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Leerburg's Weekly Newsletter
August 12, 2010

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Special! | DVD | Q&As | Testimonial | Affiliate Program | Clearance | 2010 Catalog | Leerburg  

Alpha Rolls as a Correction Technique Video

Alpha Rolls as a Correction Technique
Why You Should Never Use Them

I cannot tell you how many times I have written on my website about how stupid alpha rolls are! More than I can count. While there is a very popular National Geographic TV show in which the behaviorist is constantly alpha rolling dominant dogs, this is a very bad idea for any dog owner to try on his dog. Simply put, it is dangerous and an excellent way to get bit by your own dog. It is also an excellent way to destroy the relationship you have with your dog. This short video with Michael Ellis talks about alpha rolls.


Free Shipping on orders over $50 or more. Click for details.

This Week's Leerburg
Webboard Auctions!

Brand New!

Buster Food CubeCrunchy Training Treats

Two Buster Food Cubes (5" and 3")
and 12oz Crunchy Pumpkin Oat Treats

Brand New!

Flat Leather CollarsLeather LeashPull Tab

1" Flat Leather Collar,
6' Leather Leash & Leather Pull Tab
Your Choice of all in black or brown & collar size.

Brand New!

Dogtra 7000M Plus

Dogtra 7000PLUS Ecollar and Additional on SAME Frequency
Same as the 280PLUS but the new, upgraded model! Be the first to try it out!


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Training the Retrieve with Michael Ellis

3 Hours | $65.00

Training the Retrieve with Michael Ellis

3 Hours Long

This DVD is 3 hours long. You can read the chapter headings below. It is by far the most comprehensive step-by-step training DVD on teaching a dog to retrieve that we have ever seen. It will replace both of our previous retrieval training DVDs.

If you are a student of marker training or interested in marker training you will love Michael Ellis’ approach to this work. Because the system is founded in markers there is a minimal amount of force used in our training. It is our belief that a dog should not be force trained to retrieve.

We recommend the viewer have an understanding of marker training before beginning this work. This is all covered in the earlier DVDs we have done with Michael Ellis.

Chapters in this DVD

  • Michael Ellis' Opening Lecture on the Steps of Training the Retrieve
  • Pattern Retrieving Games
  • Step One - Holding the Dog's Muzzle
  • Students Learning the Hold
  • Retraining Older Dogs to Hold
  • Review of Training Steps Before Pickup Training
  • Trouble Shooting the Hold 
  • When to use a Tug Reward 
  • When to Switch the Retrieve Object to a Dumbbell
  • Training the Pickup 
  • Introducing the Dog to the Tossed Dumbbell
  • When to Mark the Pickup 
  • Proofing the Exercise 
  • Free Shaping
  • Advance Training - Introducing New Retrieve Objects
  • Two lectures on Michael Reviewing the Retrieve 

Leerburg Super Sale!
Prices valid until Sunday, August 15th, 2010 at 11:59 pm central time.

Buster Food Cubes Sale

Buster Food Cube

Buster Food Cube

Buster Food Cube
Buster Food Cube
Buster Food Cubes
NOW $9.50 & 12.50

Originally $11.50 & 14.50
SAVE $2.00


Soft Bite Bars/Wedges Sale
Jute or Synthetic

Synthetic Bite Bar

Synthetic Bite Bar
Jute Bite Bar
Jute Bite Bar
Soft Bite Bars/Wedges
or Synthetic

NOW $38.00 & 43.00

Originally $50.00 & 55.00
SAVE $12.00


Lighted Search & Rescue Vest Sale
S&R Lighted ID Vest S&R Lighted ID Vest
S&R Lighted ID Vest
Lighted Search & Rescue Vest
NOW $70.00

Originally $79.99
SAVE $9.99


Fun & Safe LED Products
for Your Dog Sale

LED Magic Marker SpotLit Pet
Fun & Safe LED Products
for Your Dog

LED Magic Marker
Spot Lit LED Pet Light
NOW $4.00 & 12.00

Originally $5.50 & 15.00
SAVE $1.50-3.00

Have a Question on Dog Training?

