to desensitize a dog’s neck to a prong collar and this may have happened accidentally in your training.

I would go back to basics and teach this dog with markers. Since the other areas of training are good, I think your dog just misunderstands what his job is when you are walking him on leash. Read the article titled Training With Markers. You can marker train a dog to walk on a loose leash by marking/rewarding every time the leash is slack. I highly recommend our DVD The Power of Training with Markers.

You can always go to more corrections if this doesn’t work, but I always feel that if you can work with the dog in a way that’s fun and more natural for the relationship the better it will be.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I am hoping you can help me. I have a now one year old Plot Hound that I rescued at 8 weeks. Without going into endless repetition, all I can say is that training her has required a lot of patience but with one exception is paying off.

She has a strong prey drive but now is easily controlled with birds and squirrels. She responds well to commands, and shows absolutely no signs of aggression to people or dogs.

The difficulty stems from her wanting to be with people and dogs to the extent that she often loses her mind when approached.

She goes to Puppy Play School regularly where she plays with dogs very well. She still wants to "get to" the workers there and is difficult to control when I first take her there.

When walking her in the neighborhood I have her sit when I see someone approaching. I tell the person not to speak to her or approach her but to just pass on by. Usually she will hold the sit position and I tell her she is a good dog and pet her. When the person passes and she hasn't moved I praise her and give her a reward.

But should a friend want to stop and briefly chat it is different. I give her the down command and she lies down. But the minute a friend comes closer or we start to tale my dog becomes difficult to control and ignores my commands because she is in such a frenzy. I have friends who are good with dogs work with me and approach her and let my dog go to them. She rushes to them, squirrels around their legs at high speed, then lies down and rolls over to be scratched on her tummy. She usually settles down after a few minutes, but sometimes will rush to them again.

No matter how often I work with this friend it is the same thing. My friend will not move or respond to her in any way to encourage her behavior. If my friend tries to tell her to sit it only makes it worse. Everyone is a giant toy to her.

If anyone comes to the house to visit I have to tell them to wait outside so I can put my dog in her crate.Even if we go to another room, my dog will bark and carry on to get out to see the new person and we go through the same thing.

I have parked my car at a curb where people are passing by and remained there an hour or more and my dog will still bark and carry on to get to the people.

I have used a prong collar and it does no good. I have your dogtra collar which she responds to very well, but still goes crazy when someone approaches.

I live in a community of retired people and many are a bit unstable when walking. My dog would never hurt them intentionally, but she could easily knock someone over when she squirrels around their feet. I keep her under control all the time, put her in a sit position when anyone approaches, and generally she is pretty good but not always. Even though there is no way my dog could get near anyone because she is always on leash, some are very afraid of her.

I am not afraid of losing control of her, but I would like to be able to stop and have a conversation without having to talk above my dogs barking or using my energy to hold her back should someone want to move a bit closer.

She does the same thing with other dogs.

What it boils down to is that no matter how often I expose her to other people or dogs she just goes crazy wanting to get to them to play.

Other than that, she is a wonderful obedient dog and highly responsive. Is this part of a prey drive even though she just wants to play? And how can I deal with it.

I am told she will grow out of it but she is a year old and I have seen no signs of growing out of it.

Would appreciate your suggestions.

Thanks.
Linda

Answer:

How much exercise is your dog getting? Does she like to fetch a toy or swim? To me, it sounds like your dog just has too much unchanneled energy. It’s really hard (if not impossible) for a dog to focus on being good if their exercise needs are not being met. I’m not a big fan of puppy play groups. I would never allow one of my dogs to attend anything like a puppy play group or dog park. For one thing they teach dogs that all their fun and stimulation come from other dogs, not from interacting with me. They also set dogs up for aggression issues, either as an aggressor or as a victim of another dog’s dominance.

You may not have any visible issues now, but if you let her play at her discretion with other dogs it is only a matter of time before something happens. I want my dog to get all of her exercise and fun from me, not from running wild with other puppies. It really sets up a dog for the wrong state of mind, if you let them play with other dogs like this before you have a solid foundation of leadership and obedience.

