Been A while since I've checked in here, but having an issue with Loki lately.  About 2 months ago he started to growl or try to nip at dogs that he did not know (randomly seemingly).  This was attributed to being attacked vigorously once by an off leash Russel and bit by a shih tzu, but the justification doesn't matter.

When loki will growl i move him aside and tell him to be quiet, or I did at first, I also tell him he is being bad.  This however only escalated over time and my next idea was to remove him from the scene altogether.  If he started to act out in an aggressive manner (which he would do if large dogs were across the street even) I would pick him up, turn him so he could not see and silence him sternly.    this however also has had no effect, he has now gone from only being unpleasant with dogs he doesn't know, to randomly with some dogs he knows and often played with (the vast majority of the time it is males, even the mastiff in the building..). 

I am not sure what is up here, if he is taking this whole turf thing to seriously, he has always been particularly dominant, fortunately so am I, but many other dogs are not, and I think he may be trying to bully them.  Any suggestions on what more I can do to correct this, showing him that he is in no power and absolutely no in charge has done little to rectify the situation. 

He is currently 13 mos , and this started in small bits at 10 mos.  I am unsure as to whether this is a dominance or a fear issue. 

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Is he intact?
You're actually reinforcing his behavior by reacting negatively. He sees a dog, has bad feelings about the dog, and gets punished for it. So the next time he sees the dog it'll be even worse. The moving him is also escalating it; one of the ways that dogs are built up in drive is to pull their collars backward (when you see the pictures of the protection dogs like shepherds with the big fancy lunge toward the agitator, they're virtually always being held back by the collar - that's actually not because they're worried about the dog getting away; it's because they're training the behavior and pulling back on the collar is like stepping on the gas).

A growl does not mean "I would like to bite you." It means "I really don't want to bite you." It's a request for the other dog to move back or give space.

If he meets one of his friend dogs when he's off-leash and the other dog is off-leash, does he do the same thing? I would bet not - he's probably fine and able to play with them.

He really needs to be in training, and I mean find a really good behaviorist AND get him into a good class every week, but you can start immediately with teaching "to me" or "watch me" with lots of great treats and rewards. In your apartment, without distraction, train a very, very solid response where "to me" means "turn your whole body and walk back toward me and get the most awesomest treat ever." Then, once he really knows that, when YOU see another dog coming, don't wait for him to tense up. Do a "to me" and jackpot (continually) reward focus on you, paw on your knee, etc. You're basically asking him (and paying him) to associate the presence of another dog with attention on YOU, not attention on the other dog. The key elements of a successful behavior are that he CHOOSES to turn and walk to you; you can't pull on the leash - and that his focus is entirely on you and entirely positive.
Thanks, Joanna. A light bulb turned on for me! This is the best how-to on teaching and using "to me" that I have read. I think I finally get it. :)

Are you familiar with Patricia McConnell's work? (You have a similar 'style' with "the most awesomest treat ever.")
Question Joanna (or anyone that is great at dog training),
I have also been training Roslyn "to me" and "leave it" while rewarding her. At home she has done so well she has even stopped chasing our cats and reacts every time. BUT as soon as i start adding outside stimuli to the mix (dog park, petsmart...) she has a unique selective hearing problem. She will "leave it" for a few seconds... but she will not "come". I don't think she is aggressive, just really wants to be near the dogs... or if a few dogs are playing chase she insists on herding... which we all know can include barking. I never minded the barking (knowing that it was the way she plays at a dog park), but i don't like to feel out of control of my dog at a park.

What are your suggestions for teaching with stimuli, and what is the next step if your dog chooses not to come to you once they are outside of your home?

Thank you in advance for any help. :)
It's all about motivation - food motivates her less than the other dogs. So you either have to increase the food motivation (switch to cheese, or roast beef, or my dogs will stand on their heads for salmon) or decrease the reward that she gets from the other dogs. That's where I would (personally) put a leash signal, but it's a SIGNAL, not a drag or a pull. I'd go ti Petsmart armed with drippy roast beef pieces or baked liver or salmon, ask for a "to me!" and then continually reinforce a nice attention on you. If she breaks and heads away she gets a little signal (leash pop, or I'll say "EH!" (basically the buzzer sound on a gameshow - that "wrong answer" sound) to bring her attention back to you and then a happy "to me!" and right back into the treating.

