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I've posted here once for some advice on what to do with a leash aggressive dog, and the responses I got were helpful (he's doing better now, although still objects to dogs that look like his attacker!). So I figure I might as well ask again.

Fortunately, the dog isn't the (whole) problem. We've had our Corgi-Heeler mix Chester for about a year now and he's doing well. Except that he does not listen to my mother, not one bit. This wasn't a huge problem at first (he's my dog, not hers after all), he'd still come back if she called and sit down when told. But since her only real experience with dogs is her huge pushover of a mutt, she's never been firm with the corgi or given him real boundaries. I tried to insist she do this, but basically she gets bored with dog training and gives up (it was a nightmare to retrain her dog because of this. He learned quickly that he can out-stubborn her).

Now it has become a problem.

Chester also learned that he can easily out-stubborn her and began simply not moving if she told him to get down. It's progressed to growling and once a nip to let her know not to move him from "his chair" (ragged old thing we'd let the two of them sleep on to keep them off the good furniture). I removed the chair and he needs permission to get on any furniture now. ...except my mother's bed, which she lets him treat like a jungle-gym. And she still refuses to tell him to move (or spray him with a water bottle) so he's learning that this is totally acceptable behavior.

We've put up a baby gate between her half of the house and ours, so now he at least needs to be let in to act like a fool, but he's started to sit at the gate and block her access in or out of her own living room.

Chester is non-negotiable, honestly. I love my mother a lot, but she has too many severe health issues that are rapidly outstripping my and my husband's ability to care for her. She won't be our home more than two years if the pace of her failing health remains the same. Chester still has a good ten or twelve left in him.

I'd just like to ... well, basically "trick" my mother into a few simple training regimens to keep the dog from herding her around.
 

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If your dog is food motivated, maybe get training treats like Zukes or Pet Botanics to have your mother give good things when he listens. I can't speak for Zukes but the Pet Botanics treats are small and 1/2 calorie per treat so it's not like he'll be getting a cookie at 50 or more calories x 20 a day. If your mom is that ill it just may be easier for her to hand the dog a treat then for you to try and get your mom to learn to train a dog. Or if it's just the bed maybe you can reinforce to get down by telling your dog to get down before your mom gets into bed (as she is walking into the room) and then locking him out of the room some how (I guess as you do now with baby gates). I would imagine eventually he will get the connection, be trained and your mom won't have to deal with the growling/nipping.

I still give Zoey a cookie whenever I call her from the back door and she comes to me, heck I sometimes give her one when she comes to the back door on her own and comes in ... I always want her to associate her coming to me with great things.
 

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And she still refuses to tell him to move (or spray him with a water bottle)
Maybe that's the real issue, she doesn't want to train a dog like that. (It's a terrible idea, btw, unless you want a dog who's afraid of water and bottles.) It's very easy to use treats to train a dog and your mother may well enjoy it.

I'd suggest watching some Zak George and encouraging your mother to use these methods.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Maybe that's the real issue, she doesn't want to train a dog like that. (It's a terrible idea, btw, unless you want a dog who's afraid of water and bottles.) It's very easy to use treats to train a dog and your mother may well enjoy it.
Fortunately, he's neither afraid of water nor bottles. The spray is a game/distraction technique that we've used on him since he was tiny. He loves to chase and bite at the spray of water, so it stops him from whatever he's doing immediately so he can get down and ask for the game to continue. It is not a punishment. He even brings empty spray bottles to us for play. My mother's idea of punishment is a swat on the nose with a shoe or newspaper, which I had to put a stop to right away. He still takes revenge on newspapers for the one time, I can't imagine what he'd do to our shoes. Beyond that, I'm not going to argue pros and cons of positive-only training.

But, one of our big problems was over-treating. He got treats for existing, for being cute, for whining, for hopping on the bed, for waking her up, for jumping on her, for flopping down between her feet, all while the clicker sat unused on the bedside table. So even though he's hugely food motivated, I've had to find something new for her to reward him with. It's a laser pointer! After food, his favorite thing is to chase that dot until he falls down tired, then he can have his treat.

My mother is surprisingly a fan of dog trainers, just not training dogs. So we've watched all of Zak George's videos, the whole of the Dog Whisperer, books by Tamar Geller, some John Garcia, Joel Silverman, Victoria Stillwell... It's the doing, not the watching or learning where she gives up. Chester also does all of those things, again, for me (he's even kinda bad about listening to my husband, but he doesn't attend our regular herding classes either).

It may just be a case of getting her to understand that a lot of what he's doing with her isn't "cute" it's equivalent to the behavior of a naughty, spoiled child... Never thought about talking to her like he was a child. I'm no mother, but she is so she'll probably get it.
 
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