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Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive More Q&As on Pups

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QUESTION:

Hi,

I’m Argentine and my name is Martin and I write because I read something interesting on your web page. I would like to know if you could answer this question!!!

My family is going to buy a dog and we are in feud between and retriever or rottweiler. I like rottweiler but my mother says that they are dangerous especially with children. I would like to know if you agree with her and if you can send me information about rottweiler!!

Thank you...

ANSWER:

It is not my job to convince that Rots are better than GSDs or any other breed. This is a private issue with you family and their own interests.

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QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley,

I purchased a 5 month old male GSD from a breeder in NY. I have had him for a month. Sire is an East German Sch3, mom is a Czech companion titled dog.

Problem:

This pup skits and bucks when other leashed dogs/puppies approach. He may or may not allow people to pet him as well. No aggression towards people, but he can become very timid and jumpy, or just stand and remain oblivious to people around him.

Always acts the same with other dogs. Stares as they approach, growls when they get closer, and tries to pull me with his leash down the block when they get right on top of him. I try getting his attention on to me and away from the dogs, but he locks onto them as they approach.

Breeder says he will "grow out of it," that he's still a puppy etc. I don't buy it. He actually seems to be more fearful and skittish than he was when we got him last month. I think he is what he is and will not "grow out of it."

(Bad previous experience with an American Show GSD, looks like I made another mistake.) I don't think attempting to train him to act confident is the answer. If he doesn’t got it in him he will not got it in him.

Is this breeder correct, he'll "grow out of it," or is it "what I see is what I get." Think I know what you are going to say. (Smells like I need to bring this dog back.)

Thank you for your time
Joe

ANSWER:

You did not do a very good job selection testing this pup. I have two articles on my web site on how to do this. The tests are 110% correct – this crap would have shown up in the tests.

I cannot tell you what to do - sorry. Maybe sell the dog (or give the dog away) and cut your losses.

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QUESTION:

Hi Ed
I have just bought your video bite training for pups and I have a question about it. I have just started tying my 10 week old pup up with a milk jug full of marbles above her head and I have also been using the bamboo stick.

Neither of these things phase her. She has awesome nerves and monstrous prey drive, but she will only go after the tennis ball on the string. She will not go after the hand towel. I have used the hand towel to play with her before but she really would rather have the ball instead. She will just sit there with the towel and whine for the ball. And then when I bring out the ball she goes crazy. My problem is that I cannot work on her grip or her counter will the ball. Should I stick with the ball? I am a little confused. Could you please help me out? Thanks a lot.

ANSWER:

Take a small wash cloth (not a towel), put it on a string and attach the string to a broom handle. Then put some life in the wash cloth as it jumps around. This should work.

Also - change the ball on a string to a rubber ball and not a tennis ball. I have heard some concerning things about the glue that tennis balls are made from having a reaction with teeth.

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QUESTION:

I hope you can help me with my new German Shepherd puppy. When we got him he
was 7.5 weeks and a he's a very aggressive chewer and biter. I've had a german shepherd before and do not allow puppies to bite and chew on anything but their own chew toys. I have never let him bite me or chew on me because he is "cute and little." We constantly were correcting him and telling him "no." One night my husband and I were playing with him rolling a ball around while he chased it. He went to the door to go potty and I went with him to tell him good boy and when we came back in he went directly to my 3 year old daughter and bit her right on the face. He punctured her skin right below her left eye in 2 places and on her chin line. I was so horrified and I grabbed him by the scruff of the back of his neck and shook him and yelled in his face and put him in his kennel. He was 10 weeks at the time. Well that has not stopped him from biting the crap out of all of us. 2 days ago I called the breeder we got him from to ask her advice. She told me to NEVER let him get away with that ever again and to hit him hard on the nose with rolled up paper and yell "no, no." Well the next time he bit me I did just that and scared the crap out of him but it didn't stop the biting. So over the next 2 days I would pop him on the nose every time he bit me and now he doesn't bite me all the time but he will barely come near me. I am so worried that I have ruined him by making him afraid of me but the biting was so bad I was considering getting rid of him because I cannot allow him to think biting me and my children is in any way acceptable. His biting of the 3 year old was not the only time he has broken the skin of me or the other kids in our family. His biting is painful and aggressive and when I would correct him he would snap at me right after. Needless to say he hasn't snapped at me since I hit him with the paper. All day today I have tried to be sweet and positive with him, telling how good he is being but he seems to have lost his enjoyment of life. I feel terrible but he was scaring me and getting worse everyday. Can you give me any advice? Thanks a lot for your web site. I've learned a ton.

Tami

ANSWER:

I strongly suggest you find a new home for this puppy.

You do not understand puppy behavior and it is just making things bad for what is probably a very nice puppy. Some people should not have puppies. You would be better off without any dog or going to a dog shelter and getting a nice adult dog.

Puppies play using their mouth. Shaking it, hitting his nose (your breeder is dog damn fool) is not what should be done. If you keep this dog - get a dog crate and crate train the dog. He cannot bite if he is in the crate.

Odds are you have screwed this poor puppy up. I have no doubt that he shy away from you. What do you think your child would do if you slapped him around every time he played rough - the key word being PLAYING. Because that is how puppies play - with their mouths.

Find a new home for this pup.

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QUESTION:

Sir,

I'm writing you today on a recommendation from a friend who trains military working dogs. I have a 11 week old female GSD. My wife and I purchased her at 7 weeks. Every night for the last 4 weeks, I have been up with her multiple times at night, trying to keep her quiet. She has food and water, and is outside with an adult female GSD (they get along quite well). Sometimes I'll bring her in and put her in a playpen with bedding (continues to whine). I've been spanking her consistently with a rolled up news paper whenever she starts up and telling her "NO." That only works for an hour before she begins whining again. We've tried walking her before bed to get her tired...that works initially, but then she wakes up. The vet says she is healthy, so I'm pretty sure she's not in any pain. What do you recommend?

One more question...She found a dead bird in my front yard and tried to swallow it whole. I had to open her jaws (quite strong already) and pull it out. I've also noticed that she doesn't chew her food, only the occasional crunch. Is this normal?

Any help you can provide will be extremely appreciated.

Jason, Honolulu

ANSWER:

Well you are doing a lot wrong. This is not a puppy problem it's a owner problem.

Here is the list:

1- A puppy should not be lowed to run with another dog. This is only going to lead to problems. They need to be kept separated.

2- The pup should not be HIT WITH A NEWSPAPER. That is totally counterproductive and is going to screw your dogs temperament if it has not already done so. I compare this to hitting a baby that cries.

3- Puppies need to be crate trained. Read the article on my web site about house training. Read the Q&A section.

4- You seem to want to learn something about dog training - I assume this because you wrote this email. You need to learn because what you are doing is 100% wrong. I would recommend the video I 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 video on my web site.

5- If you are not prepared to do these things, find the dog a new home.

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Question:

Hi Ed,
I just bought a 4 month old male American Bulldog. I have been checking out breeders since 1998, this pup came from one of the best performance breeders in this country. I told the breeder I wanted a dog to be a family dog and he was to be trained in personal protection. I bought the pup in late March when he was 10 weeks old, and it took the breeder 2 months to ship the pup to me. When I got the pup he seemed a little nervous, but I knew he needed time to adjust. I spent the first week building up his confidence in play, and basically sitting back and evaluating his temperament. He is very soft in temperament, which to me is not a problem, but he also seems to have weak nerves. He spooks easily ( laundry baskets, outside influences make him run and hide), doesn't like to be pet, and seldom wags his tail to people. He is the kind of dog that when you go to pet him he ducks his head and generally doesn't seem happy. I only gave him 2 corrections: the first one was when he urinated in the house and the second was when he was chewing something that he wasn't supposed to chew. He urinated several times over a period of several days, before I gave him a physical correction ( scruff shake ), so it wasn't like I jumped on him from the start. At first I just gave him firm NO's, and the same for the chewing. When I gave the corrections he turned and started to fight me, literally turning and trying his hardest to bite my arm. I shook the SH*T out of him for that. After corrections he runs away and hides and won't come out. Trying to make a long story short, I called the breeder and he said he doesn't know the first thing about temperament or training, and his trainer friend was the one that picked the pup for me. So I told him to have the trainer call me. The trainer basically said that that was a proper American Bulldog ( he evaluated him and he didn't see anything wrong with him) and I should never have given any corrections to him. He told me that I should have just let him piss and chew. I worked with a Certified Master Trainer for a period of time, and that just isn't the way I was taught to train dogs. I have experience with German working line Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Akitas, and Pit Bulls. This is my first American Bulldog, and this trainer is telling me that American Bulldogs are some special breed that has to be treated differently than others, and that when they do unacceptable things it is ok. Can you please give me your opinion of this situation?

Thank you
Joe

Answer:

You may be right about the softness. I don’t know without seeing the dog. The comments on a bulldog being treated differently is bull sh*t. Dog training is not breed specific – its temperament and drive specific.

The other issues are handler mistakes. If you were doing the right thing your dog would not be pissing on the floor. It would be pissing outside. Use a dog crate – don’t allow the dog to be loose in the house. If you were watching the dog it would not have been chewing on something. The only time a dog is out of the crate in the house is after it comes in from outside, only when you have eyes on it and only for a short period of time. Those things did not happened and you created bigger problems by correcting this dog.

There are only two reasons to correct a puppy in the first 8 months of life that is going to do personal protection work. The first is for not coming when called, the second is for not OUTING when told but even then the dog has to go through a learning phase to know what you are telling him to do.

I suggest you get the Drive Focus and Grip video I produced – learn how to play with a dog and how to work him in drive. Stop letting him be loose in the house, stop correcting the dog. Soft dogs can be tough dogs. I know of a soft police dog that had over 300 street bites.

Start taking this dog EVERYWHERE to overcome this shyness. Use food if you have to get it to go with you. Drive it places and socialize it.

Next time selection test your dog better or pick an honest breeder.

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QUESTION:

Help I have a 5 month old GSD doing great with a Trainer, lost the trainer the dog obeys well with sit ,down,down stay, heel. does well on leash as far as walking and making turns to the right 90 or 180's but that’s it for now. How does one make the dog turn to the left on a leash???? Or make a 180 to the left on a leash???

Maybe I am just dense I would appreciate a response. Thank You in advance.

ANSWER:

I do not agree with sending 5 month old puppy to a trainer whoever you are using needs a lot more experience. This is really bull sh*t. to be expecting a 5 month old pup to do all of these exercises. Please tell your trainer he or she needs a lot more training themselves if they are doing this sh*t. to a puppy.

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

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QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

Your web site is a wealth of information on GSD. It is the BEST - like an encyclopedia. Well, I have recently purchased a 6 month old female black/red GSD from a breeder in Palmdale, CA. The GSD has the sweetest temperament I have ever seen. I have had 8 dogs as pets in the past from toy breed to herding breed. This is the first time I have a German Shepherd as a pet.

This female GSD is adorable;however, she is friendly to everyone including strangers. Is this good for a GSD to be friendly to strangers as well? I would like her to be a good watchdog as she matures. Her sweet and friendly temperament surprises my friends and strangers. Will she naturally become more unfriendly to strangers as she grows older (she is 6 months old) or do I need to train her to become aggressive to strangers? If yes, how should I train her to be unfriendly (bark) at strangers when unfamiliar faces approach her kennel? Will she be able to be trained as a police dog given her sweet temperament? I noticed she barks at other dogs and growls. She is very loyal and follow my commands. She is very smart - a quick learner.

Furthermore, please share your insights regarding the interpretation of her pedigree shown on the AKC dog registration application. Shown on the application is "Sire: Mac Von Neu-Edingen and Dam: Arita Vom Kirschental." I tried to do some research to understand more about her pedigree as well as to verify to see if her pedigree has VA titles as stated by the breeder in Palmdale. I have utilized this web site www.schafer.is/english/search.html and I could not find any information about the Dam, Arita Vom Kirschental. What is the best source to learn more about my GSD's pedigree as well as to learn how to interpret pedigree document? Can you share your insights pertaining to my GSD's pedigree given the above information? Please advise.

Thank you very much in advance for sharing your insights to above questions. Much success to your web site!

Best regards,
A.K., CA, USA

ANSWER:

Sounds like you have a nice dog. You would not expect your 7 year old boy to protect your home – the same goes with a 6 month old puppy. They look at you as a pack leader and as such it's your job to protect your pack until the dog is an adult.

Dogs do not naturally become protection trained anymore than Michael Jordan’s boys naturally become professional basketball players. Your dog may or may not have the genetic for the training.

You will have to discuss bloodlines with your breeder – that’s his job not mine.

If you would like to start to learn about training I would recommend buying a few of my training videos.

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QUESTION:

I have an 11 month old Akita neutered male. I am a first time Akita owner, I did not get him for protection (or for any status symbol for that matter, unlike some Akita owners) I got him based on a recommendation from a good friend and mostly because with the exception of the same sex dog aggression notable to the breed, I truly love the breed. He is a wonderful dog with a lot of great qualities and from what I can see doesn't seem to have many of the hardcore dominance issues that you speak about on your site. He is not food aggressive, he DOES have a really high prey drive (loves to chase just about anything) although he has made friends with one of our cats (they tend to sleep together at night), I got nowhere with crating him for housebreaking (he hated the confinement to such a small area) but we do gate him in the kitchen at night and when we go out so he doesn't have free roam of the house.

I got him at the wrong time (I work full time and started night classes pretty much right after I got him, I know.. NOT SMART) so I haven't been able to attend obedience classes yet, but I see that I need to do something NOW. He knows sit, but he pretty much CHOOSES when that will be. Some of the reasons I feel he DOES have dominance issues are: He REFUSES to allow me, or the vet to trim his nails. Both times they have been done he has had to be heavily sedated, which I HATE. He is also resistant to grooming, which is a royal pain with a dog with a double coat that falls out twice a year. My husband has taken the dog to work since we got him at 10 weeks old. It is a lawn and garden dealership, and we thought that being around the machinery and the constant flow of people would help with his socialization. And it has, with the exception of the barking at only CERTAIN people. And it's almost impossible to get him to stop until he's damn good and ready.

I plan on purchasing your Basic Dog Obedience tape, can you tell me if you have any suggestions on working with the nail trimming and the grooming? I had done this myself when he was a young puppy, but lately he will not let me do anything.. and I need him to be more accepting of the handling, especially when he goes to the Vet. He is only 85lbs right now, but I expect him to get to 110 or 120.

ANSWER:

Get a prong collar with the video. Do the training at home.

I would also get the wire basket muzzle we sell. He cannot bite you if he has the muzzle on . If a dog will not allow me to cut his nails then this is an obedience (or lack of obedience issue). The first thing you do is spend 3 or 4 weeks obedience training this dog. Then when he is at the point where he is minding better – go to the grooming. Talk nice when you do it and show him the treat before you start – then put it away and give him a treat after you are done– the sessions should be short in the beginning. Three or four stroked of the brush and then give the treat.

If this does not work it will take some serious corrections for him to know that you mean to brush him and not allowing it is not going to work. Sometimes pet owners can not correct to the level it takes.

Once you solve the brushing then move on to the nails – The fact is these things should have been taken care of at a young age. Now it is going to require a fight – make sure the dog is muzzled before the fight starts or you will get hurt. Make sure you have backup if you start a fight – the better idea is for your husband to do this.

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QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Frawley:

First I want to say "Thank You" for sharing your extensive knowledge about dogs, particularly German Shepherds. I purchased my first GSD about a month ago (he's now 3 months) and I have applied many of your training techniques (either coincidentally on my own, or taken directly from your puppy video). He's turning into a wonderful family companion. I have to go out of town for a weekend (2 nights), and won't be able to take the puppy. My vet has kennel facilities, but I will have to leave him there for 3 nights due to the vet's office hours. He will be slightly over 4 months when I will have to leave him. The vet's office said they keep him inside at night, and put him out in a run during the day (similar his schedule at home). My questions is: Will he be too young to be left alone at a kennel facility, and will it hurt his training/development at that age?

Thank you again. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Kris

ANSWER:

I don't think it will hurt him - go to the vet during the middle of the day some time and ask if you can look at their dog runs - see how clean it is. Make this an unexpected trip - if they will not let you look - find another vet and another boarding kennel. Then tell the first vet why you did this.

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QUESTION:

We have just acquired two 8 week old German Shepard pups, and I wish I had looked at your web site before purchasing 2 pups at the same time. What is the best way to ensure that the pups each get enough attention?

Second question... the pups enjoy being in the same crate with each other. Is this a good idea??

Thank you for your advice. I have ordered your videos and can't wait to watch them.

ANSWER:

You are correct you made a bad mistake.

These pups should never be allowed to run together or be in the same crate together. If you do this you will never establish a good bond with the dogs and they will never train properly. They become too DOGGIE – which means they look to the other dog as the buddy and not the owner.

Find a new home for one of these dogs. Cut your losses and do it right. If you don’t you will have wasted the money on both dogs.

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QUESTION:

We have a 12 week old dachshund puppy that is trained enough to sleep in our bed at night, but needs to be crated during the day to avoid accidents. It has been weeks and the dog drools about a cup of drool over a 2 hour period in the crate and is very nervous when we let him back out. He whines and cries the entire time. Will he get dehydrated? When we give him water in the crate he spills it every time. Does he need some sort of medication to calm his nerves? Any help would be appreciated.

Lynn

ANSWER:

Handler mistake - handler mistake - handler mistake. No dog should sleep in the bed with the owners. It either creates dominance issues or these kinds of problems.

Get bowls that clip on the side of the crate. All feeding is done in the crate. If it's stressed too much and it will not eat then take the food away for the day - no food that day. Then do it again the next day. The crate needs to be a positive place . Exercise the living devil out of this dog and then put it in the crate.

But no matter what - the dog sleeps in the crate ALL THE TIME!

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QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley,

My wife and I own a 10 month old GSD. We give him plenty of attention in the afternoon after work. We take him on a two mile walk, play fetch the ball, tug, hide and seek, etc. We also bring him in at night and let him interact with us. However, it's the period that we're not home during the day that concerns me. We have a fairly large fenced back yard, but I know he gets bored and lonely by himself. Do you think it would be a good idea for us to get another dog so that he would have a companion? We were thinking about another German shepherd. Is this a good or bad idea? If we get another dog, should it be male or female? Thanks in advance for your response.

ANSWER:

It’s not a good idea to add another dog just so your dog has something to play with when you are at work. In fact it’s a terrible idea.

1- You are spending plenty of time with your dog.

2- When people buy puppies they should not allow the pup to spend any unsupervised time with an adult dog. To do so hampers the mental development of the pup. The pup ends up looking to the other dog for its companionship and never really bonds well with humans.

3- The only way that people should try and raise a second pup is to keep them totally separated from the first dog with a separate dog crate or dog kennel until the pup is 7 to 10 months old.

4- Your dog is old enough to start some advanced obedience training. This gives the dog something to think about.

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

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QUESTION:

Greetings;

I have recently purchased a GSD puppy. I'm keeping him at the kennel I bought him from one month ago. He's now 5 months old. He's the alpha male of his litter, and very protective. Whenever any dog comes about 2 meters from us (him and I), he starts barking uncontrollably. I haven't trained him yet, since his breeder considers 6 months being the ideal age to start obedience training. He barks at any dog he doesn't know, big or small. Another breeder told me his barking reflects a behavioral abnormality, and that the dog's antisocial. We introduced him to my sister's newly acquired female GSD: he barked at the puppy, bit her once, then everything went fine. My dog's breeder favors his protective behavior, so I'm torn between the two breeders' opinions. What do you think, and what do you advise me to do?

I hope you can help me. Thank you so much in advance.

Rawan

ANSWER:

Here is the category I have your breeder in - “Everyone has an opinion on how to train your dog – just ask your mailman – the problem is that very few people have the experience to back up their opinions which results in a lot of bad information being handed out.”

The dog is NOT PROTECTIVE. If your breeder told you this it's bull sh*t.

There is no correlation between animal aggression and people aggression.

I NEVER allow my pups to be around other dogs. Dogs are pack animals. A strange dog is not part of the pup's pack.

Obedience training begins at 8 weeks and never stops. With very young pups it's all motivation and no corrections. Keeping a dog in the kennel at the breeder's is not the way to raise a dog. Especially when you have a breeder who seems to be clueless.

Your dog is not a dominant dog. No 5 month old pup is dominant. I have bred well over 300 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds.

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

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QUESTION:

Hello Ed.

When is the most appropriate time to start Training a golden retriever basic commands? I have read a lot of your articles on training and don't want to do any damage to her personality.

We have been working on getting her to walk beside us during short walks around the block but we were told to invest in a choke collar to get her to stop pulling on the lease. She she is now 16 weeks is it to early for all of this?

Thanks in advance.

Lisa

ANSWER:

A choke collar is not a training collar. Its an abusive training tool.

There are only three kinds of training collars to be used in dog training:

1- A Flat Collar
2- A Prong Collar
3- A Electric collar

I would recommend you purchase the video I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 25 years I have bred over 300 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. 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. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog. The DVD has 2 ½ hours of training information.

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

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QUESTION:

My 3 month old GSD eats everything in sight when we go outside. Rocks, mulch, dirt in the yard; shells, sand and rocks at the beach. How can I get her to stop? I'm afraid she is going to swallow something that will give her an internal cut.

Thank you,
Carol

ANSWER:

If the dog lives long enough it will outgrow this.

You have two options:

Get a muzzle and make it wear it when it's outside. We sell a number of different kinds and sizes on our web site.

Get an electric collar and set the stimulation level VERY, VERY low. You don’t have to say a word when you shock the dog. When it sniffs a rock you shock it. The shock level is just enough to make the dogs head move a little. It does not hurt the dog at all. The pup learns right now that these things are not interesting.

Then when you shock it you can also have a favorite toy and you can play with it. The pup then learns that the things you have are more interesting than the rocks, etc.

I use the DOGTRA 1700NC on my dogs - Check my equipment page.

If it’s a very little dog I would use the Innotek ADV-300 collar instead.

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QUESTION:

Ed,

You wrote, "I also NEVER allow a dog to come in contact with another dog unless my dog is 100% solid in obedience under extreme distraction (i.e. another dog is extreme distraction). Also I NEVER allow people to pet my dog." My question is how do you socialize the dog if the dog has never been pet by a stranger. If you don't take your dog around other dogs until he is 100% trained, isn't that a little late in life to begin socialization with other animals?

Thanks,
Vanessa

ANSWER:

You do not understand socialization of dogs.

1- A dog is socialized when it is exposed to a different environments and different situations that may (or may not) be stressful to the dog. This does not mean meeting strangers. Dogs are pack animals - they do not need to meet people outside of its family pack - they need to learn to be around strange people without being aggressive to them but they do not need to learn to be touched by strangers.

