Wondering if anyone else is dealing with (or has dealt with) the joys of a leash reactive dog? Beez is 1.5 yrs. old and around a year old he started becoming very reactive towards other dogs (and sometimes other stimuli) while on walks. He's been going to doggy daycare occasionally since he was quite young and absolutely loves playing with other dogs, but it's a different story on a leash. We've been working with him a lot on this -- desensitization and counter-conditioning (i.e., shoving hot dogs and cheese in his face anytime he sees another dog on leash) and things are improving. Today was a milestone as we walked by another dog that was lunging and growling at him and Beez managed to keep his composure! Didn't even bark back! This is HUGE for him. So, I see hope on the horizon. Has anyone successfully trained a dog through this behavior to the point of being able to walk past other dogs without having a reaction? I long for the day, but maybe my expectations are too high. The dog I was used to waking before the corgi was a super mellow lab that could have growling dogs and screaming kids running straight towards him and he wouldn't even blink an eye, so this is new for me. Any other advice or tricks we can use is welcomed!
His parents are Belle and Wyatt. I think Belle's dad was Zorro who I think you said was in your Livy's (?) bloodline. He's a *very* anxious dog in general, but also extremely affectionate. All of his emotions seem amplified.
Zorro is Livvy's dad and my 1st female corgi was from a different breeder but of that bloodline (Rainy who now lives in NY with Joanna, Rainy and Calvin (parents) was the sweetest girl ever and had some separation anxiety so for her this was the best. Livvy has taken much training. It is workable...I think what you are doing will help.
When Wynn was young he would growl at the huge Danes etc. when we went to the pet store. What I finally figured out with him was that I was nervous and stressed BUT once I relaxed and made things fun(not real easy) he also stopped this.
Keep good treats and teach him "look at me" so he focuses on you not the dog. For me an easy treat to take along was a piece of string cheese quartered and cut tiny.
Thanks, Jane! Is Livvy OK on walks? You're right about keeping our emotions in check. It can be very frustrating and embarrassing when the dog is having a big reaction, which makes things tough, but I can definitely see the difference in *him* when I'm calm and collected. When we walked by the lunging and growling dog yesterday the owner was yelling "NO! NO!" in a stern voice and THAT almost made Beez react. We just kept saying "Good boy!" and feeding him hot dogs.He was anxious for sure, but stayed under threshold and didn't bark or lunge. It's slow going, but it's nice to know others have worked through this. He's been difficult in a lot of ways but I keep telling myself that's a good thing because it's forced me to learn and research so much about dog behavior / body language, etc., whereas I probably never would have otherwise.
Part of Jack's puppy training class was dealing with this issue. The trainer changed him from a collar to a harness, which allowed me to correct Jack as soon as he started this "bristling" toward other dogs. Once Jack realized he wasn't allowed to do this, other dogs' reactions changed. Another thing we learned in class is what to do if an untrained dog was coming at us with this "bristling" behavior. We learned how to change our dogs position (left to right) to allow more space between the dogs - or to change direction to avoid confrontation.
I have had both a pem. and a cardi male and they both did this "bristling and hunching" thing toward other dogs. I've always thought it may be a defense mechanism. Maybe it's because Corgis have a "fox-like" look that it encourages other dogs to treat them this way???
I have to add just to illustrate how bad Jack's behavior toward other dogs was - the first puppy training class, Jack barked continuously for 20 minutes, twirling on his leash, totally out-of-control. Now we walk right into training class past the other dogs to our spot. I never thought we'd get to this point!
Hi Lauri, thank you! That is *really* encouraging and I"m so glad Jack has worked through this successfully. What did you do when he was barking in class? Do you think they mellow with age? (Maybe wishful thinking on my part, lol) I'm just getting to the point where I can even pay attention to the *other* dogs mannerisms because I've been so focused on keeping him calm, but you may be on to something re: their fox-like appearance.
Oddly enough, he was OK in his training classes; however, they were all when he was under a year old, so before this behavior started. He was far from the calmest dog in the classes, but he didn't bark and could focus on me quite well. The doggy daycare places say he's just fine and behaves appropriately with all different types of dogs, so when he started this on leash it was very confusing. Maybe going back to an obedience class now would be a good idea though!
I would take another class and keep going on. Livvy did excellent at agility too but we never competed due to her having to watch and know where all the other dogs were. This was suggested from our AKC club. Maybe private herding lessons? there's a place in Faribault that has a great teacher and for having him tested...it's free...if he shows no talent and if he does...then you pay $20(I think). Livvy is a fabulous herder but not there...just at home.
Jane, I'd love to have him tested for his herding. I'll have to check that out. Not that we could really *do* anything with it since we live in the city, but they do have something called Treibball at one of the training places here that's supposed to be fun for herding dogs. I'm just afraid he'd be barking non-stop at the other dogs.
I have a 5 month old male who is super reactive on a leash to other males, especially if they are bigger than he is. I am glad to hear you are having success!! We just amped up his training a couple weeks ago in hopes of correcting his issues. We have only had him for just over a month, so I am hoping he will grow out of it. Good luck!
Thanks, Chris -- you are catching it while he is very young, so that's really good. I've heard it is much easier to train out of them when they are younger, so hopefully that is the case! :)