As Captain Holt would tell you, Corgis are loving, loyal and highly intelligent. Okay, so Cpt. Holt is a fictitious character from Brooklyn 99, but that doesn’t change the fact that Cheddar (the captain’s Pembroke Welsh Corgi on B-99), and all corgis for that matter, are fast learners with the ability to retain a lot of training.
It’s no secret that dogs can begin learning routines and tasks at very early ages, but most people aren’t sure what lessons are appropriate to teach when and in what order. The good thing is, the most basic behavioral habits can start being introduced as soon as the puppies can be taken away from their mom.
Once you decide to start training your dog, there is no going back. You have to be consistent and dedicated to your training schedule and expectations. You don’t have to be super strict with some details while other things need to be very straight-laced. It just depends on your dog and your lifestyle.
Training Your Corgi
Starting the training process with your dog can be difficult because they need the motivation to learn and only a “good boy” isn’t quite enough for a dog. Treats are amazing motivators for dogs, especially when learning fun tricks. However, it is very important that once a dog masters the command that you phase the treats out.
If your dog is only obedient when you offer them treats at the end, that isn’t obedience that is conditioning. It also won’t work when you need it the most. You can phase out the treats to see if they are obedient and if needed you can bring them back if they don’t quite have it yet. The important thing is that they listen to you, not the reward.
In general, training a dog requires three big aspects that all add up to obedience and control. These respects are:
Without all three of these pieces, your training could be easily influenced by other people, atmospheres, or situations. This really means the training wasn’t done correctly and that your dog is in control, not you.
When starting to train your dog, something to look for is signs of respect they have for you as their owner. If your dog doesn’t respect you, they won’t listen or learn from you, which can be disastrous.
Some owners don’t believe that respect is very important, but if you don’t respect someone, you don’t listen to what they have to say, so why should dogs be much different? A few things to look for if you think your dog doesn’t respect you are:
- “Talking-back” or barking when you give a command or discipline
- Growling when expected to do something
- Refusing to give up something you are trying to take from them
- Running from you in serious, no playful moments.
- Stealing food
- Jumping on you or other people
These red flags usually mean your dog doesn’t respect you or wasn’t trained well and doesn’t know how to respect its owner. Either way, you can fix the situation, but it will take quite a bit of work, especially if your dog is older.
Every dog needs discipline at some point; the difference is whether it is done correctly and effectively— ineffective discipline results in continued bad behavior and a lack of respect for the owner.
Discipline is needed whenever your dog presents behavior that you don’t desire as the owner. While this can vary from person to person, most often, there are common behaviors that people want to correct such as:
- Excessive barking
- Destructive tendencies
- Housebreaking issues.
Correcting these issues can be simple, but only when done consistently. A few ways to discipline your corgi are:
- Redirecting the behavior to an appropriate behavior
- Yelp or loudly say a sharp “no” whenever behavior is presented.
- Don’t respond to behavior and ignore your dog for a few moments after the behavior is presented.
- Designate a time-out area that separates you and the dog to show disappointment
Some dogs respond well to subtle discipline methods, while others need a combination of a few to get the point across. No matter what you choose, it needs to be done the exact same every time for your dog to fully understand what is happening.
Arguably, the biggest part of training is consistency, but it is the hardest because it takes the most work from the owner. The best way to provide consistency with your corgi is to plan out your ideal training schedule and daily routine.
Planning out what your week and months look like with a puppy or new dog allows for both you and your dog to get acclimated well while providing time for training. The best thing for puppies is to start training as soon as possible, as soon as six weeks in some cases.
Deciding on a training schedule gives you an outline of what your puppy will learn and when so you can prepare and reach goals throughout the timeline. This idea also works if you aren’t training a puppy; simply start with routines and work your way up to leash training and public socialization.
You know your better than anyone else, which means if you feel like something may be too advanced for them, don’t push them too hard. Take the training process at a pace that you feel comfortable with and make sure it is attainable for your dog.
(Source: Alaska Dog Works)
We know that dogs grow much faster than humans, and while they can learn things much earlier than human babies, we still need to have correct expectations when it comes to what our dogs can learn.
Once your puppy is 6 weeks old, you can begin to teach it things that will build a foundation for good discipline for the rest of its life. From 6 weeks on, it’s wise to stick to a schedule of when to start teaching new things based upon your dog’s development.
Once you choose a schedule, sticking with it is extremely important because changing things can cause confusion and a harder time accepting things as permanent for your dog. While it may be inconvenient for you at times, it is so good for your dog in the long run, which will be good for you as well.
6-8 Weeks Old
Once your dog turns 6 weeks old, you want to start by creating daily routines for them to get used to. Try to create a similar routine daily or weekly, so your dog can start expecting things to happen around certain times, such as:
- Eating times
- Potty breaks
- Crate times
- Daily walks
You also need to ensure that certain things are kept consistent, suddenly so your dog learns where things happen. This enforces rules and expectations you may have for your puppy. Certain things you need to keep consistent starting at 6 weeks of age are:
- Food and water bowls
- Potty spaces
- Sleeping spaces
- Crate locations
- Walking areas
- Toy baskets.
Keeping consistent schedules and locations helps your dog easily identify what will happen and where he needs to be when it does. This also allows him to communicate his needs to you a lot easier. If your dog starts lying by his food bowl for long periods, he may be hungry, or if he sits by the door, he may need to use the bathroom outside.