2- The same goes for meeting other dogs. Dogs need to learn to ignore other animals not to be social with them.

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QUESTION:

Hi,

We have an 8 week old labrador X collie, he is very well behaved and is doing well at house training, he mouths a lot with the children in play which we know he will grow out of when he is older but yesterday I tried hand feeding him a small piece of ham and he snapped at my hand and made it bleed.

I am guessing he had to fight for his food with his siblings so I am putting it down to this and hoping it will not carry on but I am a little worried in case it does, we have 3 children, one being only 3 years old and i am concerned he may do the same to her.

Should I continue to try to hand feed him? he is fine with food in his bowl and will allow us to stroke him and touch his bowl.

Should I scold (I don't mean hit) him or just ignore the behavior?

Regards,
Jacky

ANSWER:

I don’t hand feed puppies. There is no reason for this when you have children. In fact it’s a bad idea.

I would recommend you purchase the video I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 25 years I have bred over 300 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. 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. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog. The DVD version has 2 ½ hours of training information.

I would also recommend my Basic Dog Obedience training video. I did my first obedience video in 1982. That tape had a new version released in 1988. Then that version was replaced in Sept 2004 with my current 4 hour DVD that we now sell.

If you go to the URL for this DVD you will be able to read the outline of what's covered. This DVD not only deals with teaching people how to train the basic commands that every pet owner needs, it also tells people how to structure their lives and homes in ways that make living with a dog very easy and trouble free.

Small changes in how you handle a dog result in big differences in how the dog relates to you. The average pet owner does not realize how pack drive and rank within the pack control a domestic dog. The DVD goes into detail on pack drive. Becoming a pack leader is not about bulling a dog but rather becoming the dog's friend and then establishing the rules in how you relate to the dog. When this is not done correctly owners end up with dominance and aggression problems.

Occasionally I buy an adult dog to introduce into our breeding program here at the kennel. Even if the dog is already trained I run it through my obedience program. I never assume the previous training was correct. I never assume the previous owner had a good relationship with the dog or that the dog enjoyed training. So I teach the dog what I expect and it learns through our work that I am always fair, that I am always consistent, and that I make training fun. This is the foundation of the relationship that I have for the rest of this dog"s life.

I have been doing training tapes for almost 24 years - I feel this is the best tape I have done.

HER RESPONSE TO HAND FEEDING:

Well we tried hand feeding the pup because it was recommended by another web site, there may be no reason for it as far as your concerned but when you have children around dogs and them children are likely to be walking around with food in their hands and possibly feeding the dog then the dog should take the food gently from their hands!

I agree totally with the pack and the ranking of dogs within a family, all the more reason for our puppy to learn its place within our family and not grab food out of peoples hands drawing blood, if it is allowed to continue then it will be taking food from the children’s hands when not offered to the pup and I think there is every reason to stop this behavior now.

I will ask someone more knowledgeable than yourself but thanks for your effort of advice anyway.

ED'S RESPONSE TO WHY HAND FEEDING IS A BAD IDEA:

Go for it – I am always impressed with a smart mouth.

The fact is that feeding from the hand is exactly the opposite thing to teach your dog when you have kids. It teaches them that its OK to come up and take food from the hand. Then when it comes up to a child with food and the child rears back and screams because the dog is going for the food – the dog strikes out and bites.

The way to control this is with correct obedience training. Then the dog learns the meaning of the word “NO.”

So go find someone who knows more than I do.

I have this saying:

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

But when your kids get bit you can always refer back to my web site because I am going to put your stupid response on my site.


QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley,

I am in the process of training our 6 month old GSD with the use of positive reinforcement, prong collar and your training videos. In addition, we are attending an obedience class each Saturday. At the end of each session, anywhere from 10-20 dogs are allowed to run freely in a confined, secure area providing them with "dog socialization". I recently read the material on your site relating to dog parks and the injuries that may occur. My feeling is that I should not let our puppy engage with the other dogs in this situation. Please advise as to whether or not you see this as acceptable practice. Please note that our trainer is very experienced, with 7 well-trained, titled Shepherds. I recently read on your site that we should avoid this type of situation and instead spend the time with him
alone. Please advise.

Thank you for the information that you provide to dog owners. We are fortunate to own a sweet, sociable, well-behaved dog who is on his way to being well-trained.

Lisa

ANSWER:

I would not be doing this - the risk is of another dog getting too aggressive with your puppy. Once a dog has been attacked by other dogs - most become dog aggressive for the rest of their life.

A better solution is to find an older dog that is 100% totally indifferent to puppies. This teaches the pup that other dogs have nothing to offer and all fun things come from the handler.


QUESTION ON PUPPIES:

Good Morning Ed,

Just a quick note to say how very much we enjoyed your 8 weeks to 8 months puppy DVD. After having read your web site. from top to bottom, we did not agree with some of the more conventional issues, but your DVD gone a long way to make us understand these.

I have a question though. Our puppy who is 12 weeks now, seem to scratch excessively, also bites his thighs, various vets have seen him and agreed that he does not have any fleas or skin problem and explained it as a habitual scratching. They also mentioned that he may need steroids (but won't say why). He has been prescribed antihistamines and also eardrops (?), which made it slightly better, but he seem to still scratch a lot and whines when doing so, so obviously he is in some discomfort. Do you have any advise on what we should do?

Also we would love to keep him as a house pet, we would to make the most of his intelligence, what other DVDs from the web site. are suitable for further obedience training later on, without turning him into a protection dog?

Many thanks and kind regards,
Edit

ANSWER TO QUESTION ON PUPPIES:

I can almost 100% guarantee that what you are seeing in your dog are allergies due to vaccinations. You can read about Vaccinosis on my web site.

If you want to learn what I would do - go to my list of articles and read what I do for allergies.
Get the dog off commercial kibble and on an all-natural diet.

Also DO NOT EVER VACCINATE THIS DOG AGAIN!! Never - you will have to vaccinate for Rabies but nothing else. If you doubt or question what I say - do your dog a favor and buy the book we sell titled "Shock to the System."

You will also want to get my Basic Dog Obedience video.

And finally:

I recommend that you direct your questions to my web discussion board. It has over 6,0000 registered members. There are some talented people on my board. You will need to register before you can post questions but you can read the board and its EXTENSIVE archives without registering.

The registration process can take a couple of days to get approved. We make people use their real name on the board – not a pseudo name. This eliminates perverts and pukes from posting obscene information on our board. In my opinion this is one of the reasons my web board is so good because there is accountability for peoples' posts when they have their name associated with their post.



QUESTION:

Hi Ed,

I'm a long time follower of your site and I think it's good that you offer blunt/matter of fact advise.

I have a 6 mos old female GSD from German working lines and so far she's been a wonderful dog. I do have a couple of concerns though;

I came home the other night and had forgotten my keys in the house. I have a 3 year old son and a 7 mos old daughter and I knew they would both be asleep so I tapped gently on the door trying to get my wife's attention and not wake the kids. The first few taps were in vain as my wife was watching TV in our bedroom so I gradually tapped a little louder when all of a sudden I heard Lucy start barking her head off. My wife came down the stairs to the door to let me in and Lucy was right there beside her and she had a bit of her hackles raised. Apparently as soon as my wife opened the baby gate at the top of the stairs she ran down and continued barking at the door but it wasn't a happy bark, she sounded pissed off to me as I've heard her play bark a lot. Upon seeing me she went into dopey/lovey mode immediately, but I remember reading on your site about how a puppy shouldn't have these drives yet and that she probably is thin nerved. There have also been a couple of times where she's barked at strangers coming onto our driveway from our front porch or looking out the living room window.

The other concern is a last week we were all out in the front yard (I live in a regular subdivision) and a new neighbor stopped to chat with my wife and I. Our kids were out front and so was Lucy. Lucy went up to him wagging her tail (the usual routine) and was quite affectionate. So we're all there chatting for a min. or two and my son Joey comes around from the side of the house and when my neighbor approached Joey to say hi Lucy started barking and trying to get to my neighbor. I had her on her lead at the time so she didn't get far but she was definitely not happy about this guy approaching our son. After I corrected her she seemed fine and went back to normal and my neighbor came over to her and petted her again. But her initial reaction bothered me. Is this a bad sign? I'm worried she feels that my son may be omega to her and she feels obligated to protect him and I don't want to worry about the safety of the kids in my neighborhood (or adults for that matter). My neighbor didn't really move abruptly towards Joey but he did walk about 15 ft. from us in Joey's direction without either my wife or I joining him to help with the introductions.

My intention with Lucy was to get involved with Ring Sport or Schutzhund and I'm worried she may not have the nerves for it if this is the case. She has a ton of prey drive and is very eager to please and to date has proven to be extremely social with anybody she meets. She's somewhat wary about new people at the door but she's quick to wag her tail and seek a pet on the head from them once I've let them in the house. She doesn't bark at them, nor has any hackle show going on mind you, she just seems a little wary. Should I be concerned?

Thanks in advance.

Sincerely,
Grant

ANSWER:

Grant,

I guess I am confused here.

This dog, in my opinion, is acting exactly like it should act. This is what people like me breed dogs to do.

1- I don’t particularly like a 6 month old puppy that barks like crazy at a stranger on a walk or something like that. But barking at night when someone is at the door – GOOD FOR HER!!

2- I also think the second issue in the front yard is not this big of a deal. Good for the dog. For one thing you now know your dog is going to be protective. This means you are going to have to either build a dog kennel, use a dog crate and/or train this dog and not allow it to be around strangers or kids it does not know. Basically you need to be a responsible pet owner. If you wanted a golden retriever that would wag its tail to everyone on the block – well a GSD is not the dog. But with this said it sounds to me like you have a nice dog. In this situation – you did the right thing. You are teaching the dog that this kind of aggression is not warranted and will be corrected. You are teaching her the manners you want her to live by.

3- These issues are not nerve issues. Work the dog in prey drive. Do the work in the DVD Building Drive and Focus and PREPARING YOUR DOG FOR THE HELPER.

4- You should probably study the work in HOW TO RAISE A WORKING PUPPY.

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QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley,

17 week old Weimaraner
House with family of two adults and three children
Adult Bichon Frise (three years old)
Two adult cats (four & five years old)
Very large fenced in back yard

My wife and I recently purchased an 8 week old female Weimaraner back on May 19, 2005. During the first 2 weeks we had the puppy I purchased the Leerburg training video 120-D "Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months" and have been using most of your training techniques. I really have appreciate your training video as it has helped greatly in our puppies development and I plan on buying more of your training videos.

I have noticed since she arrived that she has a tendency to eat rather fast when feed. We increased her diet slightly from 3/4 cup to 1 cup three times per day (7am/12pm/5pm). We've been feeding the puppy Old Mother Hubbard's Wellness brand Super5 Mix Puppy food. Increasing the amount feed didn't slow down her eating fast any. So I placed a few balls in her food dish to physically slow her eating down. However this doesn't slow down her desire to eat fast it just makes it more difficult for her to reach the food in her dish.

So my first question is how do I slow down her eating?

She isn't a possessive eater "YET" as I have been petting her and putting my hands in her food dish while she eats since she arrived our house and she has not growled or nipped at me when doing so. I can see her ribs somewhat and can feel them but I don't feel she is too thin. I've heard and
read that it can be a bad thing to overfeed puppies, especially large breed dogs as it can cause too rapid of growth, which can lead to health issues down the road.

Any recommendations on feeding the 17 week old puppy?

Just yesterday the puppy showed her first sign of aggression towards people. The puppy was attempting to get at the trash bags beside the garage while my wife and kids were outside near by doing some yard work. My daughter told the puppy to stop and move away from the trash bags and the puppy growled at her. So my daughter told my wife what happened and my wife then told the puppy to get out of the trash and when my wife went to gently encourage her physically to get out of the area the puppy growled at my wife and bit her hand but didn't break the skin. My wife picked up the puppy and looked into the puppies face and shouted "NO BITE" and then put the puppy into her crate. We have not physically disciplined the puppy by striking her, as I want to avoid creating a timid and flinching dog as I want the puppy to become a family pet that can provide some degree of protection around the house but at the same time I want the dog to fully understand what the pecking order is in our family (pack).

How do you suggest we work on breaking the development of aggressive behavior especially towards people?

As I simply will not tolerate it, especially with children around. We have not any rough housing or wrestling with her from day one as we don't want her to develop any aggressive behavior. We have not seen the puppy react to the older dog in the house in any aggressive manner other than playing for toys once in a while but by no means has it ever been aggressive with any growling or serious biting.

Thank you very much for your help,
Donovan

ANSWER:

Take a full days food and divide it into three feedings. Feed the dog several times a day.

Your wife did the right thing. Any unwarranted signs of aggression need to be dealt with instantly sternly. This needs to be done within 1 1/2 seconds of when it happened or the dog will not understand.

It's time to make some changes in how you live with the dog. You may want to read the article I wrote on GROUND WORK BEFORE OBEDIENCE TRAINING.

I would be testing the dog to look for aggressive issues. With this said it is 100% wrong to put food down and then take it away or put food down and stick you hand in the bowl. Pack leaders are fair and feeding the dog and then screwing with his food is not a FAIR thing to do. It only causes stress.

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QUESTION:

First of all, I really love your advice!! It's put simply, and it's very reliable! I have used used your web site for most of my dog training needs, and it has worked fantastically well! But there is one question I still have. I haven't found any mention of this on your site. (If it is on your site, then my apologies, I must not have looked hard enough) My 12 week old puppy refuses to go anywhere with me, or anyone in our family. We try to take her on walks, but she always pulls the other way and whines and cries extremely loudly. We really don't know how to get her to come on walks with us. Is she scared? Or is she stubborn? We tried a prong collar but she pulled and squealed even louder, and still did not come with us. Please help me!

ANSWER:

The dog needs to be on a line - what I like are the 20 foot light weight cotton lines that we sell - when the pup does this we put pressure on the line. Some pups give in to simple pressure - others need to be popped, popped, popped until they understand that it's easier to come than act stupid.

I would recommend you purchase the DVD I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 30 years I have bred over 340 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. 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. Dog training is not rocket science, it's simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog. The DVD has 2 ½ hours of training information.

You should also consider my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience - The fact is you have way more to learn than your dog. I always recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you wont train a lot of the work until the pup is 4 to 6 months old.

I also recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

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QUESTION on Aggressive Puppy:

We have an 11 week old cockapoo that we picked up when he was 7 weeks. Early on he was showing signs of aggressive behavior, we didn't really think anything of it, just a playful puppy. Early this week the pup found a balloon and when my wife tried to get it out of his mouth he growled and bit her pretty hard, viciously. The next day he found a napkin on the floor. I tried to do the same and he really went after me and bit me very hard also.

We called a trainer referred to us by our Vet. He gave the puppy a temperament test, he picked him up cuddled him and then put pressure between the paws, the dog growled and tried to bite him. He told us this was not normal for an 11 week old puppy, that he had inherited problems and that we should either put him down or return him to the breeder. He said this type of behavior is not trainable, and we have young kids.

We would just like a second opinion, what are your thoughts?

Thanks

ANSWER:

I recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my Philosophy of Dog Training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

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

The trainer you talked to falls into this category.

I am writing a book right now on dealing with dominant and aggressive dogs. It will be out in a few months.

I have bred police dogs for 30 years – I have occasionally seen a puppy that needs to be taken down a notch – when they are this age this is not difficult to do. What it requires is to move foreword the dogs training – by that I mean start to do training that would normally not be done until the dog was older.

We start with marker training – you can read the article I wrote title TRAINING WITH MARKERS. This is only the beginning – the foundation really - it gives the dog some focus. This only takes a couple of days. In fact we have a new Corgi pup that’s doing a lot of what you are talking about and we have done this for 3 days.

In the beginning we will try and re-direct the pup when it gets guardy of an object. We will redirect to a different toy or a different place. If this does not work we will take the dog with two hands and grab both sides of the neck and jaws (se he cannot turn his head and bite) – we will pick him up so his feet are only a few inches off the ground. We will hold him there – look him directly in the eyes and say NO !! until he calms down. This establishes yourself as this dogs pack leader. Being a pack leader is key to getting a grip.

If this does not work I will move to the next step and use a dominant dog collar and a drag line. I have an article on the product page on how to use it.

Once the dog understands that every incident of aggression will result in a correction – with all this said you and your wife need to learn what prey drive is and this should not be considered aggression.

I would recommend you purchase the DVD I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 30 years I have bred over 340 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. 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. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog. The DVD has 2 ½ hours of training information.

You should also consider my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience - The fact is you have way more to learn than your dog. I always recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you wont train a lot of the work until the pup is 4 to 6 months old.

This is all I can offer other than what’s on my web site. It's 5,000 pages.

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QUESTION:

I have an 11 month old Schnoodle. I'm a first time dog owner. I love my dog, but I really wanted to be able to 'let her out' and she would walk in the backyard and go to the bathroom. Therefore, I had the invisible fence installed. I should mention that before I installed the fence, I would take her out 3 times a day... in the morning, after work and before bed. I would walk with her after work and the other times take her in the backyard or to the curb.

Now that I installed the fence a week ago, she is traumatized. She has to be dragged to the backyard or the front, and doesn' tgo to the bathroom there. (only if she is really desperate) She already had 2 accidents inside the house.

I am so sorry I did this fence. She is afraid to go outside, even without the special collar. I have to carry her over the flags and far from the property to get her to go. I find myself confining her to a small area in my house so she won't have an accident. I am afraid I did more harm than good.

I have tried taking her out with the leash and dragging her around the property so she can see where it is ok to go, but she is not feeling comfortable enough to relax and maybe to pee... etc. I have been doing this several times a day since I had it installed a week ago. She is still not good with it. I used to leave her on a leash in the backyard and she would go, now she doesn't... what did I do? Was this a huge mistake?

How, if possible, can I get to the situation where I open the door and she goes out to do her business?

Please help,
Michele

ANSWER:

When dogs are first introduced to the fence they will do this. It's normal. What you need to do is still continue to walk your dog – just like you used to. Only now the walks need to be on the street. You should have one spot that she leaves the fence – maybe it has to be in a car – then walk her and put her in the dog crate (if you are no using a dog crate – well that’s second mistake.

Read the article I wrote on house training. Also the Q&A on house training.

Back to the fencer. For a period of time – no one knows how long. The dog is going to sit on the back step. Leave her there. Sooner or later she will get bored and venture out.

Bottom line is your dealer should have gone through all of this.

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QUESTION:

I have read a few of your articles on dominance in dogs, but I did not see one on dominance in puppies. My female is 4 months old. She is very high drive and has, over the last few weeks, become extremely dominant over her litter mates (I know you do not like the idea of raising more than one puppy at a time but everyone is afraid to buy the remaining puppies because they are afraid that they are "mean").

I do not kennel them together, but I have allowed them (there are 4 total) to play together during the day. The smallest female (who is not afraid of anything or anyone) now attacks the puppies when they come close to her. She will grab their back or neck and take them down to the ground growling. She will then stand over them until they submit. When my husband tried to pull her away so we could put her up, she tried to bite him.

We are working them all with obedience, but I am considering sending her to a trainer. The only problem is that I am not sure if she should be corrected at this young of an age. She wears a prong during walks (this is self correction to stop her from pulling and it has worked). I do not want her to be messed up by anyone.

I now do not allow her with the other puppies at all, but I also am concerned about taking her for walks where there will be other puppies. So far, this behavior has not reached beyond puppies (she does not act this way with the adult dog I have).

Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

I recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

With this said – we NEVER allow pups to play together after about 10 weeks. Not ever. It is a huge mistake. By 4 months I want our dogs to be looking at us as the center of their universe. I want them to look to us for their games and leadership.

There is nothing wrong with correcting a puppy for inappropriate pack behavior towards humans. There is a difference between correcting for formal obedience and correcting for inappropriate pack behavior. Dogs instinctually know pack behavior

You have your work cut out for you.

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COMMENT ON USE OF PUPPY PRONG COLLAR:

Mr. Frawley,

I wrote you last week about my 3 mo. old GS puppy, Abby, who did nothing but bite every time I touched her ...petting, putting the leash on or off. etc. I tried everything you suggested and it didn't help at all....she just would not listen to NO or NO BITE and any kind of correction would not stop the biting or jumping on the couch and grabbing the sofa pillows. You said I should get the puppy prong collar and it came in late yesterday. I started using it this morning and I can't believe the difference it has already made. I can pet her and put the leash on, and lo and behold! no bites...just licks my hands. If she acts like she wants to bite I say NO BITE and she doesn't! I have only corrected her twice with the prong collar ...maybe level 4... and she's already like a different puppy. She even minds when I tell her NO when she starts to jump on the couch and I haven't corrected with the prong collar for that yet...just the biting. I can't thank you enough for your help ...I think I'm on my way to having a very good pet. I have your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months DVD and have ordered your Basic Dog Training DVD. I plan to train Abby as well as I possibly can (with your training techniques) to be a well mannered, obedient, loving and happy dog. Thank you again for your help and guidance.

Jean

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QUESTION on Puppies:

Ed,

Received your DVD 8 weeks to 8 months, really enjoying it. Two questions: 1) I have half cocker spaniel and Chihuahua that is 14 weeks old. I've had him now for 6 days and started crate training him, he is doing quite good with the exception of peeing on himself when he sees me, I know he is excited. Any thoughts? He does potty and pee when I take him outside. He only pooped once in the crate and the pee is fresh from excitement. 2) My puppy is very moody about eating, sometimes he eats the whole bowl and other times there is at least half left, I feed the rest by hand. I really don't want to spoil him. Your suggestions?

Thanks again.

ANSWER:

The dog will outgrow this excitement peeing. What we recommend is to not greet the dog until 20 minutes after you come home.

You may want to read the article I wrote titled The Ground Work to Becoming a Pack Leader. This is the protocol we use in our home when we raise a puppy for ourselves.

Do not hand feed the dog. Put the food down for 10 minutes and pick it up.

I can’t tell you how important the all-natural diet is. It will be the most important decision you make for your dog if you put him on it.

I have written several articles on the all-natural diet. If you go to my list of training articles you can find the links.

If you would like to get additional information go to my web board and learn to use the archives of the board. There is a great deal of information there. Over 90,000 posts on living with dogs. My board is very active and a number of members feed all-natural. Use the board search function to find what you need.

ALSO read the article I wrote on Vaccinosis.

You have way more to learn than your dog. Get the 4 hour Basic Dog Obedience DVD now and study.

