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Leerburg.com February 14, 2011
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Michael Ellis on Bad Behavior in our Dogs

In today's video, we will break into the middle of a training session in which Michael is helping our friend, Pat, with her young German Shepherd.

Michael is helping Pat train positions (sit, down and stand) when her dog starts to misbehave - jumping up on her and barking. You will listen to Michael talk to Pat about how she needs to handle this behavior and correct it now before it gets worse. He also explains how he handles this issue with his 8 week old puppies.
February 14, 2011 | 4 Minutes, 59 Seconds

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Dog Bite

To view these dog bite photos, click here.
Warning: these photos are very graphic!

We are always looking for photos of people who have been bitten by their dogs while trying to break up a dog fight. If you send us photos and the story on how the accident happened we will put them on our website with the hope that your mistakes will help other people realize how dangerous it is to try and break up a dog fight the wrong way.

Dog Bite:

Hi. My name is Shawn and the other day while trying to break up a dog fight, I was bitten by my Shepherd. I was searching around the net to research how to effectively stop a fight if it happens again since we have decided to keep both of the dogs involved. I noticed in your article that you asked for pics, and since mine is pretty severe, I wanted to send you a pic.

Thank you for posting that article, you taught me a lot, like the first thing I did wrong was try to break up two very powerful Shepherds by myself.


Have a Question on Dog Training?

Have you checked the Leerburg Discussion Board? It is one of the most active dog web boards on the internet. The Leerburg Web Board has over 16,500 Members with over 165 forums and 269,000 posts in its archives. The web board also has an excellent search engine that only searches the web board's 293,000 posts.

This Week's Featured
Question & Answers

Question: How old should a pup be when I start pack structure?

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 months older? Please advise!  


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

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


Question: My dog has been recently digging up and eating dirt from the yard. Why is she doing this? Should I muzzle her?

Hi there Ed,

I have a 13 year old female GSD that has recently been engaging in some bizarre behavior. She has been digging up and eating dirt from the yard. It is not just in one particular area, but from several areas (it is quite a large yard). It is also quite a sufficient amount of dirt she has been consuming. She has a diet of Nutra chow supplemented with lean chicken and fresh, cooked vegetables. This has been her diet for many years, but this behavior is quite recent. I am not sure what she is trying to compensate for in her diet, but she knows it is a bad behavior and therefore only does it when she knows she can get away with it. She has also recently stopped using her potty area and using the entire yard. All of this may have to do with her age, but I am worried that it is not helping her health. She is an otherwise completely healthy and happy dog. She has had aggression issues in the past, but only toward other dogs (never humans) for the first couple of minutes. Now, she has mellowed a lot in her old age. She has been receiving Deramax in the last few months for what seems to be the onset of arthritis, but I'm not sure if this is related to the dirt eating. She also gets glucosamine pills in her daily meal.

I am thinking that this is a behavior that can been curbed by putting a muzzle on her to prevent the dirt eating. The potty issue is one that we are still working on. 

Do you have any suggestions as to the length of muzzle I should get? I don't want it to be right up against her snout. I hate muzzling her, being that she is so old.  I don't want her to feel punished. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks much,

Cindy's Response:

I think she has dietary requirements that are not being met, and she’s also in some pain from the arthritis. I’d highly recommend getting her to the vet for a full check up. Without a vet exam and possibly blood work there is no way to know what is going on with her.

I wouldn’t muzzle her until you have ruled out medical issues.

If you do end up using a muzzle, we have directions on how to measure the dog for a muzzle on this page.

You can search our website, using 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.  Dirt eating has been discussed many times.  I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

For more information on this topic, see our Q&A on Muzzle.


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!!!

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Hello Mr. Frawley
Just wanted to let you know that I received my six foot 1/2" leash this week for my doberman and I just love it.  Everything you said on your video is true about your leashes.  It is strong and very supple and I was very impressed with the thickness of the leather. 
Thank you,

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