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?

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Beth: Corgi master.

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!

I know this advice won't help with those who have older corgis, but I just can't stress the importance of letting your pups off leash in a safe area starting very young. ALL of my dogs have been allowed off leash stating at about 12 weeks old. Granted it has to be in a controlled setting, ideally LARGE fenced field. I know these types of areas are few and far between, but I have never had a dog run away, or even attempt it. All of my dogs have grown up with freedom, so when the front door opens its no big deal, if they slip their collar, who cares. NEVER have I had a dog run out the door and ignore me when I call them. It all really has to do with the fact that being off leash is nothing new, nothing exciting, just a normal everyday thing. In fact, I rarely ever use leashes on my dogs, unless it is an urban area or a busy campground. The dogs have learned from puppyhood to stick around and not wander. Really the sooner they learn off leash is no big deal, the better recall they will have and the better behaved they will be as adults. Even my chihuahua (who half the time seems to forget her name) won't run away or wander too far when off leash, as a pup her recall sucked and I'd leave a LONG leash attached and use "hand of God" method mentioned above and she has a much better recall now and she can be trusted to run off leash with the other dogs.
OMS (oh my stars)  Quin is the same age maybe it is a teenage thing LOL The comecomecomecome really makes sense to me and what John said about Patricia McConnell's book. When I was a kid we lived on a farm and our dog was an outside dog of course, and when we would called her we said Heeare Bla bla blondieeee!! So I think I will try Here Quin quin quinie ha ha seriously!
The leash thing is so true also, she comes to me in the house even if I don't call her when I am going to brush her if she has the leash on even though I am not holding the other end. If the leash is off there is no way I can get her. Quin also is at a point where she will just look at me if I don't have treats. except for coming to me outside she does that pretty good and doesn't expect treats. I keep her on a long line and when I call her if she doesn't come pull her in. I just bought a small rope (like clothes line) from HomeDepot. I think I would try giving him a treat every other time or every third time mix it up but stop with the treats as fast as possible cause like it was said smart dogs know if they don't get a treat why do it.

First game you'll have to play is " Focus" This one is pretty easy.

Start off with just staring at your dog, each time you two lock eye contact...treat

Repeat until its constant.

Now, say his/her name, when there is eye contact, treat.

Repeat until constant.

Ok, time to play a game, I like to call it " Chase"

It works like this, you start off with a few steps...act excited about something, the pup should come over...Treat.

Try this again only add a little distance, if you've the room you can try a quick dash...when the pup comes over, treat.

Its time to up the rewards a bit, this time run for about ten feet, dashing away. You'll notice that your pup follows...Jackpot treat.

Repeat until your dog doesn't leave your shadow...


Third game...this one either requires a few people, preferably everyone in the house...or some really creative thinking.

Its the name game with other people, as your dog comes to whomever called him/her, treat.

repeat until constant.


Last game ( and the most fun in my opinion...Hide and go seak

Requires 2 people.

Run off and go hide, you can either choose to be seen or not seen at this point. I recommend starting off light with letting the dog see you run and hide... release your dog and let him/her go find you while you call their name, treat.

You can up the rewards as you increase distance. Also can have someone keep the dog occupied as you go hide, then play that game...first time your dog finds you, jackpot treats.


Try these, If done on a consistant basis you'll have a dog that will not leave your side. give it about 3 months and you should in theory be able to walk the dog off leash and not worry about recall not working.


Some pitfalls to remember, the more distractions the less response you'll get, so please don't start your dog off in a dog park and expect that recall is going to work. You have to "Work Up" to that. Also keep in mind the more distractions the higher the treat value has to be. You've got to be more entertaining and the rewards higher value then say the squirrel or the dog walking across the street, or the jogger.

Let me know how it goes, I'll see if I can't sit down and pull some more pointers out of the library of books I've got :)

I have problems with the 'come' command as well. Mostly because Emilia thinks that she'll always get a treat and I really don't want to encourage that. She looks very put out when she DOES come and there's no treat. I don't take her off the leash when we're out of the yard-she's too curious to let her wander.


I also suspect it's partly my fault for spoiling her, but how do I get her to consistently 'come' sans treat?

I'm new here, so I hope I'm posting this in the right place. We have a female corgi that is 7 months old and we have learned all about the 'catch the corgi' game with her. We live on a farm and have to put a line on her to get her back in the house (especially if it's raining or snowing because that's the BEST weather in the world!). Anyway, last weekend a stray corgi showed up at our farm. He had no ID and we haven't been able to find out where he came from. He's a complete sweetheart, a total gentleman, and has already made himself at home. The problem is, I think I know how he got lost in the first place--he chases after anything that moves and he's not at all fond of wearing a leash. We're slowly working on getting him used to wearing a line so we can catch him, but he sometimes manages to back out of his collar. Anyone have any ideas about how to curb his instinct for chasing squirrels and rabbits and the neighbor's cows and our horses, etc?

Haha!!  You can work on the "leave it command".  Get a martingdale collar, as they can't back out of it.  Then in five minute training sessions several times a day, put a bowl of food down, and walk him around it.  Every time he tries to sniff or go for it, say "leave it" with a quick, gently tug on the leash.  Reward him with a training treat if he listens.  He'll learn quick what the command means.  BUT, corgis are herding breeds, and have the attention span of a flea if they see something else moving quickly.  They are always going to want to go after something.  It's mayhem in my house at night sometimes because we're not awake to tell them to stop chasing the cats.  (That is until they wake us up....)

This always makes me smile, even though I know how dangerous it can be.  Seanna does the same thing, and it always makes me chuckle, because her stubbornness is something that just makes me laugh.  I don't let her free to run in any situation that may get her in to trouble or hurt.  She too, was a star at obedience and agility, but when we get home, on her turf, she suddenly becomes deaf.  It's a corgi thing.  They were bred to be independent.  Quit chasing him, because it's a game to him.  I just turn around and walk the other direction.  She follows then.  If you need him to come to you really quick, fall down and yell--pretending to be hurt.  They usually will run right over to you to see if you're OK- then you can grab his collar.

Thanks for the suggestions. We actually put a halter on him yesterday and that worked wonders. He doesn't fight it, so it makes taking him out on a long line much easier. He is really willing to please and he's watching our other dogs for signals now, so that is helping too. Our Kadi knows if she has that line dragging on her or not and she only tries to play 'catch the corgi' if she isn't wearing it. I'm hoping he'll learn that same lesson fairly quickly. I actually used her as bait to get him back a couple of times before we were able to get a line on him and I did do the sit down on the ground trick. He was out chasing our horses that time, and it worked to get him back. We live on 54 acres and our neighbor has close to 400, so in that sense we're lucky because he has room to run before he gets into danger from roads. However, it also means there are lots of temptations and places to play 'peek-a-boo'. Our actual yard is 5 acres, but I think we are going to have to fence off a smaller portion with chain link where we can let Kadi and Brodie both play off lead and be out of danger of slipping under a gate and into a herd of mama cows or obstinate horses. I hadn't thought of the 'leave it' command, but I will start working on that with him. It does work for Kadi and occasionally for our Boston Terrier. Brodie is smart as a whip, and seems to really want to please, so he ought to pick that one up quickly. Thanks again for the advice!


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