Hello everyone! I'm new to the forums. I guess I just need to vent because my corgi, Chance, was called "viscous" today. I guess I'm hurt because I know he has problems and I'm trying to work with him with advice I've found on here and other sources. I'm also saving up for a professional trainer to help me.
Chance is super friendly with people but there's people he's not comfortable with. He's very territorial, leash-reactive to dogs, bikes, joggers. I feel awful because I made an emergency move from the country side to a suburban place and his personality made a huge turn. Or at least, underlying problems I never noticed became more apparent. He's my first dog so I feel like I didn't discipline him enough when he was younger and though I have done more disciplining I feel as though he chooses his own way because I'm not a leader to him.
I've gotten him to be okay with bikes but then there's days when bikers shoot out of our residential building and make me start from square one again. I've gotten him to get calm quicker with joggers passing but he has his bad days. For his territorial behaviors, I've been trying to get him to pee in one area rather than marking everywhere outside but it feels wrong to stop him too? He's VERY persistent on marking and will pull till no end till he gets the spot he wants. He always seems to be on patrol rather then potty/walk time.
There's also many people here who hate/fear dogs despite it being a dog-friendly community and will stare at him with fear and act weird (like hiding behind bushes, creeping along side a wall, behind dumpsters, etc.) when they're around him, even scream, when he literally is just walking which triggers him. He's also very protective of me especially towards men so when people act this way he thinks we're not safe. Even I'm weirded out by the people's behavior so I don't blame him completely.
I'm very frustrated and upset that I've failed my dog and I'm trying my best to do what I can for him.
You can change this. Committ to working with him for short periods of time at least twice a day. Pick a skill or two and work with him. Check out utube videos by Zak George and kikopup . There are plenty of great very positive trainer videos to help you. Your corgi will be much happier and so will you. He just needs better direction from you. you can do it! Corgis need direction and structure.
It may be not so much that you haven't been a good leader is that he might not have had all the socialization he needed. This sounds a bit like he's a little fearful (many protective dogs are) and so counter-conditioning by getting him to associate the things you mentioned with food, toys etc may help more than disciplining him.
Check out Patricia McConnell's "The Cautious Canine"
Don't be so hard on yourself and think of this as Day 1 of the new Chance. :-) You will get where you want to be, I have every confidence in you both.
Whoa. Don't panic, and don't blame yourself.
First off, find yourself a really good BEHAVIORIST dog trainer. There actually are trainers who specialize in behavioral therapy. I know that sounds a little extreme, but it works. If your vet doesn't know of one, ask another vet and ask around among breeders -- especially German shepherd breeders.
My last Gershep was dog-aversive. This is a common trait among German shepherds, and I imagine it may appear among other herding breeds. Another dog, after all, looks suspiciously like a predator come to grab its sheep. As it were. And you are the sheep.
If that's the case, then you need to keep the dog on a leash at all times when out of the house, and tell people -- in no uncertain terms -- to keep their dogs back. This is easier said than done, because the world is populated with the "ohhh they just want to play" set. It's hard to persuade some people. Do not ever take this dog to a park where people are likely to let their dogs off the leash to "play."
It's a male dog? It's supposed to pee on things. As long as "things" don't include the kitchen cabinets and the sofa, relax. It's the way dogs talk to each other. It's okay. Outdoors, the things won't be harmed and neither will the dog.
As for the apparent aversion to humans, that's a little more worrying. This is where you need to get a really accomplished dog trainer to work with you, one-on-one. You need someone who can observe how you're interacting with the dog and with strangers you meet and who can help you to deal with whatever is going on.
I've not known enough corgis to know whether this observation applies to the breed, but I can tell you that some German shepherds are extremely acute judges of human nature. As in...it really is weird. Some dogs dislike or distrust some people for reasons that you do not observe or that, by your own instinct or socialization, you understand are nonthreatening behaviors. I have had dogs who truly did know when someone did not belong there, was up to no good, or was just not a desirable human being, and also who could sense when a stranger meant no harm. People signal their moods and their intentions in subtle ways that dogs observe. Your dog may be misjudging these signals and may need to be reassured or trained to distinguish between human quirks that are harmless and those that are not.
And...what's with the fruitcakes who hide behind bushes and scream? Has the dog ever gone after these people? Tried to bite them? Barked threateningly in their direction? If so, then I would walk the dog someplace where those specific individuals don't go -- find another route. If not, then I would ignore them. No wonder the dog is acting skittish, for hevvinsake. I'd probably call the men in the white jackets if some clown pulled that on me.