I also think that I would be doing more with the electric collar, and using her daily food to get her to focus. You need to become more of a leader and more ‘valuable’ to her. If she’s only getting her daily rations by paying attention and listening to you, I would guess her ability to settle and remain focused on you would improve.

I’d also be using marker training with her, to teach her to use her mind.

Marker training is also covered in our basic obedience video.

Keep in mind that a 1 year old hound is still very immature mentally, some dogs take longer to mature than others. I know it’s difficult but it’s our responsibility to have realistic expectations of young dogs.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Cindy/Ed

I have several of you DVD and products and I find them very useful. I have recently bought a one year old female working lines GSD, she is trained in basic obedience and she has started her protection training. She is trained in German commands and I would like to switch her over to the English commands. How do I do that?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:

It’s quite simple to switch a dog to new commands.

First say the NEW command you want the dog to do, then the OLD command and when the dog complies you give a very meaningful reward.  At first the dog won’t know what you are asking but after some repetition they pick it up quickly.

For example: Say DOWN, then say PLATZ and when the dog lays down give your release command and an extra special reward.  Repeat…..repeat, repeat.

The dog will start to anticipate what you are going to say next and then before you know it, you have a bilingual dog.

Cindy


Question:

Is it possible to leash train two dogs at the same time? 

I have a bishon/poodle and a schnauser and I am having difficulty trying to teach both of them at the same time to heel.  Is this possible or do I need to train each dog separately???

Thanks

Answer:

It will be much easier for the dogs if you train them individually until they get the idea of what you expect.  Once they are heeling well alone, then you can start to work them together. 

I’d recommend our video on Basic Obedience.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Two quick questions.....

Just bought two bully sticks from you.....and yes I know what they are and it makes me smile to think of it as I know a few people that might need the same treatment......but that's another story...

What do you recommend for a year and a half medium - large size dog  (60 pounds) who is a very aggressive chewer.  Bones (real or artificial are out) rawhide bones are ok, cheap bully sticks last two seconds, and she guts stuffed animals.  Have everlasting treat ball and also use Kongs stuffed with peanut butter.  Would love suggestions.

Second question...Bought your Dogtra collar and DVD on how to use this collar. This puppy was originally wild and has developed into an absolutely perfect dog in every way except for  one.  She absolutely loses it when she sees another dog or person.  Not from aggression but from wanting to play with them.  I had a bad experience at a puppy play school that involved both her stifles and as a result I can't let her play and don't want her around other dogs anyway especially after that.  I don't let people pet her either.

I was going to try to use the Dogtra with this but don't want her to associate other people or dogs with something unpleasant....or is that the track I should be taking.  She is incredibly obedient in all other aspects except when she sees another dog or person and then nothing gets through to her......not even the basic "sit" and of course "stay" is out of the question.  She has basic obedience perfect it's just the "detractors" of other living things that give her trouble.

Would appreciate your advice on using the Dogtra collar for this.  I used it earlier in her training, and she did so well in everything I haven't used it much lately.   

Thanks,
Linda

Answer:

I don’t ever advocate rawhides, not for any dog. They can be treated with toxic chemicals and they don’t break down properly in the dog’s digestive tract and can cause digestive problems or even blockages.  I would use raw knuckle bones (you can get them from your butcher) or stuff the toys you have with peanut butter, cream cheese, ground meat, etc.. and freeze it.   I find that dogs that are such aggressive chewers are typically dogs that would benefit from more exercise. 

You use the collar to reinforce a voice command. It’s not got anything to do with punishment that the dog should link to people or dogs.  When I ask my dog to listen to me, he will either comply or he won’t.  Through fair and consistent training he knows that if he doesn’t listen, he will be told NO and (depending on the dog and the level of his training) either asked to repeat the exercise or will receive some type of correction.

Your dog needs more work under distraction, and so you first need to work with her with the distractions FAR AWAY and as she gains fluency, increase the distractions.  There is no quick fix to this, it’s all about setting up your training so the dog can learn what brings her success.