Good luck

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QUESTION on Puppy Correction:

Dear Ed,

I am a first time dog owner who recently purchased a toy poodle puppy at 8 weeks old. She is now 12 weeks. I got a toy breed because I live in an apartment and because this is my first dog. I chose a breed in which I thought would be easy to train and be a good house pet. Even from 8 weeks, I started doing basic training at home, and she very quickly learned to sit, down, stay, and come (although she really only comes consistently when she knows I have food). She seemed like a normal puppy--very active, playful, and mouthy--although I have noticed that she nips and bites and jumps a lot when she gets excited. Unlike my friend's toy poodle, who immediately stops biting or chewing when told a firm no, my puppy seems to think I am playing when I tell her no and hold her mouth together (advise from some books that I have read). I have also tried to immediately cease all playing and ignore her when she gets overexcited and starts to nip, but she doesn't seem to get that either. She will go on to try to do something else but immediately when you resume play time she will start to bite again.

Since she is so tiny, (only 2.64 pounds!), and so young, I did not correct her firmly, until tonight....

I love very much, and she is a very lovable puppy. But out of the blue tonight, when I was playing with her, i threw a blanket (the one that came with her from the breeder) over her head, so she can go fetch, and she started to growl at me. We play fetch all the time, it's a game that she loves. I told her a firm no, and then she started barking at me! I was really caught off-guard ...I have read your web site a lot, so I know about the instincts to challenge for the leader position, but when she growled at me, I was totally confused--unsure of whether she was playing, I again told her a firm no and then turned to ignore her (again, many trainers say to just ignore bad behavior and award good ones). My dog didn't seem to care, and just went on to play with her toys. About 3 minutes later, she tried to chew some electric wires under my desk, and I told her a firm no, and she backed off. Then, she tried to chew my magazine resting on a low books shelf. I told her no again, and then SHE GROWLED AT ME AGAIN. This time, since we were NOT playing, I knew that she was challenging me. I immediately got up, scolded her, she tried to run away but I grabbed the scruff of her neck and shook her until she yelped, then I let her go immediately. She was shocked, since I had never really physically punished her before, and then she went on to chew her toy quietly on her snuggle puppy toy. Since she calmed down, I then went over to pet her and praise her for being a good girl.

After that, I felt her behavior towards me was not the same. She seemed uncertain, a bit fearful. When I put her in her crate to take a shower, she yelped and barked and whined LOUD and consistently, which she hadn't done since her first week. She stopped making noise once I came back into the room, and then I waited a bit, asked her to sit, and then let her out. Since her first week. she makes NO NOISE in her crate and generally seems okay to be there until we let her out. The weirdest thing is that, just 15 minutes before the whole growling incident we were doing training together--I would have her stay, walk away to the other end of the room, and then tell her to come--when she did, I gave her a treat and praised her. She listens always when she sees that I have a treat. When she sees that I don't, it often takes a few tries for her to sit or down for me. She is so young though--I thought she was doing well enough for her age.

Like I said, this is my first dog and I have no idea what I did was right or wrong. I am so afraid that I turned a perfectly good puppy into a fearful one by perhaps over-correcting her--and that this will do irreversible damage to her, or terrible damage to our bond. I have read so much conflicting materials about how to raise a puppy ....which explains my inconsistency in my behavior towards her. But is it normal for such a young puppy to growl and bark at the owner when they tell them to back off from something?? But what should I have done? Was she challenging me or was she just being a puppy? What should I do going forward??

For context, I make her sit or down every time before she eats or gets let out of the cage, or before I pet her when she wants to be petted. She sleeps in her crate and not our bed, although she is allowed into the bedroom when we are there. Other times, we shut the bedroom door so she has no access. It is not always possible for us to eat before she does, as my husband gets home quite late sometimes and we usually have very late dinners. So, I usually feed her before us. We crated the first few weeks while we ate, but now we give her a chewy treat so she chews besides us while we eat.

When she growled at me, I all of a sudden felt like she was a different dog, like she has another personality or something.

I understand that you are busy, and answering a question about a toy poodle puppy might not be your priority. But, like you said, just because she is small doesn't mean that I want her to get away with inappropriate behavior ....I would really appreciate your help.

ANSWER:

This is 100% an OWNER problem and not a dog problem. It’s a lack of education issue. Don’t feel bad -- this is VERY COMMON.

The way your pup is acting is normal puppy behavior. It’s your job to learn how to manage this behavior WITHOUT squishing the pups temperament (personality).

I recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

You may want to read the article I wrote titled The Ground Work to Becoming a Pack Leader.. This is the protocol we use in our home when we raise a puppy for ourselves.

I would recommend you purchase the DVD I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 30 years I have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. 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. Dog training is not rocket science it's simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog, The DVD has 2 ½ hours of training information.

You should also consider my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience - The fact is you have way more to learn than your dog. I always recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won't train a lot of the work until the pup is 4 to 6 months old.

You are always going to be exposed to people who offer advise on how to fix your dog's behavioral issues. The problem is that most of these people don’t have the experience to offer sound advise. I have a pre-written script I send people to make it easier to place some faith in my advice. It goes like this:

"Everyone has an opinion on how to train a dog – just ask you barber, your mailman and your neighbor."

The problem is very few people have the experience to back up their opinions. This results in a lot of bad information being passed out on how to deal with behavioral problems.

Pet owners like yourself need to figure out who has the experience to warrant listening to. Dog training for me is not a hobby. It’s a way of life. I have been training dogs for over 45 years. I have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds, I was a police K9 handler on a drug task force for 10 years and I have produced over 120 videos on dog training. Many of them directed towards professional dog trainers.

If my web site were printed out it would be over 10,000 pages. It has over 300 training article and the web board has over 90,000 posts with 8,000 plus registered members. It’s the largest dog training web site on the Internet.

Learn to use my web site search function.

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QUESTION:

I have a 9 month old Doberman. I am training her to run the house while I am away. She gets on the bed and chews the blankets. She does not touch anything else in the house and she knows it is bad. She truly does nothing else wrong, no trash, furniture, shoes, nothing. My last dobe did the same thing with our bedding for almost a year and a half before finally quitting. They sleep on the bed, so they are not jealous. She gets a treat every time she is good. Do you have any ideas. Thanks

ANSWER:

This is not a dumb dog problem – it’s a stupid owner problem.

Would you leave a 3 year old child loose in the house while you went someplace? I think not. We don’t even think about leaving a dog loose in the house when we are gone until it's 2 ½ to 3 years old.

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QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley,

The breeder from whom we purchased our dog, suggested we check out your site or contact you about a problem we are encountering with our pup, Jake. I have been a reader of your site and have gotten a lot of wonderful info from it.

Background. Jake's dad is from a Czech line. We obtained Jake when he was 11 weeks old. We were unable to make the trip until then and the breeder agreed to keep him for us. When we went to pick him up he seemed a little shy but not much. He warmed up almost immediately. He was living around other younger pups and several older dogs but no longer in the same crate. His litter mates had already gone. When we got him home he was fine with our grown Shepherd and seemed normal until a friend came. He completely freaked out. Was scared to death of her. He went to any lengths to get at least 20 feet away. We have tried to have him around people but have not allowed people to try to pet him. He has to at least be manageable for vet visits. He has gotten only a little better but now has added dog aggression to his problems. He is afraid of even small dogs or puppies. His tail is between his legs but he lunges, snarls and barks then jumps behind me. That I have seen, he has not actually made contact with his teeth. He is still very good with our other shepherd. They play without problems. Jake is now 4 1/2 months.

He was easily crate trained, house broken. Have been teaching basic obedience which he learns quickly but going easily because I don't want to make him afraid of me. He is well behaved but we do crate him when we cannot watch him. I really have no issues with him other than his fear and subsequent aggression.

My question is do you have any suggestions? We consulted a couple of behaviorists. One suggested we take delicious treats, stand near the pet store at a distance he could tolerate, start feeding him treats when we see a dog and as time goes on get closer to dogs, still feeding him treats.

The other suggested we find people who had dogs with good dog social skills and let him associate with the dogs. That is really not feasible because most people do not want a snarling dog around their dogs.

As an aside, our older shepherd is obedience trained, well behaved with no social problems.

I hope this has all made sense and hope I have included all the info you need.

I would appreciate any suggestions you could make.

Thank you very much,
Ruby

ANSWER:

This is a genetic issue. You are not going to socialize it out of your dog – your goal should be to control it. This is not an uncommon thin with Czech bloodlines – many of them are very sharp dogs – which translates into puppies that act like yours and grow up to be aggressive.

The advice from both of these people is standard advice but probably will not work.

All I can recommend is to continue to train this dog with markers trainingtrain him in drive.

I would not allow other dogs near my dog. Not ever. There is no need for this – dogs are pack animals and strange dogs are not part of your dog's pack – you manifest his fears because he EXPECTS YOU as his pack leader to keep him safe from other dogs and strange people. In not doing this you make him neurotic. In other words – in his dog language – you are failing as a pack leader. This is a common mistake. People expect dogs to learn our language when in fact most people make very little effort to learn dog language

This dog will make an excellent personal protection dog when it is an adult. It will not be a social dog – teach it the place command – I recently added a podcast on teaching the place command.

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QUESTION on Puppy Kindergarten:

I have just purchased your DVDs on Basic Obedience, Raising a Working Puppy, and Training Focus and Drive. I have previously owned a working line GSD, but had adopted him at 6 months old, well after he had been started in training towards Schutzhund titling. Due to unfortunate personal circumstances, he had to go back to my co-owner and was later placed with a disabled man for personal protection. Therefore, I haven't learned everything I need to know to title my new GSD puppy, who is a very well-bred puppy showing wonderful potential for Schutzhund, which is why I purchased your DVDs and plan to purchase more.

My question is that I am being pushed to join a local puppy kindergarten class by the owner/trainer who said the following when I told her that I was going to pass on her class and train my pup at home on my own:

"Hi Trene,

I am going to be a little pushy here and try to convince you to come to puppy class. Puppy class is great for the socialization of all breeds and all pups! It is in puppy classes that pups meet other breeds, other people besides their owners and grow to be the wonderful dogs we expect them to be! Hope you'll reconsider coming and if you do, come 1/2 hour early so I can catch you up to everybody else.

There are two other pups in the class that are from your breeder in Marengo too.

I don't offer Schutzhund training here. I have worked to varying degrees in Schutzhund with my Malinois but have never had her titled. One of the other GSD owners is very interested in pursuing Schutzhund also and has a Police K9 dog that is working now. He is an Officer in Utica and is pretty knowledgeable in that particular venue.

I don't train the Leerburg way. I work on relationship building and have found even working dogs need this very tight bond to perform to their optimum level.

Let me know if you are interested in class and I'll get you directions.

Take care,
Pam

CPDT, CDBC"

Do you have any opinions, comments or advice for me?

Thank you!

Trene


ANSWER:

I wonder what she means when she refers to the Leerburg WAY? You may want to refrain from answering that until after you have watched my work on DVD – it's funny how people have opinions about things they know nothing about.

Tell her to listen to my philosophy of dog training and ask her what she disagrees with.

I would recommend that you have this person listen to my podcast on WHO PETS MY PUPPY.

Also the podcast on TRAINING WITH MARKERS.

The problem with a lot of well intentioned people is that they have opinions on dog training and they lack the experience on the correct way to do it. I would say this person falls into this category. I am not a fan of puppy classes. They have nothing to offer your dog. Your pup is a pack animal and these other dogs are not part of their family pack.

I get many many emails every day with serious behavioral problems in dogs – almost all of these people have taken their dogs to obedience class and wonder why these still have these problems. It's because obedience is only 20 to 25% of raising a dog – the rest is pack structure and establishing pack structure is not able learning to be around other dogs.

You made the right decision.

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QUESTION:

Hi! I just got an 2 Month puppy (Golden Retriever/Lab/Cocker Spaniel mix) from the Humane Society. I live in an apartment with a roommate and our puppy doesn't have access to a yard. We take her out once a day, but that is about all we can do and it isn't like a huge green area. So we are trying to train it with the potty pads which I read you are against, but its the best we can do. So do you have any advice on training a puppy with the pads? We are also doing the crate training as well, but when its time for her to go to the restroom we try and make her go on the pad. Please, some advice would be great! Thank you so much!
-Addie

ANSWER:

You cannot reinvent the wheel. If you cant take the dog outside then hire a dog walker to come and take it out. Anyone who says they can only take a dog out once a day should not own a dog.

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QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley,

I have purchased your puppy DVD and the basic dog obedience DVD they are both full of valuable information. I have a question about my 16 week old GSD. When she comes into contact with dogs on our walks or if a dog comes up to our fenced yard she will start to cry and she will pee. When I say contact it is probably 10 feet between the two dogs on our walks. Yesterday, she started barking first and then she started crying and peed. We also have an older dog at home that the puppy gets along with fine and has no problems. I was wondering if this is a socialization issue and is something that she will grow out of with proper socialization. If it is what would you recommend for the proper socialization of our puppy?

Thank you for your time,
Joe

ANSWER:

First thanks for your business.

We don’t allow dogs to be near our pups – not ever and not for any reason. Dogs are pack animals and strange dogs are not part of their family pack. Your pup EXPECTS YOU TO PROTECT it from these strange dogs. In the wild a mother would would kill a strange wolf that came near its pups. Pups genetically expect this and when you don’t provide this protection you lose face in the eyes of your dog. When you protect it you build your bond.

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QUESTION:

Ed,

I recently purchased a Mal Puppy from John Browne on long island. I can’t be happier with the pup. She has great prey drive, great nerves, and so far a great temperament. My situation is this; I have had her for about 2 weeks. She has been doing great with the crate training only one accident which was my fault. During this accident, I tried to stop her from going, so I screamed PHOIE grabbed her and brought her outside. I screamed way to loud, it was just instinct and she cowered and I am guessing from what I have been told released her “Anal Glands”. I worked her through it with food and toys and she popped out of it really fast. For days after that we would go out on leash play with toys and each other with no problems. Then I went to go pick her up because I was going to introduce her to new people and slipped and basically grabbed her back and she screamed like I was killing her and released her anal glands again. Now I know you are going to say I shouldn’t have introduced her to knew people because you only believe in letting the Family Pack pet the dog, but growing up I didn’t have the very social dogs and I am trying to avoid that situation as best I can, so lets look past that point if we can.

FYI

She is 3 months old

Questions

1) Am I right about this releasing of the Anal Glands?

2) Dogs do this when they are scared?

3) Is this going to be an on going problem that I caused and won’t be able to fix?

4) Will this affect any workings toward bite/protection work? i.e. Nerves

Any suggestions to fixing this problem other than me just being clumsy or reacting out of instincts would be great.

Also note I have purchased “Raising a Working Puppy” and “First Steps to Bite Training” so if these will help fix this problem let me know.

Thanks as always for listening.

Vincent

ANSWER:

Well, Mals are not GSD’s and you are finding this out. Some Mals are very sensitive.

We raise Mals as well as GSD's. In fact, I have a litter of 10 Mals in my basement that Cindy is raising from our house dog right now. She and I are going to write and article on the differences between the two breeds.

If I were you I would reverse your training. Slow it down and start to marker train. Learn how to do this.

I believe that she did express her glands in fear. I can't tell you if you can fix this. I don’t know your training level or skill.

If you want to do protection work – do the training in my BUILDING DRIVE AND FOCUS. This is a great program to rebuild the bond with the handler.

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QUESTION:

Hate to bug you, but I keep hearing conflicting information on free feeding our pup. Have a 7 month old Pit and he's on Wysong - Growth, the bag says to free feed all puppies, the vet says no. The bag states for his size 50 lbs he should be eating only 2 1/2 cups PER DAY, (for older/nursing/pregnant dogs) but that puppies should free feed. Problem is that this guy LOVES this food and I am putting down 6 cups a day, (according to the bag an 80 lb dog only gets 5 cups per day), 2 cups 3 times a day for the last week, thinking he'll fill up sooner or later, but he eats all of it in one shot. I don't want him fat, yet if he's going through a growth spurt, I don't want to deprive him of the food he might need at that time to grow. What are your thoughts on free feeding. If you are for it then for how long/what age do you stop free feeding, or should we just feed him the recommended amount for his weight. We had a Rott that just died at age 9, she was overweight and had a heart attack. We don't want to repeat this killing the dog with kindness error. He is kept active, plays outside for like 2 hours a day, goes on an hour long walk once to twice a day, someone is always home with him as we work separate shifts. I say this because I know dogs like people will eat when their lonely or just board.

Thank you for your time.

Regards,
Penny

ANSWER:

We NEVER free feed any dog. Not for any reason. We determine what we want our dogs to look like and then feed accordingly – more to gain weight and less to take it off. I don’t determine weight by age – that does not work. I also keep my dogs thin – always. They are healthier when they are thin (just like humans).

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QUESTION:

Can u please explain to me what "puppy rushes" are??? I have a Chihuahua (going on 4 yrs. next month) & when he gets excited he tends to start running around the house VERY fast, I was wondering if that's what it was.... Sorry if this is a silly question. Thank you

ANSWER:

I have never heard the term ”puppy rushes” before but our dogs all do this when they are feeling playful or excited.  We call it the “zoomies.”

It’s normal.

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QUESTION:

I noticed on your web site that you state that once the initial puppy shots are done, one should not vaccinate again.  My question is, how do I get my dog into dog shows, boarding kennels, and vet offices?  They all require up to date vaccinations.

Barrie

ANSWER:

First of all, in the last 25 plus years of going to dog shows, I have never one time been asked for proof of vaccines.   When I go to the vet for something with my dogs or cats (which is rare), and they ask about vaccines I say they are current. If they ask for proof on paper, I tell them that I am there for an exam (or whatever reason for the appointment) and NOT vaccines and stress again that they are current. The vet works for me and I won’t be bullied or accept their scare tactics.  If they want to make it a big issue, I walk out and find a new vet (have only had to do that once so far)  If a boarding kennel is a problem, then I would suggest a house sitter or friend to care for your dog.

It’s my job to look out for the health of our dogs here, and while it may be inconvenient sometimes the health benefits our dogs are enjoying are worth it.

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Question:

Hello Ed

I have you 8 weeks to 8 month and the Basic Obedience Video as well as other videos I bought in the past.

I have a quick question though…my puppy is going to be 18 weeks old and he is very “Food Driven.” I am training him as per your videos rewarding him right at the moment he performs the action, but I see a huge difference in how he follows the “Sit”  “Come” and “Down” commands when I don’t have a biscuit to reward him.   He quickly knows if I have or not a treat for him. 

Will I have to correct that at an older age with the prong collar?

Regards,
Andres

Ed's Response:

Once a dog reaches this age (18 weeks) you can start to add time to the exercise before the reward is given.

This means you have a MARKER – probably GOOD when you give the reward. When GOOD is said and the reward is given the exercise is finished.

You can add a second word like “THAT’S RIGHT” to add time before the “GOOD” is given. If the dog gets up you simply say “Nope” and no food and no correction. Simply repeat the exercise. The process usually starts by only extending for a few seconds but builds on experience. The goal is not to extend through correction but extend through teaching the dog what he must do to get his reward. They do pick up on this as long as the dog has good food drive, your are consistent and you don’t add too much pressure.

Simply say “nope” and turn away and have him do it again. Keep the sessions short.

Hope this helps.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Thank you so  much for the DVD and replying to my email, I know how busy you all are and I really appreciate it. 

I have a question to ask before I purchase the obedience DVD; My male french bulldog is now 13 weeks old.  I take him for short walks to a big patch of grass 3 blocks from my apt in Manhattan (I take him out morning, lunch, and dinner) He does not like to walk away from the direction of my apt, he will just sit on the ground and stare at me and sometimes whine or bark ....I gently coax him with praise when he comes  and sometimes use treats like on the puppy DVD.  Sometimes I pick him up in my arms and walk the rest of the way to get to the grass patch where he can roll around on his leash.  On the return as we walk back towards my apt he will walk on the ground without being coaxed but on the last couple of walks this has turned into an excited run.  He's going to be big and strong and I have him on a harness like french bulldogs need to be.  Should I buy a puppy prong collar to use in conjunction with the harness at this young age?

I am concerned that if I don't correct this behavior he is going to always be a nightmare to walk.  I understand that he is just a puppy but I would really value your advice on how to set good groundwork while he is still little.  He is very well adjusted to the traffic and bustle of the city, he isn't fearful of cars or bikes going by. (New York is terrible for people fussing over dogs - it's almost impossible to have people not pay attention to your dog - this annoys me - but unfortunately in New York it's almost impossible to stop people fussing over a puppy - I try as best I can to not have people fuss over him).

Thank you for your time and for the first DVD.

Regards
Brigitta

Cindy's Response:

Did you also purchase the basic obedience DVD yet?  I would probably suggest you do get that one soon, and study it because he will soon be old enough to start more structured training.

Have you done any clicker or marker training with him?  I would probably try this, he sounds like a smart little guy and this gives you a language to communicate with him. We carry a great book on beginning clicker training.  There is an article on the web site about this too called Learning to Train with Markers

I would be quite matter of fact about the walks, in the direction of YOUR choice, not his.  It may mean you drag him a bit until he figures out he needs to walk with you.  Pack leaders don’t coax, they fairly ask and if they don’t get the required response they take action.  This shouldn’t be done with anger or emotion, but you can’t let him dictate when and where he walks. 

I would probably go to a puppy prong, on the dead ring.  You can see how to properly fit this collar in our article, How to Fit a Prong Collar.  I don’t buy into the fact that some breeds NEED to be on a harness, especially dogs that are going to be strong and powerful.  By using a harness, you are basically training him to drag you. 

I would get him used to the prong in the house first, so you don’t have to worry about people butting in if he yelps or flails around (which he may very well do at first).  It’s going to be difficult to get him going in a harness.

As for people fussing over your puppy, I typically say “please don’t pet my puppy, he’s in training.” If they don’t like it, then that becomes their problem.  My relationship and training time with my dog is much more important to me than a stranger getting their feelings hurt.  I typically have very well behaved dogs that ignore people, instead of looking at every person that passes by as entertainment.  I want my dog to look to ME for petting and attention, not the guy walking by on his way to work, etc…

Who Pets Your Puppy is an article about puppies and allowing people to pet them.  This is just the way Ed and I raise our puppies and what works for us.  Your mileage may vary.

Cindy


Question:

Good day,

It’s been some time since I wrote to you.  My pup is doing phenomenal, I love my dog.

He is going to be 5 months on the 17th, but we still have a problem with submissive behavior.  Every time I get home I have to ignore him to avoid having him pee the floor when I hug him and I call out his name with joy.  How is this going to last?

