Corgi question #1: Dewey (15 month old Pembroke) took a puppy obedience class and passed with flying colors. He knows and obeys all basic commands, except for one: he will not come when called. He knows his name and knows exactly what I want him to do, but he just looks at me, then looks at my hand to see if I have a treat, and if I don't he will just look away.
If I approach him, he waits until I am within arms' length and then darts away like he wants me to chase him. Because of this I cannot let him off leash at any of our wonderful dog parks, and I'm thinking we won't be able to start agility training until he learns this basic command. Is this typical corgi behavior? Any suggestions?
I have a question related to this- our puppy Olive is almost 12 weeks now. She is delightful and responsive in the yard and outside, but when we are in our own home she only comes some of the time. When she doesn't come, she hides under our futon and barks every time we command her to "come".
I think this is her way of playing a game- I don't think she is hiding or afraid of us at all, but I'm not sure.
At 12 weeks, you should still only be calling her when she's already coming to you. Get down, clap your hands cheerfully and maybe chirp at her. If she comes running, say "Olive, come come come!" in a happy voice and praise like mad when she arrives.
At such a tender age, much of your training should still be focused on only giving a command when you are 100% sure the command is being followed. Say "sit" as the puppy's butt is about to hit the ground, say "come" when she's already running to you. She's just a baby. If she is hiding and barking she's probably confused/uncertain and therefore frustrated, so that can quickly teach a dog that training time is NOT fun.
Think of training at this point as a game and set her up to succeed every single time.
This site has gotten so big that it needs an editor.
The "come" topic deserves a place in the FAQ, and several of these responses could be included.
I posted some things here about "Emergency Recall" or "Really Reliable Recall", a related idea but it's not quite the same as the routine recall command.
Al went through an adolescent phase when he'd realized that he did not, in fact, have to come when I called, and I could not catch him. He loved this infuriating game. It passed, somehow.
Patricia McConnell's book, "The Other Side of the Leash", recommends making a chase game out of "come". Clapping your hands, run away, yelling "ComeComeComeCome!" Make it an invitation, not a demand. Her doctoral thesis research concluded that worldwide, animal trainers use a single sharp syllable for "STOP!" and repeated staccato syllables for "GoGoGoGoGo!" or "ComeComeComeComeCome!" She also notes that squaring-off face-to-face with eye contact as we primates do when we engage is aggressive confrontation for canines, so when we face the dog and say "COME!", the body language and sharp single syllable say, "Back off!" I recommend her books.
Get a fanny pack with a screw-cap solid plastic container like a pill bottle for treats (which can be tiny).
This is great advice. Our corgi (Olive) is now 6 months old and today she ran away from my husband. He chased her (mistake #1) around a large yard down the street from our house. I knelt down and called her and eventually she came, but only out of boredom. It took nearly 15 minutes for her to get bored of her game and come to me.
I am going to try your idea a few times and see if it works. I'm thinking we may need to use the "hand of God" technique as well. She is so disobedient with my husband and sometimes she disobeys me as well.
It's really encouraging to read stories of success! Wish us luck!