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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My corgi is 7 years old - and acts the exact same way when I call him to come. He completely ignores me (or anyone) if there is no food involved. He either stares right at me or even faces the opposite way. STUBBORN

If you are REALLY DESPERATE to get your corgi to come, TURN ON THE VACUUM CLEANER.

I did that once early on, before I'd fenced the yard -- Gwynnie was gone for some time, it was dark, she wasn't responding -- amid growing panic, [CLICK!] I opened the basement door, turned on the shop-vac, and Gwynnie had the nizzle in her teeth within 5.32 seconds.

google "really reliable recall"

Ha! Yep... That definitely does it for Chewey too.

I don't have a whole lot of advice beyond what others have already said, just wanted to say that I am glad to know that I'm not the only one that plays "Catch the Corgi".  Sparda was doing this all the time.  Once she got more comfortable with going in her bed when I tell her, I have had to play the game a whole lot less, as most of the time, getting her to come isn't too hard, as long as she doesn't think she is going to be in her crate.

As John already mentioned... Search for really reliable recall. We took a refresher obedience class one time and learned that - it's been invaluable. Chewey's normal recall still isn't that great, but his "emergency" recall is fantastic (and believe me it's not because he isn't stubborn!). Fortunately he's very food motivated so that made it easier.

My Corgi is 3 years old and stubborn as a mule.  I rarely have her off leash but when I do, and she is ignoring me, all I have to say is the word "BALL" and she passes me to go inside!  So..I guess if there is one word that can get his attention, by all means, use it on him.  I always make sure I actually do play ball when she comes in.  I'm not sure how long this will work, but so far so good.  They certainly are stubborn.  Even when she is on the leash and I want to go in, she will pull with all she's got.  I have had to literally pick her up and carry her inside at times.  You can't help but love these silly characters though.  :)

Corgis are generally very intelligent and learn quickly. But notice I said generally. There are exceptions. Our Betty is trained in the basic commands. I have complete voice and hand signal control when at the doggy park. So far, even when occupied or stimulated, she will still respond to my voice command to "come" and "stay".Betty seems to have developed the idea that she is an enforcer. She is totally fearless and not intimidated by size. If two or more dogs get a little rambunctious, she feels it is her task to break them up. Not always a good idea. She has waded into a couple of really vicious dog fights. Luckily, she has not been injured. Fortunately, Corgis are incredibly quick and agile. They can tie a larger dog in knots. Corgis have an over-inflated ego and don't understand the concept of big dog. Very little scares them.

If you have neither the time or experience to train your Corgi, seek professional help. An untrained Corgi can be a real pain in the ... posterior.

This was soon well-stated, that "Corgis have an over-inflated ego...."   Our 13 month-old Izzy is a total RAT, about coming back when he doesn't feel like it.  

We live in a "five-acre development" (each lot is 5 acres), and this can be very frustrating for me, as our guy's safety is very important to us. We live with many hungry coyotes who consider this size pooch a good meal.  Very few "outside cats" exist here. Gobbled up, they are.  I am left to worry continually about Izzy's safety, even though our Aussie will attack/run-off any coyote seen on the property. 

Aussie comes whenever I call, but Izzy is just plain "deaf".  I use a silent whistle, and cool treats, and he often bounds back. But this is inconsistent. Only part of the time.  Grrrr. Our remaining Aussie returns immediately, but Mr. Independent often ignores every "tweet" (when I want to SWEAR!).    Izzy is so-far excellent about understanding NOT going out into the street in front. Good trooper, near the street.  Not good, where there might be nifty smells and "adventures".   

These Corgis DO certainly seem to have "Selective Hearing".  I thought only husbands had this malady...

Please keep the tips/ideas flowing.....Thanks. 

Isn't there a period of adolescent rebellion?  Sometime about that age (I forget when), Al discovered that he dod not, in fact, hacve to come when I called, and I could not, in fact, catch him.  I tired of this wonderful game long before he did.

Google "really reliable recall" and study the many hits.

One principle:  set the dog up for success.  If the dog fails -- BAD TRAINER!  BAD TRAINER!

The Really Reliable Recall idea is to pick an "emergency recall" command that is never heard in ordinary conversation (ours is "venite!", the Latin/Italian imperative for "come").  It's for when your dog is about to chase a cat across the freeway.  Don't overuse it.  When your dog hears this, it knows you mean it.  Introduce it when you KNOW the dog will come -- it's hungry, it's seen and smelled the dripping bacon in your hands (Al thinks "ventite" means "bacon"), and you assistant must restrain the dog from coming until yu give the command.  A fun game is for two people to do this back-and-forth.  Cordon-bleu dog treats (they must be tiny), over-the-top praise. 

Frequent refresher training.  I use a fanny pack for dogwalking.  It always has a tough odor-proof container (like a pill bottle, only tougher) with dog treats.  When hiking, I want to be able to lesh the dog instantly when we meet people (esp. dogs or horses) or animals (porcupines, skunks, coyotes...), so we practice the quick-draw leash drill often, at least once near the start of each hike.

In "Superpuppy" (Daniel Pinkwater), the author questions theuse of treats: "Why bribe your dog with treats when she is perfectly willing to work for praise?"

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