Another thing is on his feeding…I know you like a natural diet, but I cannot keep up with that option so I feed him Nutro (Lamb w/ Rice Formula for Large Breed Puppies).  Due to his weight and age and the instructions on the label I’m supposed to feed him 5 to 6 cups a day, but I don’t do it because I can tell when he is starting to get overweight instead of having a slim but strong look…I feed him more like 4.5 to 5 cups. The question is, this guy poops huge quantities in the morning when I take him out at 5:00 AM.  Is it normal for a 5 month old GSP to poop 2 full times in the morning, then 1 in the afternoon and one at night?  Is it perhaps that the quality of the food is not good and that is why he is not using most of it?  He looks very good and strong, but this makes me wonder.

Hope all is well.

Kind Regards,
Andres

Response:

Things like this resolve on their own time schedule.  Since you seem to know the triggers for the submissive urination, then the common sense solution is to avoid doing those activities (i.e. hugging and calling out his name with joy)  Let your dog grow up and ignore this behavior right now, he’s still a puppy. 

As for the food, in my opinion the reason he is pooping so much is because the brand you are feeding is full of low quality ingredients that his body can’t use. If the dog can’t digest and utilize what they are eating, they poop it out.  Either feed a raw diet or switch to a premium brand of kibble.  http://leerburg.com/all-natural-kibble.htm


QUESTION:

Hi there.  I have an 11 week old female GSD.  I have purchased your 8 week to 8 month video and have been following it.  Everything has been going great, however today I noticed a peculiarity.  My yard is about 1/3 grass and 2/3 pebble gravel.  I have seen her picking up and playing with the gravel.  I have tried to get her to stop, but never worried about it too much.  Then today I came across a couple of stools that were filled with the gravel.  Is there any concern that this might hurt her?  Also, how should I go about getting her to stop doing this?  Does this mean that she isn't getting enough food and is trying to make up for that?

Thanks for your help,
DC

Answer:

Some puppies will do this for awhile. The only solution is to go out with the dog - on leash - and teach the dog a YUCK command.

Every time the pup picks up a piece of gravel you give the YUCK and POP the leash.

If you don't do this your dog can die from eating rocks.

There is NO OTHER WAY to solve the problem.


Question:

I'll try to keep this short.

I have read your article on Dealing with the Dominant Dog and wanted to clarify one thing before I work on this with my pup again.

I took him to a friend's house to socialize him. He found a rawhide strip and having never had one before went to his crate, which I brought with us, to chew on it. I don't let him play with toys at his own leisure at home. After about ten minutes I decided he had had enough and reached in to take it away and he growled so I immediately pulled him out, cause he was facing the back with it, and took it away and said NO firmly. I knew you had information on this topic so I decided not to get into another situation at the friend's house and took a rawhide strip home with me to try again after reviewing the topic.

For clarification, I'll make him sit and down, give him the rawhide, stay with him and praise him calmly, let him chew for ten minutes or so, then should I tell him to drop it or just take it away? If he growls again should I correct him by lifting him by his cheeks, hold and stare in his eyes as described and say NO!? He is not an extremely soft or hard puppy when it comes to corrections, very middle of the road.

This is the first dog I've had on my own and I want to avoid as many mistakes as possible. I've taken training very seriously, watched your videos, read your articles, and listened to your podcasts as well as gathered info from other sources and I feel your techniques make sense to me as well as the dog. I appreciate the info you provide in so many different aspects of training.

Sincerely,
David

Answer:

At 14 weeks your puppy is still trying to find his niche in the pack order.  He will constantly test and try things to make sure you are still in charge.  How you handle this can make or break your lifelong relationship.

I would teach the puppy that you are fair, and when you give him something it is his to have.  If you need to get it away from him, teach him to trade you for something like a piece of tasty food.  This encourages trust and willingness and he will know that if you take something away, there is something in it for him. 

I have a puppy that is just a couple weeks older than yours and this is how I work with him when I want a toy or bone that he has decided to become possessive of.  He is now willingly bringing me things, instead of trying to run off to avoid giving up his “prize.”  Choose your battles with your dog and remember at 14 weeks he is not being dominant, merely doing what worked for him when he was with his littermates.

I will add that this was your mistake, because your puppy should not be off leash when he is out of a crate.  If he is on the leash you would have prevented the whole thing from happening.

http://leerburg.com/puppygroundwork.htm   read this article, it goes over just what I told you here.


Question:

Hello,

I have recently registered for the web board, but have not been approved and desperately need advice. The GSD I am waiting for is 4 weeks old and the mother has disappeared. The puppies are eating cat food (current owner is not a professional breeder, just a complete wastrel who happened to have a couple of GSD's) and drinking water and would probably survive but I am planning a raw diet.  Should I take the puppy now before current owner ruins them or would more damage be done by premature adoption into human pack?  Would taking two to allow them 4 more weeks of bonding be a better idea?  I do not plan to raise two together, I would like to train according to your DVD's that I ordered, hoping for protection in the future, but I would return the second one at 8 weeks.  I have printed the formula recipe for newborns already. Thank you in advance for your brutally honest answer. 

Pamela

Answer:

I would walk away from this litter and find someone who is breeding quality dogs.  You are setting yourself up for a lot of problems by taking on a dog from this so called breeder.

If they aren’t even responsible enough to know where the mother dog IS or to properly feed a litter, then I would doubt you are going to get correct temperament, health and drive from one of these puppies.

I know it’s sad for the puppies, but hopefully you will have your dog for 12+ years. I would think you would want to stack the odds of getting a quality dog in your favor.

Sorry if that’s not what you were asking, but I feel very strongly about this.


Question:

I have just found you web site. and absolutely love it. It is the most informative one that I've ever come across. I have a 4 month old male Rottweiler puppy. Let me first say that I have owned one other Rottweiler and had her for 8 1/2 years but unfortunately lost her to cancer. She was wonderful and the best dog that I've ever had. Our vet said that she was the best Rottweiler he had ever seen. I realize the importance of the pack leadership of these dogs. My question is my puppy is a very laid back lazy puppy that is very sensitive. My only concern with him is that when I or anyone pets him, he growls. He doesn't snarl or snap and it's not a deep belly growl, he just lays there and growls while I'm petting him. I don't want to really grab him up and make a big deal of it but I don't quite know how to deal with this issue before it gets serious or he gets any older and it becomes something more.  My daughter has a Rottweiler that is three years old and he does the same thing and has all of his life but if he's pushed to far he snarls. He has never bitten but I hate that kind of behavior and I won't accept it for my puppy.  I would very much appreciate your advice on this problem.

Thank You,
Frances

Answer:

Ed has owned and trained German Shepherds for 45 years. In the past 30 years we have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. We give this video to all of our puppy customers and we never get questions on how to raise a pup.

Read the description of this puppy DVD on my web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog,  The DVD has over 3 hours of training information along with 15 puppy training articles that Ed has written.

You should also consider the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. The fact is you have much more to learn than your dog. I recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won’t use some of this training material for several months (usually not until the pup is 4 to 6 months old).

I also recommend that you go to the web site and read the article on “Ed’s Philosophy of Dog Training.” I believe you will not only learn something about dog training, I hope you will also adopt the same philosophy on dog training.  

If the growling continues, I believe that this recently finished DVD could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project. You can go to the web page and read the outline of what’s included on the video. My DVD's are not meant to be watched one time. The fact is anyone who needs this information needs to watch it many many times because every time they watch it they will pick up new ideas.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Hi there.  A friend of mine at work gave me the link to your web site.  I have a long coated shepherd myself.  He's 16 months old right now.  I also have a black and tan standard coat, and a white shepherd.  Chaos, our long coated shepherd is one of the best GSD's that I have ever owned.  He is also my first ever show dog.  I started showing him the end of April and he finished for his championship 2 days under a year old.  We are now going for his grand, which seems to be a lot harder than it was going for his championship.  When I started showing him, I had never stacked him in my life, nor one of my other GSD's.  At our first show was our first time attempting it.  The judges told me that I needed to work on it, so I have, and he's getting quite well at it.  I have included a picture of his latest stack and was hoping that your could critique him for me.  I am always interested in what other GSD owners have to say about him, whether they like him or not.  I found your site very interesting, and enjoyed it.  I hope you don't mind me contacting you.  Thanks for any advice you can give me on him etc.  Anna and Chaos.

Chaos

Answer:

Looks like a nice dog.  We breed and deal with working line dogs specifically, so I don’t have any advice for you on showing but I am of the opinion that if you are spending time with your dog and you both are enjoying yourselves then it’s time well spent!

Thanks for writing,
Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Dear Cindy, 

We have corresponded recently, and you have been very helpful.  also, I have several dvd's from leerburg.  I now have a mal pup 10 weeks, and am trying with all my might to train her.  she is extremely protective already after 2 days and my question is:  how and when should I teach her that she can stop barking/being protective when a visitor arrives, etc.  also, when someone walks past my office she barks.  So far I say shhh with a hand signal to stop the barking, and I praise her the instant she stops barking.  I would appreciate anything you can tell me in reply, and also which particular dvd applies to this kind of thing.  Would this be completely natural for the age and breed or is it a sign of aggression problems in store.  so far I am doing everything I have learned in the working puppies, and 8 weeks to 8 months, and I also have the basic obedience.  Another question:  One ear is soft, should I tape it?  if so, would you be able to answer how?  I appreciate any time or effort you use in answering my questions. 

Thank you,
Pamela

Answer:

Congrats on your new pup. 

At 10 weeks old what you are seeing is not “protectiveness.”  It’s not possible for a pup of that age to show that type of behavior yet.  Malinois as a breed tend to be reactive, and this can manifest in many ways. 

I would be implementing puppy groundwork http://leerburg.com/puppygroundwork.htm and controlling her life 100%.  For now I would basically distract her from this behavior whenever she shows something you don’t want her to do.  You have only had her for a couple days, so once she settles in this behavior should improve.  Give her a little more time to feel at home.

At 10 weeks I wouldn’t worry about her ears at all.  What you are seeing is normal for a pup of that age.


Question:

Hi there,

I live in an apt. in New York City with 4 other people. I just got a boston terrier puppy that is 11 weeks old. I am very concerned about my roommates handling my puppy...I need to limit their interaction with him and I don't want to come off as selfish or over protective. I work during the day, but I am close enough to my apt. that I can run home and lunch time to take him out and feed him, and play a bit. But often I am not the first roommate home in the evening...do I tell my roommates not to pet my puppy or take him out until I get home? Not sure what the rules should be...do you have any suggestions on what sort of ground rules I need to lay for my roommates? I need something straight forward that I can print out, or email to them.

Right now He is sleeping in a crate in my room (which is upstairs and away from the main living area and kitchen, so it is nice and quiet), but during the day he is in a small pen (27"x39") in the main living area.

Thank you so much for your help,
Stephanie

Answer:

http://www.leerburg.com/puppytraining.htm here is a directory of training articles just for pups. We have one dealing with "who is allowed to pet your puppy."

There are a couple of dvd's I think would be helpful also, and maybe you could get your roommates to watch them also.

I would recommend the dvd titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months

Ed has owned and trained German Shepherds for 45 years. In the past 30 years we have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. We give this video to all of our puppy customers and we never get questions on how to raise a pup.

You should also consider the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. I recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won’t use some of this training material for several months (usually not until the pup is 4 to 6 months old).

I also recommend that you go to the web site and read the article on “Ed’s Philosophy of Dog Training.” I believe you will not only learn something about dog training, I hope you will also adopt the same philosophy on dog training.

Hope this helps.


Question:

My daughter has 14 week old Black Lab/Border Collie mix pup that she adopted at 9 weeks from a shelter. He is the runt of the litter, a full 5 pounds smaller than his litter mate, adopted by my son, (separate households). Ruben is a very happy, curious, energetic, smart puppy who likes to please and has done well with the limited training he has had thus far.

My question arises because of something said by the teacher of the "puppy socialization class" the pups just entered. When asked the meaning of his new behavior of licking under the chin and pawing at the face of another dog, (puppy or older, and in one case a clear alpha female), and on a few occasions with my daughter as well, the teacher said this was a gesture of dominance and should be discouraged. She made a clear distinction between licking under the chin and licking on the face.

I can't find anything about this on-line or in any of the books I have. From the little I know of wolf and dog behavior and my observations of the pup, this seems wrong to me and I would appreciate the benefit of your expertise. My common sense tells me this is a happy pup wanting to make friends and offering to play with the other dog or person - i.e., more submissive than dominant, especially since none of the other dogs have reacted negatively to this behavior and the alpha female even licked in return.

The principle reason for my concern is that if the teacher is telling us something that is clearly wrong, it may not be good to trust her opinion on other dog training matters.

Thank you,
Marilyn

P.S. My son has recently ordered your dog training videos and we are all waiting anxiously for their arrival. I suspect that my son and daughter are going to follow your advise, cease training in the socialization class, work on their own with your training tips and enroll the pups in an obedience class when they are older.

Answer:

You are absolutely correct, licking and pawing at the face, chin and mouth of another dog is a submissive, begging gesture done by puppies to elicit adults to regurgitate food for them (in a wild or pack setting).

Puppies start doing this at a very young age to their mother and some dogs do it for their entire life, as a submissive behavior.

I would say the instructor of this class lacks experience and knowledge of dog behavior.

I hope you all enjoy the videos, please don't hesitate to write if you have any questions in the future.


Question:

Hello,

I have a male German Shepard that is 5 months old. He weighs 40 lbs. How big should the dog weigh when he is fully grown? His paws are nice size but not very big. Please let me know. He eats three times a day. I give him natural ultra dog food for large breed dogs. Will he be  75 -80 lbs?? Fully grown?

Thank you!
Eddie

Answer:

I think you should ask your breeder.  A dog’s adult size is usually close to the parents’ size.


Question:

Hello,

My name is Gail and I purchased “Establishing Pack Structure” from you recently. It was very helpful and I enjoyed it a lot.

I purchased the video to help be more prepared for a puppy I had purchased online. The puppy arrived Friday night and he seemed way too small to me. He weighs 8.7 pounds at 2 months. One web site. with a growth chart on German shepherds suggests a puppy should be on average and approximately 19.9 pounds at 2 months.  This is a HUGE difference.  I am thinking I was sold a 5 or 6 week old pup. He is tiny!  I went back to the videos and photos sent by the seller and I swear it is not the same pup but I can’t prove it.  The sellers have guaranteed me in an email that the pup was born 3/5/08 and is indeed the same pup in the video.

What do you think? 

Thanks!
Gail

Answer:

Without seeing this pup and his littermates it’s impossible to know how old it is.  Sometimes inadequate nutrition can stunt the growth a bit.

Some puppies are very small and make up the size when they get removed from the litter and the competition for food.  I would say most of our 8 week old pups are between 12 and 17 pounds when they go to their new homes.

I will say that even my Malinois pups are not that small at 8 weeks, they are around 10-14 pounds.   

I would have the pup looked over by a vet to see if he’s got parasites that may have kept him from growing to his potential, and see what the vets opinion on his age is. If he is not 8 weeks old, I would be furious that a “breeder” would send a pup to a new home so young, especially if the pup had to fly!

As a breeder myself, if I was sending a customer a much smaller than average pup I would let them know this ahead of time so they would know what to expect and would have a chance to decline the pup.

Let me know what you find out.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

You answered a few questions for me before, I was hoping I could bug you with another one :)

Could you give me your thoughts on a puppy training question please. 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? Would it be too lonely? Should I leave it food and water while I'm gone? Should I avoid a puppy all together if no one will be home for it? At what age should I let it stay inside while I'm gone? Any other thoughts?

Thanks so much,
Stephanie

Answer:

I don’t really see the point of getting a puppy when no one is going to be home all day.  Puppies need attention, training and mental & physical exercise. Most of the emails we get from owners with behavioral problems are people who don’t have the time to do a puppy justice.

If you are still determined to get a puppy, then I would follow the advice in our puppy training articles and use our DVD's to work with your pup.

http://leerburg.com/puppytraining.htm

Cindy


Question:

Hello, I saw your web site. and had a question. I just recently purchased a GSD pup 4 days ago. He is 8 weeks old. He is a male. He came from german champion lines, so both parents are Schutzhund trained. The question I have is this, at only 8 weeks of age he is dog aggressive with my pom. This bothered me because I would have not expected this behavior in such a young dog. Additionally, the pup growled and barked at my husband and son as they were practicing karate. Is this a concern based on his age? The breeder is well respected in San Diego and has been breeding GSD since 1976. If this is a concern should I try and return the pup, (which will be a financial loss for me) or should I use your DVD's? A part of me is so disillusioned because I had plans for this pup, agility, SAR or agility. Now I don't know if he has the temperament for this. A part of me wants to get rid of the pup since I don't want a high drive dog. I currently own an old 12 year old GSD (female) and never had these issues. The pup is currently enrolled in puppy classes and using clicker techniques. The pup lives indoors in a crate and is not allowed on the couch or beds. I've reprimanded the pup by pushing his cheeks but don't know if this is wise.

I would truly appreciate your input.

Jennifer

Answer:

It’s really impossible for an 8 week old puppy to be aggressive.
They can show behaviors like barking and biting, but at 8 weeks it really isn’t aggression. It’s normal puppy behavior and I would guess your puppy probably has a lot of prey drive and is easily stimulated.

I would recommend you purchase the DVD titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. Ed has owned and trained German Shepherds for 45 years. In the past 30 years we have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. We give this video to all of our puppy customers and we never get questions on how to raise a pup.

Read the description of this puppy DVD on the web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog,

You should also consider the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. I recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won’t use some of this training material for several months (usually not until the pup is 4 to 6 months old).

I also recommend that you go to the web site and read the article on “Ed’s Philosophy of Dog
Training
." I believe you will not only learn something about dog training, I hope you will also adopt the same philosophy on dog training.

We have a great article for you called Groundwork to Becoming Your Puppy’s Pack Leader. I think you will find a lot of useful ideas here.

Pack structure and how to live with a dog in your home are the very first issues to deal with whenever you add a new dog to your family or have problems with an existing dog. We have a new DVD that extensively covers the way Ed and I live with dogs in our home, Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

Another Question:

Hi Cindy,

How is the best way to "reprimand" a 9 week old puppy who shows possible dog aggression to most dogs and is playful with a small handful of other dogs? I have your video "Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months," but I don't recall seeing anything to help me with this situation. I have a 7 year old pom who the GSD pup is aggressive and growling with. When I take the GSD pup out in public, he barks and growls at most dogs. At puppy school he plays "healthy" with a very neutral dog however barks and growls at other puppies that are very outgoing. I'm frustrated at this at such a young age. Can I use a choker? I tried the lemon water on him but that didn't work very much. I did try the "cheek hold" as seen on your video. I also just received your video on pack rank and will view that. I get the feeling my pup is hard "7- 8" level. I just don't want to reprimand to early and hard that I get a fear bitter or something else.

I would appreciate any input you have.

Jennifer

Answer:

With young puppies I would be redirecting his attention and not correcting him. Honestly, you couldn’t pay me to take a puppy to a class where he was allowed to interact with other puppies. You are putting your puppy in a situation that you DON’T want, and now you either have to let him display this behavior or correct him. I control my puppy’s environment and that means no dogs outside my family pack.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I desperately need your help on how I should train my Sheltie, Koko. When we first got him, he was only 8 weeks old; and now he is 11 weeks old. We gave him crate training from the beginning, exactly like you suggested on how it should be done, and Koko learned it well and fast. Eventually we started to let him out on a leash in the kitchen and started training him to give us a "sign" when he needs to go out by sitting in front of the door. It worked out well, and he hasn't had any accident since then (but the crate training is still running, because we don't completely trust him yet).

However, we went on a vacation for a week with Koko, and everything just went down hill from there. While we were on vacation, we had a completely different schedule than normal. Everything and every routine was different from day to day during the entire vacation, and he took it well.

But when we came back home (8/2/2008), the real problems started:

1. Barking:
Koko used to NEVER barked much in the mornings before, unless he didn't get to finish his business outside and we brought him back in too soon. However, since we came back from our vacation, he barks A LOT when he is inside of his crate in the mornings. He has been barking at 5:30 in the morning, even AFTER he has finished his business outside. He would bark, wine, and scratch his crate for 5-10 minutes none stop. If we ignored it like you suggested, he would kept on going until he is tired; but after he rested for couple minutes, he would start all over again. But the weird thing is when he is inside his crate DURING the day, he doesn't bark much at all. Maybe a couple times here and there, but barking is not a problem during the day. But for some reasons, barking has become a big problem in the MORNING.

We have tried to ignore it, talk to him only when he is calmed, cover his crate with a sheet, or asking him to stop when we can't take it anymore (this is our last choice, and we try not to use it), but nothing is working very well. I don't know does it have anything to do with the fact that he just got a new crate (8/4/2008) that is much bigger (36" x 24" x 26") than before, he is still in our vacation mood, or is there something else that we don't know about him. But we are running out of patience and ideas, and it is VERY annoying to hear and deal with his barking at 5:30 in the morning every day.

2. Biting his leash:
Koko has been biting his leash since the day we got him, and I've been doing what you have suggested - say "no" and shake it out of his mouth. No matter how often we've done that, he still continues to do that. During our vacation, he was sitting on my lab with a leash on in the car, and I don't know when it happened, but after I got out of the car, I noticed that Koko had broken his leash! Then again, after we came back from the vacation, one day we left him in the kitchen with a leash on while we were eating in the living room, he broke his leash again! So I don't know what to do, because we've been correcting him not to bit his leash whenever we see him do it, but he does it anyway no matter what we say - which bring me to another issue on "punishment!"

3. Punishment:
I know that you say not to use his crate as a punishment, but if I cannot punish him by putting him on a leash (because he bits and breaks his leash every time), then I don't know how to punish him anymore! So one day in a desperate situation when he kept on biting his leash, after telling him not to bit his leash many time and he completely ignored me, I took him his leash off and put him back into his crate (because I can't watch him and correct him every second). Then, after he's been quiet for 10 minutes, I took him out his crate and put him on a leash again. Once again, he started biting his leash. But this time, I told him NO, and I took all his toys away instead of putting him right inside his crate. Then he started biting his leash even more and started barked at me! So I got so angry that I put him back into his crate. Then, I waited for him to be quiet for another 15-20 minutes, and I took him out again. Then, I started to notice that when I told him NO, he stopped biting his leash. But it only worked because I punished him by using his crate. So I don't think I'm doing it right, but I'm desperate and running out of ideas on how to train him.

I've bought 3 DVD's from you: Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months, Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet, and Basic Dog Obedience. I have watched some of every video, but I haven't finished watching them all because they are very long. So I don't know is there something that I am missing from the videos or is these something else that I need to know. Because I'm running out of patience, and I don't know how to train him anymore. So please help! I am desperate!