Get a canine behaviorist. The hourly rate sounds brain-banging, but it doesn't take very many sessions.
Thank you all so much! I'm so grateful for the support and advice you all have given.
@Beth I think he wasn't socialized well at all which is on me. He was raised with my father's pitbull/husky and a french bulldog but he never met dogs outside of them unless it was my neighbors dog getting loose. He has a few dog friend's here that I walk with everyday or so. This book definitely sounds right up my ally and I'll be picking it up soon.
@Vicky I'm currently looking at a place who trains German Shepherds and Malinois for police. At first, I was thinking it may be too much but they also help people with chihuahuas behaviorally too! I'm hoping they can help me with him and give me better direction.
I totally think I am a sheep to him, when my fiance comes to hug me he's right at his feet and will sometimes bark at him. More of a warning type bark? He loves my fiance though and plays all the time with him.
I have a huge problem with other people not having their dogs on leash! I've had so many dogs just run up to Chance out of nowhere and he'll start snapping at them. He's so strong too that its hard to pull him back too specially when he's in this "red zone". The owner's will just stand there saying just what you said, it's insane. I've taken him to a dog park once and he was fine mostly just "I don't know what to do" sort of behavior so I stopped because I knew I was making it worse.
I used to think that him peeing on multiple bushes is normal but I was told that he's marking. He also licks other dogs urine and tracks the dog if one recently passed. So this marking and other behaviors make him more territorial.
He loves people and loves getting pets, he's friends with all the staff at my complex and will sit with them and when people come over he's super loving. It's pretty much night and day. I think he is very good at judging human nature but I think my behavior makes him think otherwise because I have social anxiety (ironic considering his dog-reactivity) so I tend to always look downwards when passing people who aren't those weirdos. I learned recently that dogs look down/sniff the ground when they feel uncomfortable? So he must think that and bark at them. So I thought well it must be me? But even when my fiance walks him he'll do the same things like barking and lunging at people. Not everyone but probably 3/10 he'll bark at.
I got Chance as a therapy dog when I was going through a difficult time so I think this might also be why he's so protective of me.
Where I live there's a lot of people from a culture that don't like dogs. Which you know is their thing and it's not all of them. But no matter what, the way they act just triggers a lot of dogs. Even my friend's service dog got in defense mode because one of these particular people started walking as if her dog was a poisonous snake or something to get around her dog. Then they look at you like you're awful and more. It's really one of those things you have to see to believe. It's hard to escape this too because they are the majority in these parts.
Thanks again to everyone for the help!
Dogs mark. That's just what dogs do. Dog 1 marks the cranberry bush. Dog 2 comes along and thinks, "Huh! Some dog was here! I'd better let him know I come here, too, and he'd better not get any ideas about this bush"; he then marks the bush. Dog 3 now comes along, has about the same mental reaction, and Dog 3 sprinkles on the bush, too. Dog 1 comes along and thinks, "Holy mackerel! Two other hounds have come along here. Guess I'd better remind them that I was here first." So it goes. I wouldn't worry about it.
As for the dog-loathing neighbors, that behavior is just fine when they're home on Mars or wherever they came from. But when in Rome, one does as the Romans do...not as the Martians do. You are doing nothing wrong to take your dog for a walk. This is the Wicked West, and we Wicked Western degenerates walk our dogs all the time: it is normal and customary here. Ignore the Martians or find a place to walk where Martians don't go.
If you suffer from social anxiety, the dog may be picking that up. Once you find a trainer, you may want to point out that element to her or him. Even if you keep external symptoms of your anxiousness under control to the extent that people don't notice it -- or they recognize your discomfort and try to behave in a way that they hope will not be disturbing for you -- dogs pick up on different cues. People exude certain kinds of chemicals -- hormones and the like -- in their normal perspiration; adrenaline or similar natural chemicals may have a characteristic odor to a dog. When I have an anxiety attack, my breathing rate changes and I may become lightheaded and seem distracted. Thus your dog may realize that you're feeling nervous or uncomfortable because he senses cues over which you have no control. I don't know how to counter that, but bet a good trainer does. If nothing else, try to reassure the dog that all is just fine whenever you're feeling anxious...LOL! Even if you're not feeling especially fine at that moment. Maybe reassuring the dog will help to reassure yourself?