I know a few of my questions might have very obvious answers, but I really don't know! So please enlighten me.

We recently adopted a 3 year old altered male Cardigan from a person who could no longer care for him. The condition we got him in was HORRIBLE- he was not brushed for a very, very long time. Big clumps of fur would come out if you even lightly touched him, and covered me head to toe in fur. He smelled like poo, and his teeth were very yellow and absolutely disgusting... and his shots were out of date.
Of course, he is well groomed now, shots are taken care of, teeth cleaned, I've given him 2 nice long baths since we got him, and I furminate him every day and his condition has improved a lot.

Question 1)
We have a card/pem mix puppy, who is about 6 months. He is very nice to our new card, doesn't annoy him, but the card can absolutely not stand him. I keep telling everyone it's because the card is older and is trying to make his rank in the "pack", but my puppy cannot even approach him without getting a vicious snap, or even walk by him. We have taken them to neutral ground, and it seems a bit better there, but our puppy was here first anyway. Any ideas?

Question 2)
If I try to brush around his hips/hocks, he will snap at me. Even if I'm verrryyy gentle. He lets me touch them and pet them... but he hates them being brushed. He also twitches very badly, his muscles will spasm hard if you brush over that area. Is he just sensitive or could he have a back/hip problem? He can jump onto the bed just fine and runs (but not fast at all, and it's rare).... any solution for this?

Question 3)
He steals food. If you are on corgi level, and you have any kind of food, he will charge at you. He is fed a balanced diet (blue buffalo), gets treats and rewards all the time, is obviously not hungry, but he will charge at you, teeth showing, focused on that food. It is very scary. He does it for treats sometimes too. Any ideas on this? I'm trying to teach him leave it, our puppy knows it, but is that really all it will take?

Question 4)
He is very very shy. He barely vocalizes, hates to play, follows me around everywhere, doesn't like new people. I know cards are more laid back than pems, but I'm sure this is some kind of personality flaw... it just isn't right in any breed. He seems very unsure of himself and insecure. Can I help him in any way? I want to be able to take him places once he is settled and more comfortable with me, but with the way he acts now, I don't think I can- I'm afraid he would bite out of fear.

Thanks for any help I'll receive. I love this little guy and really want to help him. His owners seem to had severely neglected him giving him all sorts of behavioral problems. I've been around cards before and this guy just acts a little "off."

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Well first thing from me is......THANK YOU for bringing him into a loving home. Hopefully with some caring changes he can grow into a great cardi dog.
Hi Libby! An adult dog takes about 4 weeks to "open" himself to a new environment, that's when they start to recognize the new family's dynamics, where everything is at and the schedule. As the times rolls, he'll break out of his "shell" and learn to adapt, he'll push the envelope and his result will depend on each family member's reaction. He'll learn which one of you is the weakest link and who is the top dog :)

1. It doesn't matter who was here first, the pack order changes when a new family member enter the scene, and it'll change as they age, it is not up to you to decide who should be top dog. However, you can set the rule and let them know what is appropriate behaviour and what is not. Timing is everything, you need to be there to give "warning", how you carry yourself and the way you go about it will determine his respect for you. Just like human family members, they will fight and depending on what it is, you may need to let them work it out and settle things themselves.

2. He may had a bad experience in the past or he is just not used to being handled that way. Always associate good things with touching those area will help him to loosen up. As puppies you train them to tolerate the tooth brush, the nail clipper with yummy treats, it is the same concept, distract him and make your move. Don't act unsure when you touch him and pull back when he gives a warning "snap" or "bite". Make a fist and say "AHHHH" REAL LOUD without pulling back, that drastic reaction will cause him to retreat. Be confident, use one hand to hold a frozen kong, let him relax, then use the other hand to give him a massage from the head, work your way through it.

3. the NILF method will work. Begin with his daily meal, train him to work for it. He'll learn respect and associate listening to you will result in positive result. You can also practice hand feeding with food in your palm, remember, make him work for it. Always treat them separately and far away from each other. Don't set them up to fight.

