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Leerburg's Weekly Newsletter
September 16, 2010

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Special! | DVD | Q&As | Testimonial | Affiliate Program | Clearance | 2010 Catalog | Leerburg  
Managing Your Puppy in an ExPen

Managing Your Puppy in an ExPen

This is the second in the series of streaming videos on how we raise our puppies here at Leerburg. We use ExPens for a large part of our house training process. In the first video, we talked about why we use ExPens. In this video, we explain how we manage our puppies when they are in their ExPens. We show how we teach the puppy not to jump up and climb out of an ExPen and how we teach a puppy to develop manners at the gate.


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The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog

5 Hours, 25 Minutes| $65.00

The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog

I have been around higher levels of dog training for a long long time and thought I knew a thing or two about how to play tug with your dog. When I started to go to Michael Ellis' seminars I found out there was an entirely different side to this work - a better side.

Since 1982 I have produced a lot of training DVDs, but hands down the ones I have done (and am doing) with Michael are the ones I am most proud of. These DVDs are going to make a dramatic difference on how people live with and train their dogs. They are changing the relationship people have with their dogs.

At 5 hours and 25 minutes, this is the first two DVD set I have ever produced. There was just so much great information that I wanted to get into this training DVD that I had to make it this long. I believe you will agree when you study it.

This DVD on playing tug is the second video in the Building Drive and Focus Series with Michael Ellis. The first DVD, The Power of Training Dogs with Food, and this DVD, teach new trainers how to establish the foundation of Michael Ellis's training system on their dogs. Once that is accomplished, the principles of Michael’s system can be used to teach a dog any behavior or exercise.

Michael’s system is based on marker training or operant conditioning. If you are new to markers or new to Michael Ellis’ system of dog training I would recommend you view the free 1 hour streaming video of Michael lecturing on his philosophy of dog training in the streaming video section of our web site.

You should also review the free 87 page eBook I wrote titled “The Power of Training Dogs with Markers.” It is in the list of free eBooks on our web site.

Our DVD opens with Michael’s lecture on why and how to play tug with your dog. Michael then demonstrates technique with his dog Pi. Unlike other dog training DVDs most of the dogs I included were untrained dogs with handlers new to this system of training. I feel people learn more from watching others learn the work than by only watching the instructor work with his own dog.

For the tug to be used as an obedience reward with your dog, you must have 3 things.

1- The dog must tug with enthusiasm,
2- The dog must out when told to out,
3- The dog must bring the tug back after you release it.

This is the core goal of our training DVD. If dogs will not do these three things then handlers can not use a toy or a tug as a reward in training.

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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: I'm a new GSD owner and I'm in a little over my head. I have a couple questions about fence work and when strange dogs approach. Please help.


I don't know how to thank you and Ed! I am a new GSD owner and I'm in a little over my head. Very few trainers know how to deal with this breed. I just finished one of the DVDs you recommended (Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs) and it was an eye opener!

The dominant dog collar you recommended for my 14 mo. old works great and the DVD helped me to use it effectively. 8 obedience courses @ $200.00 each did nothing to help with the behavioral issues. I am recommending your DVDs to everyone! In fact, there is a site on Facebook (German Shepherd Tips) where thousands of GSD owners worldwide ask questions, etc. I hope you don't mind; I  give the Leerburg web address and have recommended you personally as a trainer. I like to "Pay it Forward".

Just two quick concerns, if you have time....

1. Any advise on walking past homes with invisible fences in the front yard containing reactive dogs? My female,
Shiloh, lacks confidence. She raises her hackles and gives a police dog type bark and then we continue on. She use lunge at the dogs, but has stopped. Should I avoid this neighborhood or continue to train her to ignore the distraction. Ed demonstrates fence work on the DVD... should I do the same?

2. Ed talks about protecting your dog from strays and we had a terrible experience last week. A stray Wheaton Terrier approached us, and since she was friendly to me, I allowed her to greet Shiloh. The next thing I knew the dog turned into "Cugo" and started attacking my dog's face. I just reacted and ripped the other dog off by the ear. The dog kept trying to follow us (growling) and trying to attack! I yelled at the dog to "STAY" and it worked! Thanks, Ed! My poor baby needed a bath when we returned home (I guess she urinated from fear?). The stray had pink bows and I didn't want to hurt her! Do you think I damaged our trust by not protecting her from the first attack? Should I carry Citro spray and a walking stick? I hate the thought of hurting another dog... Ed would tell me to toughen up!! LOL Lesson learned: Never let a strange dog approach... even of it appears friendly and has pink bows! ;)

Thanks again for everything, Cindy and Ed!

With deepest respect and gratitude,
April and Shiloh

P.S. I visit our VA Hospital with my therapy dog (Samoyed). My thoughts, prayers and appreciation to Ed's son...


