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December 17, 2012
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Michael Ellis Works Young Dog on the Object Guard

Michael Ellis Works Young Dog on the Object Guard

Donna Matey and her dog, Eager, attended the Michael Ellis Ecollar class held at Leerburg on December 1 & 2, 2012. At the end of the class Michael and Donna demonstrated the early stages of training the object guard with Eager.

December 17, 2012   |   11 Minutes, 45 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A
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Question: My real question is what tug is the best for a smaller dog and are there any special training techniques for working such a small slow developing dog?


We have a very small female puppy (~12 lbs @10 weeks) and are working with her to encourage prey drive as a start for protection. She seems to have good prey drive for moving objects (compared to my last dog and my friend's GSDs) and is crazy for the leather bite rag. I want to take it slow with her development since my last dog was damaged by a well respected trainer starting defense work too early (this is just my opinion and suggestions from other working breeders of this type of dog, also as Michael Ellis and Ed say in the videos some dogs are not meant for protection).

My real question is what tug is the best for a smaller dog and are there any special training techniques for working such a small slow developing dog?

I am leaning toward the puppy tug, fleece tug and synthetic puppy tug.

Cindy's Response:

The tugs you list would be a good assortment to start a pup. I like my puppies to bite a wide variety of surfaces so they don't develop equipment bias.

I believe the video you already have is what I would follow: The Foundation of Puppy Bite Work. The size of the pup isn't that big of an issue as long as you keep in mind that your physical size may inadvertently overpower her...  My Malinois Rush wasn't really any bigger at 10 weeks old than your pup.

You may also want to check out Teaching Protection Skills Without a Decoy DVD. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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

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!!!

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You guys really are the best!!! My e-collar order arrived today! THANK YOU! And I love the leather collars, I just love you guys and Michael Ellis! You have changed our lives for the better.

I got this message from a friend: "Went to watch graduation class in obedience... hmmmm... OK, they are beginners, I understand, BUT... jeez it was sad to watch. People dragging dogs on the leash, "sit, sit, SIT," dog has no idea what's going on... No one was using toys, only food. Hardly any rewards, hardly any 'good boy', just generally NO FUN. I was thinking I wish you were there with Kaz to show them how to heel and how to have fun with a dog."

I wouldn't get messages like this without you guys! You showed me how, when no other trainers could!!!  We get complements everywhere we go! Thanks to you guys!!!  

I can't recommend you guys enough!!! 

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