Member Questions AMA – 2/23/21

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Video is at the bottom of this post.

All questions and are copied and pasted from the original messages.


Hey Robert- I’m working on teaching the heel command in obedience class. My 7-month cocker spaniel will keep his nose to the ground or pull away while walking. I make corrections with the leash but only to have him pull away again. When I take a treat out, he transforms into a focus heel, looking up and staying with me with no leash pressure. If I take the treats/toys away he loses focus again, and makes me use leash corrections. How can I limit leash corrections without using treats? Thanks!


Hi Robert, Hendrix (male Kelpie/Mal X, 2 yrs 4 months). Has just been diagnosed (X-rays)with quite severe hip dysplasia and arthritis. He’s been a total activity freak and won’t adjust well to reduced exercise. I can afford the hip replacement surgery but I’m just wondering what’s best for him. I don’t want to keep him on long term painkillers and although the surgery is quite a serious op, we have great vets. Any advice? What would you do? Sorry it’s hard to explain all this in 500 characters.

Lisa C

I’ve watched all your tug videos, my bully understands how to tug but does not bring the tug back after I let him win. Could I add in a bring command then mark with a treat or reengage the game as soon as he brings it back? He is more food driven then toy so I’ve been able to teach a decent out with food reward or the two toy method


Two weeks ago I asked about leash reactivity for Zeke, 2 yo m heeler mix. I was giving treats whenever he was around dogs, but have stopped treating except when he is calm. He is now worse around other dogs, won’t stay calm or listen to commands. I try to stay across the street from other dogs. Leash pops and “no” don’t affect his behavior. Also, sometimes when correcting my dog I’ve been called an asshole or worse in public. Embarrassing, frustrated, losing patience with my dog. Help! Thx much

Jamie S

My 10 month old GSD sleeps in her crate. Every morning, her energy level is at 100. We put her in at 10pm & up 5am. Is that too much time in the crate at night? When she sleeps with us in the living room, (not in a crate) she’s much calmer in the morning, at a level 20. Also her appetite seems to be gone & she seems to not enjoy her food anymore? (VISIONARY dry dog food) What do you think about withholding meals for a day? Meal time is important because I feed her by hand while I train her.


I’m really interested in becoming a trainer and behaviourist especially here in the UK where I think a lot of a lot of dog owners don’t train the dogs properly please what do I look out for in a course Is more money the better calls or some of them are quite expensive it is okay but does it mean a better course?

Mike P

I saw your socialization response to the previous question. A follow up. What do I do now that my dog (7 month old Golden) has gotten into the habit of jumping, barking and crying to meet other humans and dogs when we see them on the street. I have started to slowly introduce him to places like the park and Home Depot, working with neighbors, etc. I have treats and work to get him to pay attention to me. A work in progress. Am I doing the right thing? He can be a little embarrassing. 🙂


My 2 year old, intact male Rottweiler, has spontaneous moments where he will lunge, bite, and attack my family members, without clear warning signs. He recently gave my dad 15 stitches. He wouldn’t stop going after him until I pulled him off. In the past, he has tried biting me too, but due to me correcting him, he hasn’t tried anymore. I don’t know why he is doing this, or how to stop it. I’m desperate for help and I don’t want to get rid of him. What am I doing wrong?


Hi Robert! Love your videos. I have a 9 month old German Shepherd / Border Collie mix. I live in London in the UK and recently moved to a neighbourhood where there are a lot of foxes that come out at night on the street and in the local parks. My dog has a strong prey drive and we are working on not chasing squirrels with slow but noticeable results. But it seems with foxes the drive is even stronger. What is the best way for me to train when we encounter foxes? We use ‘leave it’ and long line.

Jack A

Hi Robert, my GSD is 4 months old and is just amazing at her commands; she’s very clever. I am trying to “phase” her off, getting a reward for every sit, down and stand and instead reward at the end of a “set”. i.e Down, Sit, Stand -> Reward. She has always been vocal, but now cries at me during doing the command (still completes it), I think asking for the treat. Should I just keep fun and reward every time. I know she is young but she really knows these commands!


My daughter adopted 8mo Mal/Husky 2 yrs ago (dog is now almost 3yo). Grandson (now 16) is a playmate, not trainer. Recently, he reached for her collar to get her off the sofa. She growled and nipped at him. She is a somewhat timid dog. Not sure if he surprised or startled her, or if roles are changing as he matures. She has never done this before. How should they handle this? My daughter has done most of the training.


Hey Robert! Loving the member’s section so far, thanks for all the awesome content! I was wondering if you have any drills/exercises you’d recommend for teaching high drive dogs like a Malinois to relax while indoors? One thing I’ve been doing is holding him on a short leash until he lays down on his own and then rewarding that, but he tends to only lay for a few seconds and then tries to army crawl


My 6mo old puppy still overwhelms my two small shih tzus when she sees them. I never leave her alone with them unsupervised, but sometimes she gets to them and begins to profusely lick and stand over them and will not get off until I pull her off. I typically correct her by grabbing her muzzle and iterating a firm “NO”. Have done this many times and has not helped. If I’m in the room with the both of them she can hold herself back but will occasionally nip at them, which follows me correcting.

Dave M

Hi Robert, my one year old male GSD has recently become reluctant/nervous when walking across our wooden floors to cross into other rooms. Any suggestions on how to address this? We have tried encouragement and treats, but don’t want this to become an issue for him.


Robert, thanks for everything, we love you! What do you think about this? We have a 15 month old GSD who is an amazing dog thanks to you. But maybe he’s wiser than we are. If we give him a request, he will do it immediately if it makes sense. But if it seems stupid and out of context for reason, sometimes it is, then he won’t do it. Sit for no darn good reason doesn’t impress him. Is he smarter than we are?

Michael F

Do you believe in utilizing clickers with treats?

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