Tilly, my 7 month old tri color Pembroke, is a great dog. She has not destroyed anything, not shoes, or electrical cables, chair legs or anything. She is the best puppy yet. She's had several problems that needed serious training to rid the behaviour. Done. Success. But there are two remaining behaviours that my training doesn't seem to be working for. The first one is: getting all worked up and wanting to chase cars. Not a healthy past time for sure. I have spent a good 6 weeks walking in the neighbourhood treat training and everytime I would hear a car coming I would say, "watch me" and as the car passed I would give a tiny yummy piece of hotdog. Another technique was to say as I tossed several treats on the ground I'd say "find it". That works well too. BUT, as soon as I'm not paying attention, or don't treat her, she's right back to turning in circles and yanking the leash and barking like a crazy girl, to get at the cars. I don't know if she's afraid, or she just loves the thrill of the chase being a herding dog. I think it's very instinctual and I'm not sure what to do about this. A shock collar perhaps?
The second problem is her habit of digging in our backyard. The neighbour lady 3 doors down feeds the squirrels and the blue jays peanuts in the shell, and hazelnuts/filberts in the shell. The squirrels bury them in our lawn. This is partly the problem, but sometimes she just gets chewing on grass shoots and one thing leads to another and uh oh, I dug another hole! She gets out for off leash walks/runs for 1 1/2 hours or more every day, or sometimes I go twice a day as she really needs lots of exercise. I also play with her and she wrestles with my Golden Retriever a lot as well. As soon as she digs a hole, I put her stools in it and then fill it with tiny twigs and some of the dirt, so that the hole doesn't get bigger. At present we have 10 holes. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Hmmm... I think you just have a very high energy pup. You seem to be doing everything right and giving the pup all the attention, supervision and exercise that she needs, plus she has the company of another dog. I would continue with what you are doing and simply suggest a slight mental shift on your part, best illustrated by the phrase : Please be patient, God isn't finished with me yet."
For the cars, I like the watch me and then the treat better than the food on the ground because the first method rewards a focused, calm behavior, whereas the second method adds to the excitement in the moment. You might also take her to walk on a busier sidewalk where many cars go by all the time, as this may help desensitize her somewhat more than the occasional car. Stay towards the inside of the sidewalk, rather than on the car side, keeping a short leash and a stream of soothing talk going on.
For digging, the only thing you can do is supervision, I would never put a shock collar on her myself. I must warn you that females are often bigger diggers than male dogs, simply because their instincts would eventually lead them to dig a den and some have that instinct stronger than others. The spaying may eventually work in your favor as she matures. Keep up your good work and laugh at the temporary setbacks.
I have taken her on a very busy street. So stressful. She goes absolutely bonkers, Chase, bark bark bark, chase bark bark bark, all the while tugging on the leash. I agree that it should desensitize, but not with Tilly. I think what I need is to somehow make her afraid of cars. Someone suggested that I have a planned situation where I am walking her and a friend is driving the car and someone else is sitting in the back seat with an air horn. If we coordinate the exact moment when Tilly is close enough to the car, they could sound the air horn. It might take a time or two. Other than that, I just need her to be on the leash at all times in traffic areas, or potential traffic areas. Someone told me that strong willed dogs take twice as long to learn something. sigh
I have tried the running away approach, but she get's so excited that I usually trip over her! I like the tug toy approach, but this makes it awkward because I walk with my golden retriever as well. I guess, I'd have to walk without her, when training Tilly. Perhaps having a stick to clamp her jaws onto might do the trick as well. I don't believe that she is afraid of the cars, but she needs to be! I think the cars zipping by excite that herding instinct and she just gets overly excited.
I don't like the idea of scaring her, it's a crude method that can backfire as well. I would take her alone, not with the Golden for training purposes, you may even be surprised if she acts differently when she is alone. Is there a place where you can sit outside with the dog on a busy street, like a cafe'? Or maybe bring a folding chair and sit somewhere outside a store with cars going by. It has to last a good bit, or will do no good. Bring a book to read, keep her on a short leash right by you. It may be easier if you are not moving, the walking can come later when she can deal with just the going by of cars. Don't give her any treats. With the extreme behavior you describe I would only reward calm behavior if it occurred for awhile ( 10 minutes or so of being calm as cars go by regularly ). Use a word to calm her down, like "settle" in general, when you see she starts to get "spinned up".
If you have not enrolled her in a good formal obedience training class, I would do that also, so she learns to really listen to you in circumstances where there is a lot going on, as in a class situation.
Ivy's suggestion of herding classes, if available to you is an EXCELLENT one! Dogs who are allowed to use their natural instincts in the way they were bred for are all around better for it, regardless of their breed. And yes, it would be a lot of fun. When she is older, also look into Agility, great for high energy dogs.
The last thing to consider is what she is eating, as this too can affect behavior, especially avoid food with corn. there have been many posts on food, you may want to look through some of them.
i appreciate your comments Anna. Should I sit on a super busy street or a moderately busy street. And how long should I sit there..an hour? And should I tire her out first before we sit there? I had actually thought of this idea as well, but had then forgotten about it. I don't believe we have herding classes, but we have something called Triball, herding pilates balls into the pen in 15 minutes. Looks interesting and fun. I think she would be good at agility as well, that is much easier to find around here. Tilly eats a great diet of lamb and brown rice, called Canadian Naturals, there is no corn. She is super allergic to chicken.
I would pick a place where people walk by and cars too, like a touristy place for instance, if that's available. Pick a situation you will feel comfortable in yourself, as that will help the pup calm down eventually. How long? At least 1/2 hour, ideally you are looking for her to calm down and get the situation to become "old hat" to her and be able to reward and make pleasant that calmness. As she adjusts, keep up the exposure ( say twice a week for awhile). You can help control her by slipping the leash underneath your foot as you sit, rather than just holding it in your hand. The Triball sounds like fun, as for Agility, you would need to get some obedience under your belt first and that structure, done positively, will pay off. It is unusual for a dog to be allergic to chicken, but the chicken is so highly polluted itself that God knows what else the dogs are getting in these diets. Even our chicken and turkey for human consumption are quite questionable....
Does she go back to the same spots to dig? If you fill in a hole, does she like to excavate it again? If so, one trick is (hang onto your hat: this is gross) to pick up some of her fresh poop, place it in the hole, and cover it neatly while filling in the hole. Many dogs do not like finding this little gift in the favorite digging hole and will knock it off after you do that several times with every hole you can manage to fill up.
Car chasing can become a very serious problem. I had a German shepherd who was determined to bring down a car by its oil pan. In some atavistic instinct, she evidently believed cars were buffalos and trucks were mammoths. At night, when their eyes glowed in the dark, the critters were even MORE exciting! About all that worked there was obedience training, obedience training, obedience training, and more (obsessive!!) obedience training. It was extremely difficult -- but your problem is made a little easier by the fact that a corgi doesn't have the strength to haul you into oncoming traffic.
Just bear in mind that you'll never, ever be able to let this dog off the leash outside a fenced area.
She doesn't go back to the same hole, because I too put some of her poop in the hole. Each time is a new hole. Fortunately, where we live there are dikes where I can let my dogs go leash free, and parks as well. And we are close to many many different trails.
I would be careful to have a collar on her that she can't slip when she gets so excited, like a Martingale collar. Corgis seem to be excellent at twisting and slipping their collars.