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April 27, 2015
Leerburg Online University
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The Principles of Dog Training with Michael Ellis

This course is for people who are looking to become dog trainers and want to learn from the best in the world. The course will give you the necessary tools to become a successful dog trainer.

This course is modeled after Michael's 2-week obedience intensive class at his school in northern California. The course is comprised of footage from that class, as well as footage from multiple Leerburg DVDs and several trips Michael made to Leerburg.

The course details all the fundamentals of Michael's approach to obedience and the dog/handler relationship, and helps the trainer build the “toolbox” he/she will use throughout the training process. This course thoroughly covers classical and operant conditioning, reward-based teaching systems, and the use of verbal markers for communication. It also focuses on building behavior through luring, spatial pressure, “leash pressure,” and shaping, and we will also discuss the thoughtful introduction of aversives and the creation of motivation in your dog through productive play. We will also cover the foundation for focused heeling and the entire progression of establishing the recall.

Basic Dog Obedience Self-Study CourseTeaching Our Dogs eh Rules of Play Self-Study CourseTeaching Engagement Skills Self-Study CourseThe Heeler's Toolbox I Self-Study CourseHousebreaking 101 Self-Study Course

Leerburg's Online Basic Dog Obedience with Ed Frawley

What is the most important aspect of balanced dog training have I learned? There are so many answers to that question that I’m not sure where to begin. I have learned that my husband and I have done many things incorrectly. I have learned that I want the relationship with our dogs that you have with yours. I am a newbie to the world of dog training. I learned some things from my father training his dog for field trials. I’ve learned a few useful things taking obedience classes locally. But, wow, this class has been so much more informative. Your presentations are so clear and understandable. There is no confusion in the teaching at all.

I have a 115 pound, 17 month old Rottie. He won his conformation championship at 10 months. He is stunning and as sweet an animal as I have ever owned. He is my husband’s dog in every sense of the word. With the help of your class, I have been able to make him pay attention to me with the basics of marker training. We have used treats but not in this way. He has the basics (sit, down, heel, wait) most of the time. Your class has given me the information I needed to fine tune his behaviors.

I am not trying to take Titus from his dad; I needed to learn how to get the same focus so that he minds what I say as well as my husband’s commands. I plan to go forward into Rally and Obedience classes this spring. Having taken your class, I am going forward with confidence that I can accomplish what I want with this dog and other dogs that bless our lives.

I do have to disagree, somewhat, with you on your ideas of socializing your dogs. I understand your concept completely and see how important the behaviors you mold are for the safety of the dog. My exception is with not allowing any engagement with other people or dogs. As the owner of a Rottweiler, I feel that I have responsibility to show others that this is not a vicious breed and the only way I can do that is to allow people, with my permission, to pet and talk to Titus as he sits nicely. I will begin to teach your style and incorporate the two into a workable model for us.

I watched hand and arm movements very closely and listened to how words and tones were used in each video. Those things are one of the things that I need to work on daily. Consistency is one thing that we have lacked in training, but now I know how crucial it is to successful dog training.

Recall and heeling are nowhere near where they need to be. I have purchased the first of your e-collar video and will purchase the second soon. I have never seen e-collar used in this way. I’ve just seen folks “light the dog up”. It means a lot to me to be able to use this training tool in a manner as to not hurt Titus.

I am anxiously waiting for the next class from Leerburg. I have used your articles and streaming videos for advice and other perspective on training topics. I’ve also referred several people to your site. Thank you for this most enjoyable course. There will be no second essay as I can really not think of anything to change. I will stay connected and watch for other opportunities to learn from you all.

Read more student comments on Leerburg Online University

Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question

Question: My son tried to adopt a dog from a GSD rescue and when the lady at the rescue saw my son's other dog wearing a prong collar. She asked us to leave and told us she would have him banned from every rescue organization in the nation. Are prong collars really considered that bad?

My son, daughter in law, and I went to a German Shepherd Rescue by appointment after the application had been accepted. We were there no more than ten minutes when we were literally told to leave and that they would not adopt a dog to my son and his wife. She notice that my son's poodle mix had on a prong collar (which for their dog seems to calm him when he is around other dogs). She said that prong collars have been banned from being use with the AKC and if they ever showed up anywhere or any shows using a prong collar they would be thrown down stairs and attacked. As she stormed off she said was also going to have the kids banned from every rescue in the nation. That she was going to send their information to everyone and they would never be able to adopt anywhere. It was awful, I have never experienced this kind of behavior.

The reason I believe was a discussion in regard to prong collars. I told her that I have had German Shepherds all of my life and have used prong collars and find nothing wrong with them when "used properly." I said that I would be happy to agree to disagree. I have a female 8 year old who is dog aggressive and this type of collar has been perfect for her. In fact every time I touch that collar she comes running. She knows that collar means freedom for her and we are off to either walk or take a trip or play. It has never been a negative for us.

Are prong collars really considered that bad or abusive?

Thank you for your time.

Cindy's Response:

Uninformed people many times have strong (unfounded) responses to pieces of equipment. really, there isn't anything you can do to convince these people otherwise except by showing them with your example that it's not the tools that are bad, it's how certain people use them.

ANY tool can be abusive in the wrong hands or used the wrong way.

People who are SO extreme in their responses don't realize they are actually doing more harm than good with their uninformed reactions. Instead of becoming educated, they are judging people and preventing dogs that need homes from getting them.

This woman sounds unstable, the information she gave you about being thrown down the stairs and attacked is ridiculous! You may not use prong collars at any AKC event or show, but I guarantee you many people use them in training. Banned from every rescue in the nation? Crazy talk.

I think your son should be glad he didn't get a dog from this particular person's rescue, she sounds like she needs to find a new hobby.

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Prong Collars and Dominant Dog Collars

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. 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 ExPen

  I purchased an ExPen for my Doberman before I brought him home as a puppy and it has been one of the very best investments I have ever made for him, besides the e-collar and the Leerburg training videos. He is very calm and well behaved in the house. Often, if he wants to lie down and chew on a bone, he will return to the ExPen and lie down on his fleece (also from Leerburg). If you are starting a new dog, get one!!!  
The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers
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