Collar Issues

Brattina88

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#1
My new foster is going to be a "project dog" for me ;) He is a gorgeous 2yr old black cocker named Buckeye, is supposed to be "show quality" from a shelter - owner turn in because they "didn't have enough time for him." I have been clicker training him, which he has been amazing with.
My suspicion is that he's been teased, he is still very mouthy/playful like a puppy. He resource guards with bones and food, and per his former foster doesn't let you take anything from his mouth (ex. toilet paper, tissues). He is also a major jumper, food stealer (will steal right out of your mouth I've heard), and appears scared of some men. We are making progress on all of these.
Now, *I* have been able to get things from his mouth without so much as a dirty look. But, I also played the "trade" game with him several times before the time arose where I needed to do this (he took off with a whole bar of soap LOL). It has only been two days but he has improved LOADS. He is extremely extremly smart, and is a quick learner. He does not like repitition at all - he gets annoyed and will bark at you. I taught him how to shake in like 5mins... the only other dog I've been able to teach that is Maddie... :D :eek:

Now... my BIG concern is his collar issue. He reacts very aggressivly if you touch or pull on his collar, try to lead him anywhere by his collar, etc or if you push on his chest (for example someone may push his chest to make him get down if he jumps on them). My first solution was simple. Don't do it! but its not that simple, as its everyones first reaction (for example I almost got nailed because he was trying to dart out the door and I grabbed his leash a little too close to the collar for his comfort) and even if you tell them not to touch his collar they do it on accident. So I am trying to manage, and get others to managae, until I can teach him that collar handling = something positive. I have sort of an idea of how to do this, but I was hoping for other opinions on this situation, because I've never had this specific problem before ;)


heres his pic from petfinder. His coat is much longer now... and I have to say that I LOVE his coat - I wish Maddie's was more like it, very straight and non-cottony. I actually don't have to brush it that much.
 

MicksMom

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#2
Hhmm, maybe try a variation of what some show people do to teach a puppy to stack- hold a container of cream cheese, peanutbutter, etc in front of him. While he's licking it, gently pet his back and gradually work your way up until you are petting his neck, eventually getting to where you can touch then hold the collar. Hope you followed that- it would be easier to show you then write/type it! LOL
 
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#3
Take the collar off for a while. Get him accustomed to being petted, poked, prodded in all places with varying pressure with the use of food. Hand feed him his dinner while massaging him, softly petting him, gently poking, picking up his feet, touching his whiskers, ears etc. He needs to be hand fed every meal. This is VERY important. This will help with resource guarding as well as his touch sensitivity. When he is ok with you hand feeding him and touching, slowly introduce other family memers etc to doing the same thing.

When he is a little more reliable you can play the collar game. Play this without the collar at first. Just bend over slowly like you are going to grab the collar, don't actually touch the dog at first, and offer a piece of food with your other hand. I like to make this really fun for the dog. Start off slow. If you can't reach down and touch him yet, its ok. Just keep it positive, do not push so far that he snaps or growls. If he does, you have pushed too far, next time don't reach in so fast or so close. The goal is to work up the the dog actually wearing his collar and you reaching down quickly to grab it. I even practice grabbing the collar with some force. I do this to prepare the dog for an emergency. If for some reason I needed to quickly grab my dogs collar and pull her away from something I would want her reaction to be "Oh Yay! Treat time!" and turn to me for a reward.

Practice putting the collar on and off. At first, you may only be able to drape it over his neck, or hold one end and run the other lightly down his back. Always reward with food. The collar is a good thing. He sees the collar, he gets treats.

Doggy zen. If he is hard mouthed he needs to learn doggy zen. Hold a piece of food in your hand and show it to him. Close your hand around the food when he comes near it to grab. Only open your hand when he has backed away. Let him take the treat. If he does grab it too hard walk away. Ignore him for a couple of minutes, then try again. If you are too frustrated walk away and then a few minutes later do something else he can be successful at.