Cindy


Question:

When entering the house through the doorway, Should My wife let the dog in first? or the Dog to Follow?... same as walking up and down stairs.

Bill and Rita

Answer:

We make our dog sit at the door and give us eye contact. If the dog is expected to perform an exercise - sit and look up at us before we open the door then the dog can go first. The dog has basically submitted to you and a higher ranking family member.

Here are a couple of DVDs you should consider:

Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog

The Power of Training Dog with Markers

Basic Dog Obedience

Kind Regards,
Ed


Question:

Hi,

Let me say that I think your website is wonderful and full of great information.  I have a problem with my 6-month old female Doberman and wasn't sure which DVDs and items to purchase for correction. 

My (dog's) problem is this:  I have seen subtle signs of what I think is dominance around the house, but by all means not aggressive.  We've been training her and she usually does OK - that's why I want to buy your training DVD. She needs correction big-time. She hasn't realized yet that commands are to be done when I say not when she wants!!  She's fine with people - friendly - HOWEVER, when we're on our walks and/or on leash and she just hears another dog she goes CRAZY.  Her hair stands up and as soon as she sees the dog she lunges and wants to attack.  On the other hand, people come over my house all the time with their dogs and she is very playful and not aggressive at all.  WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

I wasn't sure if I should buy the Dominant Dog Collar or the Prong Collar.  I read in your article that prong collars sometimes make them more "excited."  She always wants to go ahead of me when we walk and it seems like I'm always using the choke chain for correction.

I was planning on purchasing the Basic Dog Obedience and Living with a Dominant/Aggressive dog DVD as well as a collar.

I'm still reading through your site, but can you please help me in determining which collar and correction method I should use when she's on leash?  I don't want to wait too long and make things more difficult.

I know you get a lot of emails but I'm looking forward to a response.  Thank you for a great website.

Regards,
Odalys

Answer:

I’m not sure you need the dominant dog dvd at this point.  Your dog is only 6 months old, and most likely just needs more structure and leadership.  I would not expect any 6 month old puppy to be “trained,” she’s still a very young dog.  You can always go to corrections later. 

I’d use a prong collar for pulling on walks, but would also advise a dominant dog collar.  We use the DD collar when the dog is in a hyper excited state, using the prong can actually make them more excited.  Both are great tools, when used in the right situation.

I’m going to recommend these videos for your pup:

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
Pack Structure for the Family Pet
Basic Dog Obedience

You may be interested in training her to the electric collar once you have all the basics down -  Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

I have 2 dogs how can I walk them both together? 2 leads or a brace lead? 

Should one be on my right side and one on the left? If this is the best way would the one on the right side still be able to heel? Thank you

Answer:

It’s a matter of personal preference how you walk your 2 dogs. I have 2 that I walk daily; I put one on each side. I use a different command for heeling on the right. I put my older dog on the left, my 1 year old on the right. I have found it’s easier to use one lead for each dog, in case I need to give any kind of correction or leash guidance to just one dog.

I use the word EASY for the dog on the right.  

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I have a question for you, in January I bought a female German Shepherd, that I wanted to breed, she will be two years old this coming April 22nd. I usually buy pups and then raise them and give the obedience training myself as I am raising them. But for some reason or other this one caught my eye, and there seems to be something I believe is special about her. Her father's side isn't any thing magnificent, but on her mother's side she comes from a line, of German imports and some champion bloodline and many Narcotic K9 dogs. This dog has never been trained to do anything. Over the last couple of months I have taught her to walk on a leash, sit and lay down, were still working on the stay command. What I have noticed so different about her, is how eager she is to learn, and to please me. She is very quick and responsive, to the commands I have taught her, she is very high powered, along with super high guard. What I mean by that, is that she can not calm down, she is ready to do something, she's very hyper. She loves to fetch,  she is not scared of anything. When I bring her in the house she won't lay down, she just runs around and sniffs everything, and she will even play hide and seek with her ball, she can find it were ever I put it. When she's not sure and seems to give up, when I start taping things she, starts to look for it again and finds is. This dog belonged to some people who didn't know much about dogs, and needing to get rid of her because they didn't know how to handle her, I bought her from them. Like I said she has along road a head of her when I comes to obedience. Since January, I have taught her to sit, lay down, come, no  jump and to walk on a leash. She does all this with just about 20 minutes a day lessons over the last couple of months. So I know even though she got a late start she is still trainable, despite her age. I feel that she would be happier, if she had a job of some sort. I personally have no job for her really. I'm a mother of 4 that lives in a small residential area. What I was wondering is if, you thought from my description of her, if she would be a good candidate for a narc dog or some kind of work dog? Also, are there people who are not police officers who have work dogs, but loan them out to people who have a need for work dogs, so that the dog is happy doing what is was intended to do? Is it to late for her or to soon for her to start training for narc dogs? Please let me know, I value your opinion. Thank you.

