My previous dog lived to be 19 years old. In June of 2011, he became ill and had to be put down. Losing a long time companion like that was hard, and I didn’t even really look for a new dog for a long time.
When I was ready, I went looking for a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I had a mixed breed Corgi many years ago, and knew I’d enjoy having another. They are lively and vocal without a hint of aggression, though they are usually territorial and protective – mostly expressing this in vigorous barking. Oh, and they LIVE to herd things… anything and everything!
Laddie was 14 months old, and unsold from a previous litter because he was shy and even a bit timid, according to the breeder. He had been well cared for and never abused, but kept mostly in a kennel and never trained. On Sept. 10, 2012, I went to get him and he wore a collar and leash for the fist time in his life!
Making a long story short, he’s been with me for a month now and is almost fully trained already. He’s housebroken, something I feared would be a major problem since my experience of kennel dogs indicates they are hard to break. Not so with Laddie. I’ll be careful to let him outside frequently and watch him for a while yet, but he already has the run of the house.
His response to the collar and leash is an indication of his intelligence. I use a common chain collar for training any dog, so that’s what we’ve started with. Most young dogs will choke themselves repeatedly before they learn not to pull when on the leash, so I was astonished when Laddie had a SINGLE episode of that and never pulled again. A corrective tug should never actually choke them, but when they dash away and hit the end of the leash, it can happen. Of course, the trainer must make sure that the collar is not going to choke the pup for more than a second, and release the pressure as fast as possible.
We went out into the yard the first morning he was here and a rabbit darted out from under my car. Laddie leaped to chase it, hitting the end of the leash fairly hard. He STOPPED instantly, and I stepped forward to release the pressure. He didn’t move again until I called him back, and we went on with our training session.
A few mornings later we went out to the yard again and another rabbit ran from under the car. Laddie alerted instantly and was very eager to give chase, but he did not move at all… put no pressure on his collar, just stood there watching the rabbit eagerly. To say I was astonished is a serious understatement. I’ve had many a well trained, intelligent dog pull hard under such circumstances, no matter how old they are.
The thing that concerned me the most in the beginning was the fact that Laddie did not bark… at anything! He hardly made a sound of any kind and I wondered if I would need to find another dog in order to have a watch dog of any sort. I’m partially deaf, and really need the added security of a dog barking at a stranger or at someone pulling into my driveway. I don’t always hear someone knocking on the door either, so a dog that doesn’t bark isn’t much help that way.
Corgies are actually known as vigorous barkers, often much too enthusiastic, so this was quite a setback at first. But, fortunately, as Laddie has become more comfortable here, and bonded with me, his natural protective nature is coming out and he has begun to bark some the last few days. Interestingly, as soon as he gets my attention, he stops barking right away. So far so good.
His first encounter with the deer was funny, and I’m very glad there was a fence between them. He would have given anything to be able to run out and start herding them, which I doubt they would have appreciated.
Laddie is a joy to train, and already a very loving and precious companion. Now I need to figure out some way to safely allow him to chase a rabbit… it’s only fair.