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Leerburg.com April 7th, 2011
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Fernando Training with Cindy and Rush Training the Escort

Fernando Training with Cindy and Rush
Training the Escort

The biting dog sports are where all police service dogs and military working dogs come from. In fact, most GSDs and Malinois in S&R also come from bloodlines from these various dog sports.

I only say this because a lot of people new to Leerburg have never been exposed to biting dog sports and are unfamiliar with how important these sports are to the security of our country.

April 7, 2011 | 4 Minutes, 48 Seconds

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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.


Featured Question & Answers

Question: When I switch over to a random reinforcement schedule, will I still release my dog with the "yes" marker, even when I am not rewarding him?


I have watched numerous videos from your website, including the Michael Ellis videos. I’m new to this type of dog training and everything else was perfectly clear to me except the transition phase. Moving from continuous rewarding to a random/variable rewarding schedule when training with food.

I’m using the “yes” marker, because I prefer it over the clicker. I just want to make sure that when I switch over to a random (and then to variable) reinforcement schedule, will I still release my dog (for example, from the sit position) with the “yes” marker, even when I am not rewarding him?  At this point, my dog knows that "Yes" = treat.  So if I say "yes" and then I don't reward him until a few repetitions later, will it still be an effective "release"?

This dog does not have a drive for toys, so food has been the only high-value reward, so far.

Does variable/random rewarding mean that I would use the "yes" release marker and then ignore the dog and move onto something else, so that the "yes" release marker itself becomes the reward (in between random food rewards).

Thanks for your advice, this has been really troubling me and I can't seem to find the answer anywhere.


Cindy's Response:

Do you own any of the Ellis DVDs?  I couldn’t locate you in our database     

Cindy Rhodes

More Information:


Yes, I have purchased Ellis DVDs and Ellis Video-on-Demand rentals.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
Focused Heeling
Remote Collar (3 Chapters)
The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog

Thank you.

Cindy's Response:

I just wanted to know what material you had watched so far. A lot of people tell me they have watched the Ellis DVDs, but in reality they are just looking for step by step email instruction without buying the videos. That’s impossible for me to do, so it helps me answer if I know how much training experience you have and how much of Michael’s system you have studied.

Have you watched this? Weaning Dogs off of Food Rewards by Michael Ellis

You don’t ever use your release word and NOT reward your dog. That would take the value of the word away. If you want to stretch out the time between releasing, say moving from a sit to a stand, you simply link the behaviors together without a release in between. This is where your duration word comes in handy…

Don’t ever use YES and then fail to reward. I have this little phrase in my head all the time. “If you say it, you have to pay it”  In other words, if you use your marker word or clicker that is also a release, you must reward the dog even if your timing was wrong or you didn’t mean to say it. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Training with Food.


Question: I run with my dog 3-4 times a week and he easily falls behind. I can't seem to get him to keep up. Any suggestions?


Our family has a nice 3 year old collie?/husky?/mix dog named Brody that we adopted from the Denver Dumb Friends League. He is very athletic and has learned simple commands such as sit, stay, etc. He’s pretty good about coming when called, especially if he thinks there is any chance food might be food involved.

I walk him every day and he eagerly trots out ahead, leading the way. My issue is running with him, which I do 3 or 4 days a week. Lately, he has begun hanging back behind me as far as the leash will allow. I am 49, so I don’t run very fast any more, but Brody is even slower. I can’t seem to get him to go fast enough, even for my pace. It’s almost to the point where I have to pull to keep him moving. Needless to say that gets old fast.

I’d appreciate any ideas.



The first thing I would recommend is to get the dog to a competent vet and have him examined and possibly xrayed for orthopedic issues. When a dog is reluctant to do a structured activity like jogging my suspicion is always that the dog may be in some discomfort.

Forced running can be hard on any dog with even a slight structural or medical issue (i.e. hip or elbow problems, arthritis, old injury, sore feet).

If he checks out medically ok, try using food to reward him for keeping up with you.

Cindy Rhodes

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


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!!!

Nice Emails from Customers
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Thank you Cindy.

I am so impressed by the quickness of your replies and the professionalism. I am also impressed by the web site and all the information given to the consumers, via eBooks, podcast, forum at no charge. I have just started a non-profit 531c rescue and will be dealing with some behavior issues. I have been training dogs for 15 years and the information has given me a much more clear outlook as a dog trainer. I have placed an order for training supplies and will continue to do so as I need them with my training and rescue program. If I was close to you I would be knocking on your door everyday to get an apprenticeship with your training staff. Thanks for all that you have offered... 


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We Support & Recommend
The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

A few openings available!

On April 18th, Michael Ellis is adding a new course to his school for dog trainers, MOTIVATION: Advanced Techniques for Increasing Motivation and Drive. This is a 5 day course in which trainers will learn about "making the reward an event,” using restraint to build drive/motivation, proper play techniques (tugging and retrieving games), individual play styles, the use of “food as a toy,” and channeling a dogs energy during development. Read more here.

Advanced Obedience Intensive April 11th-15th, 2011 4 spots left!
Motivation April 18th-22nd, 2011 3 spots left!

Email Michael directly on class openings.

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