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Leerburg.com December 27, 2010
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Whistle Backs off a Bite Pillow

Whistle Backs Off a Bite Pillow

This short video is of our friend Donna Matey doing whistle backs with her 6 month old puppy, Eager, off bite pillows with Forrest Micke's help. The training steps for this exercise will be covered in a DVD I am producing with Michael Ellis on protection exercises people can do that don't have a decoy or helper.

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Training the Jumps with Michael Ellis

Training the Jumps with Michael Ellis

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Dog Bite

To view these dog bite photos, click here.
Warning: these photos are very graphic!

We are always looking for photos of people who have been bitten by their dogs while trying to break up a dog fight. If you send us photos and the story on how the accident happened we will put them on our website with the hope that your mistakes will help other people realize how dangerous it is to try and break up a dog fight the wrong way.

Dog Bite:

Dear Ed or Cindy,

Please guide me as to what steps I need to take, which videos/equipment I need to buy- or even if you think this situation is redeemable at all.

My dog Bisou (three years, not spayed, oddly has not come into season in a year after having has 3 heat cycles- never been bred), pictured, and Baer, my other shepherd, broke the board on the fence lock, got out, and proceeded to terrorize my neighbors, biting one (pictured) and charging and rushing others. I was at work and unreachable.

The man she bit was my next door neighbor and he was just going from his car into his house. He said there was no barking, the dogs came up to him, he didn't run, just said "hi" and when he proceeded to his door was attacked and bit from behind.

My other neighbors tried to put the dogs away- they all thought they were friendly, as they see me or my 8 year old daughter walking them and stop and say 'hi' and pet them, etc.

However, Bisou was NOT friendly, and charged across the street aggressively and chased a man back into his house with his dog- he later came out and pepper sprayed her. Another neighbor, Joe, was getting barked at by Bisou and he told her to 'sit' and she did. He said my other dog was lying in my yard calmly.

Animal control was called, and my neighbor Dave was worried for my dogs who (he thought) he knew and tried to get then back into the fence. Baer complied however Bisou was viscous and and barked and growled and when Dave told her to 'get in the yard' she jumped and bit his hip- no damage, thank goodness. He did manage to get them in the fence and block it with a garbage can. While his actions were stupid I am very lucky. Kids would have been walking home from school shortly- God forbid what could have happened.

I know I belong on the 'dumb and dumber' page- I'm so sorry I let this happen. Here are the warning signs I've noticed- surely there were more but I have been too ignorant to notice or recall. Bisou has charged up, barking, to people walking by in the street before- four times. She is three years old. Every time it has been when I am unaware and in the house- the gate or front door was left open. Once we were on a walk at dusk and I was talking to people and not paying attention, and a teenager ran up to us. Bisou barked threateningly at the girl. I gave a very harsh correction, subsequently the dog sniffed and licked the girl.

I taught her to not run out the door. I have her off leash in the front yard with me and strangers are greeted by a friendly dog. She listened to my commands and my daughters, on or off leash. We've worked in as many environments as I can think of- the city, the park, wherever. She has always been friendly towards other dogs. She is respectful to my guests and enjoys attention from them, but if they are not 'dog people' I have no problem telling her to 'go lie down' and she'll leave them alone. The dogs have their CGC's and Bisou knows many competition obedience maneuvers. She has never been a problem whether walking her to school to get my daughter, at dog 'gatherings' with other people and dogs, etc. She was uneasy in her training for the 'stand for exam' when I am at a distance, but certainly never looked aggressive- she just broke her stand a lot until she learned not to.

As a pup I worried she lacked confidence but she seemed to overcome her fears the more we explored the world and by a year or so there were no more 'scary piles of leaves' and she seemed not to have a confidence/fear problem. She likes to chase things, and when she is engaged in watching something of interest she can take a very strong correction and recover quickly. I learned that teaching her not to chase the ducks at the pond.

My best guess is that Bisou must not worry in my presence and thinks in my absence she needs to take charge. The aggression and violence she displayed yesterday sickens me. I am so over my head I don't know what to think or do.
My husband (serving the US Army in Korea) said not to get rid of her rashly, so I will see if I can get a grip first.

Obviously this dog needs to be contained 100% of the time. What of my daughter? Me? Could this dog turn on us? Do we have a monster that needs to be killed? Should I muzzle her at all times?

