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Leerburg's Weekly Newsletter
August 16, 2010

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Puppies that Bite with Michael Ellis Video

Puppies that Bite with Michael Ellis

One of the most common questions we get from new puppy owners is what to do with puppies that bite. While this topic is covered in our DVD titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months, in this video clip we will listen to Michael Ellis explain to students at his school in California how to deal with puppies that bite their owners. This video was filmed in Michael's Puppy Development class, which he holds several times a year.

Free Shipping On Qualified Orders

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 Tug Sale!
Prices valid until Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 at 11:59 pm central time.

Mini Tugs Sale

Mini Tug

Mini Tug

Mini Tug
Mini Tug

Mini Tugs
NOW $15.00

Originally $19.00-22.00
SAVE $4.00 - 5.00


Flat Tugs Sale
Flat Tug flat tug
Flat Tugs
NOW $13.00
Originally $18.00-20.00
SAVE $5.00 - 7.00


Thin Puppy Tugs Sale

thin puppy tug

Leather Thin puppy tug

Thin Puppy Tugs
NOW $11.00

Originally $17.00 - 18.00
SAVE $6.00 - 7.00


No Handle Tugs Sale

Leather Mini Tug

Tubular Nylon Tug

No Handle Tugs
Leather Mini Tug with No Handles
15" Nylon Tug
NOW $9.00

Originally $14.00 - 17.00
SAVE $5.00 - 8.00

Dog Bite

We are always looking for photos of people who have been bitten by their dogs while trying to break up a dog fight. If you send us photos and the story on how the accident happened we will put them on our website with the hope that your mistakes will help other people realize how dangerous it is to try and break up a dog fight the wrong way.

Dog Bite:


I recently made the mistake of trying to separate two of my dogs; and this was the result. Unfortunately I did not take a picture before stitches as my veins and bones were exposed and I was not thinking clearly.

I am an animal behaviorist and Welfare Inspector, and so have no excuse at all.


Dog Bite Dog Bite
Dog Bite  

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.

This Week's 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: When adding the command to a signal in marker training, do you do the signal and then say the word?

Hello Cindy,

I have watched the marker training video several times and there's something I'm not grasping. When you are marking something and the dog is getting it 8 out of the 10 times, as you start to add the command, do you hand signal first then try to say it. I see you hand signal on the video when teaching the look. For example training the look, once the dog understands, how would you go about getting the dog to do that with hand signals or saying the look command? I don't understand how you get him to catch on to what your saying or signaling. I understand how to get to the stage where you add the command but I'm lost after that. Thanks.



You do the word first, then the gesture. Word, pause, if the dog doesn't do it, then help with the gesture.

I'd highly recommend The Power of Training Dogs with Food. The way to do this is covered in great detail there.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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


Question: Our 10 year old dog is aggressive. We never noticed this until our son was born 6 years ago. She’s been barking and growling and kids and goes crazy at the door when someone knocks or rings the bell. Is she too old to train?

I'm hoping you can give me some advice on our dog. We own a 10 year old Chow/German Shepherd mix dog. She went through puppy training at Petsmart and we had a personal trainer come to our home for basic commands. We are having problems with aggression. We never noticed any aggression until our son was born 6 years ago. She is very protective of our children and house. If a person rings our doorbell or knocks on the door she goes crazy. She literally lunges at the door trying to get to the person on the other side.  We have NEVER had a problem with her biting someone but I'm afraid it's only a matter of time. We recently moved, so we now have a lot of children coming to our house. If a child comes into our house she may bark/growl at them and then go lay down. Other times she'll bark, lay down and then later she will start barking and growling at the child even though he's been in the house for an hour or the fact that she's seem him 50 times in our house. I've recently caught her chasing and growling at a kid in our yard when they were playing. She is very temperamental and unpredictable. She seems to be this way with adults and children. Basically anyone that comes to our home other than immediate family. I have started putting her in her cage when kids come over. My concern is if a child/adult comes into my yard if I'm not outside or one of my children opens the door so she can get at that person. We do have an electric fence but we've never had a problem with either dog getting out of the yard. It has been a very stressful summer. What would be your suggestion? Is she too old to train? Would it be best to get a muzzle for the times she is out in the yard? Thank you for any advice you can give me.



My suggestion would be to stop letting this dog have freedom in the yard and in the house. She should be under your control at all times. This means she should be in a crate, in a real fence (not an electric fence) or on a leash with you 100% of the time. If you can’t control her movements in and around the home, then you can’t correct the aggression.

