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Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Q&A on Raising and Training Puppies

Raising and Training Puppies Q&A

Raising and Training Puppies Q&A



I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as 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.


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  1. What are the best toys for puppies?

  2. What kind of dog crate do you recommend?

  3. What are the concerns in adding a 3rd dog to a family?

  4. The ears on my 14 week old German Shepherd pup were up. 2 days ago one went back down. Should I be worried?

  5. I am 64 years old and have a very hard time cutting my 19 week old German Shepherd puppy’s nails. What should I do?

  6. My 8 month old Rottie growls at me when I try and take his toy away. What should I do?

  7. I have a 10 week old American Pitbull Terrier. He is very aggressive toward strangers already. Should I be concerned?

  8. My pup seems to want to fight with other dogs, what do I do?

  9. My wife and I have ordered a pup from you and have a few questions on puppy training.

  10. My son has a 4 month old German Shepherd. It snaps or “bites” quite often to a degree than can be pretty painful. Otherwise, it has a lovable, friendly nature. Should this be acceptable considering his age or would you recommend an attempt be made to correct it?

  11. We have a 3 month old pup German Shepherd and a cat who play chase a lot! The problem is when we call the pup to come he acts like he doesn’t hear us. How do we correct this and get his attention?

  12. Our pup is 4 months old. She is almost impossible to walk down the street because she pulls so hard. She also wants to chase cars. Are these things she will get over or do I need to take corrective measures to stop them? I am just concerned with not wanting to make a mistake.

  13. Why is it so important to work with a ball on a string with young pups?

  14. Can you tell us how to housebreak our puppy?

  15. I have a 7 month old puppy that walks around the yard at a very fast pace. Is this normal?

  16. I only have 30 minutes a day for my dog. How do I train it to be a protection dog?

  17. I bought a 6 week old puppy, (the last of 14 in the litter). It screams when we go near it. What should I do?

  18. What does the “Stamped Normal” mean on a pedigree?

  19. I have a 5 day old litter, should I be concerned over the weight gain on our small female?

  20. Should I imprint my new puppy for police work?

  21. When should you neuter your puppy?

  22. I have an Airedale pup who throws a fit if it doesn’t get its own way. What should I do?

  23. Almost every day my 6 month old Britany escapes from her crate when we are at work. What can I do?

  24. My husband corrected our 12 week old Border Collie for running to the food bowl. Now he won’t eat. What should I do?

  25. When we are gone our 7 month old GSD chews up everything in the house. What should we do?

  26. My 3 1/2 month old GSD has a slight over*bite. Will he grow out of this?

  27. When I work with my puppy on the puppy tug, he goes for the handle and not the tug itself. Why is this?

  28. My puppy was attacked in a dog park. How can I recognize when a dog is going to attack my dog?

  29. The puppy that we bought from you is terribly afraid of other dogs. Two older dogs bit it. Our local puppy class instructor told us to squirt bitter apple in his mouth if he screams when an older dog comes near him.

  30. We have a 12 year old cocker and just got a puppy. The pup is terrorizing the older dog. What should we do?

  31. Is there a such thing as a “fear period” that puppies go through?

  32. We found what looks to be a purebred black lab roaming in the ditch in the country. We were thinking of getting a hunting dog and would like to know if this dog would work out for that.

  33. I have a GSP that doesn’t want to bond with me. What can I do?

  34. I would like to get a German Shepherd, but I am out of the house for about 12 hours a day, five days a week. How long can a dog remain in the crate?

  35. I just wanted to let you know of a bad experience that we just had with our puppy and our garage door opener.

  36. My male Jack Russel almost killed our new female puppy. What should we do?

  37. Our young Leerburg puppy has developed a habit of wanting to chase cars when I walk it. What should I do?

  38. Our Rot female puppy is constantly licking or lapping. It bugs me. What can we do to stop it?

  39. We recently got a puppy. We have an in-ground pool and want to teach him to swim. What should we do?

  40. We are trying to raise 2 littermates at one time. I have some questions.

  41. My puppy has no play drive. What can I do to develop his drive to do protection work?

  42. Our 8-week old puppy cries in the crate at night. My husband shakes it and scolds it, but it is not working. What should we do?

  43. How long should our 10 week old puppy spend in the dog crate? We get up at 2 AM and let her outside when she cry's, should we stop doing this?

  44. My puppy has a submissive urination problem. When my husband goes near him he squats and pee, even if he has just come in from outside. What should I do?

  45. Can you give me some ideas on how to get my litter off on the right foot so the pups are not dog aggressive?

  46. My 41/2 month old puppy drools when I even walk him near our car, much less try and put him in it for a drive. We travel a lot and would like to take the puppy with us. What can we do?

  47. My 15 week old GSD has started barking at people that come into my home. I want her to be a personal protection dog, so I am unsure of how to deal with this barking. Should I scold her and stop her from barking at strangers?

  48. What kind of dog should I buy?

  49. I bought a pup from another breeder and it is very shy. What should I do?

  50. My 10-week puppy has a lot of drive for a ball on a string, but little interest in going after a towel. How can I get it to go after a towel to work on grip?

  51. We have a 10 week old puppy that continues to bite. I shake it, the breeder tells us to slap the heck out of his nose when he chews on us. Now he's shy - what should we do?

  52. Our 11 week old puppy cries all the time at night. I have been hitting her with a roiled up newspaper to get her to be quiet. This only works for awhile. What can we do?

  53. I bought a American Bulldog from good bloodlines. It seems to be very shy. I have only corrected it twice and it is very hand sensitive. What can I do?

  54. I have had a trainer train my 5 month old puppy. The dog does sit, down, stay and heel. Can you tell me how to do 180 degree about turns?

  55. My pup is 6 months old and friendly to everyone. Did I buy the wrong puppy because I want a protection dog?

  56. My dog will not allow me to brush him or cut his nails. The vet has to knock him out to do the nails. What can I do?

  57. I have a young pup and have to go away for the weekend. My vet has a boarding kennel that I am able to leave the pup at while I'm gone, but I'm concerned about leaving my pup when it's so young. Will this effect his training and development?

  58. I just bought 2 GSD puppies. They like being in the same crate. Should I allow this?

  59. Our 12 week old puppy is very nervous when in the crate, whines and cries the whole time, and drools terribly. Will he get dehydrated?

  60. We have a 10 month old GSD that we think is bored during the day while we are at work. Should we buy a second puppy to keep him busy when we are gone?

  61. I bought a GSD puppy that is 5 months old. It's the Alpha dominant pup. It is very protective- it barks very aggressively at any dog it sees when I am out with it. I have a few questions about this.

  62. A local trainer recommended that we get a choke collar for our 16 week old Golden Retriever that pulls too hard when we walk him. Should we?

  63. My puppy eats ROCKS and STICKS and GRASS every time I take her out. What can I do?

  64. I read your instructions on socialization of dogs. My question is how do you do proper socialization if you never allow your dog to come in contact with strangers or other dogs?

  65. I have small children. My 8 week old puppy snapped at food from my hand yesterday. What should I do?

  66. My obedience class lets the dogs all run loose together at the end of class. Should I let my 6 month GSD loose as well?

  67. My 12 week old pup scratches and bites himself excessively even though nothing is wrong with his skin. Do you have any advise about what to do?

  68. My 6 month old female GSD has been showing signs of being weak nerved lately. What do you think?

  69. My Weimeraner pup tends to eat her food too fast. What can we do to slow her down?

  70. My 12 week old puppy will not follow us, and cries and screams when we pull her on walks. Please help!

  71. We have an 11 week old Cockapoo that is aggressive. A trainer told us that this is not normal and we should put the pup down or give him back to the breeder. We have young children. What are your thoughts?

  72. My 11 month old Schnoodle is terrified of the invisible fence. I have had the fence a week and she refuses to go into the yard. As a result she has had accidents in the house. What can I do?

  73. My 4 month old puppy is very dominant over her littermates. She even tried to bite my husband when he tried to stop her. I want to send her to a trainer, but am worried about corrections at this young of an age. Do you have any suggestions?

  74. I have a comment on the use of a puppy prong collar on my 3 month old GSD.

  75. My 14 week old puppy pees when he is excited. He is also moody about his eating habits. Do you have any thoughts?

  76. Ever since I corrected my puppy for growling at me, she acts fearful. What should I do now?

  77. My dog tears up my bedding when I am gone. Do you have any ideas?

  78. I have a 4 1/2 month old GSD from Czech lines. He is afraid of strange people and is dog aggressive to strange dogs. What should I do?

  79. I am being pushed to join a puppy kindergarten class by the owner. I prefer to train my puppy myself. What do you suggest?

  80. I just got a puppy. I can only take it outside once a day. Do you have any advice on training her with potty pads.

  81. I accidentally scared my 3 month old Mal and she released her anal glands. Is she always going to do this? Will it affect her nerves?

  82. What are your thoughts on free feeding pups?

  83. Can you explain Puppy Rushes?

  84. How do I get my dog into dog shows, boarding kennels or vet offices if I don't vaccinate?

  85. When working on commands, my pup knows when I do not have a treat for him. Will I need to use a prong collar when he gets older?

  86. My bulldog hates being walked away from my apartment. I usually have to coax him or carry him. Do you think a prong collar would help?

  87. My pup is doing great, but I'm still having some problems with submissive urination. Any suggestions? Also, he poops a lot and in large amounts, is this normal and is there a reason for this?

  88. My 11 week old female GSD eats rock and gravel. How can I stop her from doing this?

  89. I'm not sure how to deal with taking away something from my pup when I think he should no longer have it. Any suggestions?

  90. The GSD I am waiting for is 4 weeks old and the mother has disappeared. Should I take the puppy now before current owner ruins them or would more damage be done by premature adoption into human pack?

  91. My pup growls when anyone pets him. I don't want this behavior to continue or to grow into something else, how can I stop this?

  92. I'm wondering, as a fellow GSD owner, what you think of my long haired GSD that I have been showing.

  93. What is a good way to teach my dog that it is ok to stop barking/being protective? Also, one of the ears is still "soft," do you suggest I do anything yet? If so, how?

  94. I just got a puppy and I life with four other roommates. I need to set rules on how they handle him. Do you have any suggestions?

  95. I am being told that my daughter's pup's behavior of licking faces and chins is a dominance issue, while my instinct is that it submissive. What is your take?