I boarded my dogs with a professional trainer this summer while my daughter and I visited my husband in Korea. (she does competition obedience with her Tervs and Dobermans and herding with her Border Collies- multiple OTCH's and high in trials with different dogs, etc.) She was completely dumbstruck when I related yesterday's events. She had the dogs 2 and 1/2 months and saw no dog or people aggression issue what-so-ever, no separation anxiety, etc. Nor do the dogs ever try to 'escape'- not for her or me, in my house or yard. She said she knew my dogs and they were provoked in some form or another- not to justify what happened, of course- but she insisted there was a reason. I don't know what to think.

Biting humans just seems like a thing that is not redeemable- how could I teach a dog that it is so utterly unacceptable whether the animal is in my presence or not that I could be sure it would never bite another human again?

There are as many different opinions on this as people I know. I need sound advice, and I have your tapes with you and Cindy and I trust you.
Please tell me the appropriate course of action.

I am so sorry. I thought I was a good dog owner. People always complimented me on my well trained dogs. I am such a clueless fool. I can never let this happen again.

I thank you in advance for your advice- I can't thank you enough, as I am in desperate need of sound guidance.


Have a Question on Dog Training?

Have you checked the Leerburg Discussion Board? It is one of the most active dog web boards on the internet. The Leerburg Web Board has over 16,500 Members with over 165 forums and 269,000 posts in its archives. The web board also has an excellent search engine that only searches the web board's 293,000 posts.

This Week's Featured
Question & Answers

Question: My dog sniffs around a lot to find just the right spot before he poops. Why does he do this? Any suggestions?

Hello Cindy,

I tried to find this on your site before I asked but I couldn't. When I take my dog out to go potty, I don't have trouble with him peeing, but when it's time to poop, he has to find the right spot. He will sniff around, and get ready to poop and stop and move around and sniff some more. This drives me nuts. It's like he has to find the perfect spot. Why does he do this? I didn't have a problem with this when he was a puppy. I would bring him to the spot I wanted him to go potty and he would go. He is 7 months now. I do have another dog and I wasn't sure if it had anything to do with marking. There are sometimes when he will find a place quick, but the rest of time he walks back and forward trying to find a spot. And the spot could be inches away from where he just was. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.



Every dog is different and some are just like this.

If you use marker training with your dog you could try marking it with a YES when he poops and then either play with him or give him a high value treat. Of course, if your dog is taught to go to the bathroom on command this will make it easier too.

My 7 month old pup will go out and pee and poop in less than 2 minutes, because I've made a HUGE deal out of it when she goes when I ask her to. It took a lot of time at first, but it's paying off now (especially since we have about 30" of snow on the ground).

Cindy Rhodes

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


Question: I'm interested in protection training my dog. Even though he is older, would the puppy bite training DVD help him?

I have a 1 1/2 year old Bullmastiff. He has gone through a basic obedience class and he is good on the basic things. But he is very passive and I want to get him in a protection program. My question is he doesn't bite and tug very hard at all. Would the puppy bite training DVD help out even though he's up there in age? I want him to get a little more aggressive. Around my wife if a stranger approaches he is very protective of her. Any suggestions will help. Thanks

Cindy's Response:

If you are interested in personal protection, you most definitely want to continue to work on obedience as well as building a foundation for protection.

These are the videos I would recommend for your dog right now.

The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog

When your dog is doing well with the drive and focus work then I would suggest The First Steps of Bite Training.

And once the bite development is complete and the dog is becoming more mature (usually around 24-30 months for most dogs) The First Steps of Defense and Training Personal Protection Dogs.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

For more information on this topic, see our Q&A on Training Personal Protection Dogs.


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 Testimonials
See Previous Testimonials

Dear Ed,

I'd first like to say your e-collar training DVD is worth its weight in gold. It was wonderfully put together with an excellent attention to detail. With it my my six month old GSD female is training beautifully on it during the correction phase. She has also learned a lot of self control in terms of pack behavior. It has also given her more focus during training and helped use her prey drive in a positive way. It's such a wonderful thing to see that she "gets it". I also purchased one of the zip tie style collars from you to replace the original strap that came with my dogtra 1900ncp. It slid on the receiver with minimal force and without modification. It's so easy to put it on the dog too.

Through the method on the DVD I determined her working level to be at a range of 63-68 as I sometimes have to escalate the correction under different circumstances. She handles that level just fine without tipping or having her ball or food drive decline one bit. But to me it seems like that is a high setting. I expected her to respond at a much lower level. I've got the collar on tight like in the video online. Could it be I need to get the longer contact points for the receiver? You have hard dogs, what level do you have to use on the 1900ncp?

Thank you for everything,

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