I'm sorry to say I have to ask this question as I'm started to get frustrated and need to know what I need to be doing.
So my dog Olivia is officially turning one in 9 days! However I'm still having issues with her training and socialization.
I've done positive exclusively for the past 10 months I've had my dog, however aside form very minimal changes (due to general exposure) we've had hardly any progress.
She is a fearful dog but on the vocal (barking/growling) side. However should someone touch her she will back up and move and come back. We have been told this is her personality by various trainers so no debating on that. She also has lots of anxiety when new or unusual things happen.
When she is introduced to a new person she gets what seems like tunnel vision. She will not listen to commands (unless you physically force her to) and will not take treats no matter what they are. Could be chicken or cheese and she still could care less. You can shove it in her mouth but she just swallows and continues with no acknowledgement.
Which leads me to think I need something to break that mind barrier she has. I love her so much but I'm at my wits ends with the behaviors I'll talk about later. I would never get rid of her but she stops us from doing anything outside of the house and it's getting frustrating. We can't take her anywhere and she refused to let anyone in the house without an hour plus barking and growling at them (more if its a man.)
I say a video that showed a man who uses a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement and it was with a dog that acted exactly like her. Everything from behavior to dogs and to people to her breed, same exact. He said the dog was fearful and anxious but because she had never been given boundaries or told what was ok so she behaved like this. Sounds very similar to my own dog.
In his video he showed the dog receiving treats at moments when they were quiet and focused but when the dog lashed out he (the dog had a prong on) pulled the dog away and got closer over time to the object of issue. He popped the dog rarely and only when necessary (unlike some trainers I've seen who just go crazy popping.) By the end of the video (about an hour session condensed) the dog was happy and calm being by another person and dog (obviously not having contact as they weren't there yet.)
This seemed like a perfect idea since it was exactly like how my dog acts when strangers and other dogs come by (I'll include the video so you can see, it's the exact same behavior and all.) I'd like to know what your opinions on this is.
I really need something other then strictly positive as it isn't working and believe me I've tried. I'd like to go with the prong method even though I do have a shock collar (never used) because I myself would rather be popped then shocked. I've shocked myself up to 5 on the collar and I couldn't do that to my dog. However I would feel more comfortable with a prong as I know it won't hurt her (more a distraction as opposed to the pain of a shock collar.)
For my dogs behaviors here they are.
Strangers - Barking/Growling/Lunging but backing away once they try to touch her. Takes several sessions before she likes someone but once she does you can't get her off them. Loves to lick and give hugs.
Dogs - Calm mellow dogs are no issue. However high energy dogs (aka perfect playmate) she barks and growls at and I have never successfully introduced her to one.
Dogs Surprise - When a dog runs up to her or turns a corner she's fine with saying hi (even high energy dogs) but after a minute resumes her defensive personality. I only know this because people in her puppy class always had dogs that would get off the collar and leash and beeline for my dog. I just dropped the leash and stepped away per the trainers suggestion.
Off Leash with Dogs - (Unknown that it) she will charge them like she's going to get them but moves away. This is not in a playful way however. She has tried playing with the group play (barking and running) but as soon as she's engaged becomes defensive.
Strangers at a Distance - No issue. She could care less if we walk past them even an inch away as long as they don't say hi or interact with her. If she sees someone across the street she gets super happy and excited but its like a trigger is switched when she gets close to them. It's like she just doesn't know how to act around them once up close. Side note it is excitement it's the same reaction when she has someone comes over she knows.
Dogs at a Distance - Again gets super excited to say hi and wags tail like she knows them, but once up close it's like a flip being switched and she resumes being defensive. It's like two different dogs in these situations, ones a happy lab and ones a fearful unsocialized dog.
I have high hopes that she could be happy with strangers and random dogs after some boundaries and training. She gets excited it's just up close she doesn't know how to act. She was under socialized when I got her at 2 months old (she's a rescue) and she has gotten better but not as much as I was hoping.
(She is not in puppy class at the moment)
This is the video. Please watch a bit before commenting so you can see what I'm talking about.
Just hoping to get some advice please.