  96. How big will my GSD be?

  97. I think my new pup is too small for being 8 weeks old, he seems more like 5 or 6. What are your thoughts?

  98. I was thinking about getting a puppy, however everyone in the home is gone during the day. Would it be ok for the pup to leave it outside in a secured dog run with a dog house during the day?

  99. My 8 week old pup is dog aggressive, what should I do?

  100. Sense going on vacation and messing up my pups routine, he has been behaving very poorly. How do I fix this?

  101. I have a nine week old puppy that constantly whines. Is this an indication of how he is going to be as an adult? Please advice.

  102. Our new rescue dog growls when we pet it while its eating. What should we do?

  103. I have a pup who is being crate trained.  He screamed for a few days.  Now he is quiet intermittently.  At what point do I start interacting with him? Now that he is quiet for most of the day do I start giving praise? 

  104. Have you ever seen a dog that is afraid of traffic grow up to become a brave, confident companion or do you think I have errored in my selection and now own a weak-nerved pup? How have you dealt with similar problems?

  105. What are our options for socializing our puppy? I have read that the first 6 months to a year it is very important for your dog to meet lots of dogs and people. Do you feel that this level of socialization is unnecessary or is there another way you recommend going about this?

  106. Is there a "proper" or "best" way that you can recommend to introduce a dog to a swimming pool? Any suggestions or do some dogs just not like to swim?

  107. We have a 3.5 month old pup and are having a couple problems. Firstly, he refuses to eat. Secondly, he always spills all of his water in his crates and sometimes rolls in it. What do you suggest?

  108. I have a lot of questions regarding socializing. What do you suggest?

  109. Our family recently expanded with a new member.She is beautiful and only four month's old. When we brought her home both of her ears are fine, but her left ear 'flopped' two days ago. Could you tell us if that is ok for now and when we should tape it?

  110. My GSD pup is very "mouthy" on me and on inappropriate objects, he tries to eat sticks, rocks, grass, and even dirt!  What would be the right collar for a puppy?  Would it still be OK to use when he is older for other training?  Will the DVD tell me everything I need to know to start off right now at 4 months of age?

  111. Do puppies remember their litter mates?

  112. I have multiple questions about my pup regarding collars, play time, and other time we spend together.

  113. I have a few questions about my pup and being mouthy, pulling and integrating him with our older dog.

  114. I plan on getting a puppy in the next few months and have been searching the web for training DVDs. Which ones do you think are appropriate for me?

  115. Our yellow lab is a VERY ACTIVE puppy, however sometime he loves to take your hand and wrist in his mouth and bites down and wants to lick you. Is this teething, puppy or will he grow out of it? Or better yet how do we stop him and this behavior?

  116. You mention not to interact with a puppy unless he is outside until 4-5 months. We play with the puppy inside but always on a leash and never more than 30-40 minutes, to let my children get used to him so they are not startled by his movements. Should I stop this all together?

  117. I was hoping to speak with you regarding what videos you recommend for training my 3.5 month old imported GSD. I am looking at this early age strict obedience and looking for off leash capability, moving towards conformation work.

  118. Soon I will be purchasing an 8 week Doberman Pincher. How and what do I do if this puppy displays aggressive behavior? How do you recommend I address aggressive behavior towards new people? Are Doberman Pinchers handled differently than German Shepherds?

  119. The pup I'm getting is the only pup in the litter. Will this pup have some set backs being the only pup? Should I have any socialization concerns when I bring him home?

  120. I have a pup that does not move when I try to take her for a walk. Sometimes she tries to run in the opposite direction. Is this an appropriate time to punish the dog, even if the punishment is pretty mild?

  121. When I correct my dog with the pinch collar, he flips & turns so I can't correct him. When I do correct him, sometimes he nips back. What can I do to correct him quicker?

  122. In the last month or so, my dog has very suddenly become shy and fearful. Do dogs go through such abrupt changes in personality because of "fear periods" and then settle down or is this a sign of weak nerves and it is only surfacing now?

  123. I'm concerned about my pup's ears. One is great and standing and moving very smoothly but the other one is not standing and has some limitations in its movements. What are your thoughts?

  124. My 7 month old Doberman is really smart but she can’t focus for any length of time. She gets plenty of exercise, so I don’t think that is the problem. Do you have any suggestions?

  125. My 4 month old puppy is very unruly in puppy class. I've tried a prong collar, a choke collar and a nylon collar and nothing works. Would a dominant dog collar help?

  126. How do I socialize my puppy with other dogs since you advise no contact with strange dogs?

  127. Can you recommend me some good training treats for my german  shepherd puppy?

  128. My 7 month old pup won’t leave my older dog alone, do you have any suggestions?

  129. My 12 week old puppy has been fearful of steps and today she ignored my command to approach the steps. I gave her a number of corrections but she just cowered and yelped. I need some advice on how to address this.

  130. Our young Malinois is really biting us when he gets excited and when we try to physically restrain him it seems to make him worse.  Any suggestions?

  131. I had a pup from a good breeder who didn't bond with me and bit me. The breeder took the pup back, but I'm wondering where I went wrong.

  132. At what age can I train my 13 week old puppy to the underground fence?

  133. I read the new eBook on socializing. I desperately want to get my dog used to other dogs, but I don't know anyone else that either understands that way of thinking or has a dog suitable for doing so. What do you recommend?

  134. I have some questions on socializing my GSD puppy.  Can you help?

  135. I am wondering if it would be possible to train my st. bernard to guard my small children from getting too close to the water canal.  She is 6 months old and already shows protective behavior for my children. How would I go about training her to do that?

  136. I have a 3 month old puppy who doesn’t want to cuddle with me.  This may seem trivial but it’s very important to me, can you offer an opinion?

  137. My 9 week old puppy acts like he's scared of walking on leash, he sits and won't move. He also won't even put his paws in the grass if it's wet and then he potties in his crate. What would you do?

  138. We have a heat wave and humidity these days here in Mass and were concerned if she gets enough fluids. I gave her a couple of ice cubes in the shade and she seems to enjoy it. Would you give it to your dogs? I was thinking if chewing the ice may be bad for her teeth.

  139. My 14 week old GSD is doing well with the training. The only problem is the dog's inability to walk on the street especially when cars are passing by. He is so stressed out that he pulls the leash and wants to go back home.  I wonder if you have a suggestion on how to deal with this problem.

  140. I'm getting a puppy from a breeder and there are only 2 males so I will not get to choose my pup. I am afraid I will get the alpha male.  Can an alpha dog be a good family dog?

  141. I have an 11 week old pup and she’s growled at a couple people. I posted this on another dog forum I frequent and I was told my dog is fear aggressive and that this is a big problem. Do you have any advice? Is this a temperament problem?

  142. My 6 month old puppy has starting running toward me at top speed and bounces off of me. I try a leash pop but it doesn’t help.  What is this strange new behavior?

  143. What age can a puppy climb stairs?  Also how much running inside the house can they do?  we let our puppy and cat chase a laser light and it’s great exercise.

  144. My 10 month old dog is destroying the back yard.  I don’t have the time or money for obedience classes.  What can I do?

  145. My 15 week old puppy gets diarrhea when I give her hot dogs or other treats. What can I give her?

  146. What can you tell me about desensitizing my puppy to dogs barking? It's the biggest stress for him. Could this be a bad, early warning sign of something in his temperament?

  147. I'm a little bit confused on when to start Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet. Do I start it with a brand new 8 week old puppy or does the puppy have to be a few more moths older?

  148. When should I start pack structure with a puppy?

Question:

What are the best toys for puppies?

Answer:

I am rather opinionated on this issue. I believe that everything you do with a puppy from the time you get it at 8 weeks can have an effect on what that dog will be like as an adult. With this in mind I like to be very selective in what I use as toys for a pup. In most cases a puppy has to learn what a toy is. In other words, the first time it is presented with an orbee-tuff ball it has no idea that we want this to become a toy. So my feeling is that the handler should select toys that can be used in later training.

I will use orbee balls on a string. I like these because they are almost indestructible.

Tennis balls are a terrible idea to use with dogs. There have been studies that show the glue on tennis balls eats tooth enamel. The larger breeds (like German Shepherds) have a tendency to chew up tennis balls when they get to be adults. If a dog eats a tennis ball it will often kill him because it gets stuck in his bowels.

If you go to my web site you will see toys that I sell on my web site. I DONT SELL products that I don't use on my personal dogs. The toys we sell are quality products.

I do not like squeaky toys. If you allow your dog to play with these type of toys you are asking for problems. Most dogs will eat them. Its only a matter of time. If you are lucky they will puke them up, if you are not lucky they will kill your dog. Why risk them?

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Question:

I was just looking at your site and some of your beautiful pictures of german shepherds. I have a female German Shepherd who will be 2 years old in March of this year. I also have a Sheltland Sheepdog who is 2 and half years old. My husband and I are thinking about getting another Shepherd. But we are concerned about bringing in another dog with our dogs being so territorial. Both of my dogs that I have now are trained in obedience and my Shepherd (Alexis) will be starting personal protection in three weeks. Do you think we should or should not bring another dog into our family? I would love to get a male Shepherd, because they have more of a drive than the females. Also, I was wondering, my female Shepherd (Alexis) is fixed and has been for a while now, she still has drive but I really have noticed a decline in her drive. Do you think that is because of being fixed or with age?

Answer:

I do not recommend adding a 3rd dog to a family unless the people fully understand the implications of pack behavior. In other words, if your plan is to add a male pup and not keep the dog separated from the other dogs when you are not with the dogs, then do not do it.

If a pup is allowed to have free run of the house and not be kenneled separately, then it will become too "doggy." In other words it will look to the other dogs for its recreation and fun and not humans. These dogs never bond as well and certainly are not as easy to train. In reality how could they - if they don't look to the human as their best buddy.

In addition, the pup is going to be low man in the pack order. Which means he is going to be dominated by the other 2 dogs. Right now, one of your dogs is dominant over the other. They may get along fine, but one is the alpha dog.

So, the key in adding another dog is to keep it separated from the existing dogs when you are not with all three to supervise the games. If you do not have a home with dog runs in the back yard, you can accomplish the same thing by using dog crates. Either keep the pup crated when you are gone, or when it is old enough keep the other crated and the pup loose.

