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Leerburg.com February 28, 2011
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Over Training Syndrome

Over Training Syndrome

This video is more of a warning than a training video. It concerns people who train their dogs too much and too often. It's called OVER TRAINING SYNDROME. If you are around dog sports long enough, you will see the people I am talking about, they train every day and they never take time off.

This isn't a problem most people have, but some people do. Those that do have this problem need to step back and realize what it is doing to their dogs.

February 28, 2011 | 5 Minutes, 56 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:

This is a photo of my hand after surgery, which resulted when I broke up a fight between two intact male Pembroke Welsh Corgis. They had been living together peacefully for four months prior to this incident.

One was ten years old (attached photo) and one was only two, and I was afraid the younger one would actually kill the older one, or I would have let them settle it. They are both large for Pembrokes; 32-34 pounds. 

The older one’s teeth are actually what got me, though he didn’t realize it; he was biting down on the other dog. My index finger ended up curled up between his molars (still not really sure how I got in that position) and he splintered the bone in the back of my hand.

I was home alone, and eventually I got them apart by spraying Bitter Apple in their faces, eyes, mouths, until I could get one loose long enough to throw him in a crate. I had gotten them apart a few times before that, but then the other would leap up and attach himself to some part of the one I had grabbed (I’m not very tall and my arms are not long enough to keep them separated).

It was a terrifying time; probably lasted about 15 minutes. I have kept them apart for a year now, and I immediately neutered the younger one. I have been considering getting muzzles and trying them loose together that way to see how they behave. It’s been over a year now.


Dog Bite:

Hi Sherry,

Thank you for taking the time to write and send the photos. Hopefully your experiences can help someone else prevent injury. I will comment that muzzling these two dogs and letting them loose together again would be a huge mistake. 

If you can’t work on fixing the aggression between them through training, then putting them together with muzzles will actually only create more bad feelings between them. Muzzles are great tools for preventing injury, but we never recommend muzzling dogs (especially dogs with a history of fighting w/ each other) and turning them loose. Muzzles can amplify the aggressive behavior, as the dogs feel huge amounts of frustration. Many protection trainers use muzzles to build a dog’s drive to bite and be aggressive (i.e. police dogs). I can’t stress enough that I would not recommend trying it.

If you want to try re-introducing them,  I’d read the article Ed wrote on introducing dogs.

Cindy Rhodes

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: My dog has automobile anxiety and is nearly unmanageable when on board. What would you suggest?

I searched your site and couldn’t find anything close to my situation.

My 4 year old Irish Setter has automobile anxiety. She pants, whines, whimpers, drools and is generally anxious and overly excited in the car. She loves to go on car rides and gets very excited when she knows we are driving and even leaps in the car at the first chance. The problem is that she is nearly unmanageable when on board.  I have tried letting her roam, as well as hooking her up on a short lead to the car seat D-ring. Same behavior in either case.

She is my forth Irish Setter in over 25 years of having these wonderful dogs. I’m very good at obedience training this breed. Most people are impressed with my Setters because they don’t exhibit the stereotypical “hyper” behavior.  In all other environments, other than the car, she’s an absolute angel. In fact, she flies with me in my airplane and always settles in very quickly to either calmly watch outside or just go to sleep (I think the drone of the engine helps). My only theory is the fast movement of the things outside the car stimulates her “chase it” instincts. I’ve considered blindfolds/blinders or crating her, but  haven’t tried it yet. I’m hoping you may have some thoughts on the issue.


I would definitely go the route of using the crate in the vehicle, if for no other reason than safety.

You can also search our site for more info. I turned up this thread from our forum by typing in vehicle anxiety. Typing in different search terms may find more info as well.

You may also want to try Rescue Remedy before car rides until you get the issue sorted out.

Cindy Rhodes

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


Question: I've been training my dog in schutzhund, but she is terrified of the starter pistol noise. What would you suggest I do to turn this around?


