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May 14, 2012
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K9 Services

K9 Services

Kevin Sheldahl, the owner and head trainer for K9 Services, outlines what K9 Services can do for a police K9 handler, as well as police departments.

May 14, 2012   |   2 Minutes, 27 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A

Question: Is it a bad idea for us to teach our puppy to play tug & introduce her to bite work if we never plan on doing real protection work?


First, my wife and I wanted to thank you for providing us the information in Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months DVD and Obedience training DVD for setting us up with a wonderfully trained dog for life. The training has been fun and rewarding, so rewarding we are debating on doing more. We have a high drive doberman bitch that just turned 17 weeks old yesterday. I have been interested in protection work and Schutzhund competition but we don't have any good trainers locally. Also, I am not sure if I will have the time to maintain such a high level of training long-term. I would like to get my dog involved in something as she seems to get bored easily. Is it a bad idea to play tug, get her into bite work etc. if I never plan on having her go to the level of meeting a handler? We did get her for companion/threat deterrents. I would just like your opinion if its wise to begin any of this work without intending to have the finished product as she is a pet first. If you think starting bite work isn't the best thing for my situation and my dog, do you plan to make a DVD that teaches a command where the dog will put on an aggressive display? Is this covered in any of your DVDs?

Thanks for your time and sharing your expertise,


I teach all my dogs the foundation skills for protection through playing tug even if I never plan on going any further (with our little border terrier pup, for example)

It’s a great bonding activity, it’s great physical exercise and teaches the dog self control. Doing these activities with the handler is a lot like a kid taking karate lessons, it’s good mental and physical discipline that teaches mechanics & skills.

I’ll list the videos I’d recommend below (keep in mind that your pup is starting to lose her baby teeth right now, so her mouth may be sensitive) We don’t recommend playing a lot of tug with teething pups, they can have a negative association with the game if their mouth hurts.

The Power of Training Dogs with Food - PERFECT work for the teething period
The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog
Advanced Concepts in Motivation
Foundation of Puppy Bite Work
Teaching Protection Skills Without a Decoy

As for teaching the dog to put on an aggressive display, Ed wrote an article about that.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Playing Tug with Your Dog.


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 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!!!

Customer Comments

on Leerburg's GoughNuts


Wanted to share with you that I found these toys over a year ago as I was looking for a solid toy for my power chewer. I have a Doberman that can rip apart the black kongs and any toy on the market. I had been searching for a toy for my dog through local pet stores and on line. Thankfully, I found the GoughNut toy at a dog show by a vendor and have been thrilled with it. Did take him about 6 months to chew enough off the end of the stick to get to the red core. They replaced the toy and so far it is in good shape. The doughnut shaped toys do not seem as popular with my dog or canine guests but I have all 3 shapes as I have dogs of all sizes that stay with me on occasion. Many dogs do not take the to toy immediately or at all and there is an odor from the toy in the beginning but that odor does dissipate with time. At this time I am a big fan of this toy for power chewers.

Warm Regards,

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