A few months ago I rescued a pembroke, Han, from an animal shelter in South Korea. Unfortunately he barked so much at the shelter they thought he was aggressive and didn't really take him out so for the 2-3 weeks he was there he was basically in his cage the entire time. At first I thought he was almost fully grown, but after comparing his height to a neighbor's taller corgi and seeing that about a month ago he had some teeth that were still growing in I realized he was still a fairly young puppy when I first picked him up, maybe around four or five months
The shelter had no idea about his background, so he may have been a petshop puppy that got too big and was abandoned (which isn't unheard of in Korea). He could have been someone's pet who gave him up when he got too big (also somewhat common in Korea...). I have no idea about his past.
I got Han home to the USA over a week ago and he's been really slow to warm-up to my family. I already knew from his time in Korea that he was very wary of strange humans. Strange dogs he's loves and he has no aggression whatsoever against other dogs and seems to even be okay with cats. But human's he's not trusting of at all. Several of my friends and family have put in a lot of time to try and get him to come around and the only person other than me that he'll sit and let pet him without looking like he's being punished is my sister. But even with her Han still gets scared and barks at her if she walks in the room.
This fearfulness around strangers became a big problem the other day when I had left Han at home in his kennel while I went shopping. My dad came over in the meantime and wanted to be nice so he let him out and feed him a little big. The past few days it seemed like Han was starting to come around to him and was sitting at my dad's feet and not by me. Unfortunately, when my dad tried to get him back in his kennel my corgi wouldn't have anything to do with it. Han puts up a fight when I try to get him to go in so I can imagine the fight he gave when my dad tried to put him in and he ended up biting my Dad pretty bad on the thumb.
As you can imagine, my dad's pretty angry about this. He won't have to live with Han, but I still don't want this to continue to be an issue. I've read that if it's a problem where the dog is fearful of a specific person or type of person that you should have that person basically take care of the dog, feed it, walk it. But since Han's fearful of just about everyone and continues to be after spending hours if not weeks with them I'm at a loss about what to do.
Has anyone else had this problem with their corgis? I know their cautious of strangers but this is rather excessive. Any recommendations on what to do?
I agree with Bev, I think he's going to need a lot more time. A couple weeks is not enough time for a fearful dog to come around and be comfortable around new people. Plus he's in a whole new house, new yard, new smells, it's probably very overwhelming for him.
If he really dislikes his crate and fights you with it I would maybe try an xpen, I can imagine if he was kept in a small cage for weeks it may not be the happiest of places for him. I would make it clear to your friends and family that he is very scared of people and to not let him out unless you are there, no matter what. I would also look into a private trainer if possible, or you could also call around and see if any training places offer small classes for fearful dogs. A book I've heard recommended is "The Cautious Canine" by Patricia McConnell but I personally haven't read it. This isn't a breed issue just a major lack of socialization with people when he was young IMO.
I agree with the previous posts. Han is going to need a lot more time. Stability is something that obviously hasn't existed in his life before, so it's going to take time for him to understand that this is his home and that the people he sees are not going to hurt him.
If I were you, I would try calling around to some trainers. Explain the situation, ask them questions, see if they can offer practical advice, ask if there are any books that they recommend. This problem is related to his experiences (and lack thereof) rather than his breed. If you can afford (both time and money) to get him into some training classes then I would do so. It sounds as though he's still young, so I'm willing to bet that you can get him to trust people and enjoy his new home.
I also agree that you might want to avoid the crate and use a pen. The pen will keep him confined without making it feel as though he's being closed off in a small space again.
Like everyone else said, he needs time. I think you may be able to get him out of his shell, but I also think that he will likely never be that happy friendly dog that loves people. He clearly missed a crucial socialization point in his life which is likely why he is so fearful of humans. He just needs a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of training. A trainer would be VERY helpful at this point. Dogs like this are very fragile emotionally and need to be brought back slowly. No doubt his recent experience with your dad has set him back and you will likely have to start from square one. Like others said, get an x-pen and eliminate the crate. He has no way of differentiating the crate from the cage he was stuck in for who knows how long, they have to be taught its a safe haven and with his past, he may never feel comfortable in a confined space. Even if you can only afford to have a trainer out for one session I'm sure you will learn A TON. Call your vet and let them know his issues and see if they can recommend a good trainer. Most vets know many of the local trainers and can recommend good options for you instead of making you search all over the internet and yellowpages for somebody.
My friend rescued a dog about a year ago and he was the same way, terrified of everyone except my friend. Its been a year and he will now let strangers pet him, still doesn't love it, but will allow it. So just keep in mind this may take months not weeks for him to get over his fears.
Thanks for all the advice! I'm definitely going to look into finding a trainer to help with him. He's actually 100% attached to me and basically attached at my hip, which I think has some ways worked against him bonding with or even trusting other people. But I'm sure a trainer could help with that.