Personally, I choose to avoid situations where I know there is likely to be a problem dog.  invisible fences keep in some dogs, but there are also many dogs that choose to run through them.  I agree with training for these situations, but I wouldn’t knowingly do this without a physical barrier between me and the reactive dog.  why risk it? 

It’s impossible to know if your dog has permanently damaged trust, but next time run the dog off before it gets close.  It doesn’t matter what the dog looks like, I don’t allow ANY dogs to approach me when I’m out with my own dogs. 

Ed has written an article about what to do if you are attacked by a stray or loose dog.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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


Question: When I take my dog out to go to the bathroom, is it right or wrong to give her a treat for going outside?

I just rescued a 2 year old Cocker and she has been peeing in the house. I have since gotten a crate for at night because that is when she has been doing her business.

What I want to know is when I take her out to pee and poop, is it right or wrong to give her a treat for going outside? My friend said it is very wrong for giving her the treat. They say when you pee you get a treat, so she pees in the house thinking she will get a treat. Thanks soo much for helping me. I have a 13 year old JRT that I give a treat to all the time and she NEVER pees inside.

Thanks again,


The first comment I will make is that this dog should be in a crate OR on a leash with you at all times until she is housetrained completely.

When we bring a new adult dog in our house, we start with our groundwork program.

I'd recommend Pack Structure for the Family Pet. We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you. There is one specifically on house training problems. We have a section on the website about house training too.

There is nothing wrong with using a food reward to reinforce good behavior. Just make sure you are giving it only when she pees where she is supposed to.

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 information on this topic, see our Q&A on House Training and Rescue Dogs.


Question: My new puppy has separation anxiety and has a problem with other dogs. What should I do?

Hello, Cindy.

I came under ownership of a (now) 4 month old Australian Cattle Dog puppy a month ago. I've been having some major issues that I really hope you can help me with. The breed is known to be velcro, but this is getting a bit over board. If she is separated from me, she whines. So long as she is with someone else, it will only be that. If left truly alone, she screams, howls, pees, and poops. If left in a room, she will destroy it - I assume trying to get out. I'm not sure how to go about teaching her that separation is okay. I will be moving into an apartment soon and this will not go over well, I'm sure. Also, she is skittish of strangers and other dogs. At this point, she will only growl at people - usually after she has initially met them and they happen to walk into a room that she and I are in. No biting yet, but this breed is a serious bitter so I am concerned for how it may escalate if not dealt with. Other dogs she will approach with hackles up, growling, but will usually not close the distance and - after about making it half way - will turn and run right back to me. If they approach, she growls and tries to get away from them. I would have no problem if she simply ignored other dogs, but the fact that she approaches, growling, needs to be dealt with. Same with other people. I'm a bit at a loss here, now. Any help from you would be greatly, greatly appreciated.



I think you would benefit from watching this 3 part free video on fearful dogs & puppies.


We also have a q & a section on separation anxiety that may help you. 

This dog needs to be crate trained and taught to be left alone in small blocks of time. It won’t be a quick or easy process, but if you don’t get a handle on this soon then it’s going to be a nightmare.

For the aggression issues, I’d concentrate on NOT allowing her to approach other dogs or people. She’s unsure and that’s why she’s growling and showing aggression. She needs to know that you are not going to let strange dogs or people get in her space. I teach all my dogs to be indifferent to others. They don’t have to like them but they are not allowed to be aggressive. She should be on a leash at all times when not in a crate.

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.

I’d also recommend Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

I’d use food to redirect her from things that bother her, this is shown in The Power of Training Dogs with Food.

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 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 Comment
See Previous Testimonials

Hi Cindy - I just read this on today's newsletter (Sept 13).

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.


I would suggest that Daina feed a much wider variety of raw food (my dog has bison, elk, llama, goat and venison and very occasionally, beef) and never feed the same food for more than 2 (or at the most, 3) days running.  This advice was given to me by Don Hamilton, a holistic vet in New Mexico;  my dog stopped scratching within ten days of me changing her diet. (Prior to speaking to Dr Don, I had been feeding a variety, but would feed the same thing for a week.)  She has never had an itching problem since I adopted this way of feeding.  Since then I have had other dog owners whose dogs have itching problems, who say that varying their food like this works for them too. Quite a few people have told me their dogs have trouble with beef;  it is not a food I would feed more than occasionally if a dog has an itching problem.  My dog has auto-immune issues (due, we and her vets believe) to vaccination, and I don't know if that applies to Daina's dog, but a friend of mine had the same problem with his 8 month old GSD and varying his diet worked - no more itching.


Cindy's Response:

Thanks for writing, I’ll add this to our next newsletter. I have a high degree of respect for Dr. Hamilton, and would certainly try his advice.

Thanks again!

Cindy Rhodes

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 upcoming Obedience Intensive, October 11th-22nd, has one slot left. The upcoming Advance Obedience, October 25th-29th, has two slots left. There are a bunch of spaces still open in the Puppy Developement (November 1st-5th) and Protection classes (November 8th-12th and November 15th-19th).


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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