Sometimes I have no idea what I am doing....

So I was using Reddit.com and posting under their subreddit /r/dogtraining, but I noticed that people on reddit, in the year and a half that I have been using it are growing twice as uppity about dogs and dog training like they know everything.

My recent run in was with my troubles I've been having keeping McCoy from bothering the cats. They kept accusing me of not spending enough time with him, not playing with him or exercising him enough. That corgis are so high energy that you have to be with them playing with them constantly. Which if you own a corgi (which everyone here does am I right? lol) you know that that isn't necessarily true. Some Corgis are fine never being walked (not in my case he needs at least one walk a day or he is cranky), or just playing specifically inside all the time. These people expected me to have competition quality hurdles and poles for him to run between, so that he was "properly" exercised everyday, and that I should spend all this money on these costly name brand puzzle toys, and that his kong was never going to be enough because Corgis are so smart they need so much more. Well this went on for a while and I totally kept trying to defend myself and it was making me really upset, So I deleted my post so no one (mainly the same two people) could keep telling me basically the same thing over and over.

To clarify, so you guys don't get the wrong idea too, I do play with McCoy regularly, I'm currently disabled and do what I can, which is actually a lot despite my back problems. I walk him as I can, I live on two acres and walk him around the perimeter of my yard 4-5 times while playing with him intermittently, ball or most often a Frisbee because its easier to find in the tall grass then a tennis ball. I play hurdles with him inside, I use a rolled up yoga mat or a towel and have him hop those (thats what made them have a big deal about me needing regulation equipment, I scoffed at them because I don't know many people who can just get up and go yeah I am going to buy $300 worth of equipment my dog wont use because its way too advanced, sometimes its a chore to get him to hop the towel because he doesn't really understand, I didn't get him from a reputable breeder and I think he might be a little on the slow side he actually doesn't understand a lot of things even as simple as tipping over a plastic cup to get a treat and they want me to get all these complicated things that I am very sure McCoy wouldn't understand what to do with), we play "tug" ( I put that in quotes because he doesn't actually know how to tug I just drag him around lol), ball in the house. We play until he is tired, which could be anywhere between 15-45 minutes depending on the day, he really isn't as high energy as these people are claiming my corgi should be. Then I am waiting for a bit seeing if he wants to play again and if not then I go do my own thing. Then I am playing again when he is ready, I could play with him 10 times a day or more depending on how long our play sessions are. He is such a well manner dog outside of guarding resources from the cats. Very social, listens fairly well. People love him, and think we are great together (in the real world, not on the internet though).

Usually he naps between play sessions.

Back to the thing with the cats though, he has been after them really bad lately, and they kept telling me it was because he was bored and I didn't pay enough attention, even though I specifically said he was doing it even when we were playing.

I figured out that he was actually guarding me, I had a myelogram done on my back on 6/11, and usually you are good and fine after 24 hours but I had a ton of pain up until yesterday (6/13). It wasn't until I was doped out on pain pills and not really stressing over keeping him from darting after the cats that I realized what he was doing. My cat came over and rub on my fiance on the other end of the couch, and McCoy immediately came and laid right under me in-front of the couch ( I was laying with my legs on my fiance lap) my fiance ignored the cat so she came around the dog and wanted pets from me, and as soon as I extended my arm out McCoy tried to bite her! Not a little play bite, but a full on bite! I managed to swing my arm down between them before he could actually land his teeth on her but boy I would have been super mad. I didn't yell at him or anything, my fiance asked what happened and I said he tried to bite her. So he brought him and put a 15 minute time out in his crate.

I did a little bit of research on this, and I'm not sure about corgis in general, but with other dogs it can happen from spending to much time with them, doting on them all day, letting them constantly lay on you, letting them use you as a hiding spot, etc. So I have started having him not allowed up on the couch, or allowed to lay at our feet. This was one of the things the article I read specifically pointed out because being under me, or on me like that, gives a dog that guards its owner power. I am his power source that makes him feel big and tough because things can't touch him or go near him if something goes wrong because I will stop it. That also mean no more picking him up or letting him hide near me if he doesn't like or feel comfortable around another dog. I have to keep stepping away and ignoring him.

I really did put myself in this position with him guarding me from my other pets because I treated him so much different and never put a personal space boundary on him.

I'm also teaching him to lay in his dog bed when I am relaxing on the couch at the end of the day instead of being right up in my personal bubble.

I personally don't like it, because I got him for my anxiety and I got him to constantly be right there with me, but his temperament with the cats obviously isn't going to let that be a reality for me.

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Comment by Linda on June 16, 2014 at 9:53pm

@Kay...I have 2 corgis and 3 cats so I completely understand the reference to them being toddlers.  I don't think they ever out grow that.  Was the certification you were looking for Service Dogl?  They are very helpful for those with PTSD, anxiety and many other things. That's different than a therapy dog.

Comment by Marcie on June 16, 2014 at 8:16pm
Patricia McConnell had an article about resource guarding. Here is the address.
http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/
I really like her articles and she has a library of them on her site.
Comment by Kay White on June 16, 2014 at 6:47pm

@Beth I tried the backing him up thing but he thinks I'm just playing with him and will jump and get really excited. He's such a nerd, haha, I couldn't help but laugh because when he jumped he did this weird little dance, you would have had to have seen it to appreciate its fully on derpy humor lol

@Linda: he was originally going to be put through some certification, but my disability case didn't fall through, it was an error on my part and I have to reapply, I spend so much time getting everything together with my anxiety, and PTSD that I completely forgot to add anything in about my spinal issues, and the anxiety alone wasn't enough to make a case.