This does not mean that these dogs can never be allowed to play and run together. They can do this, but it needs to be supervised. So if the other 2 dogs really get down on the pup, you are there to stop it. Just as importantly, if the pup gets down on one of the other dogs when it is 4 or 5 months old, you need to stop that also or the old dog will have a very difficult time for the rest of its life. The pup needs to learn manners too.

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Question:

I have a German Shepherd (not from you), he is 14 weeks old. After 9 weeks both of his ears stood up, not straight up, they actually leaned towards the middle quite a bit. However, a few days ago his left ear just went down and has not gone back up. Does this mean that he has a broke or lame ear now? This has me really worried since both ears were up, but now one won't stand. Is this normal, or did he hurt it some way? Will it ever go back up or not? Thanks for your help, and answers.

Otto

Answer:

My experience is that if the ears of a shepherd stand one time and go back down they will always come back up. There is nothing to worry about here. What you are seeing is normal. It is not uncommon for the ears to be up for some time and then when the pup goes through teething they will come down for awhile and go back up again.

If a pups ears are not up by the time it is 18 weeks old (and they have never been up) it’s time to tape them. The best way to do this is to take a woman’s tampon and put it down the ear canal. Let it bottom out in the bottom of the ear and then pull it up 1/2 inch. Wrap the ear around it and tape it with the real thin surgical tape. The stuff that looks like thin paper. Tape both ears like this and then tape a pop cycle stick between the two.

Every pup is going to rip the tampons out the first few times that you put them in. They will eventually get used to it and leave them. I recommend leaving them in for several days, then let the dog go a day without being taped and then tape them again until the ears stand.

If people wait until the dog is 6 or 7 months old to tape ears it's too late. I can almost guarantee you that the ears will not stand because you waited too long.

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Question:

Is my (almost) 19 week GS male ready for a prong collar? I don't know what size or how heavy to get or whether a quick release one is better. HELP!

Also, I cut his toenails - just the ends - and played with his feet while I had him on his back between my legs. (That was the only way I could see well so as not to "quick" him. I NEVER DID! All of a sudden he will not let me do this and I can tell he is serious about trying to bite me. I don't want to scare him, but I want to be able to cut his nails. At this moment, I have not pushed and think it is getting worse with time.

I've read about shaking them by the scruff of the neck and using the jowls to shake and lift them, but do I want to start this? How can I, a 64 year old woman, keep dominance?

Thanks,
Sally

Answer:

Your dog’s toe nails do not need to be cut that often, especially when he gets a little older. Take him to the vet and let him do it. Why worry about the fight when you really don't have to?

I determine a dog needs a prong collar by his reaction to a normal collar. Some dogs just seem to be knuckleheads. A jerk or pop on the normal collar does not effect them very much. Sometimes the person trying to handle the dog is a very small or an older person (like yourself) and they do not have the strength to control a dog - then the prong is warranted.

My advise is to buy a normal prong (not some break away model). As an adult the dog will need an extra heavy model. When he is 5 or 6 months old he will need a normal prong collar. So over his life you will own 2 of them. They are not that expensive.

My advise if to take a look at my tape Basic Dog Obedience and Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

As far as the dominance issue goes, I do not believe that a dog that argues over his toes being trimmed is having a dominance problem. If that dog growls when you put your hand near his food bowl or growls when you try and take his toy away, then this is a dominance problem. At that point you leave the prong collar on during the day (off at night) with a 2 to 3 foot leash attached all the time. When the dog growls you give him a level 10 jerk with a load "PHOOIE !!!!!"

I am not sure I would ask a 64 year old woman to shake a 19 week old GSD puppy or grab him by the jowls. You do not have enough strength to fight a dog that wants to argue. You are better off picking a fight that you know you can win and a leash with a prong collar is winnable on a dog at this age.

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Question:

I have an 8 month old rottie. He is a good dog, however, I have some problems making him give me something (anything) he has stolen from me. He just looks up at me and curls his upper lip. I don't think he wants to bite or harm me, he is usually a very gentle dog. I can put my fingers in his food bowl, and even put my hands in his mouth, however, when he takes something he will not give it back. What do I do?

Answer:

What you are seeing is one of the first stages of dominance. This needs to be stopped now when the dog is young rather than allowing him to mature and the problem to grow, (which it will).

The reason you need to be so concerned at 8 months is that you have a window of opportunity to deal with dominance. At 8 months this dog is just a puppy. He does not have the maturity to be a serious threat to you, 5 or 6 months from now this will be a different situation.

Growling at you over his toy is his way of beginning to challenge his position in you pack order. He needs to learn that this is totally unacceptable. How you handle this depends on your size, his size and your skill as a handler.

If it were me I would have the dog wear a prong collar with a drag line (we sell these) . When the dog growled I would take the drag line and give a firm POP on the lead. The dog would learn very quickly that any form of aggression will be quickly dealt with.

The reaction from the dog needs to be avoidance not aggression or more growling. If the dog growls when you correct him the correction needs to be harder.

A prong collar on an 8 month old dog is going to solve the problem.

You had also better put some good obedience training into this dog right now. Get my 4 hour DVD titled Basic Dog Obedience. This training will also help establish you as the pack leader and boss.

And finally - read the article I wrote titled DEALING WITH THE DOMINANT DOG. There may be more things you are doing wrong in this dogs life that are causing it to act like this.

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Question:

Ed, I have a 10 week old American Pitbull Terrier (APBT). He is very aggressive toward strangers already. What I mean by this is that whenever someone walks by he will charge at them and start barking. If that person was to advance toward him he would start to back up, though. I like the initial aggression, but why does he back up and what type of temperament is he showing? Would he make a good dog for protection training?

Answer:

If your pup is charging people and barking aggressively at this age it has a temperament problem. The dog probably has weak nerves. This means, rather than being tough he is in fact a weak dog. This is a dog that will probably be a fear biter as an adult.

Some people feel that puppies go through a fear stage at 9 or 10 weeks. I don't agree with this line of thinking. I don't see it in my dogs. But even so, if the dog does go through something like a fear stage it should not react the way this dog is reacting.

I guess my advice would be to try and take the dog out and socialize the devil out of him. Take hot dogs and give strangers a small piece of hot dog and ask them if they will give it to your puppy and pet him to show the dog that there is nothing to fear. If the dog does not respond to this work in a couple of weeks, then you need to consider putting the dog to sleep. You will have a time bomb on your hands as an adult.

As an adult this is going to be a dog that is very quick to bark when someone is around your home. He is a dog that is going to have to be watched like a hawk to make sure he is not exposed to anyone he is not comfortable with. In actual fact, this is the type of dog that is best used as a guard dog behind a fence and not as a personal protection dog. Guard dogs do not come in contact with very many people. Their nerves are usually a little thin and this results in the dog that is very quick to bark at strangers or strange noises.

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Question:

Ed, My pup (9 months) isn't socialized well with other dogs, particularly bigger dogs. I'm determined to remedy this. This wasn't really a problem until I moved into a new apartment complex that has lots of dogs. Specifically, should I correct my dog when she growls at other dogs, or would the correction amplify the problem by associating even greater stress whenever she encounters another dog?

Thanks for your help!
Bob

Answer:

Adult dog fights are no fun. Its always better to nip dog aggression in the bud before it starts, but this is not always possible.

Some dogs are going to be dog aggressive no matter what you do. With some, it is a dominance/pack issue and it is always a fight.

What I do is put my pup in with another pup. I am always there to supervise. Its fine for the pups to play together, but if one gets really snarly or tries to fight I say "PHOOIE!!!" and I grab the offending pup and shake it by the back of the neck until it screams. I let it go and pet it to calm it down to show it that I still love it and I do not hold a grudge.

I usually only have to do this a few times before the pups respond to "PHOOIE" Most quickly learn that I am the pack leader and I am the one that says who can and can not fight.

With older dogs, I will get them used to wearing a muzzle - this can take a few weeks before they learn to ignore the muzzle. (I make them wear it in the dog crate, while on walks everywhere). Then I put two muzzled adults together and take them for a walk. They both have leashes on. I do not allow them to square off and fight. If they do I get right in the middle of it and show them who is the pack leader. If these are big tough males with a lot of protection training and they turn on me I give it to them even harder.

They eventually learn that fighting in muzzle is unacceptable behavior. What they end up doing is ignoring each other when they are out walking. This work does not make them friends and I never try and get to the point where I leave these kinds of dogs loose without muzzle (why test a fight). But I have a friend that is an instructor at the RCMP School in Canada that starts every class out like this and by the end of their 20 week course the dogs can run loose together without muzzle. I have never taken it to that point. It makes me a little nervous.

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Question:

I have been in contact with you several times regarding my expected puppy. While preparing for this new addition to our family, several questions came up which I did not find in your Q&A.

I plan to get a wire-type crate and I see they are made in various finishes, epoxy coatings, colors, etc. Can you recommend a particular finish, or are they all about the same?

Answer:

They are all the same - I feel the epoxy crates are quieter and better looking.

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Question:

My son's 4 month old German Shepherd snaps or bites quite often. What should I do?

dog biting

Answer:

There are a couple things to consider here:

  • There is a difference between snapping and chewing. If a pup snaps, this is a way that it warns the person to stop doing what they are doing and leave him alone. Often when this happens the hair will be up on the back and the pup will be showing some teeth in the form of a snarl. This is a concern. I would be very concerned about the temperament on a pup that is doing this. My feeling is that this dog does not belong in the family. In fact it should probably be put to sleep. This behavior is only going to get worse and as an adult it will be a very dangerous animal. These are the dogs that grow up to be fear biters.

  • Pups from working bloodlines are very mouthy as pups. This is a totally different situation. These pups naturally grab and chew on things. While this can be annoying it is not a sign of a poor temperament. It is no different than a lab pup that is always chasing a toy or chewing on a toy. This mouthiness goes away at 4 1/2 to 5 months of age.
    How a person deals with this depends on your goals for the dog. If your child is very young (a baby), the pup needs to be corrected for chewing on the child. Grab it by the nape of the neck and shake it until it screams when it even goes near the baby. If the child is a little older and this chewing is annoying, try and keep several toys around and divert the pup to one of the favorite toys (a tennis ball on a string works well, a rolled up hand towel works well). Just leave these laying around everywhere. If you play enough with the toys and the pup, the toys become more interesting than your hands and pants. Make the toys his center of attention.