Answer:

It’s not likely that a civilian with no dog training experience is going to be able to train a working dog that will be wanted by outside agencies.

I’d recommend you have fun with your dog, a dog is happy just using their mind and having time spent with them.  To a dog, that IS a job.

We have a number of DVDs that will help you work with her and give her a channel for her energy.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Cindy,

How can I train an adult dog that it's Ok to leave his property?

I have a 5 year old  Rottweiler that refuses to leave our property. I have tried enticing him to come with me using food and toys. He'll have none of it! He just panics and bolts for home. When I hold him back he almost strangles himself on his collar. This makes vet appointments almost impossible.

Any suggestions?

Thank you,
Fany

Answer:

Your dog sounds like he’s in charge and is also lacking in confidence when he’s off his home turf. If you want to take the leadership role back from your dog, then I’d make the following suggestions. Start with our groundwork program and the video that picks up where the article left off, Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

I’d also make sure he can follow obedience commands:  Basic Obedience.

I’d get a prong collar too, and learn to use it.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Ed and Cindy,

First of all, thank you so much for your website. It is the best resource on dog training I have found, and I appreciate the range of information. It is sad that so many trainers seem to think treat training is the only way to go (especially with a stubborn breed).

I have a rescue dog - a purebred Basenji - 4 years old. She came to me basically untrained and out-of-control. I trained her initially with markers and treats to learn basic commands like sit, down, come, stay. I'm working on teaching her "rug" and "bed" as two places I would like her to learn to go. All of that is going well. I removed the treats and used her leash with the following correction style:

"Zoe, sit."
If she doesn't do it - "No. Sit."
If she still doesn't do it - jerk on her collar on the No and repeat the command.

That's working great.

What I haven't been able to do is to get her to consistently walk without pulling. Since Basenjis are both sight hounds AND scent hounds, they are extremely distracted outdoors. I am now using a prong collar and getting better results, but even with corrections, she goes right back to pulling in a few minutes.

She gets two or three 45-minute walks per day, so I think she definitely gets enough exercise.

Do you have any advice on how to teach a dog like this to heel (or at least not pull) or recommend one of your DVDs that has this instruction? I just ordered the electronic collar DVD thinking I might want to try that, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Thank you for your time.

Best,
Mariska

Answer:

Why did you remove the treats from training? Good dog training isn't about getting rid of treats and replacing them with corrections. If your dog isn't responding to your commands then she isn't trained. The method of correction you have described won't TEACH a dog anything, and will actually shut a dog down from continuing to try.

If you understand markers you will know that you use them for the life of the dog.

I'd recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Markers and The Power of Training Dogs with Food.

The food video shows correct use of markers and how to teach muscle memory heeling, which is how I would go about teaching your dog.

Don't get me wrong, I use corrections but not to teach and not when the dog is showing me they don't understand OR they aren't engaged with me. People love to label dogs as stubborn when in reality, your dog may just be more challenging to get engaged with you for training. This means you need to be more creative and fun, and make the dog WANT to interact and train. Using physical means to place a dog in positions teaches them nothing. If your dog isn't paying attention to you, it's not the dog's fault. You just aren't interesting enough. :)

You are putting a dog that doesn't fully understand what you want in a distracting environment too soon. Learning is impossible in this scenario.
Back up the training, go back and use markers as outlined in the marker and food videos and then progress from there.

