Wow, I haven't posted here in my blog for a long time!

 

Joshua is doing well. His leg healed nicely from his injury in the Spring of 2009. The only reminder of it is when he runs down the stairs in our house - he runs down on just 3 legs still! But other than that he seems to use that injured leg normally and doesn't ever seem to be in any pain. He's also been maintaining a healthy weight (especially for a corgi) - he's about 36-37 lbs. which is perfect for a male Cardigan. In fact, he looks a bit on the small side compared to other Cardis who are typically thicker chested and just bigger all around than he is. Yet he is healthy and happy, so it's all good.

 

My husband and I have been gone through periods of unemployment over the past 2 years. This is unfortuante for us financially, but Joshua has benefitted from it, because for much of this time he has had one or the other of us home all day long, which means companionship, the occasional bite of people food, car rides to the pet store, and lots of visits to parks! :)

 

Speaking of parks, we don't take him to off-leash dog parks as often lately, partly because of the wet/cold winter weather, but mostly because he tends to be pretty aggressive and can cause fights sometimes with the other dogs because he is so exhuberant and plays so hard. His behavior around other dogs is really frustrating and has gotten worse the past few years, and we're not sure what to do about it. I'm sure it would help if he could be around other dogs more often so he'd get used to his "role" in the pack, but we can't afford to put him in doggie daycare regularly. Taking him to off-leash parks has become stressful for us because we never know if he is going to behave appropriately and play nicely, or if we will have to snatch him away from a fight. He seems to have an alpha dog mentality at the dog park, so not only does he play hard with other dogs (often puppies, he LOVES puppies - and loves to chase and wrestle and nip) but also he gets mad easily when another dog tries to dominate him. Usually the problem is either that the owner of the smaller/younger/more submissive dog gets anxious or upset about how Joshua is playing with his/her dog, or Joshua gets into a fight with a bigger/stronger dog because it tried to dominate him and he didn't like it. Normally once he's been at the park for 5-10 minutes he chills out and finds a friend who is a good match for his energy level and play style, but still...ugh, it's stressful.

 

Anyway, this is our only issue that we struggle with with Joshy. He is really a great, sweet dog, and pretty well-behaved other than this one thing. He's very happy, playful, active, and lovey-dovey with his mama (and he's been warming up to daddy more lately too thanks to spending so much time together while I'm at work!) He's generally pretty mellow in the house, except when we chase him around trying to steal his toys (LOL) or when he spies a kitty worth chasing. We take him for rides in the car as much as we can, and lately we've started taking him to a neighborhood park nearby our house (we don't have a yard) that is usually deserted, so we can let him off-leash to run his "zoomies" and play and roll in the grass for a bit. I'm looking forward to Spring so we can both go to that park more often, as well as get back to the dog parks more.

 

I am also stil a member of a local corgi group that coordinates walks and other group dog-friendly events periodically, so sometimes we participate in those events which is a lot of fun. My favorites are the annual corgi picnics each summer, and the annual corgi Halloween walk around Green Lake in Seattle (last fall he was King Joshua!)

 

Next month we'll be taking a short road trip down to Portland to visit my Grandma, and Joshua will be coming along with us, which always makes a road trip more fun. We'll stop at a dog park in Portland while we're in town, and also might meet up with some other friends down there who also have a dog. Last time we even found a dog-friendly restaurant, which was great!

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Comment by Sarah on March 24, 2011 at 3:38pm

Debra - Exactly, it is a catch 22! I feel the same way.

 

I have been told by a dog trainer that his behavior issues with other dogs stem from the fact that we haven't established enough dominance over him, so he doesn't recognize me or my husband as being his pack leader. I kind of understand and somewhat agree with this...we are not as diligent about his training as we should be and we let him get away with behavior that we probably shouldn't sometimes. Also between the two of us we are not always consistent in how we respond to his behavior, which of course just causes him confusion, I'm sure. Dogs need consistency.

