TRAINING OUR CORGI PUPPY

 


    Being a first time dog owner, I've spent many years day dream about the day I'd get a Corgi of my own and what it'd be like during the training phase. Obviously, in my mind everything was all picture perfect but I knew in reality it would be much more challenging and require time, dedication, and patience. So, when we brought Amigo home, both Dimitar and I made a plan to train Amigo at least 2x a day and stick to it.

    Since we both work full-time jobs, our training time with Amigo was limited and that's the case for just about everyone with some kind of job or responsibilities. It was important for us to establish a routine that worked for our schedule which would help us stick with it and give Amigo a schedule he could look forward to. Dimitar preferred training Amigo during the morning or afternoon and since I was gone most of the day until 10pm, I would train Amigo either at night time or during the break that I'd have between both jobs.

    We also made sure to train him one command and stick with that command for a few days until Amigo showed improvements with it. Once he learned one, we'd move onto the next one that seemed top priority. Once he learned a few commands, we'd have a training session where we'd practice all of the commands at once. While some people may train certain commands in a different order, these are the commands we started out with and slowly worked our way towards as Amigo matured. 

1. Recall (his name, or "Amigo, come...")
1a. Go Potty
2. Sit
3. Stay (threshold)
4. Crate
5. Down
6. Fetch
7. Drop it
8. Rollover   

   During this entire process, we implemented positive reinforcement, a method of training that has greatly worked for us and Amigo. For example, if Amigo was biting my fingers or  something he shouldn't, instead of saying "No," I'd give him his favorite toy instead to bite on and reward him when he continued to do the right thing. Some people may think this approach only encourages your dog to bite more because they get rewarded, but that hasn't been the case with Amigo. As long as we're consistent with the training, Amigo has learned what gets him attention and treats, and what doesn't.

    Variety is also key. During training, I'd often switch up how Amigo was rewarded. Some days I'd only use the clicker as a reward with lots of pets and praise while other days I'd implement treats. I found that implementing a variety of ways to praise him helped him adjust to more realistic scenarios. After all, I wont always have a treat on hand or a clicker so training him for such situations just made sense to us. 

    I'd be lying though if I said that training always went as planned! There were plenty of days where Amigo just couldn't focus which often got the best of my composure. Being a Corgi, Amigo has a natural tendency to rebel and while I knew about this before adopting him, it was still frustrating in the moment. Getting frustrated with your puppy is perfectly normal too as they test us in every possible way so give yourself a break if you really need it!

    Nonetheless, on days where he just couldn't focus, training wasn't a priority and I'd just up his training on the better days. Eventually though I ended up connecting him back to his crate with his leash so that he'd have no choice but to focus during training which greatly helped. He was already used to this since we had initially kept him connected to his crate in the beginning to limit his access of the Livingroom, but it was a gentle reminder to him that he only gets freedom or play time after training. 

    Where his potty training is concerned, we started to give him more free roam when he started to show us he could go to the puppy pads on his own. When he did have an accident (yes, there were some!), we tried our hardest not to freak out and simply carried him to the puppy pads and left him in the playpen for about ten minutes. We taught him that if he could go to the puppy pads on his own, he'd get more free roam and play but if he had any accidents, he'd immediately go back into his playpen. If he successfully went potty on his own though, we'd always praised him with excitement and treats since he thrived off of that.

    Since puppy's are not perfect, it's essential to understand your puppy's body language. If they do need to go potty, they may need your assistance from time to time until they can learn to go on their own. Any time it looked like Amigo needed to go to the bathroom during free roam (he'd start whining, circling, sniffing, etc) we'd take him immediately to his puppy pad and leave him there. Eventually he'd go potty which lead him to getting instant free roam afterwards.

     Another thing worth mentioning is that any time someone tried to pet Amigo during walks, we'd kindly remind them that he was training  since we didn't want strangers greeting Amigo with excited (aka, unstable) energy. Boundaries with strangers will forever be important no matter how old your dog is as you the owner will have to be the judge as to who can greet your dog for their own safety and yours.

    With that all said, training Amigo has been very pleasant since we adopted him and I hope his journey will inspire other puppy owners out there that training can be fun; even when you have a full-time job! As long as you find a schedule that works for you, training your puppy will not only help you bond more with your puppy, but teach you how to be a better pet parent. 

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