Have you checked the Leerburg Discussion Board? It is one of the most active dog web boards on the internet. The Leerburg Web Board has over 16,000 Members with over 165 forums and 269,000 posts in its archives. The web board also has an excellent search engine that only searches the web board's 212,000 posts.


Featured Question & Answers

Our newsletter will always contain several featured customer Q&As from that week.
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!!!

Question: Could you let me know what Honest Kitchen formula is best for my puppy? The breeder says I should feed a low protein level so she doesn’t grow too quickly.

Hi Cindy,

I have a 4 1/2 month doberman pup that I'm considering feeding Force.  The breeder feels strongly that the puppy should be feed adult food with a protein content less than 20% so that she does not grow too quickly. So I'm think of feeding her a little less of the Force than recommended but mixing in some fruits, vegatibles, oils, yogurt, etc. (items that have low protein content). Could you please let me know what you think about this?

I'm also considering the Keen. Could you please let me know if you think Force or Keen would be better for my dog?



When feeding raw or fresh foods it’s not as critical to be mindful of protein levels. I feed my dogs a raw diet and have no issues with growth in puppies. Your breeder may not have experience feeding anything other than commercial kibble in which case the old advice has always been to feed low protein.

I’d recommend Embark for your puppy or Force. I would not feed a formula that contains grains.

I also WOULD NOT add fruits or vegetables to any of the Honest Kitchen formulas, they have more than enough in them already.  If you want to add something beneficial, add raw animal protein like meat or eggs. With Force or Embark, it is not necessary to add anything though, it’s a stand alone diet.

We have a question & answer section on Honest Kitchen that may be interesting to you,

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Honest Kitchen.


Question: I just noticed my young dog’s teeth are all chipped and have brown spots. What should I do?

Dear Cindy,

I've received Training the Retrieve DVD and Tugs for my dog. Everything is great as usual - my dog took no time learning out with Michael's techniques. Thanks a lot.

Cindy, I know you must be very busy with the e-mails, just I know that I can trust your opinion 100%.

Recently I've noticed that my 22 months GSD has all!!!! of her canine teeth chipped -  little pointy bits are gone!!

I was so shocked and angry with myself as I didn’t even notice how it happened! I can see a little brownish spot in the middle of every tooth (I suppose it's pulp). Last night I was reading your website - discussion of other people with the same problem.

It looks like a very expensive trip to the dogs dentist. My question is: how could it happen and what should I do?

I believe if I leave it as it is, it might get infected and cause all sorts of problem.

Do her teeth need to be filled or capped now?

Thank you very much for your time.

I always try to write to you only if I'm absolutely desperate (looks like I'm at the moment).

Warm regards,


Does she chew on rocks or chain link or other items? Usually dogs that have teeth like this are chewing on abrasive substances that wear the teeth abnormally. Dogs that are obsessive about having things in their mouths all the time wear their teeth faster than others. With that said, some wearing of the canines is normal as the dogs age.

This is something that needs to be seen by a vet or dog dental specialist. I can’t diagnose or guess at what may need to be done, I’m not a health care professional. 

Good luck.

Cindy Rhodes

For more information on this topic, see our Q&A on Breeding.


