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Leerburg.com April 14th, 2011
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Michael Ellis on Training Small Dogs to Heel

Michael Ellis on Training Small Dogs to Heel

Several times a year Michael Ellis gives an advanced obedience class at his school for dog trainers in California. This short video is of Michael helping one of his students learn how to train her small, food motivated dog to heel. It’s an excellent  video  for those trainers with small dogs.

April 14, 2011 | 8 Minutes, 51 Seconds

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Focused Heeling
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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: I have two chicken options, a more expensive, younger chicken or a cheaper, older one. Which one would you recommend?


Thanks for your previous help. Here is my question.

I switched to RAW 2 weeks ago and am having no problems at this time. The question is about the chicken I am feeding. I have 2 local sources, one sells leg quarters for .59 per pound. They appear to be fresh, young chicken quarters, not frozen, with no back or other parts attached. The second source sells them frozen for .39 per pound. These are larger with pieces of back and often small bits of liver attached. They are probably retired layer hens and somewhat old, The skin is slightly yellow and some bruising is evident. If they are older birds then they have been fed much more chemicals and hormones than the others. I'm told these additives build up and are stored in the bone. Is this a concern and which one would you recommend? Thanks


Cindy's Response:

You have to feed what you are comfortable with, if you are worried about feeding the cheaper/older birds then don’t use them. For only .20/lb it isn’t worth it.

I don’t feed much poultry to my own dogs because they have sensitivities to it, but in moderation a few older birds now and then isn’t going to make much difference. A steady diet of questionable meat should be avoided.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Feeding a Raw Diet.


Comment on Monday's Video:

Dear Cindy,

First of all I have been checking out your website for several years, ever since I got your very helpful info on whelping.

I watched the video you recently sent, and not being very familiar with the sport, it brought to mind something I have wondered about before when watching obedience trails. Why does the dog watch the handlers face so intently when they are moving about? I have always felt that my dog was quite in tune with most every little move and sound I made without actually watching me, which I would think would come in handy especially when traveling over rough and/or uncertain ground . I don't know how the dog doesn't trip over every little thing with their attention so divided. That thought was even stronger when the handler and the dog and the intruder walked to the judges, and the dog watched the intruder the entire way, which would mean the dog cannot and does not need to watch the handler. So is this more of a style issue? Just wondering what your thoughts are.

Cindy's Response:

It's just a style of focused heeling, popular in schutzhund and competitive obedience.

It's not a practical real world way of getting around, although that particular dog (Elka) did actually walk around looking up at me most of the time, even on informal walks. I had people on the street ask me if there was something wrong with her neck on more than one occasion. :)

Cindy Rhodes


For more this video, see Monday's Newsletter.


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
See Previous Emails

I wanted to thank you for such an informative site. I was googling ways to solve dog/dog aggression and fortunately was led to you. I'm sorry to say I have been living with dog reactive dog simply because I was too proud to admit I was out of ideas. Now that I have reached out and found the information I needed, my life will be a much more peaceful place for everyone involved.

Our initial problem was adding a dog to our existing pack. This little corgi turned out to be very dog reactive. I understood that it likely had been attacked before and was simply reacting first in anticipation of an attack. She also suffered from little dog syndrome, no one had trained her because she "was too small to do real damage". I knew enough about dogs, packs, training and behavioral problems to know all of these things. I was still woefully unprepared for this particular new dog.

My elder and much bigger dogs, all well trained and accustomed to me being in charge, simply wondered why this little crazy dog was being unreasonable and waited quietly for me to remove the "problem". Standard kennel living followed by extensive monitoring or isolating as needed eventually let the corgi into the pack. This was not the issue...

My elder dogs enjoy playing with other dogs, so we frequent a play time for dogs located at a local training facility. Knowing her issues were not resolved, we had a barrier in place for her first playtime. Boy did she flip! I was honestly worried about grabbing her because she was so reactive even through the fence that I knew I was likely to be bit. I had (like a dummy) not kept her leashed and had no control at all. We remained at playtime for the full session, having been told "she needs to get used to it" and "once she sees them having fun she will calm down". We can file that under worst advice ever. After an hour of aggressive reactions, we were invited NOT to bring the corgi back, ever. Oh, and she can't attend the obedience class I scheduled her for either.... Since then, she has reacted to every dog anywhere with the exception of our own pack.

So when I first started reading your site, I kept seeing links to Why Dog Parks are Bad. I avoided clicking on that particular link for quite sometime because I personally enjoy dog parks. Also, I didn't see what it had to do with my problem. I love the idea of dog parks, of good humans conversing with other good humans while their well mannered dogs play nicely together and maybe a beautiful swan or two swims in the peaceful pond as hummingbirds feed nearby... The fantasy is considerably better than the reality.

Now I have to admit that not being in control at playtime was the worst thing I could have done for her. I need to get control of her issues first, and possibly someday in the future she will visit with strange dogs, but I can not just "let her get used to it". I need to prove to her that I can keep her safe and that I am in charge. I had almost succumb to the fact that my little dog would never be able to accompany us in public for fear of her attacking another dog. Now I have a new training plan and a bright outlook for the future for my entire pack!

Thank you,

The Bryant Pack


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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.

Motivation April 18th-22nd, 2011 3 spots left!

Email Michael directly on class openings.

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