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Thursday, December 17, 2009

No Free Cookies

Abby (on left), and Phoebe

Time for a Corgi break. At a recent family gathering, my sister (who likes birds) said her favorite part of this blog is the Corgi photos. So here are some.

We train our Corgis, or so we think. We read all the dog training books, have taken both Corgis through advanced obedience class. The theory is that we should be "benevolent alphas" (fair, fun and firm) because we are the pack leaders and dogs are pack animals, in which they feel most secure when they know their place in the pack hierarchy. The hierarchy is, us first, then Phoebe, and last, Abby.

Working for treats is a good thing, so the theory goes because it helps establish our leadership. So here are the Corgis, yesterday, when called in from the cold, then asked to do a down-stay. They do this quite well, on a hand signal. When on a down-stay, they pretty much are riveted on me, waiting for the release cue, and then they get a cookie —"OK, Good Dogs!" Sometimes I hand them a cookie (always Phoebe first), other times I toss it. Phoebe is great at catch. Sometimes the cookie bounces off Abby's forehead — she is working on her catching skills.

If we could read their brains, they might be saying to one another, .... "oh this is a piece of cake, we're getting a cookie just for lying down.... look cute and she can't resist letting us up soon... Abby, dooon't catch the cookie, then she'll have to toss us more cookies, thinking we need to work on our catching skills."

Anyone who owns a Corgi, knows they think they're training us and maybe they're right.

Meanwhile, it's freezing here. It was 7 degrees this morning, with minus 8 wind chill. The birds at the feeders are sitting on their feet to keep them warm.


Kat said...

I never heard of a Corgi before. They are pretty dogs. We too have the pecking order in tact. Dogs are so much fun and love unconditionally. They are great company to us for sure.

Richard Asarisi said...

Abby and Phoebe's Cousin Lucky/Brownie -- From Pembury House Triton and Versalles (Pascale) acts exactly the same way. And although he has also been to many training classes he still has no trouble showing off for treats. It really doesn't matter what the treat is, that seems to make no difference as long as its edible he'll do anything for it. And the longer you make him work for it the more impatient he becomes. Indeed our latest technique is to make him do down/stay hold our hand up and walk away from him, making him stay until we say puppy come.
Lucky is 2 years old now and a great companion and friend to have around, it always amazes me as to how much personality this little fellow has. Merry Corgi Christmas to you and yours!

Unknown said...

Beautiful dogs! We got a Basenji puppy when our children were little. When we took the puppy, "Buddy" to the vet for his first checkup, he asked if we had children in our home. "Gulp, yes. Why?" Well, we learned from him that this particular breed needs to be made aware of the alpha order in the household. So, on our vet's advice, we taught our children as they played with the puppy to get him over on his back and to rub his tummy and that would help him to understand he was lower in command than the children. We also had to teach them how to put their arms in the puppy's mouth while he was on his back to teach him not to nip and bite. It wasn't easy all of the time, but we all learned from the situation and loved our dog dearly. Obedience training is key to a happy dog who lives with humans!