Member Questions 4-22-23


Border collie 13 months (m), been w/ us since 2 months. Neuter at 18 months. Partially potty trained. Does everything outside but still marks the back and sides of couches at least once a day. Nothing seems to work. There is no fixed place for potty in the yard.. one generic corner most times. Keep him locked w/ wife in her office room all day because of this. Outside breaks every couple of hours. Looking for suggestions to fix indoor soiling. Common problem but common solutions don’t seem to work, like clean up thoroughly.

Lina T

Hi R&J! I just started training Harpo,6y.o.this month;on the e-collar.I’ve always used a pinch;started getting her used to just wearing the e-collar you’ve recommended.Since we practice in the safety of our backyard,is it OK to go back and forth from the pinch to an e-collar.I’m not yet confident myself to walk w/o a pinch; she’s great w/distractions in our back yard and walking great with a pinch.Did I start e-training too late in life?Can the e-collar eventually replace the pinch? I can’t tell you and Janet how grateful we are with all the knowledge and expertise shared.Thank you much.

Justin S

My 6yo lab/pit has new found allergies, most likely from the cold and especially rainy California winter. No diet changes, lots of paw licking/chewing. Wondering if you have any go-to paw soaks/balms that help bring allergy relief, along with treating any secondary issues like paw pad dryness or abrasions. Currently using paw wipes when walks are over, Mushers Secret, and low dose Benadryl. It could be something I just try to manage until the seasons change? Many thanks


Hi Robert I have a 7 year old female Australian Shepherd. My daughter was a 9 month old male Mimi Aussie. The puppy is fearful of other dog .Sometimes he snaps at other dog Even though the puppy is around my dog. He sometimes snaps at her also My daughter’s trainer told her to correct him and say no. I will have the puppy at my house for a week. When my daughter is on vacation. My question is should I continue the some training or do something different. I don’t what to confuse the puppy. Thank you for you help


Hi Robert. I am looking after my friend’s 2yo american bully. When he’s with his owner he is confident and he allows people to touch him. But when his owner is gone, he gets anxious (ears down, lip licking, tail down, curved back) and won’t let anybody go near his neck. Because of this it has been a struggle to attach the leash to his prong collar. Instead, I use a slip leash and slowly put his head inside it in order to take him out for walks. Once he is on the slip leash, we’re able to go out for walks. I do not pet him. Any tips on how to get his trust so that I can attach the leash?

Lisa K

Hi Robert and Janet. Another follow up question regarding my 1 YO GSD. My question is in regards to the place command. What is the best way to teach and enforce the place command? Should the dog stay in a down position the entire time or if they move to sit up, but stay in the place I put them is that ok? Or is he testing me? Also should I correct the “leaking” whining he makes when he doesn’t want to stay in place? And finally how long should I keep him in place? We’re up to about 5 minutes now but I don’t want to push it. Thanks again for all your help!  

Lisa in Michigan.

Patricia M

Hello Robert can you recommend a behavioral trainer in San Diego caI?I have an 11 mo old Belgian that has developed possession aggression I need help with her. She did display this behavior at approximately 8 weeks old but it was very subtle. Just recently (March12, 2023) she broke her back leg and I’ve had to crate her for longer period her possession aggression has gotten worse. Only towards my other dogs and especially my 8 yr old pitt bull not towards people. If she doesn’t have food a chew toy they get along fine. I’m in the southern part of San Diego and I want to get her the right trainer.

Lina T

Hi R&J! I’m currently learning how to use the e-collar. I’m almost ready to take her out on walks with the e-collar. I was going to use a Martingale as a backup.Are Martingales meant to be taken off after each lesson? Is it considered a correction tool?Update to last Q&A:Both you & Janet motivated me to order a set of agility toys. You’re so very right about Harpo deserving to be happy too .We’re both looking forward to our new challenges.I thank both of you for your very kind words. Now, my goal is to be a better trainer & make myself as interesting as possible for her. Thank you both!


Writing back from 3/24 abt Buster (14 mo+ 40lb Rottie Mix). Original behavior of mouthing and barking has evolved. It is a mixture of play and guarding happens only when I (not wife) am trying to tend to our 5yr old twins. Can be reprimanding, hugging, bending down to put on shoes. He will nip at me, bark, lunge, mouth and play bow at me typically with tail wagging and relaxed posture. I can pet him and calm him during these times. It has seemed more aggressive on occasion, but no actual bites. Crate training him to get used to us per Robt. Can we close in crate if he independently goes in there w/no command?


Hi Robert, plz help, my neighbors are complaining about my GSD (male/ 2 urs old) barking which he does when he hears cats, & our neighborhood is full of stray cats, I mainly got him for the purpose of guarding as we have lots of construction work on our street, he stays in the yard where i have built him a well equipped room, I don’t want to take the barking out of him but I want to teach him not to bark when he hears cats, please note that when im with him he does not bark at them, the issue is when im away & e-collars r not available is Saudi Arabia. Please Heeeelp🥺🥺 thank u


Hi, I have a dog I am training for IGP, I was wanting to get your thoughts on putting an anti-bark collar on him? I know there are times when Schutzhund dogs should be barking, but he will bark a lot in the house at seemingly nothing or a small noise in the middle of the night. I’d like to stop this so am thinking of using a bark collar but do not want to impact training.


