Don Sullivan- The DogFather

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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I'm a whole- lotta crazy!
Barked: Sat Aug 2, '08 12:13pm PST 
I was watching TV a few weeks ago and came across the Don Sullivan infomercial. I usually don't get suckered into buying anything off the TV but before I knew it I was on the phone ordering it.

It came yesterday and I started watching the DVD's today. I have watched the first one and am taking a little break before I pop the second one in.

I do have to say that so far I am quite impressed. During the first one I paused a few times and tried some of his techniques with Cooper. I have taken Cooper to obedience training and he does know his basic commands- but he is still stubborn and doesn't always follow through right away. I used Don's techniques and Cooper stayed in a "stay" position in the living room while I made some lunch in the kitchen. He did move once- but I brought him back to same spot he was in and he stayed while I finished what I was doing.

I am excited to go watch the second DVD as it will get into other areas like chewing, counter surfing, setting boundary lines that dogs will not cross etc. Things that Coops definitely needs some work on.

I'll keep you posted on the progress we make and I would love to hear any reviews or feedback from anyone else who has heard of Don or has his training DVD's

Edited by author Mon Apr 13, '09 1:29pm PST


The Original- Huskeh Couple.- ♥
Barked: Sat Aug 2, '08 5:41pm PST 
I saw one of his infomercials. I was watching it but it never gave any information on how he did it. It just kept saying "buy and be amazed" so I was wondering what kind of methods he used?

Dog About- Rosedale

Barked: Sat Aug 2, '08 6:15pm PST 
I just checked out the website. I watched a little promo video, he talks about being a leader and that using treats to train can cause counter surfing and aggression or cause your dog to love you only for your food.....

I am interested in knowing what his "training collar" is like...did you buy the collar with the dvds?

Becky RNCL

My Hat is Two- Sharks
Barked: Sat Aug 2, '08 10:33pm PST 
I would like to know more also after seeing his website. What is so special about the "system?" Since he doesn't use treats, what is the basic premise (other than just being your dog's "leader"...how do you make your dog think you are the "leader?")

Got food? Will- travel!
Barked: Sat Aug 2, '08 10:47pm PST 
I'm always wary of trainers that won't outright describe their methods. What exactly does this "command collar" do? I don't understand. thinking

I'm a whole- lotta crazy!
Barked: Sun Aug 3, '08 10:38am PST 
I watched the second DVD.

I did pause it several times to try his techniques one of which was "wait" when I answer the door and also "get back" so his nose isn't at the door when I answer. Cooper has been pretty good at waiting inside the door while I unload groceries in the past but I have kept having to repeat "stay,stay, stay" Don teaches you to only say the command once- if the does doesn't comply- move the dog back to same spot and make a correction (a tug on the collar). I did find that I wasn't repeating "stay" every few seconds and Cooper did not move. We tried the same thing later when me and my husband were sitting under the carport and Cooper waited until we said it was ok for him to come out with us.

Today we have some friends coming for lunch- so we will tell them to be patient at the door while we use the methods so Cooper doesn't get all excited and charge them at the door. This I will be excited for- Cooper does get excited and like to jump up on people. We have been trying to nip it in the bud for a while. Coops is already about 45 pounds and I don't know how big he will end up.

Now the two things that I found really impressive and I was amazed:

We have had the front living room closed up since we got Cooper. This is the only room in the house that is carpeted and Cooper has gotten in there and made pee and poo. There are 3 doors that go into this room- one of them is a double folding in door that I have had to tape up because Cooper can easily open it. I took the tape off and waited for Cooper to go in- when he did I made a correction, said "no" and brought him out. He did not go into that room after that- and so far today he has not entered it. I have had to chase him around that room a few times to get him out in the past.

I took him outside for a walk- firstly, he was great walking on the simple line. We have always used the "easy walk harness" on him because he pulls on a normal collar. I made the corrections every time the line was tight and after a few tugs he was walking on a loose line. I started the boundary training- the main reason for taking him out there. This is the part that really impressed me:

I started with me walking on the street and Cooper walking on the sidewalk- every time he tried to come into the street- I corrected and got him back on the side walk. Then I walked him up and down our driveway- every time we got to the street I said "wait" and then turned around and walked him back up. I only did this a few times- and then I started dropping the line when I said wait- I proceeded to go out into the street and he stayed on the sidewalk. I did this one a few times a he stayed on the sidewalk every time and did not follow me onto the street. I haven't done the next steps yet- where you are supposed to throw a toy with him beside the street and then testing him by throwing it onto the street to make sure he doesn't go into the street to get it.