4. Any adult dog has a history, a history that we don't know about. What we know is that you can write the next chapter together, as the time goes by, he will break out of his shell, his truth self will reveal, your leadership and patience will determine the rest of his life. I've met foster corgis from all walks of life, unless he/she sustained severe head injury, no dogs are unworkable. If you're overwhelm down the road, don't be afraid to seek for help, we all need help from someone sometime. Good luck and Bless you for rescuing him :)
Wow...good for you for rescuing him and willing to try and work through this. Time will help but somethings need answering or correcting. I will say that something like this isn't always the easiest to answer on a forum since to adequately answer or help is best to witness and observe personally plus some of his issues may need veterinarian attention.
#1 Pain...your rescue could be in pain and doesn't want this playful youngster even trying to play with him. Or, he just has not been well socialized and is fearful so he acts aggressive to ward others off. You don't need to except this, and in time it may get better. Keep your youngster away for a bit...let your rescue get comfortable with your home and just seeing the other dog for awhile.
#2 Pain again...what from? Who knows...but could of been beaten, old injury, type of brush isn't intended there, scared again and lashes out, hip dysplasia, arthritis, many things but needs to be looked at by the vet. Specially since you say he doesn't run much either but that could also be because he doesn't feel comfortable with his surroundings and once he starts to like you and accepts this as home will he really start to play.
#3 Corgis are food aggressive...does it mean to except it..NOPE. Have you looked into NILF training? Google it and many links come up. Were there other dogs where he came from? Becareful with your youngster around him..always when food, treats or toys are involved and possibly even you if he claims you as his.
#4 Every dog needs time alone to prevent separation anxiety. This dog is attached to you and this is a good thing to be able to work with him on the other issues and get some where with it. Time, patience, consistency, persistence is what it takes but just because he is afraid doesn't mean to coddle or baby him either...that won't help him...if you send signals of confidence and security he will feed off of that and gain some himself.
Hi -

My first comment is actually not in answer to one of your questions, but do you know where he came from originally? Which breeder? Whoever it is needs to know where he is, because the first owner almost certainly broke a contract by both neglecting him and by giving him away. Cardigans are rare enough that most of them out there are from good breeders. If you even have good clues I can try to get you in touch with his breeder, who would be the best support system for you by far.

Second, most of the rest of what he's doing just sounds like fear. They're all springing from the same place, which is insecurity. I would NOT correct or punish him right now and I wouldn't do NILIF on a brand-new rescue either. What I would do is make his life very consistent, stable, balanced, and safe, and let him come out of his trauma and shell. I would bet virtually all of his bad behaviors will go away on their own as he relaxes and feels like he can trust you.

Leave him alone to eat. He's obviously not had a stable relationship with food in a long time. Just let him be weird for a while. Don't discipline him. He needs to feel like humans are a good thing before you can start asking him to back away from food. Don't eat near him; put him in his crate while you're eating. This isn't a permanent thing - it's while he's figuring out whether he can trust you. It's not only useless but harmful to punish behavior that results from fear, so you need to let him get unafraid and feel normal before you sort good behavior from bad.

Ditto with the not playing. I don't think it's personality - I think it's insecurity. Give him what he needs, be calm and assured around him, and let him tell you when he's ready.

Joanna Kimball
I had never thought about trying to find out where a rescue originated! We have a Pem rescue, had him for a year now. I have been very ill for most of that time so I have not had the time to work with him like he deserves. He spent the first 3 or 4 months under the desk in our study oher than to go out to potty and to eat. The insecurity thing is very true, I think that once this poor little cardi feels secure in his new home, things will change. As I have begun to feel better and have more time for Sonny and as he is in our house longer, he is starting to come out of his shell and has become a cuddle bug. He still does not play, I know of several traumatizing events in his life - and this poor cardi...I cannot imagine the condition he was living in! Have a little patience, give it a little time, listen to the advice on this website...I think that Joanna and Wendi have some very good advice for you! Wish they had been around when we brought Sonny home to our house. Good Luck, and Thank you for making room for this corgi boy in your life.
Thank you for taking this poor boy! people have given you great info and do expect at least a month of getting used to each other and longer for socializing. Do not push him but also don't accept behaviors that are bad. The NILF is great. Give him time to adjust and learn to trust you! he will come around but pain and possibly abuse can take awhile to get over. keep your little one safe and him by letting them get used to each other from a distance. Throwing them together too soon may cause adverse reactions! Good luck!
You have some good instincts; you seem to read him well. And it sounds like you have been given some good advice already. It seems to me that he is trying to establish dominance with you and the puppy. And/Or there might be a medical condition that needs to be checked into also.

I think you need to balance three things for this dog. 1. You do need to establish if he has any medical problems with his hips. 2. He needs time to settle in, to know the routines of the house, to know he is safe, and that he doesn't have to fight for survival. 3. You need to establish yourself as the pack leader. He seems to be trying to establish himself as the alpha, and trying to be the alpha can very stressful for him. He will settle down and be much happier when he doesn't feel he has to control everyone in the household.

When petting your new dog, and he is relaxed, try flexing the joints in his hind quarters and see if there is any painful reaction. (Of course take him to the vet and have his hips checked out too.) Be careful with the furminator on the bony parts of the dog. Try a very soft brush and see if he reacts the same way. Finally, some dominant dogs won't let other dogs sniff their rears, he might be trying to establish dominance.

You need to establish yourself as the pack leader immediately. A pack leader tells the other dogs when they can eat. They don't let other dogs go through doors first. Don't let him on your territory, like the sofa and beds. Put his treat on the floor and keep standing in between him and the treat until he looks up, asks permission and you grant him access. This works for doors also. And remember, dominance does not equal aggression. Be firm, give direct eye contact, stand squarely towards him, and use a calm, firm voice.

