Hi all, I'm hoping to get some advice about Timber's energy. Let me just start by saying that I love my dog and wouldn't change him at all. He is smart and loving, and he goes with me everywhere and is very well-socialized. My problem is that he loves everyone, and feels the need to say hi to every human and dog he sees, no matter what we're doing, or whether the other people/dog actually want to say hi to him too. He also doesn't listen very well when he's distracted, so it's hard to get him to "sit," "stay," and "focus" when he'd rather be playing with someone else's dog (even though he's mastered these commands at home).
Is this just a puppy thing? Timber is my first puppy, and he is my first male dog. My family had a female terrier growing up. Does this behavior have to do with him being a 7 month old male? My breeder asked me not to neuter him until he's about 1 year old, so that could be influencing his behavior too. I asked the instructor at puppy school, and she said that this is herding behavior. (However, she owns labs, so I'm not sure if that statement is accurate.)
It is very important to me that Timber learns to listen and overcome these distractions. We love to hike, but I can't let him off-leash until he can reliably "come," even when we're sharing the trail with people, other dogs, moose, and bear. We go in public on a regular basis to work on socialization, so should I increase the amount of time we work on obedience in public? Is his age a big contributing factor, and recall will get easier as he matures into an adult? I don't want to make it sound like Timber is a bad dog (because he's not, far from it!), I just want to do everything that I can to help him reach his full potential. Thanks in advance for any advice!
Sounds normal to me for his age. I'd just keep working with him. It's hard for them to keep focus when exciting stuff is happening so close by.
I don't agree that because he's not neutered this is influencing his behavior. Wynn was 1st neutered at 9 but knew how to act at a very young age.
Take lots of treats along with you(cheap hot dogs or string cheese work well). Ask Timber to "sit" and "wait" give him a treat for this and then you need to "release him" by saying "OK" or whatever word you use to tell him that he is OK to go "play". A great idea also is if you can set up some of these training sessions with friends/dogs who know what you are going to do and will totally ignore him if you haven't said OK.
Hope this makes sense....it does work...Sage is almost to trained as she waits for me to tell her OK to go through a door.
It does take time...and NO it is not a "herding dog" thing.
Also choose your words you want to use(write them down and always use the ones you have chosen...Corgis can be too smart and are not afraid to push the limit if you use the wrong word. he is still young but keep those treats working...you can ease off on them later. TINY treats:)
Wally's two and he's a social dog as well. He usually goes for the people first before the dogs and he loves to meet anyone that will give him a smile. But he's on leash all the time and I have to gage those that would like to see him and those that would rather just walk by, with dog or not. So I would say that with time your pup will learn your cues on the leash as to when it's OK to approach, but with the personality to test the boundaries from time to time of course. :)
Even with other dogs on leash, sometimes you just get a feeling it's not a good time to say hello and Wally seems to sense it as well and stay on his side of the trail. But then again, I need to be on my guard all the time. Kuddos for you if you want to train him off leash... I wouldn't trust my Wally cause he'd go ahead in search of the elusive "deer poop" or of any other criters.
Jeli just turned two years old and she still has a lot of energy like you describe. I work with her constantly and we train everywhere. She is getting a lot better, but she can still act like a crazed lunatic when she sees another dog that she just must say hello too. I expect we will see more improvement in the next year as she matures. I realized at about 6 months in that I needed to be a lot more patient that I thought I needed to be when I first got her. Keep up the treat work and positive reinforcement regime. Remember that working at home is a lot different than working in a distracting environment. Gradually build up their tolerance to the distractions. Work the recalls till the cows come home. You'll get there. At least I hope so, because I want to get there! LOL.
Thank you all for your advice! I feel relieved to know that Timber's behavior is normal for his age. I don't want to make him sound like a bad dog, he's definitely far from it! He's mastered a ton of commands, he's very friendly with people, he doesn't chew, he's housebroken, he loves me more than I could have ever imagined. I have so much to be thankful for. I know that I'm a perfectionist and I have high expectations, so I'm trying to be patient with him. It's difficult for me when we're out hiking, and it seems like everyone in Alaska hikes with their dogs off-leash, and that's what I want to do with my dog. However, I'm absolutely unwilling to go there until I know that he'll be safe. I just don't know how to get there!?!
Any recommendations for specific exercises we can do to work on attention span? When we're out in public, we work on "sit," "stay," and "watch" (which is basically "focus on me"). When we're on the trail and I see a person/dog approaching, we work on "heel." On days we don't get out, I try to work on "stay" at home by creating my own distractions, such as throwing toys or cookies in opposite directions from him while he's in either a sit-stay or down-stay. We have access to lots of other puppy friends, but not as many adult dogs. Thanks again to everyone for your input! It's great to have a forum to ask questions and learn from everyone's experiences.
Emergency recalls is one of the most important things you can have for your dog!!!!!! Sage knows when I call "Sage come front" she drops anything she is doing, runs to me and plops her butt within 6" of my feet so I can grab her if I need to. You can search for this on MyCorgi. Then if you are out in the woods and there is danger or whatever...we practice it occasionally and she still does this...only use when necessary but do practice. Speciall words for this recall! It could save your dogs life if there is really a danger.
He's only 7 months old? He's just a baby. IMHO (very humble...) you're looking at normal behavior for that age. Ruby the Corgi Pup is just beginning to act like a grown-up now, at the age of 15 months.
Personally, I can't advise on how long it takes a corgi to settle down into "adulthood," since Ruby is my first corgi puppy. In my experience, smaller breeds seem to mature sooner; larger breeds can be puppyish until age three or four. But the corgisti here say corgis are classified as a "large breed," and so it's possible that despite the short stature, these dogs may remain pretty frisky for quite awhile.
Tools for building attention span: time, patience, and obedience training. And remember: it's a dog. It's not supposed to have a long attention span. Unless you're a rabbit or a gopher or some other potential meal...
My Watson still acts like that sometimes and he is 14 months. He just loves everyone and everything. It did help to teach a "look" command. Take a treat and hold it up by your face, as soon as he responds to "look" by giving you eye contact give him a treat. Practice this several times a day whether anyone is around or not. Eventually you will be able to get him to focus on you instead of the people or dogs you encounter. My dogs all have great recalls because I keep a treat jar by the back door and when I call "come" and they come in they get a treat. You can do this without a fence yard by using a long line and calling them to you by using the line. Treat liberally until you get a happy quick recall. I was even able to call Watson off a herd of dear. In his obedience class he got an ovation for how quick his recall was..
Not only is his behavior normal, he has a lovely temperament. You are also putting in a lot of time and thought into what you do. Only good things can come your way, but you cannot ( and would not want to ) hurry his maturing. Neutering is not an issue here, just his age. As far as hiking off leash, no emergency recall, although good to teach, can assure you of 100% compliance. How much of a chance you take with your dog is up to you and your comfort level. My dogs have always been on leash, even the ones with advanced AKC obedience titles..... Don't judge yourself by what others do with their dogs, keep doing what feels right to you and give him ample time to grow. Curiosity is a sign of intelligence!