The bottom line is that this behavior will go away. In fact this is what I want to see in my pups that are bred for personal protection. If you want to learn more about this, I recommend that you get my video titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

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Question:

We have a 3 month old pup and a cat who play chase a lot! The problem is when we call the pup to come he acts like he doesn't hear us. How do we correct his and get his attention?

Answer:

This is an owner problem not a dog problem. A 3 month old puppy should not be off leash in the house. Puppies should not be off leash in the house until they are trained to the point where they mind under distraction.

When dos are on leash they don't get into things (like chasing cats) they don't have house training problems and they don't chew things up.

I recommend that you get my video titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months and the one titled Basic Dog Obedience. Both DVDs deal with these kinds of concepts in training.

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Question:

Our pup is 4 months old. She is almost impossible to walk down the street because she pulls so hard. She also wants to chase cars. Are these things she will get over or do I need to take corrective measures to stop them? I am just concerned with not wanting to make a mistake.

Answer:

I normally do not recommend a prong collar for puppies that are this age. Your case requires a prong collar. On your walks, let the pup determine how hard his corrections are by holding the leash and letting him pull into the collar. You do not need to jerk him when he is walking, his pulling will result in a self correction. He will quickly learn that it is not fun to pull into a prong collar. This is why I like to call a prong collar "Power Steering for Dogs." If they are used properly, they are a godsend.

One of the things to keep in mind is "do not use the HEEL command" during this process. We are not trying to train the dog to HEEL, we are trying to teach him to not pull us down the street on our stomach. So use the SLOW command. This just means slow down. He does not have to walk by your side, he just needs to stop pulling. So as he begins to pull, you simply say SLOW in a normal firm voice (not mad).

The car chasing is a different matter. This needs to be stopped. You can try a few sessions with a self correction, just before the dog chases, give PHOOIE command or a NO! If this does not eliminate the behavior, then you need to give the PHOOIE command and enough of a jerk to make the pup yelp but not cower for 2 blocks. This is a life and death learning experience for our dogs, they must learn that cars are to be left alone. If it involves humane corrections, then so be it. The key is to correct to the point of a yelp and not to the point of a screaming cowering dog. Always remember to praise the pup right after a correction. This shows the dog that you do not hold and grudge and that you have forgiven him for screwing up.

If you can not find a prong collar locally, we sell them here at Leerburg.

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Question:

Why is it so important to work with a ball on a string with young puppies?

Answer:

Most puppies have some degree of prey drive. Prey drive is the drive to chase and catch things. Some pups have way more drive than others. We use this drive to define the toys a pup will play with. Once a pup has a set group of toys that it looks at as prey items he is less likely to chew on shoes and other household items. Note the key word here is "LESS LIKELY," I did not say he would never chew on shoes.

I also need to mention that I never allow working puppies to have free access to prey items. The only time they can play with them is when I am there to play. Pet puppies are a different thing.

I like to use a rubber balls on a 1/8 inch nylon cord. I get the pups interest in the ball by tossing it down in front of him. When I can get him to walk over and smell it, I give a very small jerk to get it to go away from the pup. This often sparks his interest. When he goes to smell it again - another very small jerk. If you jerk too much the ball is out of sight out of mind. The key is to keep it a foot or so in front of the pup but not let him get it right away. Many novice trainers jerk the ball too hard and too much, then pups quickly lose interest. There is also a timing factor to the jerk. Do it just as his nose reaches out for the ball.

Once the pup will really chase it around we let him catch the ball. Initially he will be very proud of this and we let him savor the moment for a few seconds, but then pop it out of his mouth with the string. This again sparks his prey drive by making him a little possessive of it which builds the drive to chase and catch this thing that just escaped. Don't be concerned about the word possessive. This work does not create a dominance problem in pups.

Once a pup recognizes his ball when we bring it out to play, we know we are accomplishing our goal. Then we can substitute a rolled up hand towel on a string or a Kong on a string or whatever toy that we want for the ball. The pup quickly recognizes the game and associates the object as prey or his toy. Later in life we can use the pups drive to play with his ball as a reward for doing something correctly in obedience or tracking. Rather than give him a piece of hot dog, we give him a tennis ball to chase. It works because we did the background work to make the ball an important item to the pup.

The only important thing that I need to caution people of is that some dogs become obsessed with the ball. As adults, these dogs will chew them up. This will kill a dog by blocking his intestines. The solution for this is to not leave toys laying around when the dog is old enough to have the jaw strength to chew them up. If you have to leave your pup in a crate while at work - leave a bone to chew on or a hard rubber Kong stuffed with peanut butter or cream cheese - this will keep the dog busy for hours..

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Question:

I own a 7 month old German Shepherd (from a professional kennel out here in California), And I've been training him using your videos and they are the best 100 some dollars that I have ever spent. Thank you!

Quest ion... My Shepherd does a very popular thing and I hope that you might have an answer for me. He walks around the yard at a very fast pace and I thought that may it was the flies that he was after but not really. I have plants all around my yard and a 20' by 30' patch of grass is the center of my yard the outer edge of the yard is dirt where my plants grow and what he does is walk around the plants and circle them and stays on the same route...over and over again. I do take him out for for a good 20 to 30 min. walk every day for exercise. I've been feeding him Eukanuba for the last 5 months and is a very bright dog but his pacing is funny but then again I do wonder why he does this. Like I said some times it does seem like he is after flies because he will snap at them if they pass by but not always. My Friends joke about it because I buried my fathers ashes under a tree that is in my shepherds route and they say that my dad is walking my dog... All in good humor but not an answer. What do you think? He looks like his on speed.

Sincerely,
Gene

Answer:

My guess is the dog is bored. He is kind of like a caged animal. He probably needs more time with you. I would make him into a house dog or at least get a dog crate and bring him in and crate him - so he can at least watch part of the house when you are at home. This breaks up his day and provides different experiences.

I would also check him for worms, check his ears to make sure they are OK - it could be a health problem and he is frustrated from not feeling good.

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Question:

I have a beautiful Rottweiller pup and I want to treat and train him right, but I have a shift-job and I can give him 30 minutes daily during work week but that’s it. Is this ok? Also I don't think like a dog so how do I train my dog to bark at cars or people, and not rabbits, coyotes etc. (I live in the country). I cannot afford a trainer.

Answer:

My personal feeling is that 30 minutes a day is not enough for a dog. I would not recommend trying to keep it- it's not fair to the dog.

If you want to learn how to properly train and interact with the dog get:

I hope this points out that there is nothing simple about how to properly raise and train a working dog.

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Question:

We are at the end of our rope, I am hoping you can help with your extensive knowledge of German Shepherds. We had a beautiful GSD 3 years ago and was not able to keep her because of a move and we were heartbroken. (We had her for a year). Well, about 4 weeks ago we decided to go and get another one and I will admit to you right off the bat we did everything wrong. We found someone in the paper and went and fell in love with the last puppy of a litter of 14. I think our minds were made up before we even got there. She was the only one left, 6 weeks old and VERY timid. Wouldn't even come to us and when my daughter picked her up she yelped loud. I know, I know all bad signs, and we still took her. Well I am sure you know what is next, 4 weeks of frustration. She yelped horribly for the first week in the crate, we have finally broken her of that by sheer determination. Won't walk on a leash, yelps at the top of her lungs and drags her feet or will pull ahead just "screaming." It is terrible, we actually had to walk out of Petsmart with her when we had her for 2 days because she yelped so loud and continuously people thought we were hurting her. And we were holding her in our arms! Well someone told us to get a prong collar, now she yelps louder and STILL won't obey commands. We take her out of the crate, she goes potty and then comes in and 20 minutes later will eliminate on the carpet, right in front of us. You can't play with her she will cry and yelp and when you try to hold her she will groan and we tell her "settle" and she will, but doesn't like it. Like I said she is "a loner" and doesn't want to be held or played with and any type of correction will lead to this god awful yelping. I won't even take her out anymore because of the looks I get from people. When we bought her and she did this the breeder said that German Shepherds don't like to be held. Well our first one was so loving, she would sleep sprawled out next to us on the couch. We desperately need your recommendation and can you tell us what this personality means. We want to like her so much but honestly she is making it very difficult and we need to know what is going on and how to change it. Thank you for your time, you’re our last hope.

Kim

Answer:

This animal is a product of bad breeding (my guess is that it’s an American bloodline dog), a bad breeder and poor genetics. Nothing you are going to do is going to change the animal. Anyone who lets a dog go at 6 weeks is an idiot. It's been proven that puppies need 6 to 8 weeks to socialize with their littermates. In your case this would not have mattered.

There is a possibility that this dog is sick. I would have the stools checked to make sure the dog does not have worms. If it is loaded with worms it could be in pain a lot of the time which may be the reason for crying when you pick it up. My guess is that it simply has weak nerves.

My advise to you would be to either put this dog to sleep or take it back to the breeder. The first option is the best. This dog is not going to improve and you have dealt with a totally dishonest breeder. If you return the dog he is only going to sell the animal to someone else.

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Question:

My name is Rich, I bought a puppy from you about 7 months ago. Jetta Vom Leerburg call name Kia. Her parents are Otis and Nelly. I want to eventually breed her and I'm wondering what her parents OFA readings were? I see you have Otis' hips A stamped normal but that means nothing to me I want to know what his OFA was. If he was not rated by OFA why? And what does this A stamp compare to on the OFA reading? Who gave him this A stamp? What exactly is the A stamp reading? In this I mean A is this, B is this, C is this etc.?

Answer:

The A stamp is the German hip certification. They have 3 levels - A Normal is the highest. It’s done at 12 months, not 24 months. He got it from the German SV, (German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany.)

THE A - B - C ratings are done in Holland and Belgium - they do not apply here.

Otis has very good hips. I had him x-rayed before he came here and the x-rays are on file. His father is one of the top hip improvers in Germany today. You can read my articles.

The reason he is not OFAed is because he is A stamped and I had the x-ray done before I got him. I don't need to knock him out again to get a piece of paper to duplicate what is already done. Makes no sense. I (and you) are very lucky to have dogs from Otis.

