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Leerburg's Weekly Newsletter
September 13, 2010

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How We use Ex-Pens to Raise Puppies in our Home

Cindy and I use Ex-Pens when we raise our puppies in our home. This is the first in a short series of newsletter videos explaining how and why we use Ex-Pens (over dog) crates during the day to teach our dogs to be calm and quiet in our home here at Leerburg.

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The Power of Training Dogs with Food

3 Hours, 45 Minutes| $65.00

The Power of Training Dogs with Food DVD

This is the first DVD in the Building Drive and Focus Series with Michael Ellis.

The foundation of Michael's dog training system lies in marker training. The power of Michael's system lies in how markers are applied within his training program. Unlike trainers who claim they can train every dog with 100% positive motivational methods, we know for a fact that corrections should have a place in any serious dog training program. They are required to guarantee reliability under distractions.

The beauty of Michaels system is that it establishes a method of communication with our dogs that is built on positive reinforcement. It is a communication system that is "black and white" to our dogs. This work builds a non-confrontational relationship with a dog. Because it is non-confrontational and based on positive reinforcement it is perfect for 8 week old puppies or 5 year old dominant and aggressive dogs. It's the perfect system to build or repair a relationship with a dog.

Leerburg Super Savings!
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Dog Bite

To view these dog bite photos, click here.
Warning: these photos are very graphic!

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:

Mr. Frawley,

I just finished reading your well written article on breaking up a dog fight. Nearly two years ago I had two female mastiffs go after each other in my kitchen. I made the horrible mistake of grabbing their collars in an effort to break up the fight. Attached you will find the pictures of my arm. In total I needed 50 sutures to close the wounds. As you can see, the wound at my wrist came very close to hitting the ulnar and radial arteries. The doctors were not able to leave either of the wounds completely open because they were gaping. I did end up with cellulitis and a subsequent staph infection. I spent a very long time on antibiotics trying to get the infection under control.

It is with relief that I tell you that I have not had to experience another dog fight since that time. I still raise, show and breed mastiffs. I currently have seven and they all live in peace. I always keep a watchful eye on body language and interactions between the dogs, watching for red flags. The fight experience I had is something I will never forget, but it taught me several very valuable lessons.

I think you've given some wonderful advice in your article. I will share the information with my network of mastiff folks. Thanks for the helpful ideas.  


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: I adopted a dog from the shelter and in 2 weeks time he's killed 8 of my neighbors rabbits, destroyed thousands of dollars in landscaping and is now attacking me when I try to take him for a walk. What should I do?

While searching the internet for "2 weeks after Neuter. my black lab is attacking me," I found your website and information on why dogs attack.

I called one of your staff members today and told her my plight, she didn't know the answer so she guided me to your email address.

Of all the websites I've searched, and all the phone calls I've made, some how, I've been lured to your site.

Anyway, here is my story:

2 weeks ago, I went to the local humane Society to find a dog. I found a black lab/Shepard mix, with no real information only that he is 2 years old, has his shots, is an "escape artist" needs a large yard and needs to be neutered and that he was found wondering the local streets and that no one has come to claim him in 1 month of his stay.

OK, not much info, but he's beautiful, I take him out of his pen, visit with him each day for a few hours, I love him, ready to sign the papers.

Murphy is what we name him, put it on his tag on his collar and begin to purchase $500.00 worth of food and supplies. My yard is a few acres of beautiful botanical like gardens, koi ponds, etc. Already he's found to be basically Trick trained, he can "Sit" "give Paw" "lay down" and "roll over" on command, clearly someone trick trained this dog, well.
Well, I realize after 1 day of ownership, that he has killed one of the neighbor rabbits... How you ask? He jumped the mutual fence and got to the rabbit cage.

The next weekend, we built a stronger and taller fence.

1 week in, he's destroyed $5,000.00 worth of landscaping, killed Koi and 8 more rabbits, has began to run loose into neighbors yards.

2 weeks in, he's destroyed a total of $10,000.00 of prize roses, trees, landscaping and has taken down one of the fences. Not too mention, he's now attacking me whenever I go to try and take him for a walk, or bring him his food, or toss about a toy. He lunges at my clothing, tugs at my flesh and then clamps down on my wrists to the point of drawing blood.

I can't punish a dog, but last night, I held him down and smacked his butt and said "NO!", he lunged up and bit me in the face, teeth showing....

Needless to say, everyone around me is begging me to take him back to the pound. Have I already bonded with him, after only 2 weeks? Well kind of. But, this dog needs to be "Put Down!" as my neighbor of the dead rabbits, puts it.

I'm at a loss, Do I keep him, and purchase expensive training with a trainer, let him do what he wants to my property, risk loosing a body part when I want to give him love, or take him back to the humane society and tell them... This is no Black Lab/Shepard Mix, more like Black Lab Pit bull or worse....

[Sorry for the detailed story... ]



The problem is that this dog isn't being shown any leadership whatsoever. Taking a known escape artist straight from a shelter and turning him loose in a big yard is basically giving him permission to do what he pleases. Dogs chase and kill small animals, it's a genetic thing and they need to be taught what the rules are. If you can't supervise the dog, he should be in a secure escape proof kennel or crate. When he's with you he should be on a leash at all times, no exceptions.

When you held this dog down and smacked him he was merely defending himself, I really don't blame him for biting. From his point of view, you were attacking him. He sees you as a subordinate, which is why you can't control him. You have basically given him complete freedom to do what he wants and now you either need to take back control (which will likely be very uncomfortable for both of you at first) or you should return him to the shelter. His behavior will likely get worse the longer you let it go unchecked. There are no quick or easy fixes here, it will require you completely restructuring his life and being consistent.