Hello Robert, I hope all is well.I have a two part question for you:how can I prevent my Mal puppy from swallowing inedible items?I have tried to offer him a treat/toy instead of the item and he swallows the item quickly then goes for my offer.I started putting him on a long line but am wondering if there is anything else I can do?Also, what are your thoughts on pet insurance for Mals?Wondering if it makes more sense to pay for insurance or save for an emergency fund. Just not sure how costly illnesses like cancer are to treat in dogs and if Mals are more susceptible to such illnesses.Thanks.

Ailene V

Mr. & Mrs.Cabral, sorry, but Iris was angry because I took away her favorite thing to chew on, my shoe, and she wouldn’t follow any commands. I used the word attack since she launched at me, biting my hand and arm, causing me to bleed. That night, while brushing her teeth, I noticed her molars pushing through. Poor baby, I gave her ice to chew since she no longer likes frozen wash cloths,toys,etc. but loves ice and gum massages. With a wagging tail, she still does the K9 jump at us but am thankful that we are back on track training with Siggy and Max. Thank you both 4 UR advice! Hugs!! ♡♡


Hey Robert. I got my mal at 7 wks old during the pandemic and worked for several months training him all day until I began working again. I’ve become too lax in structuring his environment. Since 8 months he’s become more nervy. He will sometimes approach like he wants petted but and even climb his paws on you but then stiffen and whale eye, sometimes snapping. Sometimes he immediately runs with a toy but others he just does it and runs. Yesterday he snapped my girlfriend’s hand. She had to get two stitches. We’re cracking down on training habits now. Have you ever seen this before? Thank you


Hi Robert, my 2 year old male GSD gets terrified at the vet, i took him for a check up yesterday & he growled at the doc for trying to get his temperature through his bum he even scared me, luckily he was wearing a muzzle so he couldn’t bite but he tried to hit him with the muzzle, after we got him held down & when the doc tried to withdraw blood he fussed so hard i worried something bad would happen. Overall my Gsd seems to need training to build up his confidence but the visit to the vet scares him at a whole other level. How can i buildup his confidence & get him to calm down at the vet😩

Lory W

Hello – We have a 10 month old male Golden Retriever who continues to bite. I have sought help from numerous trainers and have gotten quite a bit of bad advice which has made the situation worse. From watching your videos, I know I have to shift the relationship and change the dynamic between us. I am looking for more pointers to help develop that respect. I make him wait before I feed him, I put treats in front of him and tell him to leave it, he responds to ‘eyes on me’. Do you have any other pointers to help with this situation?


Hello Janet and Robert. Thank you for your response to James last week about friendly jumping on people. You redirected my thinking away from using an eCollar for correction. My question now is about a new bark collar. My research has me considering a Doggo Bark that goes from beep to vibrate to e-shock. I’m concerned about the automatic shock feature. Her current collar was not a cheap one but it has little effect on her.

Timothy D

I am working with a few retrievers and want to teach them to run long, straight lines out to 200 yards. It is proving to be pretty difficult. Any advice?

Sandra B

My now 3 yr old GSD (pandemic puppy rescue at 7 months old) is too aggressive around other dogs. He has a very strong prey drive toward small dogs and attempts to play too rough with dogs his size. Therefore, I cannot have my children’s dogs to our home and we can’t take Jesse to theirs. He also is unpredictable when walking on a leash should he encounter another dog. I have employed positive only trainers and a behaviorist. I am at a loss as to the next step. I would like him to be able to be with us in public for more fun in his dog parks however. Please advise… Thank you


Hi thanks Robert and Janet: 

My 2 years old mal, is really sweet, in the apartment she does all her training really good, at agility too or at the park, but at the street walking to the park she forgets all, she won’t take toys or food, she is panting and trembling tail between the legs. 

I have tried to give her food outside with no breakfast or dinner, she won’t take it, the vet gave her some pills for that but it just helps with no pulling so hard. 

Is there a way I can help her? I can’t keep her with no food more because she gets stomach problems with stress and no food 


Suzanne I

Can I leave my 8 week old cockapoo alone from 7-1 while I go to work?


We adopted a 1 1/2 year old Australian Cattle Dog mix (4 weeks ago) and he recently (this week) started barking at us for what appears to be attention. He has basic obedience, is crate-trained, and walks well on a leash. He gets a lot of exercise by walks, chasing tennis balls, chasing soccer balls, and through obedience training. This behavior ONLY happens at night, around 5PM and later. When this happens, he barks constantly and if we do not redirect him he will begin to nip at our hands and legs. What is the best way to address this behavior? Is this something that will fade away over time?

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