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Leerburg.com October 31, 2011
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Question from a Leerburg Customer on Playing

Question from a Leerburg Customer on Playing

Question from Kevin: My 8 month old German Shepherd pays more attention to my other dogs when I'm trying to play with it. He has great food and prey drive but whether I have food or his favorite toy, he likes to play with the other dogs instead. What can I do to get him more interested in playing with me?

October 31, 2011 | 3 Minutes, 7 Seconds


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This Week's Featured
Question & Answers

Question: My dog is totally disinterested in other people. She'll obey others' commands when I'm in the same room, but becomes withdrawn and slow when I'm not. I'm unsure if this is a problem or not and if it should be corrected.

Dear Mr and Mrs Frawley,

Firstly I would like to give my thanks for your website. The free articles and videos have been an immense help in training myself and my dog. I was clueless about training dogs, and my dog took full advantage of my weakness in that area. After reading your Q & A sections and your training videos, I immediately set down rules and began to enforce them. I noticed a significant change even after the first day and the improvement since then has been nothing short of miraculous. So many thanks for taking the time to set out that huge site!

I admit, I have a problem that I haven't found the answer to in your site, and I beg your patience and hope you can help.

My dog is now three years old. She is a Great Dane x Neopolitan Mastiff, and adopted. She is a good dog {well...since giving her strict boundaries she is!} and isn't a problem for me to handle at all.

However, she is nothing short of totally disinterested in other people. When I handle her, she walks calmly by my side and is quick to respond to both verbal and non verbal commands. She rarely ever needs a correction, never lags following a command and will keep a perfect down-stay until released.

I rarely allow other people to interact with her, but even when I do allow it, she ignores their pats, offered treats and praise. She won't even take a big juicy bone from anyone else but me.

She has been handled by a professional trainer {to demonstrate new training commands to me} and occasionally by my husband. When I am in sight and they are handling her, she keeps her eyes firmly fixed on me and although she obeys the handler's command, she still never lets her gaze leave me for a second. If I give her a command, even from across a large area, she obeys it as swiftly as if I'm standing right next to her.

When I'm not in eye sight, I've observed her on a video recording and she becomes totally withdrawn from the training. She lags so greatly that it takes her almost five slow counted seconds to do a correct sit.

She doesn't pull on the lead, attempt to jump up or show any aggression; she just loses interest in the entire situation. She does obey, but slowly and without interest.

As soon as she can see or hear me again {even if I'm otherwise engaged or deliberately ignoring her} she snaps to attention and reverts right back into her usual instant obedience.

She doesn't whine, drool, or become destructive when I leave the room, so I believe it's not a form of separation anxiety. She merely seems like she only wants to give her full heart into working when it's me holding the lead.

I'm unsure whether this is a problem that should be corrected, and if so, how it could be corrected. I'm tempted to only care about her obeying me, because I'm her main handler and I get such a rush of pride when I have this alert, willing dog by my side, but I'm also worried that as I'm inexperienced with general training, this is actually a serious problem that needs attention.

Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me. I greatly appreciate it and will follow your suggestions in this matter.



I think you have a “problem” that most trainers only dream of. It sounds like your dog is just very bonded to you and since you aren’t having aggression and separation issues I would not worry about it. I would enjoy it. the majority of people who email me CAN’T get their dog’s attention, what you have is (in my opinion) a once in a lifetime dog. Enjoy the relationship!

Cindy Rhodes

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


We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this weeks'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 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!!!

Leerburg Q&As

Customer Comment
on Thursday's Newsletter


I LOVED the short video about introducing Stella to the basket and to the bicycle. She's obviously a smart, very well tempered pup.

However, I think this video also speaks volumes about the trust that she has learned to have in you. Clearly, she has learned that you won't ever do anything to hurt her, and I think it is likely that she has also learned you will respect her feelings, so that she feels comfortable when you show her something new. If only parents and pet guardians could keep this first and foremost in their minds when they are raising up their kids or pets!


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