The ‘Hows’ And ‘Whys’ Of Corgi Training
There is more than just a little truth in the statement that corgi training is more difficult that training other breeds. The Welsh Corgi is not the easiest dog to train, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. When training any breed of any animal, you need to know something of the characteristics of the breed. It’s a case of “know thy enemy”, in that if you now what you’re dealing with, you have a much greater chance of success.
First of all, while the Corgi can be an excellent companion, hardworking, and loyal to the core, it is not a Golden Retriever. The Golden Retriever is eager to please, and is happiest when doing what it believes its master wants it to do. The Golden Retriever needs to be trained as well, but in doing so, it often seems like the dog is trying as hard to get things right as is the trainer.
Patience, Persistence, Consistency
Not so with the Corgi. As hard working as the breed is, it has a mind of its own. It is a very independent dog, and would prefer to do what it wants to do rather than what you want it to do. You need to understand this before even attempting to train a Corgi on your own. You are going to have to be very patient, very persistent, and very consistent in your approach. The Corgi is not dumb, but it has to be made to understand who is boss, and that there are no exceptions. There is more than a grain of truth in the observation, when we train an animal we learn an awfully lot about ourselves. Watch a professional dog trainer at work. They can almost without exception gain the respect of the dog almost immediately. Since you’re not a professional, it may take you more time, but with patience, persistence, and consistency, you can accomplish the same.
Keep The Lessons Short
Attention span has to be taken into account. The Corgi, especially one that has not undergone training, is easily distracted. It is interested in everything that is happening, and feels the need to be involved with everything that is happening. If you are trying to teach your Corgi to do something while there is a lot of other activity going on, you won’t have much success. You probably won’t have any success. When beginning the training sessions you need to find a quiet spot with no visual distractions, so it’s just you and the dog. Set a goal as to what you want to accomplish in 15 to 30 minutes. Don’t allow your training session to go beyond 30 minutes. Your Corgi will become bored, and start looking for other things to be doing. Finish the session on a successful note if you can. This may seem impossible at first, but eventually it will become an attainable goal. It works with horses, finishing a lesson on a high note. A corgi is not a horse, but the idea still has validity.
The Carrot And The Stick
What about punishment and reward? You reward your dog when it does something right, and you reward it immediately. If you do this consistently, punishment will often amount to nothing more than withholding a reward. A reward can be a treat, a pat on the head, or a “good dog” (treats work best at first). The harshest punishment should be no more than a sharp – NO! You don’t scream at the dog, but say the word forcefully enough that the dog begins to understand the meaning. Like a reward, the punishment must come immediately. Punish a dog five minutes after it has done something wrong serves no purpose. The dog doesn’t understand what the punishment is for.
There are some things in the training regiment that are somewhat unique to the Corgi. By nature it will herd things. That includes herding children, and chasing cars. In herding children it may nip, a natural thing to do as far as the Corgi is concerned. When herding cattle, it will nip and instinctively move aside to keep from getting kicked. The Corgi needs to be taught that children are not cattle and not to be nipped, or in most cases, not to be herded either. Herding small children does have its good points as far as safety and security are concerned, but in general the Corgi should be trained not to do so.
Just because of the dog’s nature, training a Corgi can be a handful. Read up on the subject, or better yet, enroll your puppy in an obedience class. The Corgi will do best if you take it to advanced classes as well, and perhaps you should consider some one on one classes with a trainer. You are not dealing with a dumb dog. The Corgi is an extremely intelligent dog. It just has very much a mind of its own, plus certain inbred instincts, and that is what you’re dealing with.