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My husband and I got a dog for our birthdays back in May. He's a red heeler mixed with Pembroke Welsh Corgi and he's now just over a year old. He is such a good dog inside the house, in fact I don't think I've ever had such a well behaved inside dog. But he has aggression problems when strangers come over and when were outside and he sees other dogs. When strangers come over he growls and tries to hide behind us, this I understand and I'm not as much concerned with this behavior as I am with his behavior outside. I can't take him for walks or to the park without him seeing another dog and him freaking out and violently shaking his head until he gets his muzzle loose and gets himself out of his collar, and attacking the other dog. I've taken him to a trainer and I've tried the method he taught me (distracting him with a favorite treat so he focuses on me instead of the other dog), but it doesn't work. He doesn't want the treat he wants the other dog. I feel horrible because I know his breed needs lots of exercise, but I'm becoming too afraid to take him out unless it's bad weather and I know no one else will be walking their dogs. I have an appointment in January to take him to a trainee whom specializes in ACD's, but I want to start working with him now. Has anyone ever had a dog with the same issue or does anyone have any advice?

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We got our dog from the humane society. The previous owner had gotten rid of him and his sister because he didn't have time to give him the care he needed because he was caring for his elderly parents and raising his own family. The first trainer said he thinks he's being overprotective of us.
 

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Unfortunately, dog aggression is common in herding dogs, even though pit bulls get the bad rap, for some reason. I have a cardigan welsh corgi, and at best she ignores other dogs.

So, the treats you're using aren't effective... what are you using? My suggestion is to use stinky cheese or hot dogs.

Also, have you worked on increasing your dogs threshold/tolerance to other dogs? Like is he ok around other dogs at 20 feet? At 15? At 10? At 5? When does the aggression start?

Other then trying to give him treats, what are you doing? Are you tensing up? Do you pull on the leash? Do you correct? Do you get frustrated and just give up and go home?

What kind of harness do you have on him? Is it like a muzzle? Who told you to use the muzzle? Are you sure you're using it correctly?

What other training methods are you using? Do you subscribe to the dominance theory? Other then walking your dog, do you do any sports like agility, or herding?
 

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We use his favorite treats we get from a local per bakery.

We have tried increasing his tolerance for other dogs. Several times. It has yet to end well. The aggression starts the second he sees another dog, it doesn't matter how far away it is.

I try very hard not to tense up. Ihave him sit in a spot that makes it harder to see the other dog and have him focus his attention on me. The only time I give up and take him home is when the incident has resulted in an injury to myself.

The muzzle is more like a halti harness that goes around his face. We use it because the trainer suggested that we do so. We use it exactly as instructed.

Were waiting to get into the new trainer to learn more methods. We have an obstacle course set up for him in the backyard. Theres nothing for him to heard however, we live hours away from the country.
 

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Firstly, the dog needs exercise. The more energy the dog has pent up, the worse he will react to things just because he has all this energy to release. Ever seen a kid who has been cooped up all day long be let loose in a park? Terrifying.

Try a flirt pole, training tricks (trick training is a great way to get them thinking and using their brain and consequently tiring them out), playing fetch in the house, bike rides. Are there places you can have him out on a long line that are relatively deserted? (Fields, beaches, etc.)

Have you heard of BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training)? I have not used it myself but I have herd good things about it. It relies on slowly desensitizing the dog and teaching the dog how to greet dogs and react to them politely. Here is the website and some useful information: http://functionalrewards.com/

EDIT: As far as inside the house, does he bite? What is he doing? Just barking? It sounds like he is scared. Teach him strangers are good things. Hire some friends to come over. Go outside to meet them and give them cut up hotdog pieces. Have them walk in, one at a time and sit down (no looking at the dog, no talking, no eye contact , nothing). If he comes over to sniff them, have them throw a hotdog piece on the ground. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I like your suggestions, but the problem is that we live in the middle of the biggest city in this state. There is no where to go that is deserted, which is why we have the obstacle course in the backyard. As far as his behavior in the house when strangers are present he growls, bares his teeth, and his fur stands up, but he usually tries to hide behind us. I know it's out of fear. We have also tried having our friends give him treats. Theres only a few he'll take them from.
 

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First thing's first, get a martingale type collar and make sure it fits correctly so he can no longer slip out of his collar and attack other dogs. I do not think you should use anything like a choke chain, prong collar, or head halter, as they can all seriously injure your dog if he goes after a dog and yanks himself hard.