Finally, he does need time to settle in. Avoid as many problem situations as you can until he is more settled. You may want to separate the dogs some to avoid conflicts. Maybe one inside while the other is outside. Maybe his back end doesn't need to be brushed for a while. Definitely avoid eating in front of him or hand feeding him snacks for a while. And maybe you could set his food down inside while he is playing outside. This way he can just discover the food when he comes in. After he is settled, slowly introduce him to the old stressful situations in a controlled environment. Set up teachable moments for him, where you are the leader, you know exactly what you want him to do, and how you are going to react. This will be good practice for you and him for when the situation comes up unexpectedly.

My older dog has growled a lot at our younger dog too. She even started getting grouchy when the kids got up at night. About 2 weeks ago we started squirting her immediately with a water bottle when she started getting bossy. Within a week or so the growling has almost stopped. (At least when we are home.) We had another rescue dog that would growl and chase my son when he would run through the house. We solved this issue with tossing rolled up socks at her. Again, nothing that would hurt her, but just enough to get her attention. We even practiced 2 or 3 times a day by having our son run in front of her. We kept rolled up sock all around the house for a while. She got the message fairly quickly and the chasing completely stopped. You could try the same idea by parading your younger dog by him. Remember discipline and rewards must be immediate - within seconds of the behavior.

I hope this will give you a few ideas. Keep trying things until you find what works for him. Dogs are all so different.
There is already some good advice here for you, but I wanted to comment on the hind quarters issue. Ella absolutely HATES to be touched/brushed back there. She isn't in any pain and has been checked for medical issues. When you pet her/brush her hind quarters she does the same thing. Muscles spasm and she used to try and nip also. She now knows that she won't get hurt so the nipping has stopped but she still twitches anytime you touch her hind quarters.

While I wouldn't completely rule out a medical issue I would try working with him to see if it is a dislike/fear first. Use a treat as already suggested and work from the head down to the hind end. Once you can pet him there, try to work your fingers into the fur a little bit. Keep doing this until he is comfortable with you touching the skin. Don't use a brush until he is comfortable with your hand. When you get to that point start from the beginning using a brush. I recommend using the back side of the brush first. Again, this is so you aren;t actually going below the fur. Just remember, gradually will get you farther than going straight at it.

Ella used to get boiled chicken as her treat while we were doing this and she loved it. Make sure you follow Sam's advice he he does snap at you.

I am guessing you will have to do this anyway to figure out if it is a pain thing if he won;t let you even touch there. Good luck and thank you for rescuing him!.
There is a lot of great advice here to work with so I'll keep quiet on my answers. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for rescuing him. It sounds like he has had a hard bit of life and this will be a great new chapter.

I know it may be rough right now and it can be hard to work with a rescue but over time with lots of hard work and love he will fit into your family and your family needs to learn how to fit with him.

I almost didn't make it with our rescue to keep him but now a year later I don't think I could imagine life without him. I hope the same works out with you.
Thank you all so very much. About his hips: I do not think he is in pain- I do think that he is just very nervous and shy. I have been rubbing around the area, sometimes very firmly, and he seems to actually enjoy it. Maybe it is just a bad brushing experience, or he is sensitive to the brush there. The vet who gave him his shots said he seemed to be in good health, even checked out his spine and hips- I was just concerned that maybe he missed something.

Good news is, he sleeps a lot better at night and now he has even began to lick me! He /is/ trying to assert himself over our puppy, but it has gotten better (we've had him about a week). Our puppy has learned to back off and give him some space.

I'm sure within a few weeks he will open up to me. If he does anything bad, he just gets a firm quiet "NO". No yelling, or screaming, or anything- don't want to frighten him too badly. He does very good with a simple "no".
I've been trying to transition him to NILF. We always make him sit before he gets food/treats and he responds well to it, but we're trying to teach him "lay down" so he'll be doing that every time once he gets more comfortable.

He has tried to play with me, so I do think he is opening up more.
Compared to our puppy, this little dude is an angel. Good with baths, snuggly, super sweet, Just wish he didn't steal my food and nip at the pup :)

Once again, thanks to you all for your wonderful, wonderful advice. Sooner appreciates it! (I'm a Tech fan... he came with this name!)

My boyfriend found a woman through an old vet's office of a friend who was "fostering" him for her relative. She had absolutely no clue where he came from. We both begged her to give us any clues- we got none since she had lost contact and had no idea. I hope she gets fired, she is a vet assistant... this dog was in horrible condition- I reported her to her place of employment.

He is 100% purebred, red-headed tri (I think), gorgeous dog. He is still very young too- 3 years. We live in Texas, if that helps anything- I don't think we have any Cardi breeders in Texas, but if you could help us figure it out that'd be great. I can provide you with pictures of markings and face and so on, if that'd help anything.
I don't know much about rehabilitating a dog but can recommend a book called "Don't Dump The Dog" it is a fun read as well as giving pointers on working with rescues. Bless you for helping him!


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