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July 23, 2012
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Establishing Pack Structure with Your Puppy Intro

Establishing Pack Structure with Your Puppy (Intro)

The first 8 minutes and 42 seconds of our new DVD titled Establishing Pack Structure with your Puppy. The first 8 minute introduction to this DVD will give you an idea of what information will be covered in the DVD. If you currently have or plan on brining a new puppy into your home this DVD is a must watch for your entire family. This DVD is now available.

July 23, 2012   |   8 Minutes, 42 Seconds

Establishing Pack Structure with Your Puppy DVD -- NOW SHIPPING!
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

Question: When I play with my 6 month old GSD off leash she won’t bring the toy back. Should I go to the ecollar for this problem?

My compliments to you both for such an informative website!

I have a 6 month old high prey drive GS female. I've been doing the marker training since she was 9 weeks old with excellent results. I've purchased several videos including the "Tug" and "Retrieve." I've used the food throwing and rewarding inside and outside with great results. She will bring the tug back promptly inside without a leash, outside on a long leash, but when off leash outside she will stop about 3 to 5 feet and play keep away. If I turn away she will follow just out of hands' reach. If no toy is involved I have no problems on her recall. We have started a local Schutzhund club and I plan on competing with her, so I'm staying away from the 2 ball/toy technique. Obviously, I'm going back to the long leash outside.

I should be receiving an E-collar in the next few days. My question is, will it mess up her retrieve for me to nick her when she pulls this stunt? Will it decrease her drives?


Since your dog is only 6 months old and you know that she won’t bring the tug back off leash, I would simply go back to setting her up for success and use the line on her.  Due to her age and level of training, using an ecollar as an aversive for something that she’s supposed to enjoy seems like a very bad idea.

Maybe later on, when she’s older it would be an option but I think the potential for creating conflict would stop me from using the ecollar in this situation. She simply needs more reps of doing things your way, use the leash.

I’d also stop throwing the toy if she’s showing reluctance to bring it back.  Tug and let her take it from you and ask her to bring it right back to your hand (on leash) but don’t throw it right now.  I’d also review the Motivation video, Michael talks about dogs that are possessive.

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Playing 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 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 If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

on Leerburg's Warm Weather Training Vest

After some deliberation I chose this vest because of the mesh back. Living in Australia with a lot of hot weather, I thought it would be the most suitable for our climate. Currently it is winter, but I am delighted with the purchase and just love all the pockets, especially the zip pocket to keep my keys safe when away from the car. I am currently using it for tracking and it is certainly making my life a lot easier, no need to search through all those pockets in my many layers of clothes. Thank you again Leerburg for another great product.


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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