I have a 3 year old dobie female that has incredible drive (ball, food, prey) and loves praise. She received her CGC, ATTS, 1st & 2nd leg in herding, going for her AD this year and maybe her BH. I built her confidence throughout the last year or more on the sleeve. When she first started out, she was very defensive and now we both work as a team and she loves it. Even though I still get a reminder how fast she is with her excitability and get it in the leg sometimes.

One the other hand, if she hears fireworks, gunshot, or a back fire, she is trying to climb me like no tomorrow!! At schutzhund training, my TD told me to go out there as she set of the starter pistol. We both didn't expect what she did. We had to have another handler out there with me with her on 2 leashes. She even tried biting me to get us to leave. It almost "killed" her out of bite work even weeks later. New Years eve she almost broke out of her crate. You get the point.

I've talked to a couple of trainers and wanted to get your idea. I've been told to chain her up extremely hungry and feed her as I set off a starter pistol. I've been told to correct the h*ll out of her until she stops so she is more worried about my correction than the noise itself. I've been told to crate her and set shots off until she is desensitized. I understand this, and will do it....but something inside me is telling me there has to be a better, more effective way.

Have you turned a dog around like this, or do you think I'm stuck with a nervy dog? How would you turn a situation around based on what I experienced?

Thank you for your time, much respected and appreciated! Take care and talk to you soon!

Cindy's Response:

It looks like from your signature that you are a professional dog trainer?  How would you handle this?

At 3 years old it will be a long road to desensitizing this dog (if it’s possible at all). If anyone I trained with advised me to chain my dog up and only feed her when I shoot the gun, correct her for being scared, or crate her and shoot the gun around her I’d run the other way.  That’s awful. 

Personally , I would find activities to do with this dog that don’t put her in situations that she is so scared. I don’t feel it’s fair to put this dog in that state of mind. The stress that she would have to go through wouldn’t be worth it in my opinion.  Find a sport that fits the dog and her ability, drive and temperament. 

If you want to desensitize her, I would do it from MILES away.  A rough road to go and not at all practical.

I have witnessed trainers that want to pursue a specific sport with their dog, but the dog doesn’t really want to participate.  You can actually make a dog sick by trying to work them in a sport that they are not really enjoying. My goal is to do something with my dog that they have an aptitude for. If I want to pursue Mondioring or schutzhund and my dog is afraid of loud noises, sticks or is reluctant to bite a tug or the sleeve, it’s time to find a new sport or get a dog with the proper nerves and temperament.  Don’t put your goals in front of your principles. I think most people love their dogs, but may lose sight of that at times and put the dog in a position that is unfair

Find a sport you can do with your dog---rally obedience, agility, continue with herding, dock diving, etc…

Good luck with your dog.

Cindy Rhodes


Thank you so much. I very much had the same thoughts. I am a dog trainer by profession for over 10 years and have worked with many dogs with issues. But when a problem occurs that I question, I feel getting a third party's thoughts is better than being naive or pride full. I've seen many trainers mess up dogs or not give the dog or owner a chance because their pride gets in the way. Thank you very much for the advise, and will pursue activities SHE wants to do.

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


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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I just wanted to say thanks for such an informative web site.

I have a very large GSD who was uncontrollable on the lead. I had tried everything and all the training methods going. He is incredibly stubborn and strong, having had me on the floor several times. I researched the prong collar and after reading your information ordered one from your site along with the dominant dog collar.

From the first walk it's like I have a different dog. He didn't just pull sometimes, he pulled from start to finish and was continually at the end of the lead. I would get back with aching arms and hands. I couldn't quite believe the first time I used it - I had the first pleasant walk with him.

He got to the end of the lead and clearly thought better of it. He is now walking next to me and although he still tries to pull he stops quickly and comes right back. I occasionally have to give a correction but rarely more than once. He has no objection to having the collar put on so it obviously doesn't bother him if he doesn't pull. I did try it on my own thigh just for piece of mind and it helped me understand what the dog would feel. Not painful but enough to stop him pulling.

For anyone with pulling problems I cannot recommend this strongly enough.
It really works!

Thank you,

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