Thank you very much for your time and all your help. I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Ariel

Answer:

I think you need to watch the videos in their entirety. The answers to your questions lie in the information on these videos. That’s why we created them because we can’t tell you how to train a dog by email. It’s just too detailed. You have the information in the videos and you owe it to yourself and to your puppy to watch it.

Puppies need routine and structure, and as you found out changing it up before they are trained causes setbacks.

We also have a puppy training section on the web site. that you can browse for additional info.


Question:

Hi,

I am wondering about my 8 week old pup. When I sit on the floor and play with her I have my legs stretched out in front of me. She likes to run and jump over my legs.  Is this too much jumping for a puppy this young? Also, to go outside to potty we have stairs.  I carry her up and down the stairs.  What age is it safe for a puppy to start doing stairs?  I don't want to cause hip problems later in life.
 
Can't wait for your relationship game DVD.  Hope it is out soon.
 
Thanks
Patricia

Answer:

Puppies need exercise and play to develop properly and jumping over your legs on the floor should not be a problem as long as you aren’t doing this for hours J  All things in moderation.

I teach my puppies to go up and down stairs as soon as they are big enough to navigate, which will vary according to breed.  A Chihuahua puppy is not going to be climbing stairs at 8 weeks but my Malinois pups can learn at that age.  I keep my pups tethered to me so I don’t let them run up and down the stairs without supervision, but I do teach them how to navigate flights of stairs quite early. I keep them on leash and help them as needed, so they don’t become frightened or injured.  If they are reluctant at first, I use food to coax them. Our house has 3 levels so I like for them to learn this so I am not carrying dogs up and down for months at a time.  We do not advocate letting pups just run up and down stairs at THEIR discretion.  I will say that for potty training, I do carry them on stairs at first to make sure we get outside without an accident.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

We've bought several of your DVD's and searched through your website, but can't seem to find an answer to our question. We have an 11 week old rottweiler that comes from Police/protection working bloodlines. We got him to be a protection dog and our family dog (we realize we will have some sort of middle ground here). Our problem is trying to take him outside, especially to go to the bathroom. He doesn't want to come with us and pulls back on the leash. We have to go down stairs, then past grass area (not where we want him to pee/poop, but where he tries to get to, pulling on his leash) and another 25 yards to the poop/pee area.  Often, food will not entice him, especially after eating, (which we know is when he's supposed to go outside). When we try to pick him up to carry him to the bathroom spot, sometimes he will growl and try to nip at us. Should we just drag him by the leash & collar? Do we need a prong collar? Does he need more time to "get it"? (we've had him for about 3 weeks).

Thanks very much for any help you can be.

Lance

Answer:

This is a common issue with puppies, they don’t know what we want and they usually feel safer and more secure close to home.  I believe this is answered more than once in our puppy Q&A section.

You need to establish leadership with the puppy and this is done through our groundwork program

I also recommend marker training to teach the pup to work with you, and not against you. Puppies at this age are trying to figure out how they fit into the pack and how to get what makes them feel comfortable. You can always go to a prong but I would try other methods first.

I’m not sure which videos you already have but the DVD's that I recommend to people with new pups are:

Your Puppy 8 Week to 8 Months
Basic Dog Obedience
Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog
Remote Collar Training for the Pet Owner

These will take you right into adulthood. The fact is you have much more to learn than your dog. If you are willing to take the time to learn how to live with and train a dog you will end up with a calm well trained companion that accepts your family rules and leadership.

Good Luck.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Mr. Frawley,

I wanted to thank you for your wonderful DVD's (we purchased 3 last week and truly respect the advice). We have an 11 week old female frengle (beagle/french bull dog hybrid) who we started to enforce week 1 of pack structure training two days ago (after having her for two weeks without any pack structure training). Prior to this training she had progressed wonderfully walking on the leash without being "crazy" or "resistant," but now on day 2 of this seclusion crate training, she almost has to be dragged with her leash to come in the house after going outside or going for a walk. I have resorted to carrying her in as I feel this is the better option, but I do not what is the correct thing to do? She definitely still needs to be in the crate 24/7 (with the exception of her twice daily walks and several trips for potty outside) because she is not yet calm and submissive. She still frequently barks to come out- we ignore her until she is quiet and laying down. What should we be doing to get her to respect us and walk on the leash without being dragged? And what is the best way to correct her for picking up rocks/leaves outside, for which she does frequently (she is a hard dog)?

Thank you for your time.
Rikki

Answer:

Use marker training to get her to move forward while on the leash. It's not unusual for puppies to resist the leash at that age, it's actually a very common problem. Make going with you a positive thing that earns her treats and things she likes. Right now she anticipates going back in her crate, so she is avoiding going back home. If she doesn't respond right away to the marker training just keep trying, and reward the slightest try (one step forward).

For picking up things in her mouth, we use the YUCK command. This is covered in the puppy DVD you already have.

There is also good information on the puppy training section of the website. The answers to your questions can also be found here if you do some reading.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy.. Hope all is well. I have a nine week old puppy that constantly whines. If he is by me, he is quiet, but the instant I leave his sight or go to the store, it's constant whining. There are occasion that even when i am with him, he follows me around whining. His litter mates are nothing like this and only whine when their owners (my brothers and sisters) leave then they settle down. I notice he is not a confident as his littermates. Is this an indication of how he is going to be as an adult? Please advice.

Regards,
Cali

Answer:

Whining is usually a sign of anxiety and can become obsessive if reinforced. I would make sure this puppy is crate trained and learns to be calm and quiet away from you. This type of behavior can lead to separation anxiety if allowed to escalate.

I think you will find our puppy training directory very helpful, especially the section on the Groundwork to becoming your Pup’s Pack leader.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I enjoy your website a lot and I had a question. We just adopted a 4 month old golden retriever from the humane society 2 days ago. He was picked up as a stray. He seems to be healthy, energetic and very friendly. We've only had him for 2 days so I really haven't had time to do a lot yet, I've been keeping him in a the crate when I'm not playing with him and keeping him on a leash wherever he goes. I know its really early and he barely knows us but this morning he did something I want to get corrected immediately before it becomes an issue. He is very very food motivated, he almost loses his mind when I'm getting his food ready. This morning when I put his food down and started petting him as he was eating, he was growling quite a bit, this is the only aggression he has shown, and since he is normally so friendly, it kind of shocked me. I want to take care of this ASAP! I wasn't sure exactly what the best method was for correcting him for this sort of thing.

Thanks,
Bryan

Answer:

You should not make a big deal about this right now. You don’t know the history on this puppy so it would be unfair to correct the dog for this behavior.

Rather – start to marker train this dog right now. Read my article “The Power of Training Dogs with Markers.” Study the finer points of this article and do it.

Take the dogs daily food ration and divide it up into 3 or 4 portions and do marker training in 3 or 4 training sessions. Teach this dog that getting food from you can be fun and non-stressful. Once you have “charged the mark” (see my article on how to do this) then start to train for looking into your eyes,  mark the dog turning to come to you when you call him outside (mark the turn not the point he gets to you), mark the dog learning to sit or down with markers.

After a few days you can mark and then place a small food reward inside the food bowl which you are holding. Let the dog get the reward out of the food bowl. Then you being around the food bowl becomes a positive thing and not a negative stressful problem for the puppy. With only one small high value food reward in the bowl it’s all over before it happens (the size of the food reward is equal to the eraser on a pencil).

When you can’t be there to do this every day - feed the dog in its dog crate. Don’t push this issue of letting it when you feed it right now.

Get my DVD title YOUR PUPPY 8 WEEKS to 8 MONTHS And Basic Dog Obedience.

Good luck.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley


Question:

It was recommended that I buy your videos by our breeder.  I now 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?  I think that he was dominant in his own litter and is pushy at 8 weeks.  He is also quick to get snotty.  I know, because when I first got him, I let him do too much socializing with the family.  Then I started the heavy duty crate breaking.  Now that he is quiet for most of the day do I start giving praise?  Or do I wait until he is always quiet?  As soon as I give him a treat or praise, he is right back to screaming for a few minutes.  I think it's best to leave him a couple of days, but what are the signs that he is ready to get a privilege?   Also, he was back to screaming in the middle of the night.  He has been in the crate now for 3 1/2 days.
Thanks, for your time, and your dvds are very very helpful.

Pei

Answer:

3 ½ days is not a very long time for a puppy, and many of them do some sort of vocalizing for much longer until they realize screaming isn’t going to pay off.  I would start giving the dog some type of positive reinforcement for being quiet, I wouldn’t say anything but when the pup has been quiet for a period of time then approach the crate and throw some treats through the bars or openings toward the back.  Walk away.  I rarely give verbal praise while the dog is in the crate especially when we are doing the initial training.  If he remains quiet, go back and reinforce with more treats.  You may need to use something that holds a very high value for this pup, to make it worth it for him to like being in there.

I use a crate every single day of my dog’s life; it’s not something we do for just a few days.  It’s part of pack structure training, the most important part.

If you haven’t read the Groundwork to becoming your Pup’s pack leader, I would recommend it.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to have come upon your website. I found it so fascinating that I have spent hours reading dozens and dozens of its articles. Your insight into the thinking dogs is in many ways unique and I have come to the conclusion, accurate although it differs from so many traditional views. I have already purchased several DVDs and books ("Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months," "Basic Obedience," "Raw Dog Food," etc.) and consider them tremendously helpful. I am trying to follow your instructions to a "T," even concerning the raw diet and vaccinosis issues you address with which I agree.

After studying so much of your work, I decided that I was ready to "take the plunge" and I am now the proud owner of a 11 week old GSD pup. He comes from working bloodlines and already exhibits tremendous intelligence (I am 52 years old (and a "semi-retired" engineer so I can appreciate your technical explanations and reasonings) and have owned medium sized mixed breed dogs all my life but never a GSD so I have some experience as an owner and trainer of them but for this little guy, I am lacking in knowledge and I want to be sure I am doing everything right).

I have 2 problems that I didn't see your DVDs dwell on very much and I was hoping you could help me (It would make the next 12+ years of my life go much
smoother!).

I live 1/2 block from a busy highway. I have been taking my new pup on walks around the block to expose him to life in my neighborhood (early socialization) however:

1. He insists on chewing the leash and carrying it in his mouth. If I snap it out of his mouth as your DVD suggests, he just grabs it again so essentially, the whole walk becomes nothing but a big game of tug-of-war.

2. Recently, he has become afraid of the traffic. When a truck passes us, he tries to go backward, pulls in reverse and now sometimes screams in terror. He grabs the leash in his mouth and tries to head home. I have his collar on snugly but I am still concerned he may slip out.

This problem troubles me the most. I understand that he is still a puppy and needs patience and gradual desensitization (take his mind off traffic, have him sit, target, etc.
and give treats when he exhibits courage) but I can't help but think that fear like this portends trouble in the future.

I guess what I'm asking is "have you ever seen this in a dog that has grown 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?"

Your help would be greatly appreciated,
Dennis

Answer:

First of all, thank you for your kind words and for your business. We really appreciate it.

For puppies with high play drive, the leash snapping can become just one big game as you have found out. It seems like most of my puppies that I raise do this. I have found a good solution to this is train the pup with markers. Read the article titled Training With Markers
http://leerburg.com/markers.htm <http://leerburg.com/markers.htm> and
give them an alternate behavior when I see them revving up to bite at the leash. If you wait until the pup has already bitten the leash, it’s really too late and they have already gotten some positive reinforcement. So… become an expert at reading your pup and ask for a very simple behavior like a hand touch or eye contact before he has a chance to make a mistake, THEN give some really high value food or get out a favorite toy. Once the puppy learns that you have much better games to play than the leash tug, it should extinguish quickly. I also teach my high drive puppies “OH NO” (I don’t say this like I am mad, but kind of with a disappointed tone) , and when they get past me and do something I don’t like I say “OH NO” and just stop every thing. I may even turn my back on the puppy. It takes all the fun out of the game when you don’t participate at all. Then when they offer something different, no matter how small the behavior I mark with YES and we play with a toy or have a great snack.

As for the fear of the highway, I think that’s a pretty common thing. I had a very nice GSD years ago that was really almost panicked by traffic as a puppy and I had to find his “bubble” of distance where the traffic didn’t seem to affect his drive. I would feed him and play with him and when he seemed to be doing well I would move a bit closer and repeat.
They do grow out of this as they gain confidence and life experience. I wouldn’t feed him for showing courage, because that’s not a black/white thing for a dog. You can only reward behavior that you like, and what you perceive as courage may be something completely unclear for the dog.
I would simply play with him and feed him to show him that being with you is great and that you won’t put him in situations that make him feel uncomfortable. Be aware of his attitude and don’t be afraid to back up a step in your conditioning.

Dogs learn much faster when we present things as black or white. Grey areas slow learning and confidence. Engineers are usually really good at understanding that part of dog training. :-)

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi my name is Edgar.  I had some training questions about my dog. He is a  4 month old  Doberman. He has soft nerves. He is aggressive toward my 2 year old. Sometimes they get along but sometimes he tries to bite him or if he runs he will chase him and tries to bite him or pushes him down. He also bites our clothes when we run. What can we do to make him stop this? I also had a had another question, he is also scared of other dogs and people. How could I help him get used to things? Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Answer:

Your puppy needs leadership and training.  I am not sure if you mean 2 year old dog or 2 year old child? 

I would recommend this article Becoming your puppy’s pack leader.

These training videos will help you with the training

Pack Structure for the Family Pet

Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months

Basic Obedience

There are many articles on this page, I think you will find answers to your questions covered here and in the dvds. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Ed,

I have been reading your articles and been searching the discussion forum as well but I was unable to find the answer to a question I have about socialization. I have a GSD puppy arriving in a few weeks and have been watching your Basic Dog Obedience DVD. I have read your article on dog parks and am glad I did. I also read that you do not recommend having your dogs interact with any unfamiliar dogs along with very few people as well (Who Should Pet My Puppy?). Not knowing very many people with dogs, what are our options for socializing our puppy?

I have read elsewhere that in the first 6 months to a year (with weeks 7-12 being critical) 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?

Thank you,
Lyn

Answer:

You have an excellent question.

It is important to socialize a puppy from a very early age. If you are lucky enough to get a pup at 8 weeks then that's when you starts and in reality it never ends..

My definition of socializing puppies is not the same as what you have described below. In my opinion a pup should be exposed to as many places and people as possible. But the goal is that he should become neutral to those places and strange people. For me strange people are those who are not part of your family pack. I do not allow strangers to touch my puppy. Nor do I allow the pup to interact with strange dogs.

Those who recommend allowing strangers to pet your pup or those who recommend allowing a dog to interact with strange dogs lack experience and don’t understand pack drive.

I want my dog to feel comfortable in strange places. This means take him places and play with him. If he has a problem playing in a new place, back off the location until you find a place he will play. Then continue to take him closer and closer. With the goal being that he is comfortable in the new place. You cannot over do this.

The only dogs a young dog should be around are adult dogs that 100% are aloof to young dogs.  I want an old dog that wants nothing to do with the young pup. It basically ignores it. With that said the pup is on always on leash and not allowed to jump all over this adult. The pup is only allowed to be around the older dog. This allows it to see that the adult dog is not aggressive to it also sees that you don’t allow it to play with the adult.  I want you to be something to play with not the other dog.

Those who allow pups to play with adult dogs are risking too much. If the pup irritates the adult and the adult dog strikes out at it there is not only a risk of injury but also a risk that your pup will become dog aggressive for life. One incident can result in the attitude of “the best defense is a good offense.”

Your goal is to become the center of this dogs life, to become its pack leader and to make sure it is safe. That's key to your relationship with the new pup.

I have a saying that I often pass to new pet owners. That is “everyone has an opinion on how to raise and train a dog. Just ask your neighbor or your brother or your hair dresser. The problem is few people have the experience to allow them to pass on accurate information and that's why there are so many bad training ideas floating around out there.”

You may wan to consider getting my DVD Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley


Question:

Hi Cindy and Ed,

I love your website and training dvd's and free information as well as the quality products you guys sell over there.

Is there a "proper" or "best" way that you can recommend to introduce a dog to a swimming pool?

I have a year and a half old chow/lab mix that I got from the dog shelter 9 months ago. She swims just fine but does not like going in the pool. I have brought her in using chicken as a reward but she still doe not like it. She goes into the fish pond and loves it as it is very shallow and she can stand up in it.

Any suggestions or do some dogs just not like to swim?

Thank you,
Bob

Answer:

We have a pool as well and I have found that you get the best results when you get in the pool (near the stairs in shallow end) with the dog.
I try to cradle them in the water right next to the stairs so they learn they can swim a bit and get out. This can take minutes or days, depending on the dog’s anxiety level. If your dog likes to retrieve, I have found that introducing a floating favorite toy (like a tennis ball, etc.) makes the process go faster. If they really like it, then you can use the toy and the pool for exercise.

We try to teach all of our dogs to swim and find the stairs, so we don’t have an accidental drowning. If they can’t find the stairs it can be very dangerous should they fall in when no one is watching.

Some dogs love to swim and some don’t, but for safety reasons we do make ALL of our dogs learn to swim and find their way to the steps.

Cindy


Question:

Hello !

We live in Finland, in an apartment and we bought a GSD male puppy which is now 3.5 months old, we got him when he was 10 weeks old. This puppy is wonderful, he is very alert has high prey and food drive, he already knows to sit, lay down, come and sit in front of us with an order and stay sitting in his crate until we allow him to come out (when we open the crate), he is a very smart puppy. We use marking training and he obeys the orders very fastly and alertly and I always teach him in a fun playful way so he enjoys that. Outside, he comes to people and children but sometimes tucks his tail under him, with some people he just roams towards them and licks them and plays with them. He never bites other people and is very gentle with them and with children. Usually he is being shy when people are in front of him and when they go he wants to go after them, but when we were in a pet shop and at a vet he played so openly with the adults and children there and also with dogs. Outside when he sees dogs his back hair stands up and he tucks his tail or he just sits and watches them. We crate train him and he has only water bowl and a kong in his crate as he does all the outings only outside. He also doesn't whine when we go out of the house only when he sees us at the door and at night he sleeps quietly.

We had two big problems with him:

1. When we first brought him he didn't want to eat his food, we waited a few days and still nothing. His breeders gave us stomach antibiotics and with giving them to him he ate. When the pills ended he stopped eating again. We tried canned food, minced meat but he didn't want any, he wanted only his treats. We went to the vet with him, he checked him but said he is healthy, and that he might be picky. But no other food helped so the breeders told us they had same problem with some of their dogs which was heart burn they told us to give him antacid before we give him food and it helped, but still he wont eat all.

2. The water bowl he has had this rubber circle at the bottom. Why do i say "had" because he ate it and then he puked it all in 2 days, in the last 2 weeks he developed a big problematic behavior which is our main question to you. He puts his paw in the water bowl inside the water then he throws the water with his paw everywhere in the crate, after he finishes he just lies there in the water and sometimes roll in it! We tried to give him more exercise and more obedience training such as calling him to come to me and my husband back and forth till he gets tired. It helps for some few hours but then he repeats that and its especially problematic when we are out of the house and can't watch his actions in the crate.

I was a dog handler in the army and I saw such things happening with dogs that flip their bowls so I suggested to do a thing we did there: we bought a tin bucket and filled it with water in hope it will be heavy and tall enough so he won't budge it or put his paws in, and boy I was wrong when I entered today the apartment and saw the pool he made in his cage which dripped all over the living room floor, he was soaking wet and had no water in the bucket. The bucket moved all the way from one corner of the crate to the other.

We are out of ideas what to do with him, as no matter what kind of water bowl we put inside the crate he will drain it out. We were thinking it might be from boredom or he is feeling hot. We keep opening the porch door so air comes in but it doesn't help. The breeders didn't manage to solve it with their dogs either so I come to you as you have such great knowledge of dog behavior. We don't want to give up on him we really love him and want to keep him with us, we got such a good connection with him and his nature is very sweet and also he's very enjoyable to work with even though I thought it would be challenging as he was the most dominant puppy in the litter. But my husband works 8 hours a day and I am a student now, in two or more years I might be long hours away as well and I am afraid the puppy might dehydrate or get sick from being soaking wet, he is also not very interested in his food though he eats something about 150 grams or 300 grams a day when he should eat more as he's growing, I cant keep water bowls inside his crate but its very illogical to start give him water by schedule what can we do??

I appreciate any answer you'll have,

Sincerely,
Karine and Janne

Pup

Answer:

First of all thanks for your email, nice looking puppy!

The first thing I evaluate with puppies that have poor appetite is whether or not they have intestinal parasites. Drop off a stool sample at your vet just to make sure he doesn’t have any worms. If that all checks out fine, if you tell what you feed your puppy I can try to help you out with his diet. Sometimes if you are feeding commercial food, dogs just aren’t interested in eating much but when you change them to a more appropriate diet based on real meat, they start enjoying their food.

You can find some good information here on our feeding dogs page.

I would probably give this dog a bucket that is firmly attached to a fence or crate, but with that said he doesn’t need water in his crate all day. I would only give him water in the bucket when it’s securely attached to something AND when you can be present to interrupt him if he starts playing with it. Many of our dogs love to dig and play in their water and we use a secure clip to attach the bucket to the fence and then a strap around the bottom of the bucket to make it secure against the fence.

I would also advise giving him some interactive type toys in his crate when you have to leave him, so he has something interesting to do.

Here are a few ideas.

Everlasting Fire Plug
Buster Food Cube
Twist 'n Treat

We have more toys on this page.

I would recommend you purchase the DVD titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

Ed has owned and trained German Shepherds for 45 years. In the past 30 years we have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. We give this video to all of our puppy customers and we never get questions on how to raise a pup.

Read the description of this puppy DVD on the web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog,

You should also consider the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. I recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won’t use some of this training material for several months I also recommend that you go to the web site and read the article on “Ed’s Philosophy of Dog Training.” I believe you will not only learn something about dog training, I hope you will also adopt the same philosophy on dog training.

I hope this helps!

Cindy


Question:

Hi Ed,

I recently found your website and am so glad that I did. Like so many other folks out there, I fell victim to the idea that puppies need to be socialized with other dogs when they are little to ensure that they get along with them in the future. In fact of all the web sites out there, yours is probably the only one that says otherwise.

My puppy is currently 9 weeks old. He is the sweetest little guy and loves other dogs. But other dogs hate him. At first, because I thought I had to socialize him to other dogs, I would allow him to approach the other dog only if the other owner got down on the ground and restrained her dog (and then I would restrain my little guy using a leash). I have tried this now twice, and both times the other dog has flipped out, growled, and seemingly tried to bite at him. This results in me immediately grabbing my little guy (and other owner pulling their guy back) and lifting him up off the ground and removing him from the situation. I know that is was probably foolish of me to try twice and not one time, and I recognize I am lucky that nothing more serious occurred. But these instances have demonstrated that even when the other owner claims his/her dog is the nicest, most tame, friendliest of dogs, unknown dogs just cant be trusted.

