Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Corgi Obedience

Corgi Obedience... funny, right?  In the 18 months Winnie has been in this world and the 16 months she's been in our home I sometimes wonder if I'm really cut out for a smart independent dog. 

Maybe independent is putting it too nicely.  This girl is flat out stubborn!  You can give her an instruction like "come" and she'll look at you, evaluate if what your offering is more fun than what she's doing now and if it is... great.  Come, indeed.  But if it's not it's as if she replies "Eh, I'm good, thanks." 

I am sometimes amazed at how the intuitive herder comes out of this little creature.  For instance, I took her to my office yesterday afternoon after I came home for lunch and she was great.  She walked with me (no leash) from the house to the car, car to the building, building entrance to my office, and so on.  She visited with my coworkers and then settled down under my desk and took a nap while I worked.  She learned in a flash that she didn't much care for the noise the copy machine made and it only took twice for her to know which way I was heading.  If I was going to the machine, she'd stay by my desk... if I was going to Jan's office... I should count her in.  That is the sort of day I LOVE being a corgi owner.

But there are also the days (such as in the obedience class graduation photo shown above) that I get so frustrated I can hardly stand myself.  Training with distractions, for instance, any of us that have read a training book or taken a class has heard of it.  You teach our dog a skill such as "sit" then gradually increase the amount of time you ask them to do it and the amount of distractions to then teach "sit with impulse control."  We do this but after Winnie figured out that she couldn't break her sit to get the ball I was bouncing she did, in fact, stop focusing on the ball like I had asked but then proceeded a full-out barking tantrum while looking right at me in protest.  What do you do about that???  The next time I started bouncing the ball she forgot about it instantly (good) while in the next instant started her barking fit again (bad).   Ugh, what did I really train this dog to do? 

The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around DogsI know I referenced this book in my last blog post (and I likely will again) but it is a really good read.  For anyone else who needs to trick their corgi into being obedient rather than just asking them too there are some handy tricks about body language that have been fairly effective for us.  I wager a guess that this is particularly true for corgis since it appeals to their nature of recognizing the body language of a flock.  If there's anyone else out there with a few tricks or tips I'm happy to hear it.  Now that I think of it... why don't I just link you to her blog, too?  Here it is:  The Other End of the Leash Blog


Kelly said...

Corgis are certainly hard headed!! I've found repetition and treats as the greatest way to train Gibson :)

Amy said...

I'm with you but how do you keep things fresh? Winnie seems to look at me like... "Oh, THAT again?" Sometimes I sort of agree with her. :-)