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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,
We have an 11 year old corgi mix. He is a very independent, yet very sweet dog.
I moved from an isolated forest home to a suburban community a year ago. At our old home, our dog never saw any dogs. I have now had him for 9 years. At my old home I had 150 acres of forest. We never went walking anywhere but our property. He was always off lead to, with a 100% successful recall. Before I moved, I introduced him to the leash and he was fine walking with me.
Now we live in a townhome and Kristoff is going NUTS. I can hardly walk him at all. We have a lot of dogs in the community and he hates them all. He will lunge, show his teeth, and already managed to escape from me once and bit another dog.
When he is in that state he is completely shut off from me. I have tried gentle leaders and front clip harnesses to redirect his attention but he simply pulls and sometimes tries to bite at the leash and harness. Cookies do not to anything for him, neither does a toy distraction. When I try to distract with treats, he bites my hand.
This is all very sad for me because Kristoff and I have an incredible bond. I have taught him a ton of tricks, he sleeps in my bed, and we have always been their for each other.
I currently lead him on a prong collar with a Dominant Dog Collar as a back-up. It prevents him from lunging but he still goes mad when he sees other dogs.
Anybody have any ideas what we could try? Any advice would be much appreciated.
 

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This is difficult. Corgis are a tough dog, and he's old as well. Training would be hard, but you can try. I would recommend reading "Feisty Fidos" by Patricia McConnel. It's got good training instructions for dogs just like this. In the meantime try walking him at times and places that are isolated, and exercising him in other ways. And what is a "Dominant dog" collar?
 

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@traciek88 - This thing, I think.
@Top - The problem here is the fact that he was never socialized, so he doesn't know how to behave or react when he sees other dogs. It's a raising and training issue. I don't necessarily believe that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," though at this age it will likely be more difficult given that he is probably very set in what he knows. My advice? Ditch those collars and find a behaviorist or R+ trainer. All that the prong and DD collars are teaching him at this point is that he is made to feel uncomfortable when he's reacting perfectly naturally (considering his lack of socialization), which could end up shutting him down or make him even more agitated. If he is acting out to the point where he is pulling, those collars will just escalate the situation. If something is pressing against the dog's throat area, it makes them want to pull and react more, so those collars are just adding fuel to his fire.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
And what is a "Dominant dog" collar?
It's just a type of slip collar that is there in case the prong collar pops open.

I will definitely check out the book. We never bothered much with socializing as we did not think we would be leaving our old house. I know it sounds awful not socializing a dog but there was nothing near us for miles, so we never had the opportunity.
Is there any type of collar or harness you could recommend? I feel like he is seriously injuring himself wearing a buckle collar as he pulls on it very hard. He is very uncomfortable wearing a harness and runs away when I try to put one on him, even though it is fitted properly.
In the meantime I will seek out a professional, and luckily there are some parks that are fairly empty a couple of kilometers from my house. How do you recommend going about finding a trainer? I am all for trying +R but the only training facility near me is a traditional training facility that specializes in high drive working dogs.
 

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Welcome to Dog Forum! Sorry to hear you and your dog are having such a difficult time.

I'd strongly suggest you find a trainer or behaviorist to work with you in person. Finding a Trainer, Behavior Consultant, or Behaviorist

You might find the resources in this sticky helpful: Reactivity, On Leash Aggression, and Barrier Frustration

As was suggested, if your dog was not properly socialized, he's likely fearful of other dogs. A qualified trainer / behaviorist can help you work with him.

For the harness, you can counter condition him: Counterconditioning for Toenail Trim Aggression | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Z8befoelw

The prong and slip collars aren't helping in the long run, and may be making things worse.

You might find some helpful information here: fearful dogs
 

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I would normally recommend a gentle leader head halter for a dog like this but I think you said it wasn't working. Why wasn't it working?
 

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One thing you may need to do is take him out on off hours or take him someplace where he's unlikely to encounter other dogs. The reason he's ignoring you, pulling on the leash, and biting is that he's too overwhelmed to think clearly. In the dog training world, he's said to be over threshold. At that point, he's simply reacting and cannot learn anything.

trigger stacking

thresholds
 

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The DD collar can be used for much more than a back up collar. I don't know if you want to go there since this is a positive reinforcement forum but I've seen high drive highly aggressive dogs have this type of behavior modified via a DD collar. However, if one opts for that route they best get professional instruction if they choose to use this tool. It's not a pretty way to go, more like a last resort when all other behavior mods have failed. I agree with the others who have suggested the dog's lack of socialization with other dogs is the root problem and if it were me, I'd make a huge effort to keep the dog under threshold and acclimate the dog slowly and surely to its new environment using all the other protocols which are directed at this problem.

Sounds like you have a great dog and if you can at least get your dog to ignore other dogs by focusing more on you while the dog is under threshold you can somewhat beat this problem. I'd up the obedience training and slowly proof the dog where the trigger exists, at great distance first and work from there.

I appreciate that management isn't the solution but it may be temporarily necessary as you help your dog through this culture shock.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would normally recommend a gentle leader head halter for a dog like this but I think you said it wasn't working. Why wasn't it working?
I got him used to it slowly, by allowing him to wear it in the house. He as fine with it, and I started using it on walks about two weeks after I started introducing it. On walks he would be all right with it except when a dog came. Note that he has fine leash manners, unless other dogs around. When he saw a dog and would try to lunge, he bit at the collar and attacks the lead. It didn't redirect his attention and I am worried he will injure himself. He is an older dog so I am being very careful with the tools I am using.

Drivedog, I am aware of the way the collar can be used. While I do not disapprove of the method, I do not think my dog is at that stage were such extreme measures are necessary.

Thanks for all the advice. I will start by finding more quiet places to walk and have already found a trainer that is not affiliated with the training center here. I just want my dog to live the rest of his life as a happy grandpa and don't want him stressing over other dogs.
Thanks again!
 

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Hm. Maybe invest in a basket muzzle and use that in addition to the
gentle leader. That way he can't bite the lead. I'd go slow with the muzzle training, make it a really pleasant experience with peanut butter and other happy, fun things every time it comes out before you use it on a walk.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi!
Just thought I'd give an update on my guy. We have found an incredible behaviorist and Kristoff has improved massively.
I now walk him on a front clip and a head collar. That way I am always able to redirect his attention much easier without putting to much pressure on his neck area. I took your suggestion tracie, and invested in a basket muzzle. Eventually he got used to the gentle leader and we don't even need the muzzle anymore! :) No more prongs ever, on any of my dogs. :thumbsup:
Anyway, just after a couple of sessions, Kristoff started improving. I have managed to teach him "follow me!" in which he immediately turns his attention to me and gets a treat. Then we move away from the distraction and he gets a another delicious treat. While he still sometimes grumbles when other dogs get close, I can now get his attention really easily (boiled beef heart is the key) and honestly I think our bond has improved even more over the last month.
I am really proud of my boy! He may never be a dog park dog but we can finally enjoy walks again. Maybe in a couple of months we can even drop the head halter.
Thanks for your all your advice!
 
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