I was hoping you might be able to help me understand better why dogs are so puppy-averse, particularly when the puppy is in neutral territory (outside in the grass around our condo complex). Do you think it is prey drive? (but if so, shouldn't they recognize another dog as one of their own???) Why is it that all the dogs I seem to have met (I have seen others in addition to these two but won't take my guy near them just because they seem to have a focused, intense stare in their eyes) are so hateful toward my puppy? I understand the pack mentality, but so many dogs get along with other grown dogs, so what is it about puppies??? Why are puppies some kind of threat??

Also, when the other dog starts drooling profusely, is this a warning sign?
Do you think the other dogs were likely trying to attack and harm him, or do you think they were "correcting" his nippy puppy behavior? He likes to lick them, which makes me the most nervous. I don't want his tongue to get severed. He will even roll over on his back when he meets them and lie there as if showing his lower rank.

I feel kind of bad about not letting him meet other dogs because the second he sees them his tail goes crazy, he really pulls on his leash, or fights in my arms because he wants to play. It sucks to be the bad guy, but I also don't want him to be injured. And a seemingly curious dog can go into attack mode out of the blue (at least from the two experiences I have had). It just happens so incredibly fast. It's hard to even see it coming.

Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it.
Anne

Answer:

First of all, most people don't understand that socialization doesn't mean physical contact. I take my puppies everywhere and never let them play with or interact with dogs outside our family. NEVER. My dogs are perfectly happy to be around the other dogs without making contact or sniffing, because they have no reason to do so. They are rewarded for being with me and remaining neutral.

Most dogs will show aggressive behavior when restrained by a leash, which is another reason I would never allow any of my dogs to go nose to nose with another dog. If you want your puppy to have experience around other dogs, the best way is to find a COMPLETELY NEUTRAL adult dog and take walks side by side with that dog and it's owner while not allowing contact between the dogs. When dogs get ready to fight with each other, they T off and usually start nose to nose. People don't realize when they let their dogs meet nose to nose on leash, they are actually setting themselves and their dogs up for a problem. Most owners don't have a clue about dog behavior and some of the worst bites I have seen have come from dogs whose owners say "he's friendly." Your job is to protect your puppy, and if that offends some people then that is their problem.

My advice is simple, keep your puppy away from other dogs.

I would read our puppy training section, concentrating on these articles.

The Ground Work to Becoming Your Puppy's Pack Leader this is how we raise puppies in our home.

http://leerburg.com/dogparks.htm

There are links to videos within the articles that will help you raise a well adjusted, well trained puppy.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Friends,

I was so happy when I found your web site.

Our family recently expanded with a new member, our new "baby" GS puppy.She is beautiful and only four month's old.We love her so much, our Bella.

When we brought her home both of her ears are fine and our friends kept teasing us that we have a new "satellite" dish.But, we don't know what happened and her left ear 'flopped' two days ago.

Could you tell us if that is ok for now and when we should tape it?She is still teething and maybe we should wait couple more weeks.

Your web site helped my husband and me to calm down and stop freaking out about it and gave us hope that it could be fixed.We searched a lot of web sites but they never explained everything so nicely like you.

You web site is great and from now on we will check it all the time for any advice for our 'baby.'

Thanks so much

Answer:

If the ears were up before, they should come back up when the teething is finished. Your puppy has most likely just started to lose her puppy teeth and it's normal for ears to become soft during this process.

You can refer to this article for help on when to tape the ears.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Your advice worked out very well. My GSD pup is now 16 weeks old and I have come back to you to ask for your gracious help with another problem.

The pup is very "mouthy" on me and on inappropriate objects, i.e. he tries to eat sticks, rocks, grass, and even dirt! I judge him to be of extremely high prey drive.

I have been studying your DVDs ("Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months," "Basic Obedience," "Establishing Pack Structure For the Family DOG") and learned that you often move to an e-collar at 4 months of age.

Concerning the "mouthiness," I have only used verbal corrections and diversion to toys up until this point as per your puppy dvd to help. This technique has resulted in improvement but I think I need to go further to stop this "teeth on skin" fun my pup is having. Your obedience dvd says that I should wait till 5-6 months of age to use corrections (so as not to damage my bond with him) so I think the time is coming very quickly for me to become firmer.

Since I would like to use the collar to train the puppy to stop his nipping me and to stop eating "garbage" I was thinking of purchasing your "Dogtra 280NCP" collar and your E-collar DVD. Would this 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?

Thanks in advance for your great advice?

Dennis

Answer:

I do start my own dogs with the ecollar around 4 months. I use super low level stimulation and I find that it makes learning go quicker and it’s less “emotional” than giving a collar correction with a regular collar/leash.

I would recommend the ecollar video and the collar you picked out. I use the 280 NCP daily with my dogs.

For the eating of stuff and biting you, I use the word YUCK. I say YUCK, wait a split second and then give a low level nick (you will learn how to determine the level to use in the DVD). as SOON as the pup stops what he is doing, I say YES and give a reward. This works very well. I want the dog to eventually leave whatever he is thinking of picking up, eating or biting when I say YUCK. We have guinea fowl and my dogs LOVE the little presents they leave all over the grass, I find myself saying YUCK at least once a day :-) it really works.

I like to use this word instead of NO, because I use NO in my marker training.

I hope this helps.

Cindy

Another Question:

Thanks, Cindy. I will follow your advice and tell you how it works out.

I noticed the "YUCK" command in your puppy video. I had to change the command to "DROP" because my dog is named BUCK. I have been using "DROP" to have him let go when he picks up dirt or nips my arm or when I want him to let go of a tug (I surmised that all of these things are about the same). I give food to entice him to let go. He is improving but still he manages to eat some dirt and put puppy tooth "holes" in my arm so I am really looking forward to using the e-collar!

Answer:

I use a different command to ask the dog to release the toy. YUCK (or in your case DROP) is more of a negative word that I want the dog to think means “spit it out or else.” I want the dog to release the toy with a good feeling in his mind, not being worried about a correction. I use OUT or the dog’s name for asking for a release.

Cindy

Thanks:

Oh.... I see your point (it is quite subtle!). Thanks, Cindy, I will take your advice.


Question:

Hello:

Please help us settle a question:

Do puppies remember their litter mates? 

My friends have a 7 mo female Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix.  Her sister came over to visit. They had not seen each other since 8 weeks old. My friend says that she remembers her sister; I say they are puppies just playing.

Thank you for your time.

Jeannie  

Answer:

Unless the 2 dogs see each other regularly as they are growing up, it’s doubtful that they remember each other.

Cindy


Question:

I have a 4 month old / 30 lb Black Mouth Cur (Mya) and got her when she was 8 weeks old. I want to give you a little background on her before I ask my questions. She is a great dog and very smart and from what I can tell (after watching your videos and reading on your website) has incredible prey drive. I have been teaching her the basic commands; come, sit, and stay as you recommend in your video “8 weeks to 8 months” and she has picked up on these quite well. She is also crate trained and is house broken with no issues. I am also hoping to train her to hunt with me in the future. We have two kids (4 and 1).

I do have several questions that I would greatly appreciate your input on.

1. How early is too early to begin using a prong collar or e-collar? When we (Mya and I) walk she pulls mildly sometimes, but for the most part walks along with me. I have not begun to train her to heel. However, when we are walking as a family she is always trying to get into the stroller or has to walk directly behind the stroller. If I walk with her further back behind the stroller she pulls like there is no tomorrow trying to get back up to the stroller. My wife walks her with the kids during the day to get her some exercise and it can be frustrating for my wife. Would a collar be of use?

2. When I get home from work in the evenings I spend time with her working on commands, playing and usually going on another walk/run. We sometimes jog a little just to burn off extra energy. Even after all of this when we come inside she will sit and allow me to pet her and then she starts trying to bite my arm. It is never hard biting. When I correct her she stops for a minute and then wants to start again. I do a lot of redirecting, which works for a short period of time, and then right back at me for more. When I stop petting her she starts to bark at me like she wants me to play. This is not good because the kids are usually asleep by now. I end up putting her in her crate because I am out of energy to continue the redirecting all night long. She also has just begun biting the furniture when she stops getting attention. She will do it right in front of us as to get more attention. What are your thoughts?

3. When we are playing in the backyard, I will throw her toy and she will bring it back but she tries to run right through me. Also, when I am getting to drop the toy she immediately turns to try and bite my arm. What is a good technique to get her to stop doing this?

I appreciate any feedback you could give me with these issues. Thank you again for the wealth of information you provide on your website. It has all been very useful.

Kind regards,
Jay
Katy, TX

Answer:

Your pup is old enough to begin wearing a prong collar, if only to let her “self correct” on walks. I start my own dogs with the ecollar between 4-5 months old. I use the Dogtra 280 on my Malinois.

Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner DVD

I would keep your pup on a leash ALL THE TIME. People always are amazed that my dogs are so well behaved but it’s because I don’t give them the opportunities to go wild. They are on a leash with me OR in a crate. They don’t have the freedom to make bad choices. Don’t let your dog rehearse behavior you don’t like.

I’d be using markers to engage your pup in positive behaviors. She sounds like a cool puppy, she just needs some guidance on what she needs to do to get your attention.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers DVD

You might want to try using 2 toys with her. When she brings the first one back, tell her to drop it with whatever your word for release is, then immediately throw the new toy. I would make sure she is dragging a line, so you can interrupt the biting behavior if she still wants to do that.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

We have a 15 week old GSD who we want to eventually train in protection. We have several of your dog training DVDs- puppy, 8 weeks to 8 mos, working puppy, puppy bite work, basic obedience, marker training, but I haven't seen the answer to these questions:

1. He is going through a very mouthy stage- we are constantly re-directing him to chew on acceptable items. Is this just what we need to do during this time, verses any corrections? We are working on 'leave it', and leash/ flat collar pops. Is there any thing else we should/ could be doing? Is this just a phase to get through? He has plenty of nice toys and bones.

2. Pulling- he is a very strong shouldered 20 pounds (he will most likely top out at around 90 pounds), and he pulls like a sled dog. We have tried leash pulls with a 'don't pull/ good don't pull' command, to no avail. We have also tried letting him self correct with a prong collar, but this does not phase him. Is there another method to try? I have thought about doing lots of positive treat reinforcement for staying near me, but in the long run I don't want him always looking at me, I want him looking at the world around us. Any advice would be appreciated.

3. We have a 7 year old dominant female dutch shepherd that we would like to eventually integrate him with (she was successfully integrated with our last GSD male, who has passed, who was a Leerburg dog!). So far we have kept the separated, and they are still very interested in each other. We have a dominant dog collar and the dominant dog DVD on order from you. We feel pretty good about knowing how to handle our female, but our 15 wk GSD male seems overly interested in getting to the female, He lunges when on leach, and whines and yips excessively when we take them on introductory walks. It doesn't matter if I have the prong on him or not. We are wondering if we should find a safe older dog for him to interact with, so he calms down about the older dog idea? Or is this something that is just between these two dogs? Is there a certain age we should wait for until we try integrating the two of them, so that he doesn't get dog aggressive if she outs him in his place? We are not wanting to toss them in the yard together, but it would be great if they could both chill out in the same room while we are watching TV, without one of them being in a crate.

These turned out to be long winded questions!
Thank you for your time,

Maisie

Answer:

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

You'll find lots of information on puppy biting, pulling on the leash and puppy raising.

You can use marker training to reinforce ANY behavior you want to continue, like leaving slack in the leash when you walk, performing a trick or simple behavior INSTEAD of biting you, etc... We can't possibly answer ever single question on a video. We give you the knowledge of the concepts and then you have the tools to apply them to your situation.

I would not be allowing a 15 week old puppy that behaves in an excited manner to interact with your other dog. My rule is that if my puppy won't come running to me every single time I call him no matter what the distraction, he's not ready to play with other dogs. Another dog is the biggest distraction there is and usually more fun to play with than a human, so I don't allow it until my pup is really showing attentiveness to me all the time. The age can vary depending on the dog and the skill of the handler. I don't rush this, because if you do it too soon you'll end up TEACHING your puppy that it's ok to ignore you when other dogs are around.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I plan on getting a puppy some time in the next 2 to 4 months and have been searching the web for training DVDs and have decided to get some of the ones Leerburg sells. I guess my main question is which ones do you think are appropriate for me?

We (me, my girlfriend and currently 20 month old son) are most likely going to adopt a puppy from a local rescue so I'm not sure exactly which breed/mix or what exact age he or she will be, but we'd like a puppy that will become a medium to large dog.

What I'd like to get out the training is great obedience, great off leash recall (with a voice command and a whistle), ensure proper socialization, maybe do some search/scent games, and of course a little fetch. And he or she will be accompanying us on hikes.

I've already looked at these on your site:

Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months, Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet, Basic Dog Obedience, The Power of Training Dogs with Markers, Remote Collar Training for Pet Owners

More questions: Do I need all of these? Am I missing anything crucial?
Should one do marker training OR e-collar training, or can both be done?

Please excuse this rather long email (and any other future long emails), but your help would be greatly appreciated. I know the pup's arrival is a bit far off at 2 to 4 months, but I just want make sure I'm fully prepared to raise a happy, healthy, well-balanced dog once he/she does arrive.

Thanks,
James

Answer:

Hello there,

I want to commend you on doing your research before you get a dog, more people should practice this.

The dvds you list are exactly what I would recommend. You can certainly do marker training and use the ecollar. I do this every day with my own dogs. I start with marker training from day 1 and teach everything in a positive and fun manner. The ecollar is added later, as a back up to my voice should I need it. I don't use it as a punisher, but as a way to either interrupt a behavior or to get my dog's attention.

Once you get your puppy, let me know if you have any additional questions.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Our yellow lab just turned a year old. He is a VERY ACTIVE, nice puppy, however sometime he loves to take your hand and wrist in his mouth and bites down and wants to lick you. He can also have this behavior when he gets excited when someone comes in the room and that guest wants to pet him. Is this teething, puppy or will he grow out of it? Or better yet how do we stop him and this behavior?

Thank you,
Lisa

Answer:

At a year old he's been done teething for 5 or 6 months. This is a behavior that a lot of dogs try when they are excited, but you should not allow it.
As much as I love to play with my dogs, I don't ever allow them to put their mouth on me. I teach this right away, it's a respect issue.

You should establish yourself as more of an authority figure for your dog, by taking the leadership role. I'd start with our Groundwork program and the video that picks up where the article leaves off, Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

If you haven't done any obedience training with him yet, then I would recommend Basic Dog Obedience. Once you've seen a change in his attitude after beginning the groundwork.

You want to make sure he's getting enough exercise also. Many times dogs need more exercise and they act up and behave in an unruly manner because they have too much extra energy to burn and no healthy outlet for it. Even the best trained dog can get a bit wound up if their exercise requirements are not being met.

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

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I'm sure you get many emails regarding dogs. I have purchased many of your DVDs and read the wonderful articles you have online. We have a 14 week old boxer/lab who has taken to his crate very nicely, always goes potty outside in the same spot and seems to have a nice personality. I ALWAYS keep the dog on a leash, inside and outside (and have never had an accident because of it!). My question is, 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 (7&8) get used to him so they are not startled by his movements. Should I stop this all together? I am concerned this might cause behavior problems in the future if I let him play in the house before he is ready or understands his place in the family, or is playing inside perfectly fine as long as he is closely supervised? I also take him in the car with me every morning and every afternoon so that he is used to being in the car (he climbs in and out with no help from me). Is he too young for this? We have had dogs before, all with training problems (because of us, of course) and want to make sure not to repeat.

Thanks in advance,
Beverly

Answer:

It sounds like you are doing great with your puppy, most likely because you control his interactions with his environment and your family.

I would continue with what you are doing, and make sure that you keep him on the leash as you have been.

So much of good dog training is controlling the environment and setting yourself up for success. It's nice to get an email like this! :)

Continue the good work and thank you for your business. We truly appreciate it.

Cindy


Question:

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.

Thanks-

Mike

Answer:

The DVDs that I recommend to people with new pups are:

The Power of Training with Markers
Your Puppy 8 Week to 8 Months
Basic Dog Obedience
Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog
Remote Collar Training for the Pet Owner

These will take you right into adulthood.

Good Luck.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Cindy,

First, I want to thank you for your time.

I have extensive experience with German Shepherds.  Soon I will be purchasing an 8 week Doberman Pincher. My first one. In the event this puppy should display any aggressive behavior towards me, I realize this behavior must be addressed within a split second it occurs. Please, explain, briefly, how and what do I do? Second, how do you recommend I address aggressive behavior towards new people during the socialization process that is unprovoked?

Are Doberman Pinchers handled differently than German Shepherds? If so, please tell me how and why.

I appreciate your time and the products you make available to the public.

Thank you very much,
Yale

Answer:

Dogs are not treated differently due to breed. Dogs are dogs, and they are trained and handled according to their temperament and drive.

The key to handling aggression is to not let it manifest in the first place. If you raise your puppy with leadership and guidance, I don't see a reason to anticipate aggression. Also realize that puppies don't have the capacity to show real aggression anyway.

Here are the recommendation I would make for a new puppy:
First read this article called The Groundwork to Becoming Your Puppy’s Pack Leader

The videos I would recommend:

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

I would also recommend you purchase the DVD titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months  and the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. I recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won’t use some of this training material for several months (usually not until the pup is 4 to 6 months old).

I also recommend that you go to the web site and read the article on “Ed’s Philosophy of Dog Training.” I believe you will not only learn something about dog training, I hope you will also adopt the same philosophy on dog training.   

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

We are getting a GS pup on Easter. He was born on Feb 22, but was the only pup in the litter and is all black-very cute of course. Will this pup have some set backs being the only pup? Should I have any socialization concerns when I bring him home since he may have had no inner action with other pups? Should I ask the breeder to socialize the pup with the other litter? Maybe you know of this breeder, his name is Dave (I forget his last name) and lives on the west side of De Pere. I have been watching your tapes intensely and love them! I have grown up with dogs all my life and have a good foundation of good common sense when raising a dog, but one is never to old to learn new tricks.  I didn't see this question in your Q&A section and thank you for your time!

Picking a name for this pup is going to be harder than house training him!

Sally

Answer:

Many singleton pups lack good dog social skills.  While we don’t advocate letting our dogs play with other dogs from outside our family pack, if I had a singleton I would look for an appropriate size and age litter for him to “learn dog language” skills from.

I think if you do a google search on singleton puppy you may find some helpful information.

Cindy


Question:

Hey Cindy,

I have combed over the website, but I have not found anything answering a specific question of mine. It seems that most folks are struggling with dogs that pull when they are taken on walks. In my situation, I have a nine week old mini daschund that does not move when I try to take her for a walk. I walk a few feet away from her, call her name, but she doesn’t move. When I squat down, she immediately runs to me. I stand up and walk a few feet away, call her name… nothing! The bottom line is that if I am standing and walking, she is sitting. As soon as I bend down and call her, she runs to me.

Sometimes she tries to run in the opposite direction when I am standing. When she does this, I give her a little shake by the skin on the back of her neck. Is this an appropriate time to punish the dog, even if the punishment is pretty mild?

I appreciate any help you can give me,

Caleb

Answer:

Why would you punish her?  Punishment is not to be used for teaching.  If you search our website for Puppy Walking on Leash you’ll find a lot of information.  I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website

Your pup is a BABY and by going to her and shaking her by the scruff what are you teaching her? That you are a scary guy that walks up and shakes puppies! Expect her to continue to run the other way if you keep it up. If you continue with this you’ll damage any future relationship you’d like to have with her.  

Think about this from her point of view. She’s a tiny baby dog, you are a big person. She’s more likely to come when you squat down, you’re less intimidating that way. Here are some articles and videos I recommend.

Read these articles called The Groundwork to Becoming Your Puppy’s Pack Leader and The Power of Training Dogs with Markers.

Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months DVD
The Power of Training Dogs with Markers DVD
Pack Structure for the Family Pet DVD

We have a whole puppy training section; please spend some time reading it for you and your pup’s sake.

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

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I have a 4 and a half month old American Bulldog. When I go to correct him 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?

Thank you,
Dawn

Answer:

I honestly can’t think of any reason why you should be correcting a 4 month old puppy of any breed with a pinch collar. He’s biting because he doesn’t understand and you are being unfair to him.

Puppies at this age need to be taught what we expect from them, not corrected.  Corrections come later, once the dog 100% understands what you are asking of him.

Read this article called The Groundwork to Becoming Your Puppy’s Pack Leader.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers Article

Pack Structure for the Family Pet DVD

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers DVD

Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months DVD

These resources will give you the tools to teach your pup without correcting him to the point he feels the need to defend himself.

You may also want to read these free eBooks.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

One question about our boxer mix. He is nearly six months old.
When we first got him from a shelter at 12 weeks, he was e VERY bold dog, completely outgoing and social, very friendly and eager. In the last month or so, he has very suddenly become shy and fearful. Very nervous around new and sometime familiar people and in strange and sometimes familiar environments. He is not shy around other dogs. He rides with me in the car almost every day but has recently become fearful of the car and will not get in. I have heard about "fear periods" but never put much stock in them and have never experienced them with any of our dogs in the past. This dog has been well socialized, trained at home then taken to obedience class for additional socialization. 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? I only ask because I have seen the bold personality he had and it was wonderful. I cannot trace his behavior back to any negative experiences, it seems to have happened quite suddenly. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks again for all your wonderful help.
Beverly

Answer:

Dogs do go through fear periods, but there can also be other factors at work. Since I can't see your dog, I can only throw ideas out there. I have no way to really know what's going on.

Part of it may be that he's growing up and starting to experience more mature feelings that all dogs go through as they grow. This makes some dogs appear nervous, because they aren't sure how to handle feelings of being territorial, etc...

Another possibility is a reaction to a rabies vaccination (if he's had one) Some dogs have very drastic personality changes due to this vaccine. It's called a rabies miasm. Friendly dogs show aggression, confident dogs show fear, usually irrational fear of things that never worried them before like fear of their water bowl or something that is familiar.

Traditional vets will not even acknowledge that this problem exists but if you do a google search on rabies miasm you'll find some interesting reading.
Typically a homeopathic vet is needed to help treat this.

We have a list of vets that has been compiled by our customers and you can see it here. We are providing this list as a service; please do your own research into any health care provider you choose for your dogs.

It can also be a manifestation of his core temperament, but since it's very different from what you've experienced for the last few months I doubt that is the case.

Just a couple of ideas, it's most likely just a phase but I never rule out anything when dealing with behavior changes.

