The neighbor's nuisance cat got into the pool area this morning and attacked DUCK on her nest. The terrorized bird put up quite a racket. Luckily, I happened to be home at the time. I ran outside and grabbed a hose, but couldn't quite hit the accursed cat, which was, shall we say, persistent. DUCK fell off the coping into the pool.

I threw open the gate and hollered for Cassie, who came shooting out of the house forthwith, followed by the puppy.

Welp...I've never sicced her on anything before, and as a practical matter she loves cats. But when I pointed at the predator and hollered GET THAT CAT! she flew around the south side of the pool and pursued the monster into the bushes. Ruby shot around the north side and also leapt into the shrubbery.

Cassie, weirdly, has always followed hand commands. Off a lead or on a long training lead in an open area, she will go any direction that I point, and she also responds to the word "Forward" by moving straight ahead in the direction I happen to be facing. Ruby, however, is a marginally trained pup who hasn't even had adequate obedience training, thanks to my incapacitation during her formative months. 

The cat jumped back over the wall. Cassie, apparently not seeing that, continued to search for it under the bushes. Ruby, not finding anything very interesting in the foliage, came back out and tried to go after the hysterical duck, now in the middle of the pool. To my astonishment, when I hollered "NO! Leave it!" from all the way across the pool, she stood down.

Not having seen the cat escape, myself, I pointed back in the direction of the Texas sage and repeated "GET THAT CAT!" And by golly, she ran back into the shrubbery and started searching around.

As the dust settled, she again evinced great interest in the floating duck, which was quacking frantically. But again, at "NO, leave it!" she stood down.

Amazing.

Corgis must have herding instinct in the extreme. A Gershep is also a herding dog, but I've never had one (and I've had a bunch of 'em) that would have done that. I don't think I've ever had a German shepherd that interpreted any hand commands than the ones for "sit," "down," and "stay." They would follow your line of sight, but none of mine would follow the direction I was pointing in.

A dog that herds cats. Think of that.

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Comment by Carl Koch on June 21, 2015 at 1:08pm

I didn't say they are slow witted. I know better. I have read numerous articles on the internet that allude to the fact that corgis are cute but only average intelligence. I strongly disagree. Having had several border collies, I would put them at the top of the heap. Corgis are a very close second.

As for the idea that they are just obedient, I say that is flat wrong. To much research has proven that dogs have evolved due to their close association with humans. Yes they are experts at reading voice inflection and body language, but they can also reason and make decisions that are just short of amazing. I no longer subscribe to the Pavlov theory that they are just instinctual reactions to stimulus. After forty years in rescue and some 2000 dogs, I know better.

Comment by Judith Andre on June 18, 2015 at 12:01am

That's a new one.  I've never heard that Corgis are slow witted.  Where did you get that?  They're generally rated as one of the smarter breeds as far as I know and I would agree with that. 

Comment by Vicky Hay on June 17, 2015 at 7:02pm

@ Carl: Humans, who as a species believe the world revolves around them, tend to imagine that ready obedience = intelligence in a dog. That is a serious misapprehension...

Comment by Carl Koch on June 17, 2015 at 6:41pm

I don't know where the idea that corgis are slow witted came from. Our girl is so smart she scares me sometimes. Apparently you have one of the smart ones too. Betty will also follow a finger point. Maybe corgis are smarter than they want us to know.

Comment by Judith Andre on June 16, 2015 at 10:56pm

Good puppies!  My Corgis have always followed my pointing finger.  I once read that most dogs do but other animals, even the great apes don't generally get it.

Comment by Linda on June 14, 2015 at 6:59pm

Max and Katie herd our 3 cats.  80% of the time the cats start it.  And it's a riot to watch the dogs work together, instinctively each one knowing which direction they needed to go to cut off and round up a cat.  Max is pure pet who has never seen a cow, horse or sheep and he's 13 years old and Katie is a retired show dog who is 11.

Comment by Bev Levy on June 13, 2015 at 4:41pm

Yay corgis to the rescue. Many years ago i let two of mine out and they found two mice under the bird feeder. It was very funny watching them chase the mice and then stop when the mice stopped. Herding dogs for sure!

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