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September 17, 2012
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Question from a Leerburg customer - What tug to use for a small dog?

Question from a Leerburg customer -
What tug to use for a small dog?

Travis, a Leerburg customer, has a new puppy. He is concerned as to when to start bite work and what type of tug to start with. Ed Frawley answers the question on which tugs to use for bite development and recommends some more materials on how to properly use these tugs.

September 17, 2012   |   4 Minutes, 15 Seconds

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NOW SHIPPING  Finishing Work: Reducing the Frequency of Rewards and the Use of Punishment with Michael Ellis DVD
Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question here

Question: I have been working on the retrieve and the send away and now when I throw the dumbbell, my female runs out and touches it (like the send away) and wants to come back for her tug reward without the dumbbell. Any input would be appreciated.

Hi Cindy,

I have several Michael Ellis DVDs purchased from Leerburg and really enjoy them.

My problem is I have been working on the retrieve and send away (Michael Ellis way) but recently, when I tell my female to "bring" the dumbbell, she thinks all she has to do is go out and touch it (like in the send away) and come back for a tug reward. She was doing good until now. I think I will quit working the send away until she gets the retrieve down better but I am looking for help to solve this problem.

When I throw the d.b. and she runs out to get it but doesn't pick it up, I either will race out there with her and give it a little kick and repeat bring and "usually" she will pick it up or sometimes I may go pick the d.b. up and put it in her mouth then I run backwards a few yards and tell her to bring and she will normally do this with a front sit (she doesn't hold the d.b. tight, which is another whole different topic).

She likes to retrieve but she is just a little confused about picking it up and bringing it back and thinks she can just go touch it and come back for a tug reward. I didn't really want to quit working on the send away but just not quite sure what else to do. She has plenty of drive to retrieve.

Any input would be appreciated.


I would back up the training on the retrieve. If you have to go with her and kick and/or repeat the command then she’s not ready for you to throw it so far.

I also would not work retrieves and send aways in the same session right now.

When Rush was learning he would sometimes go out and touch the retrieve item with his paw, I simply said nothing and waiting for him to try something else and when he would act like he was going to pick the item up I would mark with Good and if he picked it up, he got an immediate YES.

Whenever you have issues with training, go back to the level where the dog is understanding and getting success without so much help and build back up from there. You may also have gone to a toy reward too quick. I used food for a long time before I added the toy.

I hope this has given you some ideas to try. :)

Cindy Rhodes


Hi Cindy,

Thank you very much for your reply. I will do just as you suggested and hopefully things will work out and we can move forward in our training. I think it will work!

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Training the Retrieve DVD.

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 Para*Clear

I've used this Para Clear food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) twice now; once last year at my old house in the City and again this week. I recently moved to the country and I noticed my two dogs and two cats suddenly itching... and then I saw a flea! My next door neighbors don't have pets and have all hardwood floor and they had a flea outbreak too so I think the fleas came from the big irrigated field directly behind our houses. Within 48 hours after dusting all of my area rugs (and my dogs; I gave them each a bath with just conditioner the next day since DE can dry skin out), none of the four animals are itching. I am very relieved and grateful to Leerburg for introducing me to this safe, cost-effective product.

I used to use Advantage/Frontline on my 1st dog (Blue Heeler) and two cats until my boss told me one of those products had temporarily caused paralysis in her German Shepherd's back legs. That freaked me out! After my 2nd dog (German Shepherd) joined our family, I found the Leerburg website and greatly benefited from the Basic Obedience, Dealing with Aggressive & Dominant Dogs, and Establishing Pack Structure DVDs and all the articles and Q&A on this website. I also learned about DE here and ordered it and will be ordering more so I can do regular prevention at my house.

Thank you Leerburg!

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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