Second, I strongly recommend reading a copy of Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt. It helped me a lot with Basil's leash reactivity with other dogs. One very important message in the book was managing your dog's threshold levels. If he can't tolerate being within X distance from other dogs, or doesn't tolerate X setting, you have to back up and move into a setting where he can focus on you and pay attention. Going over his threshold means that he's focused in on the dog and nothing else matters to him. If he's not taking treats or he won't look at you when you ask him to, then it means that he's over his threshold and learning can't take place. You say he goes over threshold as soon as he sees another dog. What is the maximum distance you've tried this? 50 ft? 100 ft? If you can, go someplace like a pet store parking lot where you know there will be other dogs. Park as far away from the other dogs going in and out of the store as you can so that you can still see them. This way there will be no "surprise" close up encounters with another dog like if you were walking in your neighborhood. See if he tolerates being that far away from other dogs, or if he still goes over threshold. If he goes over threshold as soon as he sees a dog no matter how far away they are, just take away the visual. Go someplace where you will be able to hear dogs (outside of a store or dog park) and have your dog in the car in his crate. Put an opaque blanket over his crate so that he can't see out except for a small corner facing you so you can feed him treats and get him to look at you. Open the windows so he can hear the other dogs. See if he goes over threshold just hearing the dogs. If loud barking makes him go over threshold, roll up the windows and muffle the sound.

The key is to keep him under his threshold, and reward him as many times as possible while he is under threshold and around other dogs. Eventually he'll put 2 and 2 together and realize that when he's around other dogs, he gets something positive, and therefore creates a positive association with other dogs. He also learns that you start handing out a ton of treats as soon as there is another dog around, so he'll look to you for his reward whenever he sees another dog rather than going after the dog.

Another very important thing to keep in mind, is that this kind of training takes a lot of time and patience. Just think "baby steps!" Lets say he stays under threshold while having his view of other dogs blocked, but he can still hear them, so you reward him a bunch of times. So lets up the ante just a little bit.. Maybe uncover his crate briefly so that he can see out the window and see another dog in the distance. Then cover it back up quickly before he gets a chance to build up all of his emotions. Then reward him. Do that until he can sit in the car and look at other dogs out the window from a distance and still turn his attention to you and take treats. Then try getting out of the car briefly so that he sees dogs at a distance from outside of the car. Stand as far away from other dogs as you need to keep him under threshold. Or step out of the car briefly with him and get back in. If he stays under threshold, reward reward reward! Eventually you'll move closer and closer to other dogs and he'll tolerate them more and more. Just remember not to push too far, though! Every time he goes over threshold it sets him back and you lose some of the progress you worked so hard for. So just take things slow. It's also important to work in a variety of places so he gets used to being around dogs in all sorts of settings, not just in the neighborhood or whatever. Also, it's much more important just to keep giving him treats when he's around other dogs than it is to make him keep his eyes on you all the time. If he won't look at you but he's still taking treats and otherwise behaving well, he's still learning. Eventually when he's not so excited about the other dogs it'll be much easier for him to pay attention to you.

There's also a very useful game in Control Unleashed called the "Look at That" game. It's a game to teach your dog to automatically look at you whenever he sees another dog, even though the method seems counter productive! You start out with boring objects and work your way up to dogs, but it's basically where you point at something and say "Look at that!" As soon as your dog looks at it, mark (either with a clicker or a "good boy" or whatever you use) and give a treat. Eventually the dog will start looking at the things you point at, then his head will snap right back to facing you because he's waiting for his treat for looking at the thing! When he gets so used to the game that it becomes second nature, he'll look at dogs, and think "Oh! I looked at a dog! Where's my treat?" And he will start automatically looking at you whenever he sees another dog!

Just remember that there is nothing wrong with feeding lots and lots of treats to get your dog used to being around other dogs. It's better to feed too many treats than be stuck without any treats and have your dog go over threshold and lose your progress you worked so hard for. For dietary reasons you might want to scale back on his normal meal sizes to compensate for treat intake. Also sometimes I mix in a few handfuls of kibble with my "high value" treats to spread them out. My dog doesn't seem to notice that every once in a while he's getting a boring kibble instead of one of his high value treats if I give him one randomly.

Also, another really good reason to read Control Unleashed is because there's a lot of good info about reading your dog's body language. That's probably the most important thing I learned from the book! That way you can identify when your dog is about to go over threshold before he even does, so that you can diffuse the situation quickly and keep him under threshold.

I know this is a LOOONG post but I hope that you find my post helpful. Good luck with training!
 

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It sounds like you're in over your head.

The last trainer you had does not sound like a good or qualified one. Not for serious behavior mod anyway.
(This is not the behavior of dog trying to protect you)

You can find a behaviorist here:
https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1J4_rjdZ6ueYdxZl4ULl-VpXLxonXKHEVUJqeLdDQ19U&pli=1
If that link doesn't work, go to animalbehavior.org. There's a directory there.

You can find BAT here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ahimsadog

Feisty Fido and The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell might also be of help to you.
 
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