We have a ton of streaming video, I'd recommend you watch the Michael Ellis lecture (it's a multiple part series).

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.


Question:

Hi Ed and Cindy,

I adopted a female GSD (then 6 months old) from another family a few months ago. She is now 10 months old. Her previous family trained her in search and rescue at a very young age, and I think they did this without even training her in basic obedience. When we got her, she was practically pulling my arms out of the sockets during walks and sniffing the ground the entire time. They also taught her to "speak" when she wants something, and now she is constantly whining and yelping for everything and anything and barks at every little noise.

We finally got her to stop going full speed ahead on walks, but I do have to correct her when she starts getting ahead of me. I am taking her to beginner obedience classes...and she is just horrible. I know it is not her fault and I am the only one to blame. I work with her at home, and she does just fine. But once we are at class, all she does is sniff and want to track around and watch the other dogs. No matter how much I try to get her attention, she just does not pay attention to me. Even with food and toys. 

So my questions are:

1.  How do I get her to stop this "search and rescue" behavior when it is uncalled for?  Do I just keep giving her corrections? 

2.  How do I stop her from constantly being so vocal, loud, whiny, and barky??  Again, just a matter of correction?

3.  How do I get her to pay attention to my commands when we are not at home?  It's like she's completely deaf!  Should I just work with her at home until I know she is okay to go to classes (distraction phase)? 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so very much,
Janis

Answer:

The behavior your young dog is displaying has nothing to do with Search & Rescue, it’s normal dog behavior when someone takes the leash that they do not perceive as their leader.  My dogs are very well trained, but if you tried to walk them they would drag you like you were water skiing behind them.  They don’t follow directions from people who are not their leaders and many dogs are this way.  Basically it’s a lack of respect.

I’d get this dog out of a group class situation until you get the walking on leash perfect with no distraction and you get the vocalizing under control. She doesn’t pay attention to you for a number of reasons 1) she doesn’t have to 2) everything else is much more interesting and 3) you are asking too much of her at this point in her training.

I’ll make a few recommendations on how to get her to want to work with YOU, and engage with YOU.  Until this happens further training will have to be correction based and for a dog this young, I’d try another way first.  You can always go to corrections later.

Read this article on marker training first.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

The Power of Training Dogs with Food

These will give you the foundation for any future training you want to do. 

You can watch our free streaming video to see some examples of marker training and to hear the Michael Ellis lectures, I can’t recommend them enough.

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


Question:

Cindy,

I have a 4 year old female brittany who was given to us when she was one and a half because she was afraid of the shotgun and wouldn't hunt. She is very obedient around the house and in our backyard but the second you put a leash on her and take her out she forgets you exist. She is too busy observing the birds and squirrels and she pays no attention to the person at the other end of her leash. I had a trainer come to my house and whenever he is around she walks nicely but as soon as my husband and I try she starts pulling again. I have tried every type of "no pull" collar/harness, the prong collar, stopping and not moving until the leash is loose, turning in a different direction, going back repeatedly to the front door and literally walking step by step, spraying water at her, loud verbal corrections, you name it I have tried it. She responds to each thing for a little while and then she just puts up with whatever form of correction is given to her. I have even taken her for a run riding my bike before we walk hoping to tire her out but she still pulls. My trainer is very frustrated as well as we have been working on this for two years. I walk her every day and faithfully practice anything my trainer has suggested. In the house she follows behind us, stays until we free her and obeys any command that we give her. In the neighborhood or the park it is a different story. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I have been seeing a lot about training puppies but not too much about older dogs. Do you think I would benefit from the focused heeling DVD or is it geared to younger dogs? I am not interested in competition heeling I just want to walk my dog without it being a struggle every step of the way. I am very frustrated and do not want to stop taking my dog on walks because she really benefits from the exercise.

Thank you,
Debbie

Answer:

There are a couple of ways to do this.  It seems you’ve already tried the correction based way of training and it’s not working for her.  From your description it seems you’ve desensitized her to a lot of different forms of correction.