Cindy


Question:

Hey Cindy,

I have a female German Shepherd dog (Eva). She's three and a half months old. Everything is ok with her except that I'm concerned about her ears. One of her ears is great and standing and moving very smoothly but the other one is not standing and has some limitations in its movements. Note: She had ear infection 1 month ago and that is finished now. But sometimes I notice too much pink color moving to red in her ears. I attached some of her pictures with this mail. I kindly ask you to give me your opinion about this matter as soon as possible. Thank you very much.
 
Best Regards, 
Garen

Pup
Pup Pup

Answer:

Those are totally normal puppy ears. Be ready for the ears to go up and down and all over the place until she’s done teething (usually around 6-7 months old). I would not worry about them at this point.

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

Cindy


Question:

I have a 7 month old, female, Doberman puppy. We purchased her at 5 months from a breeder, so she has been in our home for approximatly 2 months. She is smart and seems to train fairly easily as far as basic commands. My problem is getting her to focus for any length of time because she is extremely active and has a very high prey drive. Maybe i'm expecting too much too soon...?

I've just recently (in the last few days) begun to keep her leashed and at my side at all times when she is indoors. She is crated when we are not home and for meals twice a day, and I was crating her when she became too rambunctious in the house, but this only seemed to aggravate the problem. Plus, she would scream at the top of her lungs for hours, she knows when we are still in the house and won't quiet down. When we leave the house, she is quiet in the crate. She is given "play time" twice a day for at least 30 minutes, with a toy, tennis ball, frisbee, that we throw for her. Also, she gets to go out at least once a day to play with our other Doberman who is 2 yrs old, male, neutered,... and they run, play and chase each other all over our yard. So I don't think it's a lack of exercise.

Should I continue with the leash indoors and out, or crate more often? Or some other suggestion?...Thanks so much!

Meredith

Answer:

Along with controlling the dog with a leash (which I totally agree with) I’d also begin teaching her how to “learn.” This is a skill that most people don’t even realize the dog needs to know. Once dogs learn how to learn, they become more focused as a by product of that new skill. 

I’d recommend marker training.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog  (not yet released)

Realize that the activities you are doing with her now are actually teaching her to NOT focus on you. Playing with other dogs and chasing toys that are thrown away from the handler reinforce NOT focusing on you. She’s learning through her activities to focus on other things besides YOU.

I’d make sure the screaming in the crate isn’t being reinforced in some way (i.e. you yelling at the dog or going near the crate). You may need to go to an aversive like a bark collar to teach her to be quiet and settle in the crate.

You may want to take some time to check out our streaming video section, we have a lot of marker training footage with dogs of various breeds and ages.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Thank you Ed and Cindy for all the information on the Leerburg website. I just purchased 3 DVDs - puppy, basic obedience, and pack structure and am anxiously awaiting their arrival.

I have a 4 month GSD hard puppy. He has strong prey drive and is learning quickly with markers and food (at home, no to low distractions).

At weekly obedience school (outdoor, at least 50 other dogs around, super high distraction), he is very unruly. I've used a standard choke chain, a snug prong collar, and a nylon type choke collar and none have worked. He continues to lunge at other dogs and pulls a lot. I'd like to take him on daily walks, but he pulls so much I think he might hurt himself. Will the dominant dog collar help to safely control him while walking?

His hackles are raised when transitioning from the car to the class. He so wants to play with the other dogs. He does some high pitched barking and some whining. Other class members seem fearful of him, but I believe he just wants to play (though I suppose I'm biased). When he finds a dog with similar high energy, they have a grand old time - soft biting, wrestling, pinning, being pinned. Do these behaviors indicate he is an aggressive dog?

I appreciate any assistance you can offer.

Aloha from Hawaii,
Jennifer

Answer:

Your puppy is only 4 months old and you have already used all of these collars to correct him? Dog should only receive corrections for choosing to not follow a command they 100% understand. Putting a puppy in proximity with 50 other dogs is such a high level of distraction that there are very few adult dogs that could focus in that environment. You will effectively be teaching your puppy to ignore you and will damage a relationship with him if you continue with your current line of thinking. A dominant dog collar is not the answer, backing up and teaching your puppy what you expect of him in a non distracting environment in a fair way is what will get you the results you want.

I also would NOT let him play with other puppies. Again, you are teaching him that the other puppies are more fun than you are. You are setting him up to either be dominant and pushy around other dogs, OR he will be dominated and pushed around by other dogs. Neither scenario is healthy for him. We don't allow our dogs to interact at all with any dogs from outside our family. NEVER.

My recommendations would be to stop with the group class situations until he's trained, and then use the class to proof your training. I would never ever take an untrained puppy to a class full of other untrained dogs. You are setting yourself up for problems you don't have to have.

I have raised my current dog using the following system.
Read this article on marker training first.
The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food

These videos will complement the 3 you have already ordered.

You can see lots of video of this system at work with untrained dogs and puppies. We have tons of free streaming video.

I don't feel there is a better way to train dogs than this.

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


Question:

Hello,

Firstly thank you for your amazingly informative website.

I am following your advice with my puppy but I have one question - you advise against dog parks and I completely agree, I find the atmosphere of dog parks potentially explosive and therefore quite unnerving. So how do I socialize my puppy if I cannot allow her to meet strange dogs?

Suzie

Answer:

Most people have the wrong idea about what socializing means when it comes to dogs. Socialization merely consists of exposing your dog to outside experiences, to be accepting, confident and tolerant. It doesn't mean your dog needs to actually interact with other dogs.

I take my dogs with me everywhere, but they don't interact with dogs from outside our family and I don't allow people from outside our family to pet, play with or interact with any of my dogs. They are neutral to dogs and neutral to strangers, which is the best possible behavior they could have in my experience. There is no reason for my dogs to be meeting strange dogs that may or may not be under control. I don't want my dogs thinking that every person they see is a treat or petting machine either.

I've raised my own dogs this way for years and it works out very well.


Question:

I have recently found your website and am busy devouring all the information on it.  Thank you for providing so much information on your website.  What a blessing to be able to get help and find out your approach to dog training before investing in your products.

I would like your recommendations regarding training DVDs and equipment.  In order for you to give me your opinion I’d like to tell you a little bit about our situation.

We are a family of 4 with two children ages 11 and 13.  We have a full-blooded male German Shepherd puppy that is 12 weeks old.  We got him when he was 8 weeks.  (We have no other pets.)  Although we did an enormous amount of research to prepare for his arrival and training, we have not found an approach to raising a puppy that seemed sensible (and not either extreme) until I found Leerburg.  Unfortunately, even though we’ve had good intentions I don’t think we’ve been providing the best training for our puppy and I’m afraid he is developing some bad habits.  We really want a dog that can be with us anywhere.

We do use a crate.  He is crated at night and at different times during the day.  We home school so we are home during the day.  When we are inside, we limit the puppy’s access to only two rooms of the house and make sure that someone is always keeping an eye on him.  If that is not possible we put him in his crate.  We never thought about using a leash in the house, until reading about it on your website.  We also have and outside kennel that is 10’ x 10’.  We wanted to have a safe place for the dog that would allow him to be outside more and not always in a crate in the house.

Right now, our biggest problem is the mouthing / biting.  He will get downright feisty . . . snarling, growling, barking, biting, etc.  Apparently, we haven’t trained properly but we don’t know how to correct our methods and his behavior.  Our children are nervous about being bitten.  Since he is a puppy I hesitate to say that he is aggressive or dominant, but we definitely need to stop the behavior as soon as possible.

As for on leash, I’m not sure what can be expected of a 12-week old puppy.  I don’t want to put unrealistic expectations on him, but he pulls considerably on our walks.  He came with a flat nylon collar with plastic buckle.  It will not stay up high on the neck so there is no way to give a leash pop correction.  It ends up being more of a tug.

So, here are my questions / concerns:

- What is the best way to stop the biting?
- How do we train him to walk on leash?
- Would you recommend a different collar?
- How detailed are the videos?  I want one that helps us know how to live with our dog, not just teach us tricks.
- At what age / maturity can a dog start being off-leash for training sessions or playing games like “fetch”?
- How much exercise does a puppy need?  How much should they walk?  As the puppy matures physically, how do you know when to increase walking time?
- Does one of your videos address multiple pack leaders?  We want our puppy to respect and listen to all of us.
- What kind of interaction do you think our children (who are very responsible) can have in training our dog?  I thought I heard something about them not being pack leaders at this age.  We want our children to be able to take care of, train, walk, feed, etc. our puppy right along with us.  Is that unrealistic?
- Does the training with markers video also show how to specifically train with words rather than just clickers?
- When would you recommend using the outdoor kennel versus the inside crate?
- What type of flooring do you think is best in an outdoor kennel?  We want it to be easy to clean but we also want to try to establish separate eating, sleeping, and potty areas.
- Is it possible to train a puppy / dog to stay on your property off leash?  We have 20 acres and would love to be able to eventually have the dog off-leash (always supervised) when we are outside doing things.  Is that a reasonable goal?

If these questions can be answered from your videos, please direct me to the right ones.

Also, I want to purchase some DVDs but I’m not sure what order I should purchase them in.  I was originally going to purchase one of the puppy bundles, but now I’m just not sure which DVDs would be the best for us at this stage.  You have so many DVDs that sound like they could help us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this note.  I apologize for the length.  We made the decision to purchase a German Shepherd after much consideration.  We want to do the very best we can to raise our puppy the way he needs to be raised so he can be balanced and we can enjoy him.  Your methods make so much sense.

We really appreciate all the “free” help you offer on your website.  It is obvious that you want to help dogs and dog owners and not just make a sale.  Knowing where you’re coming from in terms of dog training also makes it easier for us to buy your products with confidence.

Answer:

I’m going to make some suggestions for reading material and videos.  In the meantime, most of your questions have been answered on our website. 

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

Our videos are VERY detailed; you can click on the links I am including and read what each video covers.

Here are some articles I would suggest.

http://leerburg.com/puppygroundwork.htm

http://leerburg.com/markers.htm

We also have a number of free eBooks that may interest you. 

Our marker video covers clickers and verbal markers.  I think it’s good for a trainer to be comfortable using both.  The clicker tends to be a better tool to teach good timing, because the click is always going to be more precise than your voice and the click never changes intonation or inflection.  It takes a lot of the “grey” out of the understanding from the dog.

Here are the videos I would recommend for your situation.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
Pack Structure for the Family Pet
Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months

I hope this helps. Cindy


Question:

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

Answer:

http://leerburg.com/treat.htm there’s a really good video on this page about how to choose the right treat, as well as a selection of treats we like.

For puppies, you want something small and easy to chew and swallow quickly. Here are a few that I use frequently
Soft Training Treats
Zuke's Mini Naturals
RedBarn Meat Rolls


Question:

Hello,

I have a 7 month old female Black Russian Terrier. She responds to the basic commands pretty good; however, I can’t get her to leave our 3 year old female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) alone. While the BRT is out of her kennel, we are constantly supervising her. We leave a 6 foot leather leash on her with a choke collar, and we would normally give her a sharp correction on the lease for any undesired behavior. She typically responds to this; however, in regards to the CKCS, she pretty much ignores the correction and tries to pin or mouth the little dog. Short of a strong, lift the BRT off the ground, she doesn’t respond to the lease correction.

Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated!

Regards,
Phil

Answer:

You should be constantly supervising a 7 month old puppy. I would make sure the leash is not only ON the dog but attached to you in some way.  If the CKCS is minding her own business, then keeping the puppy with you should be a great first step.  I don’t allow my puppies to interact with my adult dogs in the house (or outside), they are on leash with me and the leash is in my hand or attached to me in some way.   I have found the Buddy system works great for this.

I would make sure the older dog is not getting in the puppy’s space and causing more problems.  I make my older dogs go lay down somewhere.  The rule is “I’ll protect you from being bugged by the puppy, but you need to go lay down and mind your own business”  If your older dog won’t do this, then you may need to put the adult dog on leash ad work with her as well.

Until my puppies will listen to me 100% of the time, they are not allowed any freedom to interact with people or other dogs in the house. 

I would also teach the pup to do something positive to get your attention. Marker training is a great way to make her use her energy and curiosity in a positive manner.

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

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps. Cindy


Question:

Hi Ed,

Wanted to thank you - I am a big fan of your website and DVD offerings.

I wanted to ask your opinion on a particular stumbling point I am having with my mastiff puppy who is now 12 weeks old.  It is the steps, she seems afraid of them, and despite my coaxing with food markers refuses to follow a come command to follow me down them or even go to the top of them. Which until today, I've passed off as something she will overcome. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that she recognizes and obeys the come command in the house - with gusto (as I have been marker training come, sit and down) but refuses to come outside of the typical training period - like at the top of the stairs, or when we go outside (and she tries to lead me back in the house ) and refuses to come and follow me to go on a walk.  Often a 1 or 2 collar correction works to redirect her, for the walk - but today she ignored the command to approach the stairs. I escalated the collar correction to a 4 and she yelped but still refused. Then a six correction made her cower back to the door and yelp so I stopped, waited and just picked her up placed her on the bottom step and had her navigate down.

I'd appreciate your advice on how you would address this, as I fear I'm messing it up.

Thanks,
George

Answer:

First of all, are they open steps?  If so, they can be very intimidating and scary!  I would NOT be using corrections for her.  Correcting for fear is completely unfair and will destroy her ability to work through it.  It will also destroy her trust in you as her leader.

Many puppies that will go up steps, will be afraid to come down so realize that going up and coming down are two very different things to a pup.  Keep that in mind as you work with her.

I would get a VERY GOOD working knowledge of marker training, and work with her on things that build her confidence.  

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

Don’t expect her to go up all the steps or come down all the steps. Whenever I’ve encountered a puppy that’s worried, I take her to the very LAST step and lure them with food. Most puppies can do ONE. Once she’s doing one with confidence, then carry her and ask her to do TWO steps. This may take 5 minutes or it may take a week. Don’t rush her or force her.

I’d start by teaching her to go up, because that tends to be easier for most dogs. Going down requires more coordination.

Use the same type of thinking when you take her outside on leash, no force. Make sure she’s really hungry when you work on these things or the food will have no value.

No more corrections for anything, but especially no corrections for being unsure. That will ruin a dog’s self esteem completely, maybe for life.  


Question:

Cindy,

We just got an 8.5 week male Malinois a week ago from a reputable breeder after months of reading and watching DVDs.  We are specifically following instructions from the DVDs “Pack Structure,” “Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months” and “Raising your Working Puppy” (although we have many others).

He is a happy, energetic pup that is responding well to most pack structure exercises (doors, gates, sitting for food, etc.). However we are having difficulty in reducing/ eliminating his biting on us (nearly always brought on by excitement but sometimes just petting him with loose clothing on). We try to redirect with a toy but that rarely works. 

We’ve tried consistently holding him by the collar (supporting both sides of the head) and firmly but calmly saying “NO” (similar to what was demonstrated in the “Your Puppy…..” DVD). This approach seems to be adding energy into the dog. A tantrum could take 5 or 6 successive thirty second bouts before he finally decides the contest is over.

Recently we switched over to a slightly different approach:  put him in a down (with our hand very high/close on the lead to the flat collar) taking out all leash slack to control him while saying “No” (again firm but calm). When he relaxes a little, we relax a little until it is over. The challenge is that it is taking what seems to be an extraordinarily number of reps (each of which might be 20-30 seconds long) to get through any particular episode.

As an aside, he is getting exercise and mental stimulation (several short marker training sessions daily as well as some “pack structure” training walks to drain energy). 

As a team, we have not yet mastered the walk, he will pull ahead unless I always circle clockwise (to always keep ahead of him).  Again, we are using a flat collar and no heavy correction since he is so young (I feel however that this is pushing me more towards nagging type corrections).

Is this simply a case of staying the course (consistent and fair) and recognizing that he is just a baby having tantrums that he will eventually stop when he realizes that they get him nowhere?  This is our first Mal.

We would appreciate any suggestions.

You and Rush are and inspiration.

Thanks again,
Jim

Answer:

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the kind words about Rush and thank you for your business. We really appreciate it.

A young Malinois is challenging at best and biting is part of who they are. At only 8.5 weeks old he’s still trying to figure out how to relate to his new human family in terms that make sense to him. I have had great luck by either finding a toy that the dog really loves, and using that (at this young age) to redirect or teaching some simple behaviors with markers that I can use to redirect his energy. I’d quit trying to physically manipulate him for the biting because for some dogs it does add energy, as you’ve noticed.

I’d keep some really high value food handy and work on sit or down when you see him starting to amp up (ie as shown in The Power of Training Dogs with Food).

Hang in there, odds are it’s going to get “worse” before it gets better. You can always add some corrections later, but for now see if you can get him engaging with you in a positive manner before going to aversive methods.


Question:

Dear Ed,
 
Hello, I've been a member of your message board for years but haven't visited in a very long time. I'm writing because I've searched your site and cannot find the answer to this problem. I no longer own this puppy I'm writing about but I want to know the answer to this as it plagues me and don't want the same thing to ever happen again.
 
I was bitten by my 16 week old standard poodle puppy. Here's what happened. I wanted to show standard poodles and sought out a breeder that had quality dogs to purchase a puppy from. I felt like I had found one in the breeder I got J from and was really excited to get my puppy from her. Seeing pictures of the litter online I had picked a black bitch but after meeting her and seeing how aloof she was to me the stranger and knowing that she was absolutely horrible on the grooming table for this breeder that was also a professional groomer, I changed my mind to a blue male. She wanted to wait until a professional handler had the opportunity to go over the litter first before sending my puppy home to me. So she had this handler go over the litter and I ended up with a male that neither of us had looked at for me but one I felt was very nice in conformation. I was very pleased with the puppy I picked up, he was 12 weeks old when I picked him up. Things seemed fine when we came home. I had some issues with him housebreaking from the start. I could gate him in the kitchen and he would pee at least 2 or 3 times in a 30 minute period of time even after being taken out. I introduced him to the standard that I already had and he peed on himself. I had issues brushing him, touching him on certain areas of his body and disciplining him at all as he would cringe away from a brush or turn away from playing if you touched him on the back of his legs. He would cry out if you touched him or grabbed him too quickly. Example, I had my older male on a leash and the puppy was just free to be out with us in the yard. The puppy was jumping on my male (puppy had a habit of obsessively licking my male on the chin to show submission) and I had to grab him away so my male could urinate and when I did that he cried out as if I had hurt him. 
 
The day he bit me was a Sunday. I tried to keep up with my grooming on Sundays. I put him on the grooming table and shaved his face and then put him up in his crate to have breakfast before finishing. After breakfast I went to get him and he wouldn't come out of the crate. I reached into the crate to pull him forward to lift him up. When I had both hands on the upper part of his legs he started to cry out as if I was hurting him. I let go of one of my hands to look down and see if he had gotten a nail caught in the crate and he reached down and bit me on the other hand (a strike that left 3 puncture wounds on my hand). All of this happened in seconds. I still groomed him afterwards. After this happened the breeder wanted him back. She felt like I had no desire to keep him and she ended up placing him in a family with an autistic child and she claims he's doing wonderfully to discredit me. She felt from the time I told her about the situation, that I had done something to cause this puppy to bite me and make him fearful of me. I had a friend that knows how to temperament test puppies come by and take him away from the house and temperament test him at 16 weeks. He scored mostly 2s. He wouldn't follow her, showed no interest in chasing an object, and shied away from any contact with her. In her observation there wasn't much bond between the two of us and he didn't seem to care whether he was interacting with the humans in the room or not. 
 
Anyway, I want to know the reason this puppy bit me. He was 16 weeks at the time and had been living with us for 4 weeks. If it was my fault, I want to know what I did to cause it. I have never had this happen to me ever and want to make sure it doesn't again. I now own a new puppy that doesn't have this submissive type behavior and has been a good puppy to deal with so far. I look forward to hearing from you and learning more about this situation from a true professional that I respect a great deal. 

Sincerely,
Kristy

Answer:

Read this article on Puppy Biting.

It sounds to me like your puppy was afraid of you.  Doing a temperament test a16 weeks won’t really tell you anything useful, that test (probably the Volhard PAT test) is meant to be given to pups around 49 days old.  Whether your puppy was genetically fearful, improperly socialized or if you handled him incorrectly is impossible to determine from an email.   It’s possible the two of you just didn’t “click” or you may have unintentionally intimidated him. 

If you get a new puppy, I’d make sure you read this article on The Groundwork to Becoming Your Puppy's Pack Leader.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Hello. We have a 13 week old german shepherd female that we got one week ago. She is wonderful - a bit high strung, however. I ordered your puppy DVD, pack leader DVD, and obedience DVD yesterday. I'm looking forward to getting them. I do have one question and I can't find the answer posted on your website or forum, so I decided to email you. At what age is a good time to train a puppy to an underground fence? We have the fence on the perimeter of our 5 acre property and have our other dog, an australian shepherd, trained to it already. I don't want to start training her to the fence too early and make her skittish but I also am eager to get her trained to it so we can let her out of her kennel.....any advice would be appreciated. 

Thank you.
Sheila

Answer:

I wouldn’t be in a hurry to train her to the underground fence. The reason is that puppies need us to monitor them when they are outside, to prevent them from getting into things they shouldn’t (ie chewing the siding, digging up landscaping, etc..). I want my puppies to be completely housetrained and to be responsive to me under distraction before I would give them that kind of freedom. The age for that varies, but for my own puppies, it would likely be a minimum of a year old and could be longer.

Giving a young dog access to 5 acres alone goes against all the leadership I want to offer to my dogs. 

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

First of all, thanks so much for always responding to my emails. I have another question concerning our 5 month old Cane Corso pup. I have read the new ebook on socializing. I desperately want to get him 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 if we don't know any dogs that would ignore our pup and not immediately try to play with him?

Also, I was out with him this week when we saw another puppy (who seemed to be acting very neutral and was not real close). Our pup first barked at him seemingly in a playful way, but he leaned out to catch the dog's scent and then barked again. This time his bark seemed more defensive but I can't be completely sure since he can sound pretty serious and ferocious when he is just playing. What should my reaction be if he does bark at another dog(when the other dog is not close) and it seems to be more defensive in nature?

Thanks so much for all you guys do, we would be lost on our own! We are going to get the competition tracking DVD soon and see how he does tracking. It seems like it would be really fun and I think he would really enjoy it.

Would it hurt for us to play hide and seek in the house with him at this point in time? Our house is pretty small.

Shelly

Answer:

I'd work more on getting your puppy engaged with you, so you are more interesting than anything in the environment. With a puppy of 5 months, I'd be redirecting him to me and playing with and interacting with me when he got distracted.

I would read our article on training dogs with Markers. I'd also recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Markers and The Power of Training Dogs with Food.

