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May 18, 2012
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May 18, 2012 | 1 Minutes, 43 Seconds

This Week's Specials
10% off Select Water Toys 10 Percent off Select Nosework Gear
Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question

Question: What do you think about using a lure when building muscle memory for downs, sits, and other commands? Do you name the command when you have the response you want OR would you name it and work out those kinks with the cue in your "correction phase"?

Hi Cindy,

I was watching Michael Ellis' Focused Heeling DVD and it raised a question for me. In many pet obedience situations, we try to fade the lure as quickly as possible. I understand the reasoning for maintaining the lure for muscle memory, especially in heel work. I was wondering, in competitive training, if you prefer to do the same when building muscle memory for downs, sits, and other commands. I could see the benefit in the repetition for building better responses, then naming when you have a response that you find preferable OR would you name it and work out those kinks with the cue in your "correction phase"?

Cindy's Response:

How to do this is covered in The Power of Training Dogs with Food. Sit, down, stand and engagement are covered in this video.

I’d also recommend Advanced Concepts in Motivation.

Personally, I wouldn’t name a behavior until you love how the dog is performing it with the gesture. If I have to use corrections to work out the “kinks” then I haven’t been fair to the dog or done a good job teaching what I expect.

Cindy Rhodes

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


We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this weeks's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

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 cindyr@leerburg.com. If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Ear Implants

Hello Cindy,

I am writing to you as I know you are one of the top places to ask questions. I do not have a question but an answer in regard to ear implants.

I have a super drive GSD, which I imported. I was also told he had weak ears, and all the photos showed his ears standing, but a bit wavy. When I picked him up and the airport, it turned out the dogs ears were floppy, not weak. While working and having his attention, they would go up, but not remain up at all times. I decided to investigate ear implants, mainly for one ear, as the other would pretty much stay up.

Shame on me is all I can say. I gave in to all the peer pressure of everyone saying such a nice dog, but those ears etc.. Lesson one, for me should have been to ignore the idiots. Second, don't play with mother nature, especially that my dog was 2 years old.

I investigated the implants, the possible complications, mainly I was told, possible rejection, or infection. Being a nurse I tried to think of every scenario and every question I could think of.

I have the implant done, and everything looks great, both ears are up. Several months go by, and I notice a small scab on the back of the ear. It turns out, the implant is coming out of the skin, and now has to be removed. The vet insists on resetting the implant as this would be less traumatic for the dog. Several days later I bring the dog home. I am cleaning the scabbed area as directed and the implant is eroding thru the skin.

I take the dog to my regular vet and have everything removed. The poor dog has now gone through 3 surgeries, all for nothing and me feeling like I did this to the dog. Shame on me.

Lesson learned. There are a lot more complications than was disclosed, so for anyone considering a implant, leave well enough alone.

Leerburg's Video on Demand
Video on Demand Special - Focused Heeling with Michael Ellis - Save 25% - Now $45.00 - Originally $60.00
The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

New Course! Detection / Nosework with Andrew Ramsey

Whether you train working detection K-9's, are interested in Nosework activities for your dog but don't know how to get started or are looking to add Nosework to your business, these are the courses for you. Andrew's system for training Nosework is both simple and highly effective. It blends concepts from the Military Working Dog Program with the use of a verbal mark, reward based training and cooperative play, to form a very clear and effective communication system that avoids many of the pitfalls of traditional programs. These courses explain how to engage your dog in the game of searching for a target odor and will teach the handler how to motivate, handle, read and reward your dog in order to build a strong working partnership as well as a focused response.

Read more for additional information and dates.

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Prices valid until Sunday, May 20th, 2012 at 11:59 pm central time.

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