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Question:

We ordered and received your puppy video, none to soon I might add. It has been very helpful. This is our first litter. We had 7 (4F/3M) healthy GSD puppies on Tuesday the 16th of Feb. The heaviest two, a male and a female each weighed 570g. The male now is 785g and the female is 855g. A 285g gain in 5 days. I'm thinking, oink oink. The runts, one male & one female weighed 510g and 480g respectively. Now after five days the male weighs in at 740g and the female at 700g.

My question is this, actually my wife’s. She is concerned that the little ones are not gaining enough fast enough. The least gain that either of them has made in one day is 20g. The male has gained as much as 85g in one day, and the female as much as 75g in one day. Is there cause for my wife's concern? She thinks that the little female is asleep half the time while the other's are nursing. Yet in 5 days she has gained 210g or 7.35oz. To me that seems just dandy. Actually the next heaviest male, at 565g at birth has gained only 200g or 7oz. total. So your opinion will be most appreciated and your advice taken.

Thank you,
Dale

Answer:

If you wife is concerned she can stick the small pup on a tit every time she goes into the room, 10 times a day is not too much. This will improve weight gain.

DO NOT TUBE the pup, big mistake if you do.

I am sure it will be fine if left alone, but putting it on the mother more often will help.

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Question:

Hello, I am a police officer in Mississippi. I am not a K-9 unit, but I do hope to someday get my own. My question is I am about to get a puppy and train it for search and rescue, now what I would like to do is eventually train him for police work (narcotics, bite). Do you think I should go ahead and incorporate those aspects in now or should I work with him later. The people I am going to be training with are all police K-9 officers who have many years of experience. They all know very well how to train K-9's, but I am always interested in different opinions.

Thanks,
Joey

Answer:

Most K-9 Cops are good cops, some are good dog handlers and most are poor trainers in that order. In my experience less than 20% of them are good trainers. I wish it were not the case. What they know about selecting puppies and training puppies is nil to nothing.

A badge and a dog does not make them experts. I do it too and I have been head of the training committee for the WI Police Dog Assoc.

If you want to learn how to selection test a pup for this work, get my videos Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months and Bite Training Puppies. This shows you how to run tests on a litter to pick the dog you want, if I were you I would study the shit out of this tape before you go get your pup. Walk away from the litter if they do not pass.

You can imprint narcotics on pups from a baby (it’s great for the dog), but you cannot use it on the street in drug work (no matter how good you think it is) until it’s at least 13 or 14 months old. If you do you are setting yourself up to lose in court. Read the articles I have written on this subject. It used to be done in Texas, I think they have stopped it because of the bad publicity it gave them, (which they deserved).

I would recommend The First Steps of Bite Training at about 6 months then The First Steps of Defense.

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Question:

When should you neuter your puppy?

Answer:

If your goal is to do protection work or police service work with your dog, do not neuter until it is 24 months old. Let the dog have access to his hormones to develop and mature. If he is neutered at 2 years it will not effect his working ability.

If a dog is neutered at 6 months it will definitely effect his protection work, (by reducing the drives.)

If a dog is a monorchid (only has one testicle come down) it is critical to have the dog neutered at 2 years of age. If the testicle has not come down and is not removed there is a high probability of it developing cancer at about 5 years of age.

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Question:

I brought Lacy home at 7 weeks 10 days ago. I have a 2 1/2 year old mild mannered Airedale (Callie) who enjoys playing with baby, but might not be aggressive enough in disciplining puppy who consistently nips at her...and hurts her (has drawn blood)...should we stop allowing tug of war with frisbees and chew toys for awhile? Puppy is extremely assertive. Also, puppy has flat out snit fits if she does not get her own way...for instance, she got over-stimulated today and got put in her indoor run with cage; she threw a little fit for 10 minutes. Very difficult to take. We either say no and sort of stare or simply ignore her and she finally settles down. Very disturbing with barking and whining every two hours at night...hard to settle her down after taking her out for business...she wants to play and we won't let her. Unfortunately, we are thinking of taking her back. Callie desperately needs a playmate, though, and have looked for same for almost a year.

Answer:

This is more of a handler problem than a dog problem.

During this time period the dog should be spending a great deal of time in the crate. Is it annoying to put up with? YES!! But unless you do it you are going to end up with a spoiled pain in the butt. This pup must learn that it’s normal to be in the crate and to carry on and bark does absolutely no good. You should not stare at it, just ignore it.

Every time you leave the house it should be in the crate, put the crate in the garage if you have to. It’s like breaking a horse - it will fight you and fight you until it one day realizes that it’s no use. The only ones that don't learn are the ones where the people give in and let them out before they should.

An 8 week old pup will have a problem going all night without relieving itself. This is normal. Pick the water up at 6 PM. By 10 to 12 weeks it should be able to be in the crate all night without a problem.

I would put more toys down for a couple of months, let the dog have a ton of toys.

Regard my article titled Teaching Your Puppy the Meaning of the Word “No.” I also recommend you get my video titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. Then at about 5 or 6 months get Basic Dog Obedience. They are intended to follow one another.

Good luck and don’t give up, it actually sounds like a nice pup. Read all the Q&A sections on my web site about pups.

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Question:

We adopted a 6-9 month old Brittany and have had her for approx. 2 months. We have done a lot of work with her and she and our 3 cats can now co-exist rather well. Our main concern is that she literally hates being crated when we leave the house. She is never left in her crate more than 7 hrs. while we are at work/school. She seems to find some way to escape and then ultimately chews something up while before we get home at least two days out of the five. What can we do?

Answer:

If this were my dog I would drill some holes near the door of the crate (assuming you are using a plastic airline crate). Then run a wire through the holes and the door of the crate so the dog can not open it no matter how hard she tries. If its a metal crate then use 2 snaps on the ends of leashes to clip the crate door closed.

If the dog is very vocal and will not quiet down leave the TV or a radio on. If it continues get one of the Tri Tronics Bark Limiters - use the lower shock settings if necessary, (but there is a video that comes with the limiter to show how to use it). This will eliminate the screaming in the crate and the dog will be forced to lay quietly. Do not give in to the pup when you initially put the collar on. When it barks and gets a shock and screams it must learn on its own to get a grip and calm down - that’s what these collars do, they calm the dogs.

Go to the butcher and get the dog soup bones. Let the dog chew on the bones during the day. Give it something to do when it’s awake. But dogs of this age sleep a lot when given the opportunity.

I would also recommend that you begin obedience training the dog. It’s the correct age. This does 2 things: it promotes handler interaction in a positive way with the pet, it also teaches the dog manners. They learn right from wrong and this transcends into their normal lives in other ways. Read what I have to say about obedience training.

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Question:

I have a 12 week old Border Collie pup. We were working on sit stay before each meal and then given a release command "OK" and he runs to his dish. But after my husband corrected him at one meal he hesitates going to his dish after the "OK" command is given. He looks at us as if asking for permission again. At which time we have to say "OK, go get it" two or three times. Should we correct this, if so how do we do it.

Thanks,
Marci

Answer:

You need to start to learn something about dog training, and I guess sending this email is an example that you know this.

Your husband was 100% wrong in doing this. A 12 week old dog should not have this kind of pressure put on him. He is a baby. Would you do this with a child? I think not.

I would strongly recommend that you get my video Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. Read about it. This tape is 2 hours of solid information.

When the dog is 4 or 5 months you will need Basic Dog Obedience. Giving corrections to pups that are so young is going to destroy his temperament. You really need to be careful and learn how and when a pup can be corrected.

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Question:

I have enjoyed your tapes. The question I have is my GSD just turned 7 months,and he's very playful, temperament very good. If I'm gone for a couple of hours, he will chew up or chew baseball caps, socks, papers, remotes (TV), anything, but he only does that when we are gone,and that’s not all the time, but when I come home, if he's not at the door, then he's done something. I don’t correct him hard on that, because again, he doesn’t do it all the time, but shouldn’t he be coming out of that phase? He still has a lot of puppy in him, and he is a joy. He's almost 85 pounds. I'm thinking that if he's that big, he should be coming out of that phase.

Answer:

The dog needs to be crated when you leave. Give him a large bone to chew on, (NOT TENNIS BALLS OR TOYS), or a raw hide.

It's a simple solution to a problem. That’s why God gave us dog crates.

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Question:

How likely is it that a slight overbite in a 3 1/2 month old GSD puppy will correct itself? And regarding dominance: Can a dog be submissive to people but still be dominant when it comes to dogs?

Answer:

Overbites often correct themselves.

Yes - submissive dogs can be dog aggressive, (it’s probably not dominance that you are seeing but weak nerves which manifest into aggression).

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Question:

Why does my pup target the puppy tug handle as opposed to the tug itself? It seems 50% of the time he goes for the handle. Any suggestions?

James

Answer:

Pups go after the handle because it moves less than the rest of the tug. They learn that it's easier to get the handle than the other end of the tug. This is either caused by handler error, (poor use of the tug), or the dog is ready for the "back tie."

If you clip the tug on a leash and flop it around on the ground you can often get more jumpy movement in the tug and eliminate this problem for awhile. If the dog gets the rope (or leash) then its time for a back tie where you can direct the bite to the proper place on the tug.

Back ties also allow you to build frustration by making the dog miss the tug as you run by - frustration builds drive.

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Question:

I was hoping that you could give me some advice. I have a 5 1/2 month old female GSD (both her parents came from your kennel.) We took her to an agility park last weekend where we were socializing her with an 8 month old 100+lb GSD. The pups were both on leashes when the male suddenly went crazy and attacked our Maddie. She was hollering & trying to get away and the male just wouldn't let up. My husband finally got her away from him and the owner apologized saying that her dog had never behaved like that before & then left the park.

Later while we took a good look at Maddie we saw the she had two bite punctures on her belly and a large gash on her outer thigh that ended up needing 3 staples. I know the best thing for me to do is to keep socializing her so that she won’t become afraid of other dogs but I am not sure how to choose who I should allow her to socialize with. Maddie is not a dominant dog and wants to play with every dog she sees. Is there any type of body posture (or anything else that I can watch for) to know whether or not a particular dog would be safe for her to socialize with? I would appreciate any advice.

Sincerely,
Ellen

Answer:

I am afraid the damage is done. You will find that from this point on your dog will look at other dogs in a defensive manner.