Comment by Solomon & Naomi's Page on March 24, 2011 at 3:32pm

Yea see I have the same problem.  I can't afford specialized training and his bad behavior is unacceptable to me and I am scared to death he is going to hurt someone else's dog and then I am gonna be responsible, plus I would not like it if someones elses dog picked a fight and hurt Solomon so I understand that.  At the same time I don't want to isolate him from other dogs!  Its a catch 22 thing!!!  We take him to another park and make sure no one else is there and turn him loose and let him run and catch the ball.  I am going to try obedience classes in April realizing that I am gonna have to make sure he doesn't come into contact with other dogs while in that class to be able to get a better grip on his behaviour.  I checked into specialized training and they want $350.  Can't do that, my hubby told me to email Cesar Milan and see if he would do a freebie down here in SC.  He said for me to tell Cesar that we have a dog he can not train or re-habilitate!!!!!

Comment by Sarah on March 24, 2011 at 2:51pm

Debra - Yes, Joshua has become quite a snarly, barky, growly dog at the dog park. Most of the time he really is just playing, but I don't feel the snarling is appropriate, so I generally step in and try to break it up when he's behaving that way. Usually after awhile he settles down and "plays nice", but there have been times when I just took him out of the dog park because he wouldn't play appropriately and was being too much of a bully.

 

He has also become quite defensive of our home and surrounding neighborhood. He barks and growls and gets all crazy at the sight of another dog, whether he sees it from the living room window, or if we are outside walking on his leash. ???

 

John - He either pulled or had a slight tear in a ligament in his back leg...the vet wasn't 100% certain if it was torn, but she directed us to put him on "limited activity" for a couple of months (no running, jumping, stairs, limited walks, etc.) and he seemed to heal up just fine. He got injured at the dog park; he launched himself over a wet log while he was running with a pack of dogs and his foot slipped on the log so he twisted funny and fell down. It was so scary at the time!

 

Unpredictable is a good way to describe Joshua's behavior around other dogs. Sometimes he does great, other times he's totally a bully, other times he seems fine and then something happens and instead of just snapping at the other dog and backing off, he launches into an attack - like you described with your dog. My husband and his mom are more tolerant of his behavior at the dog park than I am; they believe more in the "they're dogs, just let them work it out". I agree with that generally, however I worry that, like you said, one of these days his behavior is going to get him into trouble - either he'll get hurt by picking a fight with a bigger/stronger/more aggressive dog, or he will bite/hurt another dog and we will be responsible.

 

Sadly, his dog park behavior has resulted in us taking him to the off-leash parks less often over the past 6 months or so. It helps that we found that local (non dog) park where we can let him run off-leash by himself to burn some energy and play in the grass. We take him there a lote lately, but it's not the same as getting to play with other dogs. In fact, I have a feeling that the lack of interaction with other dogs may be contributing to his bad behavior when he does finally get to go to the dog park. If we could afford more specialized dog training for his specific type of behavior, or to send him to doggie daycare more regularly, I think that would help, but we really can't do that right now.

 

 

Comment by Solomon & Naomi's Page on March 24, 2011 at 2:38pm
Hey, I thought it was just me, last Sunday I took Solomon to the local dog park and they have 2 sides.  I'm guessing one side is for bid dogs and the other, smaller side is for little dogs.  So these Marmaduke dogs were on the other side so I went in the smaller side with Solomon with this tiny dog.  I kept him on the leash because he growled several times and therefore I did not trust him.  He kept raising up on my leg and letting me know that he did not want this.  Solomon came from a pack of 18 other corgi's and we have him in a home where he is by himself.  You would figure that he would want to play with others, but he growls and if he comes into contact with another dog he tries to fight.  What gives I wonder?????
Comment by John Wolff on March 24, 2011 at 1:28pm

What was the leg injury?

Some people don't like dog parks because it's usually a bunch of dogs who don't know each other and haven't worked out a pack order.

Al has some behaviors like that, unpredictably -- at least, I can't detect common antecedents -- occasionally he'll just take off after another dog he's been playing with, or take exception to some offense real or imagined.  He's a bit touchy, mercurial, I don't understand what sets him off.  Insecure?  I don't like to let him off-leash with other dogs anymore.  Recently, I let him try playing offleash with a very friendly, playful male puppy 3 times his size; it seemed OK initially but Al suddenly went after the bigger dog, ignored my emergency recall,and pressed the attack, when he should've just snapped once and then backed off!  That kind of behavior will get him in trouble someday.  I've talked to our breeder, but I still don't think I quite understand what's going on here.

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