Its sometime hard because I can manage to get him to lay in his bed now, thankfully its been less than a week, but now the cat goes over and nips him and I have to yell at her! Its like a giant circle of chasing animals away from each other, but such is the joy of owning animals sometimes right? Its like having two toddlers lol and I mean that in the best way :)

Comment by Linda on June 16, 2014 at 12:54pm

@Vicky....Max wasn't trained as a therapy dog for me, I trained him as a certified therapy dog to work in hospital/nursing home settings.  When I put Max thru training he was 6 so he was not a rambunctious young dog and he was the oldest of all the dogs in class.  He was also the only one to be certified the first time taking the test out of his class. 

They must have obedience training to start, then they have to have their CGC before taking the TDI qualification for therapy dog.

Comment by Vicky Hay on June 16, 2014 at 8:30am

@ Beth: I'm definitely going to try the body block the next time it looks appropriate. Thanks for the explanation! Pup is not aggressive but is getting to the age where she wants to test boundaries. The jumping-up trick is brand-new, and I expect she'll soon be trying out a few new strategies.

In regards to dealing with an active dog when you're chronically under the weather, I wonder if the therapy certification training Linda mentions would be useful?

Comment by Linda on June 14, 2014 at 11:32pm

My sympathies on the back issue.  I had a fusion at the L5-S1 10 years ago, it was the best thing I could have done but I still have pain.  Pain shots stopped working so I've been doing acupuncture for the last 3 years...I get better relief from that then I ever did the shots.

Each corgi is different, neither of mine are or were very high energy dogs.  Both are seniors now, 10 & 12, but even when younger they didn't get antsy if not walked every day.  Katie, retired show dog, really doesn't understand the concept of play even tho she has been with us for 6 years and she watches Max play fetch every day.  Max loves to play fetch but only inside..out in the yard he has no interest in it.  I would not be spending a fortune on expensive equipment.

As for the cats...Max is the one most possessive of me but he will only push between Katie or the cats if they come by me for attention.  Both dogs and cats enjoy a game of "herd the cats" but it's a mutual thing and most of the time the cats start it.  Of course if I yell at a cat to stop doing something the dogs feel the need to enforce it but barking at them but I have never had an altercation between any of them. 

Katie is bit more high-strung than Max.  Max is super laid back, is not afraid of anything other than thunder.  When we went thru training for his therapy certification they couldn't get over how calm he was when they came at him with crutches, wheelchairs, canes, pots banging on a wood floor and lots of loud yelling all at the same time.  He thought it was cool.

You have some good suggestions on here.  And I don't blame you for being annoyed with those others.  Not every dog is the same even within the same breed.  Max and Katie are cousins and they have such different personalities.

Comment by Kay White on June 14, 2014 at 9:36pm

Right now I can't afford classes so I have been using Kikopup (on youtube) to help me with teaching him things. He does know basics.

I will try what you guys have suggested as well, and do the reading that was suggested to me.

Thank you all so much btw, its a much more positive environment here than it is over on reddit.

Comment by Beth on June 14, 2014 at 8:57pm

Vicky, backing does break the action but it's actually a fairly strong correction that makes innate sense to the dog because dogs use the same maneuver on each other when they are displeased.   If you watch friendly well-socialized dogs at play, if one is being very obnoxious it will first get a vocal correction and/or air snap.  If the dog persists, or did something to really break the rules, the other dog will chase it off. 

For just about all social animals (horses, people, dogs) stepping into the other's personal space and insisting that they give up that space is a strong signal of dominance.  (Dominance of course meaning the one who controls the resource).   If the other turns around and walks away, it means they have acknowledged that you now have control of the space.  If the other steps forward in response, it's a challenge.   


That's why this maneuver works well for dogs who are submissive to people but act like jerks towards another animal in the home--- it reminds them that you are firmly in control of all the resources in the house.  I would NEVER try this with a dog who was showing aggression towards a person, since it could lead to a fight/attack.

Patricia McConnell calls it a "body block."  In a more subtle form (calmly taking one step forward, or even just leaning in, in a barely perceptible way) you use it to "help" dogs who are learning a stay and look like they are ready to get up, or to dissuade a dog who wants to jump up in greeting.  In its more severe form, it's a correction.

Comment by Bev Levy on June 14, 2014 at 8:39pm

Search Nothing in Life is Free. That will give you plenty of ideas that won't be expensive and will include you eventually being able to have him on your lap. With your health problem you may wish to see if you can teach him Fetch so you are able to play with him without pushing yourself so hard. A nice positive obedience class would also help. Good luck.

Comment by Marcie on June 14, 2014 at 8:30pm
I have a similar problem with Becca. She resource guards, but only with my cat. The fact that the cat LOVES Becca does not help. I have cat only zones in the house, bedroom and laundry room. There are also high spots in each room for the cat. Becca has never attacked her, but I created the safety zones when I first got Becca.

Becca will lift her lip, growl and body block the cat, but much less now. Chewies are a point of contention. When Becca lunged at the cat I picked up the chewy and put it up high. Then Chewies were only used with supervision for awhile. We train with the cat often and it has helped. Becca is rewarded for ignoring the cat. She no longer lunges. Setting ground rules helped as well. Becca is fed in her crate, the cat in the bedroom. If Becca objects to the cat being on the couch, usually a lip curl, Becca gets off. The cat had figured out the rules as well as Becca.

Considering Becca is terrified of my mother's cat I wonder if some of the problems at home are caused by anxiety.

Are you able to go to training classes? I just started a free online class from Susan Garrett. She is fabulous. Her online classes are not just for agility people. This one is called recallers 5.0. I started it to help Becca with focus and self control. Good luck

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