Good luck, you are doing a great thing helping this little guy out. :)
 

grab01

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#4
Already having Cockers, you've probably already checked, but he doesn't have an inner ear infection does he? That strong of a reaction to the collar seems to point to something unpleasant
 

bubbatd

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#5
I hate to think that he's been yanked by his collar in his past !! Maybe go to a harness for a while ?
 

Doberluv

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#6
Take the collar off for a while. Get him accustomed to being petted, poked, prodded in all places with varying pressure with the use of food. Hand feed him his dinner while massaging him, softly petting him, gently poking, picking up his feet, touching his whiskers, ears etc. He needs to be hand fed every meal. This is VERY important. This will help with resource guarding as well as his touch sensitivity. When he is ok with you hand feeding him and touching, slowly introduce other family memers etc to doing the same thing.

When he is a little more reliable you can play the collar game. Play this without the collar at first. Just bend over slowly like you are going to grab the collar, don't actually touch the dog at first, and offer a piece of food with your other hand. I like to make this really fun for the dog. Start off slow. If you can't reach down and touch him yet, its ok. Just keep it positive, do not push so far that he snaps or growls. If he does, you have pushed too far, next time don't reach in so fast or so close. The goal is to work up the the dog actually wearing his collar and you reaching down quickly to grab it. I even practice grabbing the collar with some force. I do this to prepare the dog for an emergency. If for some reason I needed to quickly grab my dogs collar and pull her away from something I would want her reaction to be "Oh Yay! Treat time!" and turn to me for a reward.

Practice putting the collar on and off. At first, you may only be able to drape it over his neck, or hold one end and run the other lightly down his back. Always reward with food. The collar is a good thing. He sees the collar, he gets treats.

Doggy zen. If he is hard mouthed he needs to learn doggy zen. Hold a piece of food in your hand and show it to him. Close your hand around the food when he comes near it to grab. Only open your hand when he has backed away. Let him take the treat. If he does grab it too hard walk away. Ignore him for a couple of minutes, then try again. If you are too frustrated walk away and then a few minutes later do something else he can be successful at.

Good luck, you are doing a great thing helping this little guy out. :)
This is just how I'd go about it. An ear infection is a possibility, but a lot of people punish their dogs while grabbing the collar so that becomes a scary association. So, just gradually turn collar grabbing to mean very good food is on it's way. Eventually aim so you can grab quickly and a little roughly and it still means good news. But that's after slowly desensatizing.

Sounds ilke you're already doing great things with this little beauty. :)
 

Brattina88

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#7
Thank you thank you!! I appriciate the advise!

I have removed the collar, and put on a harness for ID and in case of an unexcpected exit or something ;) I'm going to follow OutlineACD's plan and let you guys know how it goes. I was thinking about doing something similar - touching the collar, click-treat for allowing me to do so, etc... but I like this way better. Like taking it back to basics. :)

Nope, no ear infection. Most cockers wish their ears looked as good as this boy. I am going to see if I can get him to the vet, just in case, though. He has some gray, dry flaky not-quite-crusty skin on the back of his head, want to make sure its not someting irritating that could also be elsewhere under the fur ;)

Thanks again!
 

Brattina88

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#8
We are already making good progress! I hope it continues, this boy deserves a great home. I know he'd love agility or something like it , he needs a couple walks a day and he's great! :D
 

PoodleMommy

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#9
You have gotten tons of great advice, but I just wanted to say that he is GORGEOUS!

good luck with the little "project".

Not to start trouble but he doesnt look like much of a foster. ;)
 

Brattina88

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#11
:rofl1:

He is really gorgeous.
:eek: :eek: ooooooohhh no! :p I can tell he is most likely going to be a 'long term foster', one because he's male, two because he's black, and three... he's... well... Crazy! :lol-sign:
If I keep 1 more dog I can't foster anymore. :( We technically are only supposed to have 3 where I live, but since fostering is temporary they said its okay to have 4. Its a pretty loose policy, like as long as there's no issues they don't really care (we've had 5 for a little over a week, our 3 and two fosters), but I don't want to push it if you know what I mean ;)
 

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