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Dog Training/How do you feel about citronella collars?

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QUESTION: I have a male Corgi mix, he is neutered I am interested in getting a rat but I don't know how to socialize my dog to leave the rat alone. I am especially worried because there was a baby opossum in our backyard two years ago and he killed it and shook it and would not let go even when we sprayed him with the hose he hates water. Please help me.

ANSWER: Given that your Corgi has already shown a high level of instinctive prey drive, I would expect that having a rodent in the house would be very stressful for everyone - you, the dog and the rat. Something as instinctive as shaking and killing prey is virtually impossible to train away. You would have to keep the rat in a closed room where the dog would never have access. The sight and/or smell of the rat would probably make him crazy.

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QUESTION: How do you feel about citronella collars?

Answer
I'm not a fan. The citronella collar can certainly interrupt a bad behavior, however the dog can develop a negative association with whatever triggered the spray. It's not an effective way to deal with unwanted behavior, as it has no value in teaching the dog what he's supposed to do. The smell also lingers long after the event, causing irritation in the nasal passages.

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP

Expertise

I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, www.DistinctiveDogTraining.com/resources offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.

Experience

I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Organizations
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

Education/Credentials
BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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