I am totally honest when I say this all took only a few minutes- I am in Louisiana and it is so hot and sticky right now- staying outside for too long is not pleasant for me.

Later last night- my husband was mowing the front and back lawn. I let Cooper out in the backyard and after several minutes went to call him in. He wasn't in the backyard and I went to check to see if he has gotten out of the gate- he did. I was calling for him as I started going to the front of the house and my husband yelled back "he's here" My husband said Cooper walked right up to the street and he stopped there. He didn't go into the street or bolt away.

I am so impressed with the results we have gotten in such a short amount of time.

For those who have concerns about the collar-The collar that comes with the package is plastic- each piece is V shaped on the bottom- the part that sits on the dogs neck. It isn't sharp by any means. I tried it on my arm when I took it out of the package and gave it some good tugs to see what it felt like. I felt it but it wasn't really painful- just annoying

In the DVD's Don does talk about using metal prong collars and even electronic collars if you have a dog who is extremely stubborn. I don't know how I feel about these- I have never had a dog in my life who has ever had one of these.

My mom has a Yorkie who is a problem barker. She decided to pick up an electric barking collar one day to see what it would do. She decided to try it on herself first- she said she almost went flying across the room when it zapped her. laugh out loud It went back to the store.

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Sun Aug 3, '08 10:53am PST 
This si nothing more than traditional, correction based training that any trainer could probably teach you how to do.

And the collar sounds like a modified prong collar.

Dog About- Rosedale

Barked: Sun Aug 3, '08 11:05am PST 
I am glad to see Cooper is doing well, and that you are happy.
And yes, this is traditional training and I have seen a collar like that at my local PetValu...it is much like a plastic prong, but the edges of the plastic V are not as sharp as the prongs.
This is not my choice of training style, I prefer what DS calls "treat training" and have not had any of the issues that he says arise from that. I prefer the non corrective way. This is only because I have used this style in the past, including a prong and choke chain (the worst of all collars, IMO) and did not have good results with them. Cracker and myself are doing much better clicker R+ and I will not go back to traditional training.
Either way, you are having success with the methods and that is a good thing, especially with street safety and boundaries, but I wish something kinder worked for you.
Good luck.

Please scratch- my butt. Its- cute!
Barked: Fri Sep 12, '08 5:01pm PST 
I did order his training DVD and set. The command collar is a plastic pointed collar similar to one I saw sold in Petsmart awhile back. It is an updated choke collar. Now, I don't like choke chains because most people can inadvertently injure their dog with one. They can injure the trachea of the dog's neck or other sensitive tissue. I like the command collar because it gets the point across without choking the dog. Just a snap. I am impressed with the results I've received when I follow his advice to the letter and watch the DVD carefully. I have cocker spaniels and they can be definitely food motivated but what I found was that unless I had treats they weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing. I was doing clicker training primarily before. I don't disagree with it but I've had much better results already with Don's system and giving the dog attaboys when they do what they are supposed to do. I also combine it with Cesar Millan's system of Exercise, Discipline and Affection. I find that an exercised dog is a happy relaxed dog and much more wiling to be trained. Speaking of which they are ready to go.....
I don't disagree with clicker training, every dog is different and one has to do with the method that works!
Sergeant- Tank

Top dog - American- Bulldog!
Barked: Sun Sep 14, '08 4:09pm PST 
To me, it sounds like Don Sullivan is a knock-off Cesar Millan. I watched his infomercial and decided that if someone wants to give out good information for a cost than it isn't worth it. How selfish!!!? Shouldn't training dogs be knowledge for everyone? I think so.

Any ways, I was wondering, what exactly does he do that is different from Cesar. I heard you mention corrections, but you really didn't give any detail.

Could you detail it out a bit more for those of us who are interested?
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