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Thread: Pet Training / Discipline

  1. #1
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    Pet Training / Discipline

    So, I thought maybe open a thread for advice or suggestions w/ trouble pet behavior. My corgi is my best friend, and 99% of the time we get along and he's really obedient and smart as hell. Every now and again, he doesn't want to do something, and he'll just ignore you. If you get near him he'll grumble at you. The other week, I tapped my hands and said "NO, let's go" and he growled at me, made a sorta lunge to say "I could bite you!!!" and then he complied and walked along.

    Today, I tried to put his harness on, and he started growling. He does this sometimes, I don't know how to get the harness on without it bugging him, but this time he bared his teeth and started growling. I reached out towards him and he bit me, hard enough to draw blood.

    I CANNOT have him doing this. If he bites someone else that could be a disaster. He's an adorable dog... it's actually really weird to see him try to look fierce. I dunno. I don't know what to do when he starts acting like that; I don't want to capitulate but I also don't want to be aggressive. Not sure what to do.

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    From what I understand about Corgis, they can be somewhat bossy bordering on aggressive, so you have to approach their training from a different behavioral standpoint than many other breeds of dogs.

    They're not the average, say, lab or retriever as far as training.

    It would be logical to assume that your dog feels threatened or frightened or anxious when he exhibits the behavior you describe. So, the goal would be, obviously, to eliminate or lessen this anxiety, as a way to "train" him to not have the aggressive behavior.

    The most common way to do this is to reprogram his cause-and-affect kind of association with the object or activity in question.

    ALSO, learn to read your own body and emotional cues while you're doing it, because dogs sense ALL of this. If you're full of anxiety, so will be your dog.

    So you want to put a harness on your dog to go for a walk. Start by using a happy voice, "want to go for a walk? a walk?" and then GIVE YOUR DOG A TREAT. You are now trying to establish that the harness will be a pleasant thing.

    (Many people employ CLICKER training for this type of behavior modification, too; you can purchase a small clicker online or at Petsmart, they teach clicker training, there. Use the clicker and give a treat; the dog will begin to associate the sound of the clicker with something really yummy and fun and positive.)

    Then, having asked him about a walk, and having given him a treat, SHOW him the harness, and put it on the ground, and put a treat BY the harness.

    The harness now represents a treat, not you coming at him like an ax murderer and trying to pin him down (which is probably how HE sees it, since he's a dog and wants his autonomy).

    Little by little, you need to create an environment where the harness is associated with treats, you being pleasant, and a fun walk outside. Little by little, slowly, you need to reprogram his thinking and association about the harness, and earn his trust. Don't push it too fast. Let him choose the pace.

    THAT BEING SAID ... you may STILL have to keep your dog away from people and other dogs. Dogs like corgis aren't always the most friendly dogs in the world. If he feels threatened, you've seen what he can do. Dogs are dogs, they aren't REQUIRED to love all other dogs and people.

    Obviously, NEVER yell at your dog; it only increases the negative behavior you describe, will increase his fear of you and his anxiety.

    Also, DO consider that there may be some part of that harness that might be HURTING him, and you may need to get a new harness. Dogs have no way to say "hey, that hurts" so they can only growl or do other things to tell us. :-)
    Last edited by allegro; 09-03-2020 at 08:10 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by allegro View Post

    Also, DO consider that there may be some part of that harness that might be HURTING him, and you may need to get a new harness. Dogs have no way to say "hey, that hurts" so they can only growl or do other things to tell us. :-)
    Y'know, this didn't occur to me, but he really started to grumble when he was getting too big for his previous harness. I just got him a new one, but maybe he still thinks of it as an uncomfortable thing. Thanks for the advice too, that all makes sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinsai View Post
    Y'know, this didn't occur to me, but he really started to grumble when he was getting too big for his previous harness. I just got him a new one, but maybe he still thinks of it as an uncomfortable thing. Thanks for the advice too, that all makes sense.
    You may want to experiment with different harnesses, too?

    We ended up with a mesh harness for our Maltipoo that was more sports bra than harness. The dog was Houdini and managed to escape from nearly all harnesses, likely because they all seemed terribly uncomfortable for her. We got the “sport bra“ (LOL) for her, she LOVED it.

    For example:
    https://www.petsmart.com/dog/collars...ess-42387.html

    Corgis have short little legs, there may be something rubbing in the armpit section of his legs that’s hurting him. It’s hard for them to tell us what’s going on.

    I suspect something like this, especially since you said he’d already been on a harness just fine until he experienced pain when he outgrew his last one. Try a new, more comfy harness?

    I don’t think memory of prior pain would cause an aversion; it’s possible, sure, but it’s more likely he’s having issue with THIS harness. Or maybe your attitude about it, maybe you’re butting heads with him and forcing him into it, and THEN maybe he’d have anxiety about the prior pain and he’s going to get stubborn and angry.

    Or, it’s possible that this one hurts getting him INTO it.

    He’s your buddy: pay close attention to his signals. He’s telling you something.
    Last edited by allegro; 09-03-2020 at 08:22 PM.

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    Yeah, everything @allegro said is right. I would definitely give him a treat once you get the harness on him.

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    yeah, he's getting better with it. He still grumbles but then I give him a treat, and I'm getting faster at getting it on. I think he really hates sitting still while I wrap the velcro part on, but if I can just give him a treat and do it quick, he doesn't mind as much. He growled at me once and this time I just backed up, stood up and talked to him in a calming voice and he immediately chilled out.

    Originally he had a different style harness but it was hard to get on and required more cooperation. At least with this one, I just have to hold his paws and slip it over.

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