Originally Posted by tenderfoot
The 'can shake' or the 'water squirt' can work in the moment but what is she learning? To respect the can or the water bottle - not you. And the handiness of either item is not realistic - are you going to carry those around forever? And as you said they lose their value over time.
If you are reaching for the collar and she gets snarky - best to keep your hand on the collar and look her in the eyes and say 'quit' or 'easy' in a sharp tone and wait for her to relax. If you let go of the collar you are teaching her that snarky behavior works and you will back off so she will do it more. The second she relaxes you should relax even more but keep your hand on the collar. Hook the leash on to the collar and start over but now you have the leash on so she can't get away. You need to touch her collar and hold it calmy many times. Go in with your hand and calmy hold the collar, if she reacts badly then give a quick correction and then wait for her to relax when she does then praise her and release the collar. But you have to do this repeatedly until she no longer reacts to having the collar touched. You can give the occassional treat when she is very good.
You should also be doing 'mouth massages' on her. You should be able to get a finger into her mouth and massage her gums and lips. You are showing her that her mouth has no power over you and you are desensitizing her to being touched in a sensitive area.
Thanks so much for the great advice! She's been doing better already.
I was able to touch all over her face today with no growls and put her leash on her, as well.
The gum/teeth massage is a great idea. I've started brushing her teeth and this is one time when she gets particularly growly. She does calm down eventually, but it takes me being quite firm. Maybe if I do the teeth/gum massage a bit more, she'll get used to her mouth being touched.