Chase is not good with strangers!! HELP!

My fiance and I have been working on basic training and behavior with our 6 month old Corgi, Chase. So far he has learned and responded well to "sit" and "go to bed" but the real issue we have is his mannerisms with strangers. This may be (and probably is) my fault because when I first got him I would not let strangers in Petsmart or Petco touch him. I am not a huge fan of exchanging germs with other people and I did not want them to make him sick or pass their germs on to him. But now Chase does not respond well to strangers, be it human or animal. Whether we're on a walk or at home, whenever he sees a new person or animal he barks non-stop and does not want to be touched. Ooops :(
 We go on walks all the time to try and socialize him more but it's the same story every time, a person passes by and Chase loses it! He is not mean or aggressive, just loud! I want to enroll him in a puppy behavioral class but I am afraid because of the way he acts. Training classes can be really expensive and I don't want to end up wasting money on this if he will not calm down enough to learn anything!!

I am so desperate to change this behavior. A few people have suggested a muzzle, but I really hate those because I wouldn't do that to my child or a human so why my Chase? Plus, that doesn't really solve the problem or correct the behavior....


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Comment by Chris, Kadi & Brodie on April 29, 2012 at 8:28am

Great advice from Cindi!  And just to let you know, we did obedience classes with our dog/people aggressive Boston Terrier when he was 8 years old, after our Newfie died. My son (11 at the time) handled him as a 4H project. Most of the people in class were kids and the dogs were all wild to start with. By the end of the classes, they were all well mannered dogs! It can be done!

Comment by Peggy Woods on April 28, 2012 at 5:57pm

HA haha, I have the opposite problem: I let everyone come up to him when he was little (who can resist a corgi puppy?) and he really seemed to have an affinity for children. Now he practically drags me over to say hi to passing strangers. He has to greet everyone he sees.

Don't worry about the germ thing - we live in the mountains so mine is quite the poop conniseur.

and +1 for what Cindi says :)

Comment by Bev Levy on April 28, 2012 at 7:58am

Follow Cindi'advice! He is young and this can be corrected.

Comment by Cindi on April 27, 2012 at 10:35pm

I'll have to see how far you are.  We live in Mobile, AL.  We're planning on going to the Florida Corgi Picnic this fall.  Hope you'll come, too.  If you're on FBook, check out their page!  

Comment by Kaitlyn & Chase on April 27, 2012 at 8:07pm
We are moving to north Florida, around the Flagler county area. I'm excited to get Chase a life jacket and take him to the beach. lol
Comment by Cindi on April 27, 2012 at 5:41pm

Where are you moving to in Florida?  I have a lot of clients who think they're protecting their puppies.  It happens when we forget they're dogs.  LOL.  Remember, they  lick their own butts.  I don't think human germs are a problem!  LOL!  I get tickled when I hear clients talk about that.  You'll do fine!  

Comment by Kaitlyn & Chase on April 27, 2012 at 5:15pm

These are such great ideas! I will definitely look into classes and see what would be the most appropriate for Chase. I am so excited and hopeful now!
We are in the process of moving to Florida right now. (Chase's first move) So I will have to wait until we're there but in the mean time I will socialize him more.
Thank you!

Comment by Mila & Meatball on April 27, 2012 at 4:44pm
One thing I did to socialize Meatball when she was young was that I would have my friends visit and give them a treat to give to Meatball in advance. And when they meet Meatball, they would give her a treat. This conditioned her to associate people with treats which makes her like people. With dogs, I socialized her as soon as I got her (2 months) by having her hangout with my friends' dogs (who have all their shots). My friends' dogs were generally older than her, so whenever Meatball did something that annoyed them or just puppy obnoxious, they would correct her and put her in her place. So now, she's generally good with humans and dogs (she will pick and choose when it comes to humans and barks at suspicous looking stranger but that rarely happens. And frankly, the people that she barks at are scary to me too lol.) I also strongly recommend puppy obedience classes too. When I took Meatball to her first puppy class, there was a dog that barked at everything...but as the class went on from week to week, you could really see the improvement in the dog since he was "stuck" in class with humans and dogs. And eventually he stopped barking so definitely worth a try!
Comment by Kaitlyn & Chase on April 27, 2012 at 4:43pm

Thank you for the awesome advice! It's very helpful, especially from a trainer!
Chase and I will find a nice dog friendly park to practice in :)
I didn't mean to cause this behavior, I was trying to protect him from getting sick when he was little. This was a total mistake!!!

Comment by Cindi on April 27, 2012 at 4:25pm

Hi Kaitlyn, I'm a former trainer with PetSmart.  You're correct about keeping him away from people.  You taught him to be afraid of them.  And now he is acting out what you taught him. It would never be a waste to attend classes if you are willing to make the commitment to follow through.  We are trainers, not miracle workers.  It takes time.  Fortunately, Chase is still young.

First, start by reintroducing Chase to people, places, animals and things. His response is one of fear.  He's learned if he carries on, you will remove him from the scary situation or others will retreat.  Take some of his fave treats and go to a park.  Sit on a bench within sight of others, but not where he gets freaky.  When he has a good response, reward him.  Work with him on his commands while you're there.  Start with teaching him to "focus" on you.  As he becomes more comfortable, slowly move him closer and closer.  This may take weeks. Take it slow.  NO bad experiences allowed.  If people approach, let them know you are training him to accept others.  Ask them to kneel down away from him.  They are not to look at him, but let him sniff.  Then reward him for good response.

Sign up for class.  Talk to the trainer and ask her to place you in a class that is small.  You don't want to start him in a class that has 10 dogs.  He needs to get acclimated and a small class would make it less stimulating.  Do NOT baby him!  Not in class.  Not at all.  Don't be afraid to tell him to knock it off.  Have better expectations of him and he will respond.  When you baby a dog, they don't know how to act.  And if you find you don't like the trainer and he/she isn't working well with you or your dog, ask to be moved to another trainer.  For example, each PetSmart has been told to have 3 trainers on staff.

If you have questions, you're more than welcome to contact me.  I will be happy to work with you and Chase.  He's a good dog.  He's just reacting the way he's learned.  Learned behaviors can be unlearned and replaced with more appropriate ones.  Just like training a child...


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