Playing hide and seek is a great game to play with dogs, I say go for it! :)

Cindy


Question:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I recently purchased and watched your DVDs, Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months and Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet. I also was on your website and read an e-book on socializing puppies. I am left with an unanswered question, which is why I am hoping you will respond to my e-mail.

I have a 17 week old female German Shepherd puppy. I purchased her at 8 weeks of age from a breeder in Ohio who also does a lot of work with breeding and training dogs for police agencies. My puppy is from 'East German' bloodlines and well recommended from the breeder.  

My problem is this:  the puppy appears to be 'head shy' of strangers. I have started walking her in town (a small town) and even after having people walking by give her a treat, when they attempt to pet her on the top of her head, she pulls back. After a couple seconds of them talking to her, she seems fine but never really takes to being petted by them. However she never has had her tail between her legs. Today she did bark at two women who were talking to her.

I have taken her to my children's school almost every day that I have owned her (except for one week when I was sick). She seems fine with the children (other than wanting to jump on them), but will occasionally get like I described above and is like that with some of the adults there.

I have five children, ages 7 - 15. She is fine with them - except she does try jumping a lot, especially with the 7 and 9 year olds. She is fine with my husband for the most part, but would prefer to be with me (I am a stay at home mom) as I am with her the most. We also have a 2 year old West Highland White terrier that she is fine with, but I mostly keep separated as they play fight almost constantly when together.

My question is this: given her breed, is this behavior something to be concerned with?  I feel I am spending most of my day trying to 'socialize' her (between taking her out for walks and to the school and basic work as described in your DVD). Do you have any suggestions or thoughts on how I should proceed?  Last Saturday she started a 'puppy kindergarten' class that appears to have the same philosophy as you. The trainer is certified. She seems to think the puppy will be fine - she said that's how German Shepherds are. However I would like your opinion based on any information I can give you, I am trying to prevent anything from getting out of control before it's too late. My fear is that I may have waited too long.

Any input is much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Mary

Answer:

Why are you encouraging people to touch your puppy? Why are you having strangers give your dog treats? If you read this, our definition of socializing does not include allowing non family members to touch or feed our dogs.   

I’d recommend re-reading the article. By putting your puppy in the position of having people touch her, you are likely to create a problem where there doesn’t need to be one. She’s clearly not interested in being touched by other adults, so be a good pack leader and offer her leadership and guidance and keep people out of her space.

You have been doing the opposite of what we recommend with your puppy.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

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?  

Thank you for your time,

Rachael

Answer:

It would be irresponsible to suggest that a dog or puppy can prevent a child from getting too close to water. 

Train the dog to be a good family member and supervise your kids personally. Please do not expect a dog to do a human’s job, there is too much at stake.

We have a number of free resources on the website to teach you how to train your puppy, I would recommend learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a very "happy" 3 month old puppy who is exceedingly friendly towards "strangers" but not as "ecstatic" with me.  He wags his tail a bit and tries to "kiss me" when I carry him out to 'go potty' but he does not get excited and shows little interest in "cuddling" with me. I'd like to "cuddle" him more - hold and pet him calmly. Although this question seems trivial at first glance, it is VERY important to me because I've had a VERY tough time with him these last several weeks and I had considered returning him. However, it's getting much better now - I get to sleep overnight :-). We both know pups are A LOT of work so  I'd like to get some "reward" in response. Perhaps your answer is as simple since he's a puppy, has lots of energy and doesn't want to sit and is very inquisitive in his surroundings. Either way, I'd appreciate your expert opinion. I don't want him to be more friendly towards others and not as affectionate with me!

Thanks so much!

Answer:

Not all dogs are cuddlers, and it’s something you can’t force on a puppy or dog. 

I’d read the article Ed wrote on The Groundwork to Becoming your Puppy’s Pack Leader. Show him leadership and structure and as he gets older he may look to you for more physical affection. He also may not. 

Think of this from the dog’s point of view. For dogs, the one seeking the cuddling is usually the subordinate, not the leader. By trying to get him to cuddle he may be looking at you as a follower.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hello Cindy I have two questions:

1. My nine week old puppy acts like he is scared of walking on the leash. He will walk for about a minute then sit and won't go anymore. He would rather let the chain choke him then come. If I pick him up and walk a few feet and put him down he will again walk for about a minute then do the same thing. He has a lot of energy and I want to drain some by walking but I get no where.

When I'm in my back yard and I let go of the leash, he will follow me anywhere I go. It's like he wants to be in control. Any suggestions?

2. It rained for the first time since I got my dog and he doesn't want to go out when the grass is wet. I try to take him to potty outside but he will sit at the door trying to get back in. I drag him into the grass and he just shakes. He barely wants to put his paws down. But he will potty when I put him back in the crate. It drives me crazy, What would you do?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Answer:

This is a really normal thing for puppies. I answer this question a few times a week, if you search the website you'll find a lot of answers. I use marker training and teach the dog to follow me for a treat. I'm raising an 8 week old puppy right now, and she caught on to this in about 5 minutes.

I'd recommend our article on training dogs with Markers. I'd also recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Markers and The Power of Training Dogs with Food.

As for the wet grass, remember that he is a baby and this will pass. I use a small harness and leash and I stay out there with the puppy. You can also use markers to reward him for walking in the wet grass. Make sure you keep him from leaving the area, if you are persistent enough he'll eventually pee out there and then you praise like crazy and let him go back in. I'm dealing with the same thing, it's been storming here like crazy the last few days.

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

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hello Cindy:

Thank you very much  in advance for your reply. It always helps me. I am a new trainer and tend to get ahead of myself in the training.

Your answers put me back into reality :) Thank you for that!

Our 7 and 1/2 months old GSD Emma is doing great on her raw natural diet. She made the switch "cold turkey" without a problem.

Everything is just like the book says; less drinking etc. However 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.

Also I was using the Orbee ball (Large 4") to play with her and my wife used the tennis ball last weekend.

Now she starts to prefer the tennis ball. I know the tennis balls are not good. Is there any chemical that may have the "addiction" effect on her or is it just the size of the ball causing the preference? She is more alert and actively searching for the tennis ball. We do not let her have it and chew on it.

Thank you again and have a nice day.

Sincerely,
Robert

Answer:

Hi Robert,

I’m glad to hear Emma is doing well on the raw diet. Giving her occasional ice cubes is not a problem. My dogs enjoy chasing them around in their wading pool and I’ll flip each of them a couple when we are outside. It’s not something I would give in excess, but as an occasional thing I don’t see a problem.

If you use the tennis ball occasionally, the same rules apply. The glue that is used in tennis balls is very abrasive to the teeth though, which is why we don’t recommend them.  The smaller size orbee may appeal to Emma more though, I use the medium size for my dogs.  I believe it’s a little easier on the teeth.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy,

You probably recall me ordering various DVDs training last June. 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. No amount of encouragement or treats works. He is okay to walk in the park or in our back garden but becomes a problem when we take him out on the street. I wonder if you have a suggestion on how to deal with this problem.

Kind regards.
Armando

Answer:

This is a common problem with puppies. If you do some searching on the website you will see that this question has been answered quite a bit. 

I’d use food to manage his anxiety, and move far enough back from the street so he will take treats. If he’s too worried to take the treats, then he’s not ready for that level of distraction yet and you need to back up your training. Don’t force him. This is a gradual process for some pups.

If you don’t make this a big deal and back off putting him in such a high stress situation, he should come out of it just fine. A lot of puppies are worried about traffic at first.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I hope it´s not too bold to bother you but I don´t know anybody else to ask. A lot of people claim be dog experts but don´t know much. I have been a follower of your podcasts and website and hope you can give me some advise.

I was waiting for a puppy from a breeder whom I chose carefully. Today the puppies were born - unfortunately just three, 1 female, 2 males.

I had decided to take a male and I´m in second place to choose on the breeder´s list, with just two male puppies that means I cannot choose at all. Now I am concerned that I will get the alpha male and I just don´t know... A lot of people told me always to be careful to avoid the alpha male of a litter, but I would like to hear your opinion.

Both father and mother of the puppies are very kind dogs, neither aggressive or dominant. But one of the 2 male puppies will definitely be an alpha dog. My first (and only) dog was extremely soft and it was rather a problem to give her more confidence than constituting my position.

Mostly I will be the only person living with the dog, I don´t see a problem at all in conducting a consistent education or constituting my position, but my goal is to achieve an easy and relaxed relationship between me and my dog, not an eternal struggle for keeping the predominance.

To cut the long story shorter: Can an alpha dog - in the hand of the right owner - become a nice and uncomplicated family dog and travel companion, nice and friendly with people and other dogs?
Or will he all the time try to subordinate me in order to become the pack leader finally?

I hope it´s okay to ask you for your opinion and it would be great if you could find the time to answer my question.

Answer:

First of all, there is no guarantee that one of the male pups will be the "alpha" in the litter. How puppies interact with each other in a litter really doesn't have anything to do with how they will interact with their human family once they leave the litter. I've seen pups that were the top dog in a litter be submissive with humans and vice versa.

All pups have a genetic tendency towards whatever their finished temperament and personality will be, but you can certainly mold behaviors through raising and training a puppy correctly.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi there!
 
I am a stay at home mom to two young daughters, and mom/sister to my younger brother. I am also happily married to my husband for 5 years now. We decided that we were ready for a dog. Boy, was I wrong. Lol. I am writing because I have a few concerns with our new pup, Roxy. Roxy has been a good dog. I have been doing lots of research on how I can make life most enjoyable for the both of us. She has done well with potty training, basic obedience, etc. I just found your site tonight, and tomorrow I will start implementing all of the things I have been reading about. I have NOT been my dogs pack leader, and that will change. As soon as I can, I will order the DVD pack. However, in the meantime, I have a few questions I would like set straight that I haven't quite been able to answer myself by reading your articles.
 
Roxy has growled at a few people. The first instance was my mother. She came to drop something off at my house, my mom approached Roxy (who was half asleep laying on my chest as I was reading about how to train her lol), and Roxy began to growl. My mom moved her hand away, and I knew enough to verbally correct Roxy. A firm "no," and the growling ceased. However, when my mom moved her hand back in, Roxy again growled. This time when my mom moved her hand back, she began barking. A little shocked, I corrected her, and left it be. I wasn't sure how exactly to finish handling the situation and didn't want to cause more harm than good. So, I rushed to the pit bull forum I have been frequenting, posted, and a member responded by telling me that she felt Roxy had temperament issues. That she had fear aggression, and that this is a big problem. She mentioned a few techniques to get Roxy to "like" my visitors. At the time it was an isolated incident. Roxy usually greets visitors with a happy, eager demeanor.
 
The second instance was with a neighborhood kid that ran up to pet Roxy. She came from around the corner, encountered my brother walking Roxy to use the restroom, and ran up to pet her. The moment she went to pet Roxy, she responded with a growl. My brother told her not to pet the dog, and continued on their walk.
 
So, my real question is, is this member on the forum correct? Is this a temperament issue with Roxy? Will this continue on, and will this become a larger problem regardless of training? After reading some groundwork articles on your site, I feel that Roxy growled because she felt that she needed to defend herself because her pack leader wasn't doing it for her. I failed to let her know that I was in charge, I failed to let the person know not to touch my dog. This was me, not Roxy. This is not necessarily a temperament issue that can't be fixed with more proper socialization (which we ARE working on, however, I feel like my hands are a little tied because of the fact that her shots aren't complete yet), and me becoming the pack lead I am supposed to be.
 
I appreciate your time and your advice. I look forward to hearing your reply.
 
Thank you so much,
Amber

Answer:

There is no way that anyone can tell you with complete certainty that your pup has a temperament issue from a post on a forum.  (especially people who may lack experience with dogs and puppies as they grow and develop) there are a lot of internet “dog trainers” out there who have no business giving advice.

I’d read the article Ed wrote on The Groundwork to Becoming your Puppy’s Pack Leader. You can read this to get our definition of socializing. Socialization does NOT mean letting all kinds of people touch your dog!

it sounds to me like your puppy may be a bit fearful or lack confidence, which can escalate to a bigger problem if handled the wrong way. It can also be a completely normal “phase” that some puppies go through. Like I stated before, no one can tell you with absolute certainty from an email or post on a forum.

I think you would benefit from watching this 3 part free video on fearful dogs & puppies.
http://leerburg.com/playem.htm?name=flv/fear-period.flv
http://leerburg.com/playem.htm?name=flv/sharp-shy-dogs2.flv
http://leerburg.com/playem.htm?name=flv/sharp-shy-dogs3.flv

I would also recommend Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

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

Cindy Rhodes

Thanks:

Cindy,
 
Thank you so much! I actually watched/read every single link that you just gave me over the past two days. In just the two days that we have been working with her, I have seen major improvements. I finally got her to walk down the stairs of our home. She was so proud of herself afterwards. Thank you so much for your website, and all the help. I have learned SO much, and I am confident that Roxy is going to be everything she can be because we are following the advice you have given us.
 
Thank you again,
Amber 


Question:

Cindy,

I've read all of the articles on your site and have viewed the "Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months" DVD.  My puppy has been through groundwork, is crated, and is always on leash.  I always make him/wait sit before we go thru doorways BUT...

Lately, he has been going wild on me when I take him out to my yard. After he does his outside potty business he will run at me at top speed and bounce off me. Sometimes he will come with mouth open and clamp on my arm (but not hard). When I try a leash pop correction this wild behavior doesn't stop. It seems like he wants to rough house play and loses it!

Then, as soon as I walk him to the door back inside he immediately calms and is submissive. What is this new outside strange behavior towards me?

Thank you,
Kelly

Answer:

Without seeing this, it’s hard to say but it sounds like he’s just trying to instigate some play or action. Since you know when he’s going to do it, change the picture for the dog. Keep him on leash and as soon as you see his intent to approach ask him to come to you and sit for a food reward or a toy and then YOU initiate the play. Interrupt him, don’t wait until he’s already running at you to try to stop it.

If you let it continue, he’ll get pushier and pushier. 

When you know what’s going to happen, then it only makes sense to take control of the situation before it even begins. Training puppies is all about managing the environment to your advantage.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Looking at all your videos and wondering do any tell an owner at what age can a german shepherd puppy do stairs?

Also how much running inside the house can they do? Our puppy is 12 weeks old and loves to chase the red laser light with our cat.  Great exercise but don't want to over do it.

Thank you for your thoughts,
Judy

Answer:

We teach all our puppies to do stairs, as soon as we bring them in the house (at 7-8 weeks) they may need some encouragement or luring w/ food.  It’s typically easier for them to go up the stairs, coming down is a different skill and can be more difficult for them.

We *just* redid our video Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months and there is a large section on puppy exercise in this video.

 I will caution you against using a laser light with your dog. This can (and likely will) turn into obsessive compulsive behavior.  We always advise people to avoid doing this, you can read about it on our website if you use the search function in the upper left corner of our website, type in LASER and you’ll get a lot of info.   Here’s just one link I found http://leerburg.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=166180

You can also search our website for puppy exercise info.

The new puppy video will be available starting tomorrow, if you place an order online just type in the comments section “please send new version of the puppy video when it’s available”

I have added you to our email newsletter list. Each semi-weekly newsletter has a free streaming training video. If you don’t want to get it – just click the opt-out at the top of every newsletter.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hello,

I have a 10 month old female Akita that I acquired from my daughter when the puppy was 4-5 months old. My daughter owns the parents and they are both finished AKC champions with champion bloodlines. She sold all of her puppies on a spay/neuter contract, but couldn't sell the one I have now, partly because it's a long hair which is "undesirable" for the breed. The puppy went to one other foster home while my daughter tried finding a good home for it, but that lady had no idea how to raise a puppy and let it do whatever it wanted, so my daughter took the puppy back. She didn't have room for it with her two other dogs and asked if I would foster it for a while, that way she knew she was in good hands and could come see her whenever she wanted. I ended up falling in love with her and keeping her for myself.

This dog has the best temperament in the world and is friendly to EVERYONE, but her behavior is absolutely outrageous! She has completely destroyed the backyard. We have a pond and she has moved the rocks and dug up the lining, including digging at the wires for the pump. She has dug holes, dug up tree roots, and plants. She chewed up all the drip system and pulls things off of the tables and chews up the hose. When she is inside at night, she has chewed up throw rugs, throw pillows, shoes, etc. We have purchased toys and bones for her to appease her when we are not here. However, she completely rips apart her toys and it's a waste of money. She also just ends up digging more holes because she wants to burry her bones and she even tries burying her bones in the house. 

We aren't here all day every day, but when we are, she is in the house with us. We walk her every day and we have tried to get her toys and things to keep her company while we are gone, but she is just destructive. She also runs away if not on a leash, which my daughter says is in the Akita's breed description because they are very stubborn and have a mind of their own. My daughter says ever since she was a puppy she was the trouble maker. She was the first one of her sisters to figure out how to get out of her whelping box and climb over the 4 foot fence she was in. She also got a pitch fork stuck through her paw somehow, she is always getting into things....

Please HELP... we have just recently put up a kennel in the backyard which is a 10 X 10, however, we are concerned she will dig out from under the fence and get out or start whining a whole bunch. My last resorts are shock collar and electric fence and if that doesn't work I just can't keep her. I am renting this house and she has already caused thousands of dollars worth of damage. I love her and I want to keep her, but I can't afford her destructive behavior. I don't have the time or money for obedience classes, so that is out of the question. If I can't get her behavior taken care of I'm going to have to give her to someone who owns a ranch and can spend more time with her if that's what she is lacking.  

Karen

Answer:

Very few puppies can be left to their own devices all day. They need mental and physical stimulation. This means training, appropriate exercise and a safe place to be contained when you can’t supervise.

Raising dogs properly requires time, effort and money, there are no shortcuts.

If you don’t have the resources, it would be the kindest thing to rehome the dog with someone who can give her what she needs.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi,

I would like to ask you a question about my dog. I don't know if it is okay with you but I need your experience. I have a dog who is 15 weeks old  and I don't know why, but when she eat a lot of protein like hot dog sausage for treat or other treat, my dog have diarrhea few hours later. Do you know why or what can I give for my dog for treat? The vet. don't know why and she's only thinking the dog have fragile intestine. My dog is a female Amstaff.

I will appreciate a lot your answer and I thank you for your products. I have made 2 command and your products is a very good quality.

I wish you a good day.

Answer:

It may be that some of the ingredients in hot dogs or other treats are the problem, not the actual protein.

I’ve had good luck using boiled chicken breast for dogs with sensitive stomachs. You can cook a number of chicken breasts, cut into small pieces and then store in the freezer for future use.

We have a short video on the website about high value food rewards for dogs. This may help too.

Cindy Rhodes

Reader Comment:

Hi Cindy,

I am a big fan and avid reader of your site and newsletters, and I just couldn’t help but comment on one of the featured question/answers from yesterday.

For the person with the 15 week old Amstaff, I agree that it is probably the ingredients. To take it a step further though, what you really have to watch out for is these types of food (hot dogs, sausage etc…) tend to have onion or onion powder in them, which can be very toxic to dogs from what I understand.  Especially in a small, young pup it doesn’t take much to make them sick.  I just thought it might be helpful to pass that along… Onion and onion powder are in more things than I ever would have thought.

Melissa


Question:

Hi,

I have a quick question... I really value your advice! I have a 14 week GSD puppy named Leo that I've had since 9 weeks. I'm following all your advice and it's going great. He's very outgoing, LOVES people, very very mouthy, extremely smart... learns QUICK! I take him for walks on busy streets and he's great, ok with trucks, Harleys... random noises. Sometimes when he sees something he doesn't recognize he'll get cautious, but then plug forward bravely to check it out. I'll drop a book near his crate when he's sleeping and he'll raise his head, stretch, yawn... and go back to sleep. Nothing startles him in the house... so I don't think he has weak nerves. He's definitely a hard puppy... and responding amazing to the marker training. 

The problem the other day was that I took him on a walk and stopped by my neighbors house. Her 12 year old aussie dog was out on the yard and they like to play. (It's the kind of dog you recommend for a puppy to play with). He hasn't played with her for about a week or 2, and when he saw her... he stood back and barked like crazy, fur up on his back! I thought... sh*t!  What do I do now??? Correct him? Is he too young? I didn't know! Help! I wasn't expecting this! So I said no a few times, popped his leash, tried to redirect his attention, but he was obviously on alarm... and after a minute he settled and they sniffed and then played for about 10 minutes. I continued on the walk to a very busy part of town and he did great... very brave little guy. But this alarmed me. What should I do next time he acts like that??? I have to mention the day before I took him to a street that had a lot of obnoxious dogs barking to desensitize him and I realized he wasn't ready for that street... I couldn't redirect his attention, and the treats definitely were not high value enough. I thought maybe he got a little rattled from all of the barking the day before and was on guard with this old dog because of that...? My intention is for this dog to be calm around dogs... what should I do for a puppy so young when he acts aggressively like this, especially to a dog he already knows? Is he too young to correct? If not, what's the best way to correct him? I DEFINITELY don't want to encourage barking or aggression. I have to add that he saw a few more dogs on our walk that were well behaved and they were basically invisible to him. There was one house that had a barking dog behind a gate and I had a really hard time redirecting his attention (I even brought steak but it barely worked. He ate it but looked VERY nervous). What can you tell me about desensitizing him to dogs barking... it's the biggest stress for him. I loose his attention immediately. Could this be a bad, early warning sign of something in his temperament? He's honestly great in all other respects... just "odd" around dogs and dog noises. Thank you so much :) 

-JoAnna

Answer:

This is a pretty normal puppy reaction. You will find he goes through a lot of stages and ‘fear’ periods. It’s really best to redirect him if you can, and now that you know he’s a bit reactive make sure to keep him at enough distance from things like this in the future while you work on engagement. He’s really young so I don’t blame him for being a bit worried about strange dogs YELLING, it’s a pretty typical reaction.

I think you would benefit from watching this 3 part free video on fearful dogs & puppies.
Fear Period in Young Dogs: Part 1
Fear Period in Young Dogs: Part 2
Fear Period in Young Dogs: Part 3

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy and  Ed,

I love everything you guys do with dogs, but 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? Please advise!  

Answer:

Pack structure exists in some form right away, from the time puppies start interacting with their environment.

I’d read the article Ed wrote on The Groundwork to Becoming your Puppy’s Pack Leader.

I’d also refer to Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months.

Raising puppies is all about gently teaching them your rules without them even knowing they are learning.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy and Ed,

I love everything you guys do with dogs, but 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? Please advise!   

Answer:

Pack structure exists in some form right away, from the time puppies start interacting with their environment.

I’d read the article Ed wrote on The Groundwork to Becoming your Puppy’s Pack Leader.

I’d also refer to Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months.

Raising puppies is all about gently teaching them your rules without them even knowing they are learning.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes



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