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Categories: Schutzhund

Q. I attended a local schutzhund club for an evaluation on my new puppy. I was told not to work on obedience at all, just work on tugging and let the pup be the boss of the house & be dominant over me so he’ll have more confidence when we start training later. I’ve purchased many of the Michael Ellis videos and this goes against everything I have learned, what do you think?
I want to train my new puppy in schutzhund.(would rather to mondio but can't find any help locally). I have started with bite work on my own and the basic obedience. Last Saturday we went to a schutzhund club for evaluation and instructions. I was told I should not be doing any obedience training what so ever, just work on tugging and getting him to hold the bite. I was told to just let him be a puppy and let him be with no corrections, letting him be the boss of the house and let him think he is the top dog over me so he will get a lot of confidence before we start working of anything. (He is not shy or reserved). I have gotten a lot of Michael Ellis' videos and gone to his seminars, so this just goes against anything that I have learned. What are your thoughts and would be my next step?

A. Thanks for your question. I don't agree with waiting until the dog is older for obedience, regardless of the temperament of the pup. Personally, I would probably not be able to train with a group of people who subscribed to this philosophy. Letting a puppy be the boss of a house & dominant over the owner doesn't have anything to do with making a confident schutzhund dog. In my experience (and I trained schutzhund for years before I ever started doing mondio) a balanced relationship between the dog and handler is paramount for success, no matter what your goals are.

If everything is done with food and play, it only makes sense to teach the puppy to "learn how to learn." It will make everything so much easier later on. You can also start teaching your puppy the skills of protection via Foundation of Puppy Bite Work and Teaching Protection Skills Without a Decoy.

Cindy Rhodes
  
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Teaching Protection Skills Without a Decoy with Michael Ellis is a 2 hour and 55 minute video that has been in the works for about 2 years For the last 10 years, Michael has given seminars 45 weekends a year. Many of the training groups and clubs that Michael taught did not have access to a regular decoy. Over the years Michael developed this training program that allowed his training groups to practice biting skills while he was gone. Many of the members of these groups have gone on to get Schutzhund and Ring Sport titles. His system has been used on police service dogs, personal protection dogs and even Agility dogs. Many top Agility trainers are learning the value of teaching their dogs advanced tug skills. This DVD is an in depth, step by step study of Michaels system on establishing the foundation of biting skills without a helper or decoy. Trainers only need a friend or family member that will handle a bite wedge, a bite tug or a high value toy to assist them in rewarding correct behavior. The value of the training methods we show are that the dogs learn correct behavior and capping skills at a lower drive level. In the training steps, Michael explains how to start the training for each skill. He also explains when to add drive and stressors for these various protection skills. When these things are done correctly the work with decoys goes much faster and with fewer mistakes.

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I went to my first protection training seminar in summer of 1974 and can honestly say that the training in this DVD is the most in depth study on the foundation of bite training for puppies that has ever been done. The video footage for this production has come from work with Michael Ellis that has been filmed over a 4 year period. We have dogs in this video that were filmed as 10 week old puppies that are 4 years old today. If you have studied the 7 earlier DVDs I have done with Michael Ellis, you will understand why I can honestly say that Michael is a genius at dog training. He takes training to a different level than anyone I have ever known.

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