You can also begin throwing certain phrases out when you have to remove your dog from a dangerous location or take something from him. A simple “no, no” or “Ah-Ah” when rediecting behavior will let him know that sound means he is doing something wrong. However, they are not quite old enough to begin disciplining yet, so keep that in mind.
8-10 Weeks Old
By 8-10 weeks of age, you can begin to further correct or instill good behavior in your puppy by focusing on how they act inside, in certain situations, and around other people and dogs. If you prefer them to be quiet and calm while inside the house, discourage rough play and loud barks by simply shushing them or stating a very firm “no-no” when either of these actions gets out of control.
By adopting this puppy at a young age, you have taken responsibility for raising it to act a certain way which means you are the one who sets and enforces the limits and rules of the house. There are quite a few things you can do that help him learn to be gentle, calm, and trusting of others and you, such as:
- Feeding your dog food from your hand, not allowing them anything if they bite or snatch it.
- Teaching your dog not to jump on anyone by simply knocking them off of you when they jump and saying “no-no.”
- Teach them to play nice with the other animals in your house by not allowing them to take other toys, food, treats, or bed and crate areas from anyone else.
- Allowing your other animals to create a natural pecking order safely.
You can also start teaching your puppy how to trust you and others by regularly clipping their nails, bathing and brushing them, or brushing their teeth. Even if you aren’t actually doing these actions, going through the motions gets them used to being handled in uncomfortable situations without needing to fight back.
10-14 weeks old
Once your puppy turns 10 weeks old, they should have the stamina to take regular walks with you while on a leash. This is a big training piece because most dogs don’t love being restrained, and you will have to teach them to mind you.
Starting with walks around the yard is a good place to start because you can teach them to mind you before possibly getting into situations that could be dangerous for them or you. If your dog is pulling the leash, a sharp but gentle yank on the leash will let them know that you are in control and their actions are not okay.
Once your dog stops pulling on the leash, teach them to only bark and play with other animals when taken off the leash. This keeps you and them safe while also ensuring they can stay calm around other animals on walks.
This is also the perfect time to teach a few other commands that will help when you are out in public, such as:
- Lay Down
14-16 Weeks Old
You can start intentionally introducing your puppy to other animals and people around 14-16 weeks old to teach them how to interact with dogs or humans they don’t know. You can go on walks in public parks to help teach them control around children and dogs who aren’t on leashes to help them learn to control.
Your goal is to be confident in your dog’s ability to listen and stay with you, even without a leash in case of an emergency or accident with them getting loose. Your dog’s ability to control themselves over their desire to run off impulsively is the best-case scenario and the end goal.
Even though your dog is learning new things each month, you must still enforce its regular routines and expectations. It can seem like a lot for them, but while they are learning control in other areas of their life, they should be strengthening and perfecting things such as:
- Eating habits
- Gentleness with other humans and animals
- General behavior in exciting or new atmospheres.
At this age, your dog should have a decent understanding of your expectation, and you should see that through good behavior and their willingness to listen to you in any event.
Do’s And Don’ts For Training
As with everything, there are definite dos and don’ts that you need to be aware of when it comes to training your corgi. Some habits can cause a dependency that makes behavior worse, while effectively training can result in a dog who respects and listens to its owner, no matter the situation.
Certain actions can cause health issues, aggression problems, and in some cases, a lack of trust in you as an owner, which makes it extremely hard to train at that point. Thankfully, even small amounts of research and education on how to effectively take care of and train your dog can avoid most issues.
|Provide adequate amounts of exerciseGroom often, starting in early ages.Positive reinforcementGive them a safe space or kennel.Start training as early as possible.Pay close attention to moods and attitude changes.Monitor health and wellness||OverfeedHitting or physical punishmentPut them in dangerous environments.Leave them with uneducated people.Leave them crated for more than 8 hours at a time.Socialize before training.Ignore vaccinations|
Health And Wellness
Many people aren’t aware that your dog’s health and wellness directly correlate to their behavior and ability to control aggression or certain behaviors. It is important to note your dog’s usual personality and behavior, so you can identify issues when things start changing.
Regular visits to the vet and keeping them up to date on vaccinations and checkups help ensure that no issues are going unchecked. The chances of sickness, injury, or physical issues being missed with regular checks are incredibly slim, which allows you some peace of mind as an owner.
Often, dogs will suddenly portray physical ailments as aggressive, and many owners think this is a behavioral issue resulting in discipline. However, it is very important to figure out where the aggression is coming from so you don’t worsen the problem or create a trust issue between you and your corgi.
A lot of people don’t like the idea of sending your dog to training classes or a training school. However, it can be so helpful for those who have unpredictable lifestyles or a lack of knowledge on how to train corgis,
Don’t feel as if sending your dog to a class means you are failing as an owner; in fact, it usually means the opposite. Recognizing that you can’t provide the level of training your dog needs is a great step in protecting the relationship you have with your dog.
Furthermore, your dog will come home better behaved, which will allow for more freedom and opportunities for them to tag along with you on adventures. As long as you research and only send your dog to highly recommended establishments, you should see results that will only reinforce your confidence in the decision to let a professional train your dog.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are wonderful dogs to have, and if you can find a reputable breeder, they are fantastic to raise from puppies. The issue is that most people aren’t sure how or where to start when looking at training a dog for good behavioral habits.
The good news is that most owners can handle training the average corgi as long as you are consistent, dedicated, and knowledgeable of their ability at certain ages. Your desire to have an enjoyable and safe dog is sure to drive the training in a positive direction.