Owners of dogs like yours underestimate the genetic power of "PACK DRIVE." Pack structure is not something new and it is not optional, and if you don’t provide the structure and leadership a dog NEEDS then he or she will behave as canines have for thousands of years and will structure your family and household their own way. Your dog is simply being a dog, a dog that needs some guidance and rules. If you want to fix a problem like this you can but it takes some work.

I would start by running your dog through our groundwork program and the video that picks up where the article leaves off; Pack Structure for the Family Pet. Here is a DVD that I would recommend titled Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs. If you go to the link on this DVD you can read about what it covers. You will also see a detailed outline of what’s in the video.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help 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 & A’s, 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 Rescue Dogs.


Question: What would you recommend for comfortable bedding/ flooring to avoid bone and joint issues in an outdoor run?


I have a 2-and-a-half year old German Shepherd female. I just built her an outdoor chain-link kennel (6X9 feet) with a brushed cement pad floor and a metal roof. She is now in the kennel for about 9 hours a day when I'm away at work.

What would you recommend for comfortable bedding/flooring to avoid bone and joint issues?

Thank you,


We use rubber matting in our runs and crates.

I hope this helps!

Cindy Rhodes

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


Question: I switched my dog to a raw diet and she's doing great, but she is sooo itchy all the time. Do you have any suggestions?

Hello Cindy,

I just have a question. Since reading on your website, and doing quite a bit of my own research I have switched my German Shepherd puppy to a raw diet. She is almost 10 months now, and she has been on it for about 4-5 months. I usually give her either organic beef or chicken, a raw egg yolk a day, and supplement with calcium, vitamin c, vitamin e, and the salmon oil from your website. She also off and on gets things like vegetables, pumpkin, etc... She does really well on it, and her coat is nice she just has one problem. She is soooo itchy all the time. I can't figure out what she is missing. She doesn't scratch herself raw or pull out her hair anywhere, she just itches quite frequently all day in various spots. Also she is kept very clean and she doesn't have fleas or any kind of rash either.  Do you have any suggestions for me? I would so appreciate any help I can get.



Sometimes this is a trial and error thing. I‘d eliminate certain things from her diet and see if you notice a change.

If you are giving alfalfa, I would stop that first. Some dogs are sensitive to it.

If that doesn’t do it, try eliminating eggs and chicken.

It may also be a seasonal allergy, something outside that manifests as itching. It could also be a symptom of an imbalance caused by vaccinations.

In that case, I’d try Clear Allergies if modifying her diet doesn’t help.

Cindy Rhodes

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


*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

Reader Comments on Thursday's Newsletter
See Previous Testimonials

I just read the comment from Barbara regarding Cindy saying that Endy was a PITA. I particularly enjoyed both Cindy's and Ed's responses.

I have a 15 month old Old English Sheepdog - she's 75 lbs. but I still call her a puppy. She is the 10th OES that we have owned - some from puppies and some from rescues at various ages from 10 months to 5 years. So I am very familiar with this breed.

This "puppy" is DEFINITELY a high drive dog and is different from any of my other Sheepdogs. I have worked very hard for the last year training her. I have had her in beginner and intermediate obedience classes with really good trainers and have worked with her every day. I have several of your videos including Basic Dog Obedience, Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs and Remote Collar Training. I have found them to be of immense help with training this PITA puppy!!

My nickname for her is "Butt Head"! and I call her this with absolute love and humor (and it has taken a while to get to the humor part).

So --- I can definitely relate to Cindy and Endy. 

Just wanted you to know that there are people out there who do not give up on these "hard" dogs. Thanks for all of your help.




I love the newsletter! I've trained in many places, but right now I live in a town with very few serious dog people & very few dog activities. So I appreciate newsletters like yours help to fill the gap.  

I'm 45 & worked with dogs all my life. I have three dogs in the house, one is a Malinois, the second Malinois I've owned.

I caught your comment at the end of one video- "such a pain in the A$$!" ; it was a little surprising. I wouldn't go as far as Barbara - that it dropped your credibility. But you may want to remember who is in your audience, & who you want to attract. I would think anyone taking their time to read you newsletter is a serious trainer or having problems with a serious dog. There are so many of us that would give our right arm for a puppy like that, I thought the comment sounded like you didn't appreciate what you have.

Thanks for all you do!



I loved the comment!  I’m currently raising the most talented GSD puppy I may ever own and he can be a royal PITA – - until you get out on the training field. He knows what he was bred to do and so do I.

Very truly yours,



I was just reading the Leerburg newsletter and came across the comment from another reader about you calling Endy a PITA. I don't understand this reader at all - when I watched this video I laughed at your comment, because I have a high drive puppy that drives me crazy sometimes and is also a PITA. But that doesn't mean that I love him any less or that he isn't a joy to work with - he's just a handful!

I think you're an amazing trainer and are incredible with your dogs. You certainly haven't lost any respect with me and I think it's great that you can laugh at Endy's challenging moments!

Thanks for sharing the training videos of Endy!



Hi Cindy,

I was reading the newsletter today (one of my favorites) and saw the comment about the Endy bubbles video. I have to tell you that I had the exact opposite reaction and it actually made me laugh out loud. I also have a PITA dog and it has been a challenging 6 years. I also would not have it any other way. I liked to hear that it isn't as easy as it looks (even for you) working with such a high drive pup. You guys have helped me so many times with my PITA when I get stuck. He is such a wonderful dog and every mistake or challenge that I have gone through with him have made me so much better as a trainer. I run a walk with some of my clients every week and it seems someone always makes a comment about how nice it is to have such a well-behaved dog and how lucky I am. I just smile and point to my dog and say "That right there is a whole lot of work!"

You guys are awesome!

Leerburg's Affiliate Program
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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!


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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