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October 6, 2014

in Reward Based Training with Michael Ellis

15 inch Red Tubular Tug - $14.00Intermediate Tug Set - $40.00
Handmade Braided Fleece Tug with Handle - $15.99
Brites Bungee Bar Tug - $14.95

Top-Matic Magnetic Ball PROFI-Set - $81.00

Leerburg's Online Teaching Engagement Skills Course

I am very glad that I took this course! Despite previous contact with several instructors who used marker training, the explanation from this course was the most complete and valuable ever. Thank You! Ed Frawley's sincere regard for dogs and his sincere desire to be a great teacher is evident throughout the course. I also appreciate having the two videos included in the course (pack behavior and using food rewards). Yes, some of it was redundant, but there is so much valuable information that it was worth powering through it. The most valuable part for me was learning about engagement. I spent once a week all last summer with a Schutzhund trainer teaching my dog controlled healing without ever having my dog really engaged with me... an extreme waste of everyone's energy and definitely not fair to the dog. What a difference with my new 8 month old GSD now that I have her engaged with me. We are breezing through the exercises in your course and have moved on to The Power of Playing Tug (and having so much fun).

You could make the course better if you would review the test questions and answers. I think I have a clear understanding of the course material, yet I agonized over several of the questions/answers - an example would be the question where the correct answer was "touch" but not clear (at least to me) from the question if you meant hand touch or touch pad.

Also, a very clear, detailed picture was given in the beginning of the course of the active vs. reactive dog resulting from training methods. However, in Week 5 this became way too muddled when talking about corrections. Thank you again for an overall great course!

Read more student comments on Leerburg Online University

Leerburg Q&A
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Question: My 10 month old puppy is clean in the crate overnight but when I crate him during the day he pees in there about 50% of the time. He's been checked for a bladder infection and he's fine. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Cindy (and you too Ed),

I have a 10 month old Bulldog/boxer puppy who I got at 8 weeks. I have been home day and night with him for the last 6 months and I am returning to full time work in the next few weeks. He is never allowed to roam freely unattended as he is the equivalent of a drunk toddler; as I have always been home usually its a dragline or ex-pen. He sleeps like the righteous in his crate all night - no accidents. However when I do crate him for a few hours during the day its a 50/50 chance he peed.

I take his water away appx 2-3 hrs before putting him in, and a quick drag around the block to unplug the waterworks - so he is on empty when I leave.

It is not a large amount of pee. The dog has been checked for a bladder infection just in case - he is fine. Sadly, the lady who would normally check in on him midday died a few weeks ago.

Do you have any suggestions on building him up to leaving him alone for 8 hrs a day? No one wants to come home to a 62 lb urine soaked puppy.

Cindy's Response:

I'd be making sure this puppy was getting LOTS of appropriate physical exercise so he was extremely tired when crated.  A tired dog is less likely to pee in the crate and more likely to sleep. 

The urinating may not have anything to do with needing to pee, it may be a form of separation anxiety. Here is a Q&A on separation anxiety

Either way, lots of appropriate physical and mental exercise is the best choice since he's been medically cleared of a problem. 

Cindy Rhodes


Thank you so very much Cindy!

Simple advice clearly stated was what I needed. I was starting to think I was losing it. Puppies are uncharted territory for me - all of my prior dogs were adults when I got them. They house-trained quick and didn't need a good energy drain before I left the house.

Puppies, like people have fears - and will do crazy stuff in that state of mind. You combat fear with confidence and stability.

All too often folks think of puppies as the tiny, cuddly, goofy, poop machines up until the time they look like adults. My dog is still a baby, despite his large size - and as such is afraid of things - just like any other dog (bunnies & trash bags freak him out). I am grateful the issues Hudson is having is no where near as dramatic as others, but they still must be addressed. A little problem can become a huge one by ignoring it.

Thank you once again for talking me off the ledge of owner ineptitude!

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

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 Q&A Search. 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 Leather Bite Rag with Long Line Handle


I have a 9 month Labrador Retriever that loves to tug. He absolutely shreds towels and rags when playing tug. A towel survives less than a week until it's completely shredded. I purchased your leather bite rag several months ago and he absolutely loves tugging with it. It's still as good as new and it's by far his favorite thing to bite and tug. Not cheap but the quality and his love for it makes it worth the price. An excellent product!

The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers
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