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October 8, 2012
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Can I start Michael Ellis’ training system on a dog that is 1-2 years old?

Can I start Michael Ellisí training system
on a dog that is 1-2 years old?

Ed Frawley discusses how to start from the beginning of Michael Ellisí training system with a dog that has had other training in the past.

October 8, 2012   |   3 Minutes, 12 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: Our mixed breed 7 month old dog attacks our coats and shoes when we are out in the yard. He lunges and wonít let go. Please help us.

Please help me! My husband and I have consulted our trainer who has suggested things that just don't work and I have yet to find an answer that really relates to our problem. We have a 7 month old Boxer mix (we think--we adopted him from a shelter at 2 months). He is such a good dog! He has been in obedience classes since he was about 4 months old and does amazing everywhere but in our backyard. Even then the only issue (but a big issue) is that he will attack our coats and shoes when we are down in the yard. This doesn't happen all the time and it seems random. I know it's not but I can't figure out what the problem is. When he crouches down in pouncing position, I immediately correct him with a "ah ah ah" sound in a low voice. That does not stop him. He lunges and he will not let go. I tell him "drop it" and "no" (commands he usually listens to), but nothing stops him. We have to grab his collar and pull him into the house or on the deck where he becomes calm again. It is so strange. Please help us!

Cindy's Response:

I would not allow him anywhere off leash, not even in your back yard or inside your home.

This way you can interrupt the behavior and block his lunging with the leash. Dogs only do what we allow them to, so taking control of potential opportunities he may have to misbehave puts you in the power position.

I think he finds this fun but it can (and likely will) get you hurt.

I’d highly recommend the video Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

Even dogs that do well in formal obedience classes often have issues during the “non” training times around the house. You need to show him that rules apply ALL the time. Inspiring good behavior and cooperation is all about leadership and it’s as much a lifestyle as anything else. Some dogs are more challenging than others and adolescence is a challenging time (for dogs and humans).

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

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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

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 Website

I just want to say your website has opened my eyes about how uneducated we are about our dog. I have a behaviorist coming to my home next week to evaluate my 9 month old black lab who is displaying all kinds of aggression. We think because of poor breeding and lack of socialization (we got him when he was 4 months old) he is a train wreck. So, instead of establishing pack leadership, we’ve felt sorry for his poor start in life and haven’t been leaders at all – he has total control and he is not confident…a scary and unfair combination.

I really just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the tools you offer and the advice you have given us freely.

Wow, looks like our growing boy is in for a change of pace at home, but one we know will be best for everyone in the end.

Thanks again

The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers Comes to Leerburg in December
Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers goes on the road... Proper Use of the Electric Collar - December 1st & 2nd ...and comes to Leerburg!
The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

2013 Schedule Now Available!


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