Our corgi (Nikko) is 11 months old and he is the sweetest thing in the world until we won't let him do something he wants to do. He knows his commands, never gets aggressive towards food, LOVES people, but if he has his mind set on something and we tell him no, it is like an on and off switch. He is fighting dominance with my husband as well. We are thinking it is because he is protective of me since I am the one that feeds him most and cuddles with him most of the time. If my husband gives me a hug too long or if I have Nikko sitting by me and my husband tries to pet him, within a minute or so he will start nipping at him. We also have major issues with him eating poop outside. We try our best to keep it cleaned up and he has gotten much better about it, but if he is cranky or we say no to something, he will literally go find poop and choke it down just because he knows he isn't supposed to. He throws temper tantrums just like our 4-year old niece. Today was the last straw for me. I wouldn't let him go back behind the shed and he freaked out, grabbed a piece of poop and started choking it down. I went over and opened his mouth to get it out and he flipped himself around and bit me the hardest he has ever had before. I have multiple punctures on my hands from him and I literally had to drag him back inside because he was freaking out so bad. We just got a "shock" collar for him, but we have been using the vibrate mode which seems to be working okay, but he is getting used to it now. He has been through classes, we have put him on time-outs, tried walking away, a firm NO, pretty much everything I have seen or heard about and it doesn't seem to put a dent in his spasms. Any suggestions? Is this just normal fighting for dominance/testing boundaries puppy behavior? I've been told by several of my friends who own dogs that he will grow out of it, but his temper tantrums stress me out so bad that I have been in tears a couple of times out of frustration. We are thinking about doing the next round of classes at Petsmart to see if that helps. We can't afford a private trainer, so that isn't an option for us. The only person Nikko listens to is my dad and I don't know how he does it. He used to break in horses, so I guess it is just a natural thing for him. It drives me crazy! I keep asking my dad for tips and it doesn't seem to help.
We have been using the vibrating collar if he tries to go after my Chinchilla's cage or if he goes after poo outside and when we buzz it we say a firm NO and it is helping. We have tried the supplements for the poo eating and they do absolutely nothing. He is a great dog other than these little tantrums he has. We make him sit and wait for food and water every single time and he has to wait until we say okay, he knows sit, down, roll over, dance, shake, wait and come so he knows the basic commands and some extra ones and he does them when we ask EXCEPT for when he has his mind set on something. The vibrate collar has been a good way to get his attention and focus back on us and what we are asking. I was just not smart today and didn't put the collar on him before we went outside and I paid for it. He probably doesn't get enough exercise. We were very good about it this summer but now that it is cold and snowy we have not really gone on many walks. He has a couple other dogs that he will play with and wear him out and we will run around the back yard a little bit, but we need to start taking him on walks again and just bundle up. I looked up the Nothing in Life is Free and we have done all of that since day one. He has to do something for us when he gets a treat, he only goes on the couch if we invite him up, he does not sleep in our bed and he never will. The only thing with him possibly thinking he "owns" me is because I give him a lot of attention with scratching his belly or having him sit next to me on the couch at night while I pet his head, but I don't see why I shouldn't do this? I think we may have just gotten a strong willed, stubborn puppy that will take more work to break his issues.
He does sound strong-willed but it also sounds like he has a very low frustration threshold. Besides talking to your husband about how he plays, I would definitely up the exercise level and find him a job, as mentioned above. We taught Jack the names of all his toys and would send him to find them. I would also try teaching him some sort of way to settle. Jack will usually only go chew on a bone if I say "go get your bone," for example.
Just thought I'd chime in a little about the walks. I hear you about not wanting to go out for walks when it's really cold outside. Do you have a treadmill? If not, you may want to consider getting one and training him to walk on it. I know that new ones can be expensive, but you can also look for used ones (online, in the classified section of the newspaper, etc.) It also doesn't need to be fancy. A basic treadmill works just fine. My husband and I bought a used one a couple of years ago and I trained Yuki on it and he loved it! I didn't have to go out with him when it was -10F outside and he still got his walk. I also was able to do a little reading while I held his leash during his "walk" so it was pretty relaxing for me! :)
Your dog sounds just like my Charlie. I had the same issues. Just one day, Charlie started eating poop and becoming aggressive. I started him in obedience training at Petsmart and he is thriving now! His aggressive behavior has decreased about 85% and isn't eat poop so much. He just turned 1 year old and start his behaviors at around 10 months old. The trainer assured me that it was just him being an adolescent and that he thought he "owned" me. We had to start from the beginning and own everything in the house.
Our training club is cheaper and better than Petsmart in my opinion. If there is one near you you could see if they have agility which is great fun and would help wear him out. Also, do you have any nearby dog runs or doggie day care where he can exercise with other dogs?...or friends with dogs he could play with? Adolescent dogs can be brats as they often test their boundaries like kids. I have had the same formula with both...keep them warn out and be calm and assertive. He sounds like a handful. He will be worth it in the end if you just hang in there.
Corgis and other breeds of dogs can get a jealous tinge over all sorts of things and they can yell out their displeasure or take out their anger in nipping a little. You'll just have to work your way around Nikko - for instance don't shower your husband with physical affection when Nikko is on hand. My Taylor gets on well with our parrot but gets upset when he feels the parrot (a Sun Conure named Chico) is getting too much attention at his cost.
Some dogs and Corgis eat poop - their own, other dogs, poop from other animals. With the Corgis I have had I simply reinforced the keep away aspect with the word "yuk." and pulled them away on leash and it has always worked. However there could be other reasons why your Corgi wants to eat poop. First we all have to admit it is a disgusting thing, secondly diseases and ill-health can come to a dog eating who eats another dog's poop and thirdly it could be that your Corgi is not getting any or sufficient fresh veggies. I would try and add fresh veggies to your Corgi's diet - raw is best but boiled or steam is ok on a lower level. Veggies such as pumpkin (the very best), carrot, cauli, broccoli, courgette etc
Some great advice from others! I agree - daily, long walks with a backpack on him - I walk Leia (a very excitable, energetic almost two years old corgi) for 30 min every day with a light weight backpack when the weather is cooler. We only walk for 20 min with the backpack. We walk fast and I enjoy the exercise also. Before walk - my husband plays ball with her in the backyard for about 10 min. The play-walk-backpack combo really helps run out her energy. She is a good listener and well behaved except when she misses her walk. When we don't walk/play with her - she gets cranky and doesn't listen as well.
Great poo-eating article at www.aspca.org under the dog category. Leia went through a phase too - has stopped now. We kept the yard clean, the litter box off limits, and ignored the behavior (no positive or negative reaction) for a few months and it ceased, just like the article said it would.
Stay calm - especially when Nikko is misbehaving. He's testing you, just like kids do. Say to yourself, "He needs me to be calm so that I can help him learn appropriate behavior. This will not last forever. I will help him fix this." I teach kindergarten and I am always saying to myself - be smarter and calmer than the five year old! I take the same approach with my dog and occasionally, my husband. If you find yourself feeling fed up and frustrated (and we've all been there!) just walk away.
Is he crate trained?
Best of luck! Hang in there!