I am not a fan of these dog socialization areas - they "ARE STUPID" for the very reason that you have already found out. People with no idea of dog training take their dogs there and they end up having a free for all - many times they fight and the results are that one dog is attacked and hurt.

My advice is to NEVER TAKE YOUR DOG TO A PLACE LIKE THIS AGAIN. Control which dogs your pup is allowed around. Make sure from this point on it is never allowed around an aggressive dog. If you do not know the other dog is passive - then you assume that it is aggressive. If you follow this basic rule you will never make a mistake and your dog will possibly recover.

Pups are pack animals. They expect their pack leader to protect them. You failed your dog this time. It's your responsibility as pack leader to not allow things like this to happen.

My advice is to socialize your dog on a flexi lead and get my video Basic Dog Obedience - read what I have to say about obedience training.

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Question:

Our puppy - Nitro (Male Sable) is terribly afraid of other dogs. Our Lasha Apso, 8 years old, has bitten him a few times, but he is not afraid of her. Our relative's small dog also bites him. Now when he goes around any dogs he starts screaming, his backhair goes up and he wants to run and hide. We did get your training video on puppies and I know it is important to socialize him. He loves people and has met many people. We were going to bring him to puppy class at A-1 Training in Brooklyn Park. The person there said we should spray his mouth with "Apple Bitter," have him on a leash and make him sit or lay down but not to tolerate his screaming. Do you have any ideas on what we can do?

Answer:

    1. Do not go to this puppy class.

    2. This problem is one that you have created by allowing the puppy to be hurt by older mature dogs. I suggest that you read the article on my web site concerning dog parks. You will find the link off my table of contents.

The key with this article is not the dog park issue, but rather your responsibility as a pack leader to protect your puppy. You have failed in this responsibility. I suggest that you spend some time on my web site reading Q&A sections on puppies and training in general. What needs to be done now is to nurture this puppy when it shows fear of a large dog. You should not allow it around other adult dogs that you do not know. You should only allow it to be around dogs that are very friendly to puppies. It may be too late, the damage that has already been done will end up being translated into a dog aggressive animal as an adult. Whatever you do, do not follow the advice of the dummy in the puppy classes.

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Question:

We recently purchased a 5 month old, German Shepherd of German and Dutch breeding. She is a pleasant puppy and quite active. We already had a 12 year old Cocker Spaniel who also has a very pleasant and now placid personality. We have had the shepherd for 3 weeks. During this time we have allowed the dogs to sniff each other through a gate, but have not allowed them to be free together. Our few attempts to introduce the dogs without the gate; have resulted in the following: the shepherd eagerly approaches the spaniel and wants to play, jumping on her excitedly. The spaniel (who could walk under the shepherd) doesn't want any part of this play, and will growl at her and snip. When the shepherd is more subdued (later in the day), the two dogs are content to be in the same room (we keep a leash on the Shepherd in case she decides to get frisky). Do you think that this will improve with time? I am hopeful that they will get along, because neither dog growls, sneers or otherwise acts aggressively toward the other unless the Shepherd jumps on the aging spaniel. Do you think that we will have to wait until the shepherd outgrows the "puppy stage" at 18 months or so?

Cindy

Answer:

This is a very common problem with people who own old dogs and get puppies. I ALWAYS defer to the old dog. I like old dogs.

It is your responsibility to protect the older dog from the abuse of a pup. Just as it would be your responsibility to protect a 3 or 4 year old child from the abuse of a new pup. This starts with obedience training and a prong collar. There is no reason that a pup can not learn the meaning of the word NO. I have written an article about this on my web site. The list of training articles on my website. I would strongly recommend my Basic Dog Obedience video. This pup needs to learn some manners and there is no better way to do this than to obedience train it.

I hope this helps. You owe your old dog the ability to live her last days in peace and quiet, not in a living arrangement where she is always worried about being jumped on and bit.

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Question:

Is there a thing as a "fear period" that puppies go through or is it just a way to justify weak nerve? A six-month-old pup that has always been friendly and inquisitive all of a sudden-without any bad experiences becomes hesitant about meeting people. He still is inquisitive with things, but hesitates when meeting new people. Once he has met them and accepted them he is his old friendly self.

Karen

Answer:

I don't really agree with this issue of a "fear period" at 9 or 10 weeks. I think this is a crock.

I do think that puppies can have difficult times when they are teething. They don't understand the pain that they experience and if they grab something with their mouth and get hurt, because of the teething, this can cause some temporary set backs. So the first thing to look at is the temperament before this time period. The tests I do at 8 weeks point out weak nerves. If these tests are OK as a young pup and the dog then has changes latter it may either be a health issue or it may have been a traumatizing event. Remember that pups are babies - just because they have good nerves and are environmentally sound - they can still develop problems if they are treated badly. This can happen with one incident.

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Question:

We recently found a puppy in the ditch wandering around a mile away from our home in the country. We carefully called him to approach us and he seemed adorable so we took him around to several houses in the area to see if anyone lost him. No one knew anything about him. We proceeded over the next several days to see if anyone lost him. Meanwhile I took him to the vet and got worm medicine - they tested his poop and he had worms. They thought he was about 8-12 weeks. He still has his baby teeth and was 14 pounds.

We have been seriously considering buying a pure bread black lab for a pet and for a hunting dog. The vet and some other friends who know a great deal about dogs think he's pretty close to being a pure bread. But we knew if he was, the owners would be looking for him. He seems very good-natured, he doesn't jump up, whine too much or bite. He follows our kids, ages 6 & 9, everywhere and seems to have fallen in love with us as much as we have with him. Our main question is whether or not he'll be a good hunter if he doesn't have the pure bread blood in him for smelling and if he will be safe for us to keep. We don't want a dog that will turn on us from bad temperament. I have been reading as much as possible about training dogs and what to do and not to do. I just want to be sure this is a wise choice to keep him. Can you help?

Thanks,
Bonnie

Answer:

It sounds like you lucked out. If this dog was skittish or shy you would have a potential future problem. But it seems he is well adjusted with good nerves. If he has good play drive and will chase sticks and balls he should be a good hunting dog.

There are a million pure bred dogs out there that can not do the job they were initially intended to do. A perfect example is ALL OF THE AMERICAN BLOODLINE German Shepherd Dogs. None of them can be police service dogs - not one!! So many times being pure bread has nothing to do with a dogs working ability.

My advice is to get a couple of tapes and learn to train and work with your dogs. I would recommend:

I have produced a video titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. I give this video to all of my puppy customers and never get questions on how to raise a pup. Read the description of the tape on my web site. It has 2 hours of solid information.

If you would like to learn something 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.

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Question:

I was wondering if you could help me. I have a nine-week-old GSD pup that doesn't seem to want to bond w/ me. It never seeks out affection from me and only seems to tolerate being petted. She seems to be healthy and has a high prey drive. She only seems to want to bond with my grown mixed breed dog. He is a large very strong, Pit bull mix. She is not intimidated by him at all and will play rough with him and likes to bite him and pull on the skin under his throat. She only ways 14 lbs but plays with him really hard like he was just on of her littermates. I have read your piece on raising a hard pup and she seems to fit the bill.

I like her temperament except for the fact that she doesn't seem affectionate at all. She also seems unaffected by praise. To give you an example, if I squat down and talk to her in that pleasant High-pitched voice I usually talk to dogs with, when I am praising them, most pups I have seen, will approach me wagging their tail, She however just cocks her head and looks at me. She will boldly approach me if I have food.

She likes children and is outgoing and friendly with strangers. She is not at all fearful. I have separated her from my dog and am working with her with toys to get her to bond more, anything more I should be doing?

Sincerely,
Ted

Answer:

This is a simple problem. The problem is that the dog should be kept away from the other dog. It is becoming "DOGGIE." This means it’s more interesting in playing with the other dog than people. You need to keep the dogs in separate kennels or keep one crated while the other is out and loose.

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Question:

I would like to get a German Shepherd, but I am out of the house for about 12 hours a day five days a week. I would have to leave him locked in a crate until he was fully house broken. What is the maximum amount of time a dog can be left in his crate?

Thank you,
Mary

Answer:

In my opinion, this is too long to leave your dog in the crate. If you can put the dog in an outside dog run, then that is OK. But to crate a dog for that long is going to make the dog depressed and/or crazy. In my mind it is inhumane.

You would be better advised to find an adult dog that is 100% house trained. You may have to use the crate for a week or so to get him used to the fact that this is his new home. Then allow him access to only certain rooms and not the entire house.

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Question:

Dear Mr. Ed Frawley:

I found your website on the internet, and I was hoping you would be willing to help with some advice or maybe a referral to someone who would be able to help us.

I am sorry to say that we are having a problem with our Jack Russell Terriers. We have a 5 month old male Jack Russell Terrier who we bought from a friend who bought him from a pet store called "Just Puppies."

We have had our male dog for about 1.5 months. My husband bought me a 12 week old female JRT for mother's day. He bought the female from a JRTCA breeder who was home raised - she is the best, we have had for a little over a week.

Our male "Rusty" is not a very happy dog, he hardly ever wags his tail (he was 5 months old on May 14th - he is 13.5 inches at the withers and approximately 13 to maybe 14 lbs.). Our female "Molly" is very happy - she wags her tail everywhere she goes, great with our child, we already love her very much (Molly is now about 13 weeks and only 5lbs).

We have tried letting them duke it out and we have tried keeping them apart for a few days, because Rusty bites her and pulls on her ears. Rusty is always growling, baring his teeth, and biting (Molly at first was taking the abuse, but now her fur stands up and she is growling also). The first night they were home together he pinned her down by the neck and she was gasping for air (she couldn't even yipe in pain). Molly can be walking across the yard and Rusty will go over to her and bite her legs, neck, or back - sometimes he will start dragging her. He is not playing with her - she could be sleeping or using the bathroom and he will do those things to her. She is not allowed to play with toys or anything else without him lifting his lips and baring his teeth and starting a fight over it. He doesn't allow her to eat or drink without pushing her out of the way. She will wait for him to stop eating or drinking and will take her turn, but Rusty just comes back over and pushes her out and tries to eat all the food he can Molly's ribs are starting to show). Molly on the other hand is playful - she has the best temperament, but she is getting sick of Rusty - it is very apparent that she dislikes him and does not want to play with him - and she is starting to act aggressive like him.