Comments on Q&A in Last Thursday's Newsletter:

Dear Ed,

Some people are so clearly clueless about what constitutes animal cruelty! I feel compelled to write after reading how "Laura" utterly lambasted you over your training methods. Thanks to you and your e-collar methods, my GSD and lab are able to actually enjoy being dogs. They continue to run off leash without harassing people or other dogs, which is what they used to do before I trained them using your methods. I no longer worry about someone shooting them here in our Eskimo village where people are typically afraid of dogs, especially those off leash. My dogs have learned absolute self-control thanks only to you. They always come on command,  they can down anytime, even while chasing ravens, and follow the "leave it" command when foxes or caribou are near. They can walk right by a nursing calf and herd of cows at home in WA in the summer without demonstrating the slightest threat toward the free range cows in the area. Your methods work long term and are absolutely cruelty free. It's a language that dogs understand, and even the slowest of dogs (my lab!) caught on quickly and only required a low level nick to understand that she must obey. That nick is no more cruel than a mother dog's nip on her puppy's neck and has saved her life. My GSD, Moeshe, is so in tune with his e-collar, that all I have to do is take it out and show it to him if he persists to bark at me to play with him when I'm unavailable. I don't even have to put it on his neck!

I continue to sing your praises to anyone I meet who has a dog training issue. Just the other day when I was in PetCo, there was a woman with a GSD puppy in obedience class.  The dog trainer had the owner yell "No" continually at the dog for his barking at another dog. I slipped her your name and website and told her she wouldn't regret it.

I've mentioned your name and methods to many people and feel pretty sure that if I hadn't found your website my dogs probably would've either bitten someone by now or I would've been forced to re-home the two of them. My dogs are model canine citizens thanks to you and I enjoy not only  our outings together immensely (before your training I was a constant bundle of nerves!!) but also our time at home together. Anyway, I am eternally grateful to you and wish you and Cindy all the best!

With the warmest regards,

P.S. Our cat Isa thanks you too.


Hi Cindy and Ed,

I wasn't going to write this until I saw the negative e-mail you received about remote collars. My experience with a remote collar has changed my life for the better. Yet I'm also getting a lot of flack from people for my decision.

The writer is wrong that Cesar never uses remote collars. When his friend Jada Pinkett Smith's dog was killed by a rattlesnake, Cesar brought in a professional trainer to teach her pack and his dogs, including Daddy, to stay away from the snake. As Ms. Smith said, "Either the snake or the remote collar will teach the dog about snakes. I choose the collar." He also used  a remote with a farm dog that was biting tractor tires. Its teeth got stuck so he was whipped around on the tire and lost an eye. In both cases, the dogs responded positively to the remote.

We have a five year old Standard Schnauzer with a very strong prey drive. When Willie was six months old, I found out about Cesar Millan and worked hard to become a pack leader. I really like your essay on pack leadership. Taking Cesar's advice, I got professional assistance for my Willie's crazy behavior around squirrels, cats and rabbits. Everything worked pretty well with the squirrels, but nothing overcame his aggression at cats and rabbits. I've been pulled over flat in the street (in my Flexi-Leash days - ugh!), received bites from redirected aggression/frustration, cuts on my arm from scraping paws and black and blues on my legs from his pushing off to get away. The noise he makes is a primal scream and he bucks like a horse. By the way, and as you already know, no amount of food helps when my Willie goes into what Cesar calls the "red zone," but thanks to him, I've learned to stay calm through to the explosion and not get hurt again. 

This spring after a particularly bad session with a cat, I decided it was time for a change and purchased your DVD on Training with Markers. We followed the steps over and over until "Yes!" became a charged marker and habit. The Dogtra collar came with half price off on the Leerburg DVD about remote collar training. I found a trainer that specializes in remote collar training and made an appointment for mid-July. Meanwhile, I made sure Willie knew every command perfectly, desensitized the remote collar by putting it on and off his neck, used "Yes!" at every opportunity.

The day of our training I was so happy. She spoke with me for an hour and gave Willie an extensive temperament test. Finally, she declared us good candidates for remote collar. She was very impressed with our prep and I told I learned it from Leerburg DVDs and website. In about two minutes Willie learned the process; I took a bit longer!

