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February 13, 2012
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The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Training Dogs
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How to Hold and Deliver Food Rewards

How to Hold and Deliver Food Rewards

The foundation of Michael Ellis' system is covered in The Power of Training Dogs with Food. For new handlers using food to motivate and reward their dogs can be a trying situation. New handlers must learn how hold the food, how to not drop the food, and how not to get bit.

February 13, 2012 | 3 Minutes, 8 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A

Question: We have a 4 1/2 year old GSD and just had a baby 6 weeks ago. We've kept the two completely separated so far, but I'm wondering how to start introducing the two.

Ed and Cindy -

My wife and I got our first GSD 4 1/2 years ago (I got her BH last year and I've done some SHZ with a local club) and we are in love with the breed and will forever have a GSD. She is 4 1/2, our only pet, high drive and very obedient that primarily stays outside but a huge part of the family! We've trained her to be very calm in the house and has her "place" as you call it (dog mat) in the house where we allow her to come in the evenings, but she isn't allowed anywhere else in the house. We started doing this when she was a puppy after watching your videos. The background was so that you understand that this is a very obedient dog (but inherent high drive, SH3 parents), and to tell you this...we had our first child 6 weeks ago. We have not allowed our dog in the house for these 6 weeks to limit the germs (I know, we're overprotective) and it's killing me! I've done all of her training through your videos (which are awesome) and a ton of reading.... like everything else we've done with her, we want to introduce them and do this the right way. Any guidance on how this process should work and when to first introduce and progress? I'm thinking of starting with walks together with stroller when it warms up for baby so our dog can start smelling the baby without being sedentary. While I'm giving the background, let me also say that we're not stupid and I'm not about to leave my newborn with a GSD no matter how trained she is; however, we want our dog to understand what's going on and not snowball to become unbelievably jealous once they are around each other more. Read and watched seemingly every training book/video for GSD, Schutzhund and Obedience along with every baby book, but nothing to mesh the two!!! We are huge on preparation and doing things the right way and this is no different!

Thanks in advance, you guys are great.... I've used your website and videos from the time I started considering a GSD when I was finishing college, choosing a breeder, buying a GSD, training and now through a new stage.




First thanks for your business and kind words.

I wrote a very very good article on how to handle newborn babies and dogs. Go and read it. Don’t try and re-invent the game here and second guess what to do.

I always tell people that everyone you talk to is going to have an opinion on how to deal with your dog in different situations, the problem is that less than 1% of them has the experience to offer sound advice. Fact is this also includes many people involved in the sport of Schutzhund. Just because people train in the sport doesn’t mean they are experts in behavioral issues.

In my opinion the concept of dogs and babies is the dog needs to earn that the baby is 1000% off limits. If I had to give an example it would be the same as saying “the dog is never allowed to jump up on the kitchen counter.” You wouldn’t let the dog jump up and smell what’s on the counter – and you don’t allow the dog to go over and smell the baby. Trust me then can smell it from across the room. That’s enough.

Use your walks with the baby and dog (with the dog wearing a prong collar and dominant dog collar) to teach the dog that the baby is OFF LIMITS. If it tried to smell it gets a verbal correction and if need be a physical correction.

When the dog is in the house, it should always have a drag leash on it.

As time goes by you are going to get a feel for how much you relax the rules. When I speak of time, this means years, not weeks or months.

I will also say that its just as important to teach the baby, when its much older, that it is not allowed to harass the dog. This is something that many, many, many parents just can’t wrap their mind around.

Good luck.

Ed Frawley

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Kids & Dogs.


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 Search Engine. This search engine was written specifically for Leerburg by our in house IT manager. Our search engine is specific to Leerburg and only searches leerburg.com and the Leerburg web forum. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at cindyr@leerburg.com. If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments


After reading the latest article about isolation and walking the dog without distraction, I wanted to give a recommendation.

I take my 4-yr old GSD for a one to two mile walk each night through an industrial park near my house ((too many stupid owners whose dogs “just want to say hi” in my neighborhood)).

Yes, we have to get in the car and drive a couple of minutes, but we NEVER see people or dogs. Occasionally a police car will pass by and they might stop and chat for a few minutes, but for the most part, they just drive by and waive.

If it is available, it’s a great place to walk and not be bothered.

Cindy's Response:

Good advice Mike, thanks for writing.

I also have been known to load my dogs up and drive somewhere dog free in order to avoid the dumb owners who won’t control their dogs. When I visit my parents I load my dogs up and drive about 5 miles out of town to a big park that is almost always deserted. Their neighborhood is packed with houses and random loose dogs, it’s just not worth it for me to walk my dogs there. I’d rather drive a bit and have a relaxing walk. J

The industrial park is a great idea.

Cindy Rhodes

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A tutorial on how to use Leerburg's Video on Demand program. We cover the basics on navigating the website, finding free and paid videos, including troubleshooting issues that you may stumble upon. We want you to maximize your experience here on Leerburg's Video on Demand and take advantage of the features we have to offer.

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This a a purely practical course for those that have taken our Advanced Obedience class. Advanced Obedience is very compressed course (like most of our classes) that covers our approach to teaching exercises, but leaves insufficient time for heavy practice. Read more.

More details on courses, course content and dates available on Michael's website.

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