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March 17, 2014
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Marine Canine Keeping Handler's Memory Alive

Marine Canine Keeping Handler's Memory Alive

Amazing bond between a family and the dog who was with their son at the end. Although it is a happy ending for the dog, this is still a tear jerking story.

Leerbug Online University -- Basic Dog Obedience -- 6 Weeks -- $99 -- Includes Over 150 Videos

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Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question here

Question: My husband and I will be training a lab puppy to do therapy work. How and when do we introduce our dog to non-handler human interaction in a way that does not undermine your engagement and socialization training?


My husband and I will be training a yellow lab puppy (later this year) to ultimately do therapy dog work. We've been educating ourselves about proper training techniques through your videos, articles and Q&As, as well as with service dog trainers and materials.

My question is this: You stress the importance of engagement work while socializing a puppy and young dog. The dog should view other people as "furniture," as you've said. This makes perfect sense to us.

However, if we ultimately want our dog to be completely comfortable interacting with patients during therapy dog work, how and when do we introduce our dog to (non-handler) human interaction in a way that does not undermine your engagement and socialization training?

Thanks so much for your time.

Ed's Response:

I am impressed with your question. It is a great one.

We would socialize this puppy exactly like we explain in the article I wrote on How to Socialize Your Puppy.

This is extremely important for an outgoing puppy that wants to meet and greet everyone it sees. Our goal would be to work engagement to the point where we can put engagement on CUE. Then we would teach the puppy to ask permission to greet strangers and interact with them. This is a simple thing to do if you train with markers.

So, do the work in the three training videos we have done with Michael Ellis, they are your foundation:

The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog
Advanced Concepts in Motivation

The end goal is teaching the dog to engage and give focus on cue and then to understand what a RELEASE is to go and do what it wants. No part of this work involves corrections, unless you would consider not offering a reward as a correction and some of the P3 trainers see it as that.

Ed Frawley

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Therapy, Service & Assistance 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 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 If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Website

Finding your website was a godsend. Watching and purchasing your videos resulted in a miracle. Your methodology, which is most direct and easy to understand, was the solution. I had a once-trained, dominant dog that was a mess. My well-meaning housemates rarely followed the rules and left leaving me with an unruly dog. He lost site of me as pack-leader. I yanked him out of daycare. It took 2 weeks of keeping him isolated in his kennel except for elimination then started retraining. I got a prong collar that worked for walks and a mini-Educator (recommended by Cindy). I never used a shock collar with my previous 5 dogs but it seemed the answer. By luck, I found a trainer 45 minutes away that is certified in e-collar training. I love living with Bowie now. I know he is happier because he is under control and does not have to be pack leader. But is this a bad that after listening to all your videos, I have adopted the expressions and inflections of Ed when talking to my pets?

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