A Few Tips on How to Start Training Your Corgi
As a Corgi owner, I know first-hand how stubborn this breed can be. There is no doubt that they are one of the smartest dogs in the world, but sometimes Corgis only like to do what they want, when they want it. Case in point, my Toby: it took me no more than 30 minutes one day to teach him to “give paw”. I showed him a couple of times what I wanted from him and he understood quickly (with treats, of course). He knows this command pretty well, since I ask for his paw every single day, at least two times, but some days he is a good boy and listens, and other days he acts like I’m not in the same room with him. When this happens, I insist and in the end, I get it my way, not the “stubborn corgi” way.
Since I am not a dog trainer I can only share a few basic training tips that should help if you need to train a dog with… personality. Of course you can always take your Corgi to training classes, but you’ll still need to practice at home every command taught in class.
When you give a command, you should always maintain eye contact with the dog. This will let him know that you are the boss. You should also use his name and a steady voice when giving him a command, such as “Charlie, sit!”. Do not yell, because you’ll scare him, nor give orders that are too long. Dogs only understand very little of our human language, and get confused when they hear long sentences. After you give the command, show your dog what you want him to do, while repeating the same words.
Give him a treat, such as a small dog biscuit, when he performs correct a command. You can also praise your Corgi, showing him that you’re satisfied with how he’s performing; this will make the dog happy and willing to continue with his training to please you.
Talking to much off-topic during training session will more than likely confuse the dog, so keep it simple. A session should not last less than 10 minutes, but no more than 15 minutes, if you want to get good results. Like children, dogs get bored and tired as well, if they are asked to do the same thing dozens of times. It is important that, once you start with the training, you set a schedule for each day, and, as the dog shows progress, reduce the amount of treats, until he gets used to listen without being rewarded. This doesn’t, of course, apply to praises; you are free to praise your Corgi every time he does something good, like acting on your commands.
Teach Your Corgi the Basic Commands in the Beginning
Now that you know how you’re supposed to train your dog, you can actually start teaching him a few commands. It is always best to start with the most basic commands, like “sit” and “come”, and you’ll also want to teach him how to walk on a leash.
“Sit” is usually the first command that owners teach their dogs. A little trick when trying to teach your dog to sit: keep a treat in your hand, bring it close to your Corgi’s nose and after you got his attention, start raising your hand (with the treat in it, of course) over his head, telling him to sit. Your doggie will follow the treat with his eyes, and his butt, without realizing, will sit down. After he has successfully completed the task, give him his treat and lots of praises.
“Come” (also known as the “recall” command) is an important command, but is also an easy one to teach. You will need to walk a few feet away from your dog; then, call his name, followed by the recall command, i.e. “come”. When the dog comes to you, praise him and reward him with a treat.
Teaching a dog to walk nicely on a lead can be a bit more complicated, especially for a curious and energetic dog that pulls on the leash in all directions. To teach him to walk, the leash needs to be very short, to keep the dog walking right by your side. Don’t allow him to walk ahead of you, or behind you. Repeat the walk command, and in time, with praises and treats, your dog will learn to walk properly when taken on a walk.
It is also important that you don’t try to teach your puppy more than one command in one training session. Take your time with each command, until your dog understands what you ask him to do, and never ever raise your voice, or your hand at him – frustration and anger will not bring anything good in your relationship. Patience, repetition, praises and affection, this is what your Corgi needs, and I can assure you that he will be your best friend for life.