I'm guessing that I haven't had to use the nick fifty times. Every evening we go out "hunting" for rabbits and cats! A couple of days ago, I was standing with Willie while talking with a neighbor and a calico cat ran about ten feet away. Two nicks and he accepted "Yes!" and a treat with his little stubby tail wagging. Rabbits? A piece of cake. When they run, he needs vibration or one nick. But if they remain still, all he needs is a verbal "Leave it" and keeps walking. We are still working on getting closer and closer as you describe on the DVD. He barked at some runners at the fence and it took a couple seconds on continuous stim, but he came to me; next time, no nick. It took about three nicks to distract him from a running woodchuck. I set him up with the doorbell and it works like a charm.

However I think it's important to remember that it's not the tool but the handler's energy and mindset that will make the difference. Several friends who use, say, a Gentle Leader, tell me that their dog pays no attention to them when the GL is off. A vet tech told me that her dog only obeys when the remote collar is on. That's because they are relying on the tool rather than using the tool to create the habits they want. Pack leadership takes work and commitment and using the right tool at the right time with the right energy is also critical.

My goal is "No nicks!" and we are getting there faster than I ever thought possible. Now I'm convinced. I still use a Sprenger easy-release collar and a dominant dog collar as back up, but the remote collar make those two virtually unnecessary. His neck is much safer and healthier with the remote collar than ever before. Wish I'd done all this years ago, but as you quoted Maya Angelou, "I did the best I could. When I knew better, I did better."

Thanks for reading this long tome. I enjoy your newsletters and have learned a lot and gotten a few laughs from the streaming videos, especially eating "peanuts!"

All the best,
Peggy and Willie


Hello Cindy,

I have working Dutch Shepherds and it burns me when someone criticizes my training methods, so I sympathize with all the letters you must get from people who know it all because they watch television! Get off your couches people... this is T. V. entertainment, not reality.  Maybe she can do some good with the desperate housewives mean yorkie but the puppy nanny has never tackled a "real dog"!  She (Victoria Stillwell) caters to people who do not even know how to take care of a dog, never mind how to train or deal with issues dogs may present (btw always human created).  She is just on a control trip, S&M outfits and all!

On to Cesar. At least he seems to genuinely care about the dogs. But guess what folks... he uses e-collars! He has several episodes in which he uses this helpful tool for redirection. Bad Cesar!

E-collar... check

Prong collar.... check

Dominant dog collar... check

Off to another pleasurable training session with my happy, stable, obedient, motivated, and very loved friends!  

Thanks to all the helpful info on Leerburg,

For more information on this topic, see Thursday's Newsletter.

*If you have a training question – write Cindy here at Leerburg at cindyr@leerburg.com
*If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!
*Our newsletter is a big success and we would like to send out a huge THANKS to our wonderful customers! Since beginning this newsletter our volume of email has greatly increased and you may have a longer than usual wait for a reply to your question. We will answer; it just may take us a bit longer than you are accustomed to. In order to speed up this process, please condense your questions to a paragraph or two. This will make it MUCH easier for us to answer in a timely fashion. Your questions are important to us and we always appreciate receiving them. If you have a medical issue or emergency, please consult with a health care professional right away. We can’t diagnose or treat sick dogs via email. Also, try using the search function on our site - it now searches the site AND the web board. Thank you. Ed & Cindy

A Recent Leerburg Testimonial
See Previous Testimonials

Thank you for your site. This is the type of no nonsense dog training I grew up with. But you also learned from your mistakes and you humbly pass the knowledge on to others. The information you give makes me think about what I do with my pup and the repercussions.


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We Support & Recommend
The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

More details on courses, course content and dates available on the website.
A list of Michael Ellis Seminars

There are still some openings for upcoming classes!

The next Obedience Intensive course in October is filling up fast, only 5 spots left! There are a only 2 more openings in the next Protection Theory courses. The section on Theory starts on July 26th and the Decoy section begins August 2nd.


The next
K-9 Basic Course
will be held in the Albuquerque Metro Area

Beginning October 11th. 
There are still a couple slots left.

Info is available at http://www.k9services.com
You can find standards and the syllabus for the courses here.

Kevin Sheldahl

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