What can we do? Will this problem change? Rusty will kill Molly if left unattended there is no doubt in my mind about that. We want to help the situation, but we are worried that nothing will ever change. Please help me with some advice or a referral if possible.

Thank you,
Rashel

P.S. We already spoke with the breeder of the female and she referred us to a trainer. She said that we should not break up the fights, but we tried doing that and Rusty got Molly by the throat and once again she was gasping for air and he would not let go, when we finally got him to let go - Molly sat up and puked. We have watched the dogs and Molly has been very submissive with Rusty, but Rusty seems to be looking for a lot more than alpha status. The trainer that we spoke with seems to give dogs higher precedence over children, and we thought since you have children you would have better advice. Rusty has snapped, nipped, or bit (whichever word you would prefer to use) our child at least twice and has tried several times, but luckily they are always supervised. The trainer said that we should not allow our child to be around the dog when he has a toy, food, or bone - but that seems virtually impossible considering he always has one of those things. Our child is NEVER left unsupervised with either dog, but when our child is just trying to be nice (by petting or hand feeding - never hitting, teasing, or playing), what can you do?

I left out one thing....Rusty is a coward is scared of certain balls in our yard, loud noises, and you can not pick him up by the scruff of his neck because he starts yelping so loudly that you would think someone is killing him. No one has ever done anything to him at our house, except for when he bit our child he was picked up by the scruff of his neck and told "NO!" and put in his carrier. I don't know what ever happened to him, but my guess is someone has mistreated him to the point of nervousness. The first few days we had him he wouldn't even come to us - he seemed scared of us, but yet curious about the things we were doing. We are scared that our child is the one who will end up hurt. Please help.

Answer:

Let me begin by saying this breeder is wrong. I cannot stand stupidity and this breeder exudes it.

Let me say that the puppy looks to the pack leader (YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND) for protection. You are doing 100% the wrong thing in not protecting this poor puppy. Put yourself in this pups position. If you come into a new home and someone comes around and try's to kill you, what would you do? When you have a good answer for this you will begin to understand the poor female puppy.

I am not sure why peoples common sense seems to go down the toilet and out the door when it comes to dogs, but it often does. This is a perfect example. Unfortunately people are given the titles of BREEDER and TRAINER and because of this they become experts. Too often they are long on advice and short of common sense.

Your male needs his butt kicked. He needs to learn some manners or suffer the consequences of not minding. He needs to learn that YOU and YOUR HUSBAND are the pack leaders and you will not tolerate this.

If you would like to learn something 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. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

You have to spend some time on my web site reading the articles on Dominant Dogs and the Q&A sections.

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Question:

Ed,

Our great puppy, Xanda vom Leerburg (born January 16, 2000; call name "Rebound"), is progressing beautifully. She is almost five months old and has settled in as a full-fledged member of the family (which includes my wife, three children, our male yellow lab and me).

I would like your thoughts on a particularly disturbing and dangerous habit that she has exhibited. During our walks in the neighborhood, she literally lunges at moving cars. In response, I shorten way up on the leash and tell her "no." (Often, I walk her with our lab, which does not give the cars a second glance, and has never chased them.) Needless to say, the puppy's attitude toward cars turns otherwise very enjoyable walks into quite a job. Any suggestions?

Thanks for your time.
Bob

Answer:

There is no question that this is a serious situation.

The solution is hard compulsion. This means that you need to get a puppy prong collar and when the dog does this she needs to get a very hard sharp POP on the leash. The pup needs to learn that this is 100% unacceptable behavior. The minute after the sharp hard correction the dog needs to be praised and told that you still love her.

If this is done properly it will not take long for the dog to learn to ignore cars. If it does not you have not corrected hard enough.

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Question:

Ed,

We have a Rottweiler female puppy (born Jan 14th). We also have your puppy training video. Abby has responded well to our correction for jumping up on us. Thank you. She is outlawed from the house because she doesn't control herself and tinkles when she gets excited. Any hints for that? However, the main reason we are writing is because of her constant lapping. Abby loves people, and she laps thin air, hands, thin air, legs, thin air, clothes, and thin air. It drives us crazy. Is it possible to break her of this habit? What should we do? Thank you for your time.

Len and BJ

Answer:

The pup will outgrow the piddling.

The lapping or licking is a sign of submission in dogs. You would make a serious mistake to try and stop this. People really misunderstand the pack drives of domesticated dogs. This is an example of this. As the dog matures, gains confidence in your relationship this licking will gradually go away. But it is something that many dogs do in one form or another to show that they are a lower rank than their owners.

If you were to try and correct the pup for licking, you would confuse the pup and it would lose confidence and end up having self confidence problems which can really open a can of worms.

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Question:

Our 9-week-old German Shepherd just arrived from Texas, and we recently purchased your "Puppy" & "Basic Obedience" videos. There is an issue you might help us with that was not addressed in either. Swimming. We have an in-ground pool and considering the heat in South Florida we are anxious to introduce him to it. Any suggestions or advice?

I might also add that we have tried to strictly adhere to all of the information offered in your tapes and on your web site, and so far knock on wood everything has been working exactly as you said. Thank you for helping us work through these beginning stages. I know how important they are in a puppy's growth.

Rick & Pam

Answer:

I also have an in-ground pool. It is very important to teach all of the dogs that are near the house to swim in the pool and to know where the steps are. If you do not do this there is a good chance that they will fall in and drown because they cannot climb out the sides.

All pups can swim. Just carry them into the pool and gently lower then into the water right in front of the steps. So they only have to swim about 3 feet to the steps. The first thing they have to learn is that they can climb out of the pool if they swim to the edge.

The second thing they have to learn is that the steps are only in one spot on the pool - so you gradually have to take them further and further from the steps. At some point he is going to have to hit the side (after he knows how to swim) and learn that he cannot get out by clawing at the side, then you step in after a few seconds of trying and point him towards the steps - guide him there if need be.

When you can put him in the deep end and he knows to swim to the shallow end and climb out you then have a pool-proof dog. If you don't do this you can go out and find a dead pup floating in the pool.

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Question:

Your puppy video arrived in the mail this weekend and we watched it, twice. Good job! The video covered a lot of ground, but I still have more questions.

I read your article on why you shouldn't have two dogs at once. Unfortunately, we already have the two pups, and we want to make the best of it. Based on what you've written, I assume we could have some problems with them not accepting us in their "pack" of two. What are some warning signs to watch out for in case they decide we don't belong in their puppy pack?

Now here's my question on prey drive. I watched you make the ‘ball-and-rag-on-a-string’ toy in your video and I've made such a toy for the pups. The female, Akira, seems to have a strong prey drive because she took to chasing the ball with reckless abandon. The male, Hercules, is more reluctant. He will give chase, but without the wholehearted zest that Akira does. I move the ball slower around him, so that at least he gets to catch it every once in a while. The fact that he doesn't hustle could be a lack of energy, or a lack of prey drive (or some other cause for all I know). Both pups are 3 months old. What can I do to diagnose his problem and build his prey drive?

I look forward to hearing from you. From the pages of testimonials on your web page, you are obviously in high demand, so I thank you in advance for your time.

I have read that you will no longer be breeding. I wish you success in your new direction.

Sincerely,
Yvette

Answer:

First, in my opinion you are making a serious error in how you are raising these dogs. It is wrong to look at your situation as allowing the dogs to have their own pack - the correct way to look at it is that you have a family pack and you are allowing them to become a part of your pack - on your terms - not their terms.

I would not allow these dogs to live together. They should be kept separated all the time, (by crates or different kennels), except when you are present to supervise. This is the only way you will ever have normal dogs as adults. You may not like to hear this, but I am 100% correct about this. You can not re-invent the wheel and you can not do something I can not do with dogs.

Check your dogs for worms. This may be the problem with the male, also for a heart murmur. This could affect his energy. If it's not medical it's genetic and you have to work with him. Put more animation in the toy, make the ball jump just as the pup sniffs it. Put some life in it.

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Question:

Mr. Frawley,

I wrote to you about my 6 month old Rott. Thanks for your advice. Just finish watching your (Bite Training Puppies). My question now is that I just got the pup when it was already 6 months follow your videos, my pup has no play drive. I tried playing with the sack, but he has no interest in biting the sack. How should I start his play drive with his behavior? He has a lot of avoidance when I try to follow your instructions on the video. What should I do?

Answer:

Here are some options to building prey drive:

1- Take a ball and put it on a nylon string. See if you can get the pup to follow it. Treat it like a cat - when the pup goes over to smell it - make it jump away but only about a foot away. If it will follow then just as its nose is at the ball make it bounce away a little more. There is an art to this. The key is to build the dogs interest and not bounce the ball too far away from the dog. Keeping the ball close to the pup but elusive. The pup can grab the ball every now and then and play tug (if it will) you can also have the dog try and chase balls (with the string attached and see if the dog will chase and play with them. To build prey drive you have to get it to chase before you get it to grip.

2- Make the sack smaller. If this means cutting one up then do it. Use a hand towel rather than a sack - its softer on his mouth. Tie the sack on a string and treat it exactly like you treated the ball on a string. If the pup will grab it - give it a small jerk so it comes out of his mouth (like it is alive) Go right back into playing with it on a string. This will build drive.

I hope some of these ideas work. This is not as simple as it may sound. Young dogs must learn what a prey item is. They don't instinctually think that a sack or ball is a prey item. They have to learn that they are fun to play tug with. So there is a lot of emphasis on the handlers developing the skills to bring out the drive that their dog has.

And finally - there are some dogs that are not fit for this work. These dogs have no prey drive and they cannot and should not be trained in protection work. Dogs have to have prey work for bite work.

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Question:


My husband and I brought a German Shepherd puppy 5 day's ago. She is 8 weeks old we are very happy with her and she seems to be settling in well. The first two nights she never cried during the night at all. Now however she whines and howls and we have got up to her and told her a firm "NO" and given her a light shake on the scruff of her neck. This method does not seem to be working now. Can you help? I think we should ignore her my husband is worried about the noise and the neighbors. We would appreciate any help you can offer us.

Many thanks Jenni

Answer:

You forget that your dog is a baby. Would you grab a baby and shake it for crying at night - I think not. Put a radio near it and a rug to lay on. Read my article about house training. Crying in the crate goes away on its own if you ignore it - which is the only thing to do.