The way I prefer (although it takes longer) is to teach the dog that there is something valuable in it for them if they pay attention to me. The foundation to this type of training is marker or clicker training.  I would read our article on training dogs with Markers http://leerburg.com/markers.htm

The focused heeling would be my choice because you can give the dog a very clear picture of what she needs to do to get her reward.  Instead of corrections for being wrong (which she has learned to tune out) , she gets something high value (food or toy) for paying attention to you.

You will need to put a foundation of marker training in place before you can jump right into the focused heeling training.  She needs to learn the whole system.

I’d recommend the following in this order:

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
Focused Heeling with Michael Ellis

If she likes toys, you can use a tug or a ball or whatever in place of the food once the initial training is done.

You would benefit from our streaming video section. Check out the Michael Ellis series lectures.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Cindy,

I would be interested in your recommendation of a school which I can attend with my Doberman to become an instructor in all phases of dog training, particularly obedience, protection and tracking. Also, it should provide some kind of certificate. 

I have a few of your videos, but I really want and require working with instructors who can provide guidance on techniques.

I look forward to your response.  Many thanks.

Best regards,
Michael

Answer:

I’d highly recommend Michael Ellis’s school. I just returned from attending this school myself.

I would recommend viewing the following before considering attending, as this is the foundation of his program. You’ll get much more out of his school if you have studied these DVDs first.

The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog
Focused Heeling with Michael Ellis

Please check out our streaming video section. Look at the Michael Ellis lectures for more information about this system.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Dear Leerburg,

We purchased your Dog Obedience training DVD.  We only have one question.  You mentioned correction levels from 1-10.  Can you please elaborate on what a level 1 and level 10 correction are?

Thank You,
Maxine

Answer:

This article goes into much more detail about corrections than I can cover in an email. I do believe that the levels of correction are discussed in the obedience video as well.

This article covers motivation in training, which should also be read.

A level 1 is the lowest level of correction for that particular dog and a level 10 is when you come down on them like a ton of bricks. There is no recipe for corrections because every dog is different.  What would not even register as a level one correction for one of my dogs may make another dog think his world has come to an end.

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

I recently purchased your DVD on Basic Obedience Training. My dog is a two year old Yellow Lab. He has been doing well with the marker/treats training. He knows very well the basic commands of sit, down, and stay. He is very attentive when we do the training with treats. However, if we are somewhere and I don’t have treats, or if he is distracted by the presence of someone else, he pretty much just ignores me. It’s like he is saying “I know what I’m supposed to do, but if you’re not giving me a treat, forget it!”

Where do I go from here?

Doug

Answer:

Hi Doug,

You’ve only had the video for a month, and that is WAY too early to be testing the training without any rewards. My advice is to back up your training and continue using rewards, especially in the face of distractions. By not giving him treats this early in the training/learning process you are teaching him to “check out” and ignore you. Dogs need to be rewarded a lot at first, then you go to random rewards to keep them trying all the time.  

I’d highly recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Food, I think you’ll get a lot out of it.

Please check out our streaming video section. Go to the Michael Ellis section and look over some of the free video available there too.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Greetings,

I have a 7 year old Rescue Dutch Shepherd and a 15 week old Australian Cattle dog. I've never had two dogs at the same time before. Following your advice; they are getting along famously.

The Dutchie is good on walks (not a perfect "heeler" but stays by my left side and doesn't get ahead or behind). I haven't done any formal leash work with the pup but have taken her out on leash for socialization purposes.

At some point I will want to walk both dogs together and I have a question: When I start "formally" teaching the puppy should I teach her to heel to the right (so I have one dog on each side and in each hand), teach her to heel to my left and then have her stay to the right of the Dutchie (closer to me) or left side of the Dutchie? 

Also is it safe at any point to use a connector leash so that one leash controls both dogs?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Roberta

PS Enjoyed "8 weeks to 8 months" and just starting ""Basic Obedience." Keep up the good work.

Answer:

Hi Roberta,

It’s really up to you how you set the dogs up.  I walk both my dogs, one on each side.  I find it’s much easier to control each one. 

