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  January 17, 2013
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Michael Ellis Plays Tug

Michael Ellis Plays Tug

Michael Ellis demonstrates proper technique for playing tug with Lisa's dog, Ize. This video footage was filmed in December 2012 at the end of Michael Ellis's e-collar class that was hosted at Leerburg. These skills are taught in the the video The Power of Playing Tug.

January 17, 2013   |   3 Minutes, 44 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A
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Question: I'm having problems with duration in the platz (down). After the food is gone my dog wants to pop up.

I have a 1 year old GSD and is very high drive. temperament is mild. I am having a problem with duration in platz. After the food is gone he wants to pop up. This has been going on for a few weeks. Recently I held the lead on the ground after he finished and he started screaming. Any help moving forward ?

Cindy's Response:

Duration is built through thoughtful use of rewards. Holding him down with the leash will only make him unsure, it won’t teach him that you want him to stay down.

I’d go back to paying him for staying down and eventually modifying your reward schedule. This is covered in Finishing Work.

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Finishing Work.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Newsletter Video from Monday

Hi Cindy,

I just saw Michael Ellis's video in today's newsletter, and had to both smile and sigh. Kaja, my 5.5 year old (European show line) GSD, is a highly excitable dog. She can go from zero to ninety in about a split second. If Kaja gets highly excited, she screams. She doesn't bark, or howl, or whine, or whimper; she shrieks and screams like a dog that's been hit by a car and is dying in pain and fear (which I have heard, unfortunately). I'm glad we live at the end of a dirt road - otherwise, people might think I'm beating her to death!

Kaja knows the routine when it's a work day; I swear she can tell my work clothes (dress pants) from my home clothes (jeans). If I'm going to work, as I'm putting on my coat I'll say "Kaja must stay" and she's quiet and just watches me leave (sadly). But if it's not a work day and I sit down to put on my socks, or put on jeans in the morning - which I would obviously never do if I wasn't going to take her for a walk and/or throw the ball - or if one of our regular visitors comes over who has ever played with her - then it's Shrieky at her high volume. I don't think she can help it. And it's not food motivated; she couldn't care less about food. It's all about the ball. A stick is a poor substitute, but she'll still shriek for it.

If she's just eager, or angling for attention, then it's just whining sub-vocalizations, but even then I think it's involuntary. Once, at the door to go outside she was shrieking and being an idiot. I put her in a down-stay and turned my back on her and ignored her - for 45 minutes. She never stopped whining.

I learned long ago that the way to manage this dog is to manage her excitement. I would have taught her a solid down-stay anyway, but it has served very well. She *can* control her behavior; she *will* keep the down-stay - but not silently! Sometimes I don't release her till after she gives up, finally flops on her side, and goes to sleep. But I cannot seem to repress her vocalizations. In another life this might have been an issue, had I pursued a sport or competition activity with her. Now it's just annoying (no, not cute!).

But I still love her :-)

The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

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