I would recommend the video I have produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. I give this video to all of my puppy customers and never get questions on how to raise a pup. Read the description of the tape on my web site. It has 2 hours of solid information and does not cost a lot of money.

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Question:

Ed,

I just rec'd your puppy video and watched it today. What a super video to watch!! We got a GS puppy (10 weeks) 2 days ago. I only have a couple questions after watching (I know I'm not supposed to have any) :)

On crating the pup, how long/often during the day should he be crated so he's used to it and it works effectively? I don't want to be using it too much. Does that time wind down as he gets older? The video states that with food up at about 6:00 and water by 7:00, he should make it through the night. I've been taking him out when he whimpers, (at about 2), he of course goes. Should I ignore this whimper so as not to create a habit? (As long as I take him out at 11pm and 6am?)

Also, we have a 7 year old Lab and is it ok to walk them together (with her in a heel command), and let him just run as shown in your video until we move onto the next training stage? I also purchased the basic obedience video which will help further I'm sure. But I am mainly just wondering about the crate issue.

Thanks for the great videos and also for the fantastic response on e-mails and mailing the videos!!

Jan

Answer:

Normally small puppies can not hold it all night until they are 12 to 14 weeks old. So some have to get up in the middle of the night - do not ignore her plea.

The pup should spend a lot of time in the crate. Certainly until it does not scream and cry it must be in the crate. The more it cries the more it stays in the crate. Puppies naturally sleep a lot so she will sleep in the crate when she is comfortable. Just take her outside every 3 to 4 hours and then play with her and then back into the crate. She must learn that the crate is her home. I don't think you will want to be leaving her out on her own (without you there) until she is over a year. She can be out for an hour or so (after going outside) when she shows that she is stable and not crazy all the time. I think that it is OK to have the pup around the other dog when you are with them to supervise. You may need a puppy prong to control the pup if it gets too wild with the older dog. It must learn what NO means. Read my article. Puppies can be like wild untrained children - otherwise known as BRATS. They need to learn manners but this also needs to be done with compassion - most people have too much compassion and it gets in the way of a firm correction. I go into corrections in detail in my Basic Dog Obedience video that you have.

Good luck with your adventure.

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Question:

I have been looking all over the internet and just found your site. WOW! You cover so much. I know it may be a while before you can answer me but if you can I would really appreciate it. We (myself, husband and 2 teenagers) just adopted a collie/shepherd 3-month-old puppy. He has been responding very well to the crate training and in just 2 weeks is "so far" housebroken. Our problem is that after a few days with us he has started this thing where he pees whenever my husband does anything with him. Even looking at him and talking to him in a calm voice causes him to pee. My husband is the only one he does this to. Should one of us show him this is wrong? Will he outgrow it? Please help. My husband is just devastated that he can't do anything with Keya because of this situation. We are at our wits end.

Thank you for any help that you can give us.
Lisa

Answer:

You totally ignore the dog when you come home, do not let guests bend over to pet the dog. When you do pet the dog get down on his level and pet him under the chin. This is less intimidating for him. These dogs almost always had outgrown this.

If you try and do any form of correction the problem will get worse and not go away. This is not an uncommon problem - it is just a phase that some dogs go through.

So have your husband ignore the dog and only pet it when the dog comes to him - not when he goes to the dog.

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Question:

Can you give me some ideas on how to get my litter off on the right foot so the pups are not dog aggressive?

puppies

Answer:

It seems that some bloodlines are more dog aggressive than others. I will also say that a pup will become dog aggressive if it is attacked by an older dog (or even badly scared as a young dog) by another dog. Breeders and owners need to take steps to make sure their young dogs grow up in a safe environment. Here are the things to consider:

1- We start feeding our young pups (at 4 weeks of age) in separate bowls (see the photo). Pups will normally play and rough house, this is normal and does not cause problems. But pups will also fight seriously at about 6 to 7 weeks of age if they feel they have to fight for their food. Breeders that put down one or two large food bowls that 3 to 4 pups are expected to eat from causes fights.

Having a food bowl for each puppy will stop this from happening. In fact I will stay in the room when the pups are feeding and make sure that one pup does not go over and try to eat another pups food. If I need to I will give the scavenger a little more food in his bowl. This is a little more work but it will help.

2- I also make sure the pups have a lot of toys, not just a couple. If the pups have plenty of things to occupy their minds they can enjoy themselves. If there are enough toys the pups will not have to fight over them.

3- I often get e-mails from new owners who do not understand why their young dogs (6 months to 18 months) act nervous or scared when they are introduced to other dogs. These people don't understand the pack drive. In a pack the leader is responsible for protecting the young. Pups and young adult dogs expect their owners to protect them from older dogs that may hurt them. So if you are out on a walk and a strange dog approaches - DO NOT allow it to come near your young dog. Why risk an aggressive response from the stranger - it only takes a split second to alter your dogs outlook on other dogs for the rest of his life.

I explain it to people like this. If a women gets raped she will have psychological problems for years if not the rest of her life. The same kind of long term damage happens to young dogs who are attacked. In the dog world only two things can happen after this, they become terrified of other dogs, or they become overly aggressive, They take the attitude of "attack first before you are attacked."

So if a strange dog comes near me I will verbally warn the dog to stay away from me and my dog. I recommend to people in larger cities to carry pepper gas. Do not hesitate to use it if a strange dog does not stop when you tell it to. Save a little gas for the owner of the dog if it's being walked by some dummy who can't control his pet.

If you have to gas a dog - tell the police that you feared for "your safety." You are justified in doing this if you fear for your own personal safety. I am not sure what footing you would be on if you said you were concerned for your dogs safety.

So the bottom line on dog aggression starts with trying to prevent it from happening before it becomes an issue. Humans must protect their pup or young adult. But if you do everything correctly and the dog still shows signs of aggression then you need to obedience train the dog. Use corrections when your dog becomes aggressive with another dog (make sure you understand the body language of play fighting here - i.e. bowing down in the front with the rear of the dogs but up in the air is an invitation to play) Even if your dog starts to bark and lung on a line it must be corrected. If a voice command to LEAVE IT does not work, then a leash correction must follow. If a normal leash correction does not work then a prong collar leash correction should be used. If that does not work I will use a shock collar or a stick (but that is the subject of an entire article).

I use the command LEAVE IT when I have a dog that is learning to not show aggression. The corrections given depend on the hardness of the dog and how quickly it responds. It is important that you are not abusive, it is also important that you are effective. There is a fine line here that every handler must figure out for himself (DO NOT ASK ME IN AN EMAIL TO EVALUATE YOUR DOGS). If someone new to dog training were to see me working with adult dogs at this stage of training they may be concerned about how severe the corrections seem. The fact is the dogs learn very very quickly that they must mind or suffer the consequences (it's no different than raising a child - expect with children you don't physically correct them - at least I don't). The females in my kennel learn very quickly that aggressive barking and fence fighting is not tolerated. Once this happens life is a lot more peaceful.

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Question:

Ed, I have read your Q&A section but can't seem to find anything related to my situation. I have a 4 1/2 mo GSD puppy (German lined!) who is having a hard time with traveling in the car. He begins drooling heavily before he even gets into the car. We have been trying to take things slow with him by letting him sit beside the car (drool, drool), letting him sit in the seat without the car running (drool, drool), having him in his crate in the car (drool, drool) and even placing bits of hot dogs on the floor of the car. Nothing has helped so far. As I said before, he will begin drooling before he even gets near it. He was shipped to us when he was 10 weeks old and we have been trying to get him used to the car since we got him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as we travel a lot and would like to take him with us. If you have already answered this question somewhere on your site, let me know where it is so I can read it! The pup does not seem to have weak nerves - in fact he is very calm and stable so I don't think nerves could be the problem.

Thanks again for your help and I look forward to your response.
Tony

Answer:

I would change the name of the dog to DROOL DROOL. It is obviously stress from the car – not just driving in the car.

So I would start feeding the dog next to the vehicle. But feed it really good stuff so it really wants to eat (like hamburger or raw chicken from the ALL NATURAL DIET that it should be eating anyway - you can read about this on my site). After a few days of feeding next to the car, try feeding him in the car in a dog crate. If he doesn’t eat for a few days it is not going to kill him, (I fast my dogs once a week – it’s good for them). If your car is big enough for a dog crate – then welcome him to his new home. This is where he eats, sleeps and lives.

He will get over it. Once he is used to eating in the car – only feed him after he has driven around the block. But make sure he is hungry and the food is something he really likes. I will guarantee you, that if you feed normal crap dog food (Purina, Science Diet, etc. etc.) your dog is not going to give a rip if you put food out or not.

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Question:

Dear Mr. Frawley-

Thank you for your excellent videos. They are helping me raise my new pup. But I do have a question that is not addressed in the videos:

This is a female GSD of excellent working dog bloodlines. She is now 15 weeks. She is doing fine in every aspect, but a week ago she began to bark at people who come to visit us. The bark is not a growl, and she shows no other signs of aggression, but she does appear to be defending her ground. Is this normal? How should I handle the barking: allow it, or discourage it? Up until now, what I have done is pick the pup up (which stops the barking right away), and carry her over to be petted by the visitor.

Since I do want this pup to grow into a good protective companion, I want to handle this precisely and correctly. I would greatly appreciate your help with this.

Thanks,
James

Answer:

You are doing the right thing by showing her that there is nothing to fear. Have the new people give the dog a piece of hot dog. She needs to see that there is nothing to make her afraid.

People often question if they should correct barking because they want a protection dog as an adult and do not want to inhibit their puppy. Well, a good protection dog must have the correct genetics and it is a product of training. A dog does not become a protection dog because it is allowed to be aggressive to strangers as a puppy. A good protection dog learns that it must be aggressive under very specific circumstances and not to all people. Dogs that are aggressive to all people are not safe social dogs. They are dangerous dogs. But the reason that your dog is doing this is because it has weak or thin nerves, not because it is tough and protective. It is impossible for any female pup to be tough and protective. That would be like you expecting your 7 year old daughter to protect your home. Your puppy needs to learn that people are nice. Later she can learn that some people are not nice.

My advice would be to continue to read my site and get a few training videos on protection work.

Good Luck

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