With that said, there are times that I walk both of them on the same side, like if I am on the bike trail with a lot of traffic it’s easier to keep them out of the way by putting them on the same side.  I don’t usually use any connectors, because if I need to give a leash correction it’s impossible to do so with one of those. I use two individual leashes.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Dear Mr Frawley,

My german shepard likes to come up to me as soon as I sit down in a chair to put my shoes on and will not leave me alone while I put my shoes on. When I push him away and tell him no, he barks at me. Not in a mean way, but barking to be noticed I guess. How could I fix this problem? I bought your Basic Dog Obedience DVD already but only have got to the intro to markers. Thanks for your time and help.

Mike

Answer:

My advice would be to keep the dog on leash, and control his movements. Since you haven’t gone through the DVD yet, I’d recommend putting the dog in a crate or somewhere where he can’t be practicing bad behavior while he’s in the training process.

Since you know he’s going to do this, the common sense thing would be to prevent him from having access to you at this time until you have him trained. Pushing a dog away only makes them come back harder, it’s called “opposition reflex.”

Only time and proper training will change this behavior, watch the video. I’d recommend Pack Structure for the Family Pet also.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy just a brief question, I’ve read your advice and other peoples on your blog and such and am a little confused on the issue, you and some of the other people say it must be 100% compliance to the COME command, the only thing NEVER mentioned is the type of correction used, (this I find most curious as this is the most important part of it). If I punish or firmly correct my dog when he doesn’t come what motivation is it to come once he has disobeyed it and knows there is a correction coming... hence the part where no one tells you how or the type of correction?

Puzzeled,
R. P.

Answer:

There is no standard answer as no two dogs are the same. A verbal NO may be a correction to some dogs, and others may need a very strong physical correction. Most dogs fall somewhere in between.

You don’t correct the dog once he gets to you, he gets a correction for NOT responding to the command.  If done properly it should not affect the dog’s willingness to come. The key word here is properly, many people berate the dog and continue to scold when they finally do come.

For my own dogs, I set up such a positive association with coming when called from day 1 that they can’t get to me fast enough. Later on if they choose not to come and get a correction it doesn’t override multiple repetitions of positive experiences. I don’t TEACH my dogs to come with corrections, it’s only used later for non compliance when I’m sure it’s warranted.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hello Cindy,

Question:  If I am training heeling and a correction needs to be made while we are walking, is the dominant collar an appropriate tool and will it allow me to give enough of a correction to get the dogs attention or do I need a muzzle with the prong? If the muzzle is the answer, can you help me with the correct size the dog is 13 mths and 110 lbs.

History:

I have a male Black Russian Terrier that I am taking through obedience training. He is doing well in training, however he is a little stubborn and when given him a strong correction with the prong collar he gets aggressive. I have just about all your videos including the one on dominant dogs, however unless I missed it the dominant dog collar is mostly effective in a static situation.

Answer:

If your dog is getting aggressive with you for a prong collar correction a couple of things may be going on. He may be getting over stimulated by the prong collar, you may be unfairly correcting him when he doesn’t really understand what the correction for or he is too distracted OR you may be overcorrecting him. (Giving him a harder correction than is warranted.)

I don’t believe that dogs are stubborn, I believe that we aren’t either interesting enough or motivating enough if a dog doesn’t appear to want to do what we want to do. Many dogs appear to be stubborn or disobedient when in fact they simply don’t understand what we expect. Is your dog engaged with you during training? If you are using corrections to “get the dogs attention” then I think you need to back up and work on engagement. Corrections should not be used to get attention, they should be used in the proofing phase when the dog doesn’t comply with something he absolutely understands and is choosing to disobey.

Your dog is quite young, and I think I’d back up and go back to review the Ellis DVDs on Food, Tug and Heeling. You may simply be pushing him a bit too fast and adding corrections before it’s fair.

A dominant dog collar is best used for issues of aggression or overexcitement.

If you decide you need a muzzle, we have directions on how to measure the dog for a muzzle on this page. We need measurements of him nose and muzzle length to help you choose the correct size.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes



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