At the dog park, she should have a catch-and-release routine. Most of the time when dogs stop listening to come it's because come means the fun is over. You want to train a "please check in with me and then I'll let you go again," where she runs to you, gets a treat, you restrain her very briefly, and then you let her go play. If you do 20 of those to every one time you actually end up leaving, she'll be rocketing to you when you call. I don't use "come" for that; I use a different word. Doesn't matter what you use. I know someone that uses "corgis!" for her little herd; I use "pup-pup-puppy!" which is the call I use to gather the litter and they seem to remember most of their lives. It's "come to me, I grab your collar or your scruff, I feed you stinky treasure treat, and then I let you go again."

But - and this is key - dogs love other dogs, and they have to have enough contact with other dogs that they're not starving for it. She needs to be able to really get her fill of dogs so she is not so overstimulated when she sees them.
I see you've only had her a few months, so you are doing great to be as far as you are!

Like Joanna says, the secret is that you want them to come to you for a treat/release many times for every one time you do a capture. And if at all possible, when I need to capture mine to leash them after free play periods, I catch them without calling them, so the number of times I call them to me and then leash them is very low indeed. So if I'm out, for example, and need the dogs, I might just make a big dramatic show of noisily getting the treats out of my pocket. OR I might just say "Jack! Maddie!" and when they look get out the treats.

You really want to work with very low-level distractions before you start working with high-level ones. What I like to do as my first few attempts to measure off-leash responsiveness is to go hiking. And every five minutes or so during the hike, I call the dogs to me and give them yummy treats and send them back. Sometimes I have to say "ok!" and wave my arms in the "shoo" sign to get them to leave as they'll really focus on the treats.

When you add high-level distractions, start with the distraction very far away. If she gets excited when another dog is a block away, then use your "to me" command when the other dog is two blocks away, then a block and 2/3, the a block and a half, and so on. It's easier to keep her attention than to have lost it and get it back as well, so once you have her reliable at just before the point where she would normally react, then build up to using your command at that point and KEEPING her focus on you as the other dog gets closer by feeding yummy treats and using your happy voice. It will take some time but eventually you'll get there. The hardest part is the patience. It's human nature to want to jump right from keeping her attention when a dog is two blocks away to keeping it when the other dog is 10 feet away, and usually that won't succeed.

It also helps to try it the first few times when she's already tired, so say on your way from the dog park to the car instead of from the car to the dog park.

Set her up to succeed and don't ask when you know she won't respond. Every time you give a command and she ignores it, you are just teaching her it's ok to ignore. Try not to put a dog in the learning phase in a position where you need to correct.

I have this issue with Jack as he loves other dogs, but after much work I can keep his attention while another dog walks by. But if the other dog runs up and play-bows, all bets are off.
Thank you so much Beth and Joanna!

I really do want to set Roslyn up for success. I have made a few mistakes and have paid for them by having to "re-train" both our minds. Over all I am happy corgis are so intelligent and adapt so fast... she keeps me on my toes but she is a fast learner and has helped me with patience.

I never thought about the "catch and release" I will start working on that right away!I also like starting with the hike/walk first and grad. make it to the dog park. i would love to trust her fully off leash one day. I think camping this summer will be much more enjoyable with a dog that doesn't have to be on a tie out 24/7.

I think Roslyn has done wonderfully in the few months i had her. She started out very possessive and with few rules to listening fairly well and learning a ton of tricks. This is the first dog i have owned since i was a child, so i am proud of both of us.
I have to admit though... i'm not sure i would have done so well if it weren't for this community. Reading posts and comments from breeders and long time owners has help tremendously!
Thank you Joanna, I will give this a shot. Trainers , unfortunately, are inaccessible as there are no decent ones on the bus track where I like, and I do not drive. So relatively speaking I am on my own for this not to mention I have enough in budget to keep him fed and whatnot. I will work on him willingly shifting his attention, he tends to train fairly easily when I don't do it backwards, that explains the increase from strange dogs, to occasional dogs he likes. I have made my work cut out for myself I suppose, here goes.

Generally off leash he hasn't had an issue, he only runs into dogs sometimes when he is though, but even stranger dogs are fine.
Is there any reasons to keep him intact, such as breeding? Training helps but keeping him intact may make the problem worst. Esp. if there are other intact males and a bitch in heat is around in the neighborhood. Fixing him will help deescalate the dominant behavior, not totally remove it, but it will help.
for his overall health, there is no reason to fix a male dog.
My Wynn is an unneutered male and he is probably the best behaved dog I have! I do not believe that unneutered makes any difference. I do believe in neutering but Wynn is my stud.


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