Start with our groundwork program and Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

I’d also recommend Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.

You’ve been letting this behavior go on for years, so don’t expect a quick fix. This will be a process that may take a while and she will likely always need to be managed.  Dealing with problems like this is not something you do for a few weeks or a month and then it’s done.  It’s changing the way you live with the dog permanently, for the life of the dog.

I’d also recommend a dominant dog collar and a muzzle. The muzzle isn’t for use when she’s loose, because she SHOULD NOT be loose at all, ever. The muzzle is for use during the training process so no one gets hurt.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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


Question: I'm getting a puppy from a breeder and there are only 2 males so I will not get to choose my pup. I am afraid I will get the alpha male. Can an alpha dog be a good family dog?

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I hope it´s not too bold to bother you but I don´t know anybody else to ask. A lot of people claim be dog experts but don´t know much. I have been a follower of your podcasts and website and hope you can give me some advise.

I was waiting for a puppy from a breeder whom I chose carefully. Today the puppies were born - unfortunately just three, 1 female, 2 males.

I had decided to take a male and I´m in second place to choose on the breeder´s list, with just two male puppies that means I cannot choose at all. Now I am concerned that I will get the alpha male and I just don´t know... A lot of people told me always to be careful to avoid the alpha male of a litter, but I would like to hear your opinion.

Both father and mother of the puppies are very kind dogs, neither aggressive or dominant. But one of the 2 male puppies will definitely be an alpha dog. My first (and only) dog was extremely soft and it was rather a problem to give her more confidence than constituting my position.

Mostly I will be the only person living with the dog, I don´t see a problem at all in conducting a consistent education or constituting my position, but my goal is to achieve an easy and relaxed relationship between me and my dog, not an eternal struggle for keeping the predominance.

To cut the long story shorter: Can an alpha dog - in the hand of the right owner - become a nice and uncomplicated family dog and travel companion, nice and friendly with people and other dogs?
Or will he all the time try to subordinate me in order to become the pack leader finally?

I hope it´s okay to ask you for your opinion and it would be great if you could find the time to answer my question.


First of all, there is no guarantee that one of the male pups will be the "alpha" in the litter. How puppies interact with each other in a litter really doesn't have anything to do with how they will interact with their human family once they leave the litter. I've seen pups that were the top dog in a litter be submissive with humans and vice versa.

All pups have a genetic tendency towards whatever their finished temperament and personality will be, but you can certainly mold behaviors through raising and training a puppy correctly.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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


*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

Dear Cindy and Ed, 

As I have written several (million) times and received excellent advice every time, you may know my story. I had a young GSD that at ten months became a monster. We were asked to leave training at our local kennel club and I spent months trying to find help for me and the dog. She was dog aggressive,  people aggressive,  impossible to walk, except on deserted streets and if I had to take her to the vet she had to have a muzzle or given a sedative depending on how much hands on were needed. She was hurt, needed stitches and had to be put under. I tried Caesar's  way, rolls and all, I got bit. I found that I was yelling at the dog constantly and things just got worse. I hired an expensive trainer who never even got the dog to sit, but he wanted me to leave her there for a month.  He said more dogs were ruined from shock collars than he could count. I was advised to have the dog euthanize by more than one "professional." I felt like a complete failure and cried but then I accidentally found your website. I started with pack leadership, went on to dealing with dominant aggressive dogs and moved right through E collars and beyond. My dogs (I got another) are complimented all the time on their good behavior. They are off leash where ever they can be. I have the Dogtra gold with two collars. When I get the collars out my dogs get so excited it is a mad house here. I put them on but never have to use the shock and only occasionally the vibrate. We go to a local playground with access to a large creek, the dogs swim, play and explore. One day it was just us,  then adults and children came till there were about 25 bodies running around screaming and sliding swinging and climbing. The dogs acted like there was not one other person there, the focus was always on me and/or the toy. One gentleman walker in our small town watched me walk back and forth in front of the same house over and over and inquired "What are we training today?" We were ignoring a barking dog and my girl also ignored the walker. My dogs and I now have a really great reputation in town and people have started asking me for advise and I ALWAYS give you guys the credit and refer them to your website. My vet can now examine and even take blood from my dog. As a matter of fact she asked me about the collars and intended to get some for her dogs. I was really proud when she told another vet we needed to see for surgery, that the dog might act up, but don't worry I was an excellent handler and it wouldn't be a problem. Thank you so much for all you have taught me. Those that call your methods cruel should have been there when I was told to have the dog put down. 


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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 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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