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July 13, 2012
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High Expectations

High Puppy Expectations

Ed Frawley answers a question from a Leerburg customer, who has a new puppy, that is expecting too much from her pup at a very young age. Ed explains why she should re-evaluate her expectations and training. He explains how she can back off a little and allow the pup to be a puppy while still doing things that will motivate her puppy to want to learn.

July 13, 2012   |   4 Minutes, 59 Seconds

2012 Photo Contest Winners

2012 Photo Contest Winners

Here are the winners of Leerburg's 2012 Photo Contest! Each person won their choice of a Leerburg DVD! Check out the large images, all of the entries, and how to get your DVD if you see your photo above.

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New Michael Ellis DVD
New Michael Ellis DVD

This past spring we had planned on producing two new DVDs with Michael Ellis. Due to unforeseen circumstances (basically me getting two total knee replacements that took longer to heal than anticipated), we had to reschedule. At the end of July, Jeff and I will be flying to California to spend a week filming these new training DVDs with Michael.

Michael Ellis

Our main project will be a DVD titled “Preparing your Dog for a Competition.” When I first explain this to friends they always ask, “What kind of competition?” The answer is every type of dog sport competition. This new DVD will teach people who train with markers (operant conditioning) how to wean their dog off food rewards and/or toy rewards in preparation for taking their dog into any dog sport competition. This is an extremely important skill to learn because to do it correctly and still maintain motivation and drive is an art form.

The DVD is also going to teach trainers how to introduce their dog to aversives (corrections). We will explain when it is appropriate and when it is inappropriate to use aversives. We will also explain how to approach this work based on the temperament and the drive of individual dogs. Internal dogs are trained differently than external dogs; hard dogs are trained differently than soft dogs. Trainers must learn how to tailor their training program according to the temperament, the genetics, and the drive levels of their dog.

Our training is directed to those who use a positive training system, or in other words, those who use a foundation of markers or clickers in their work.

If you would like to be notified when this DVD is ready to ship, send us an email at

Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question

Question: We have an 8 week old Malinois and a 13 year old mix. We want to cross train the new puppy in a variety of activities, can you suggest materials for us? Also, is the older dog going to mess up our training? Right now she’s in charge of the puppy.

Hi Cindy…

Your training DVD products look terrific. Let me give you our background (wife and I). We have had dogs in the past but never trained them to do any more than sit or fetch. Our shepherd mix is 13 and not doing well. We will probably put her down soon. I just got an 8 week old Belgian Malinois girl. Her father was a police dog and mother a personal protection dog. I am in the military (guard) and my wife will be a stay at home wife after this school year ends. My desire is to help my wife train this dog for personal protection, and S&R. I’m a military policeman but do not think I could use this dog for K9 if my wife is the trainer since it would bond to her.

Here are my questions.

1. What are the DVDs we should buy and in what order? (To be able to accomplish these goals?)

2. Is there a basic dog training DVD we need to do first? Obedience?

3. We do not want to abuse the dog by giving it too much to learn. I have friends that have dogs that are S&R and Narc dogs…can a dog learn to cross train even more?

4. Last question, I promise. Is our older dog going to mess up the training of the puppy because right now the older girl is in charge. But the two get along great.

Thank you so much in advance for your time…our puppy is like a lump of clay and we want to mold it right. Sorry this was so long.


Cindy's Response:

Hi Jim,

I’d keep your puppy from interacting with the older too much, if it proves to get in the way of the training you hope to do with the pup. I’d read the article Ed wrote on The Groundwork to Becoming your Puppy’s Pack Leader. You can read this to get our definition of socializing.

We raise our new pups alongside our adult dogs, but limit the types of interactions they have.  We use an exercise pen to acclimate the pup to the house, the traffic in our home and the other dogs but the barrier of the pen keeps the pup safe, the adult dogs don’t feel the need to discipline the pup and we can control the environment.  Controlling the environment is probably the most important aspect of raising any pup, but especially a pup you want to train to a higher level.

I’m going to list the resources I would recommend for a working pup in any discipline (i.e. S&R, schutzhund, agility, protection). The foundation work we do for any sport or working venue is essentially the same and then when the dog is older we branch out into more specialized work.

Tracking (foundation for S&R) Competition Tracking

Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
Raising a Working Puppy
Foundation of Puppy Bite Work

Your pup will begin teething around 4 months old or so.  Once the adult teeth are in:
The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog
Advanced Concepts in Motivation
Teaching Protection Skills Without a Decoy
Focused Heeling with Michael Ellis

There are more obedience videos available but the titles I’ve listed are the foundation of any type of sport or work you might want to do with your pup in the future.

Dogs can learn to cross train in many different activities and setting a puppy up “learning how to learn” is the key to success later.

I hope this helps!

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Raising a Working Puppy.

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 If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Seynaeve Training Vest

This is my first vest and truly glad I went with this Seynaeve Training Vest. The pockets are placed very nicely, material is very strong, do not see it ripping or falling apart anytime soon. I would highly request anybody looking for a training vest to go with this one. Thumbs up!!!

The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

In the fall of 2012, Michael Ellis will be moving his school for dog trainers to Santa Rosa, CA. The new location is much larger than his current location and will allow Michael to add additional classes and courses to the curriculum. In early 2013, Michael is planning to add a course for military veterans. This course will be specifically tailored to veterans who are getting out of the military.

Read more for additional information and dates.

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