We’ve seen all the videos of dogs just doing their own thing – living their best life – ignoring their owners. It’s cute, but it can be frustrating.
Having your dog come when called is one of the most important skills your corgi can learn. Not only does it keep them in close range for hugs, it also keeps them safe around other animals and dangers that cross their path. And it’s not a bad trick to show your friends either!
The steps in this guide are all designed to give your corgi a new skill in a safe and happy way. That is, it uses positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement. This is the best way to get your corgi to learn a new skill.
Here are the steps you need to follow to get your corgi to come when called.
Step-by-step guide to train your corgi to come
1. Prepare a safe training space – and their favourite treat
To start training your corgi the first thing you need to do is prepare the space and materials you need to train them.
Training your corgi is easiest when you have control over your environment. The best place to do it is indoors or in your own backyard. Make sure it is a safe space that is free from distractions.
The best way to train your corgi is to grab a hold of their favourite treat or toy to use as positive reinforcement.
You need something that piques enough of their interest that they will want to come towards you. This is going to be the incentive they need to take instruction from you.
2. Show them the treat
Hold the treat in front of your corgi and show it to them. Make them aware that you have it, and encourage their interest in it.
As a starter, say <THEIR NAME> or the COME command and give them a treat. You want them to begin to associate the command with the treat.
You don’t need them to come over to you yet. Simply stand near them, say the command and give them the treat.
3. Step away from your corgi – then use the command
Take a few steps away from your corgi and call their name (or the COME command).
It’s best to do this in a cheery, excited voice. This will encourage your dog to follow the command, and listen to you in the future.
Chances are your corgi will wander from their spot. This is good. As they wander, you can say the command. Keep calling until they come over to you.
If they refuse to walk over to you, or walk off, that’s ok. Simply reset and start again. Don’t reward them yet, but also, don’t punish them. Likewise, if you are using the command too much, reset and start again.
It’s best to keep the tone consistent, so your corgi knows what they are responding too. Switching commands or changing the tone at this stage can confuse your corgi.
4. Reward them when they get the command right
If all has gone to plan, your corgi will have come to you. If this is the case, give them a treat for being such a good dog.
You can then repeat the process, rewarding your corgi every time they take the correct action.
You can also try this by putting the treat on the floor in front of you, between you and the corgi. Call their name, and when your corgi comes over to you, let them have the treat.
If they don’t come, but do look in your direction, you can also reward them for their incremental success. You have evidence that they are listen, they just haven’t quite got it right. Continue to push their training and reward them with the treat and positive reinforcement when they get it correct.
5. Increase the distance between you and your corgi
You can now begin to increase the distance between you and your corgi.
Take a few more steps back. You may also need to increase the volume of your command.
If you run out of space in the house move into the backyard. You want your corgi to be able to come to you no matter the distance.
If you find you need to repeat the command a few times when you are further away, it can mean that they haven’t quite learnt the skill yet. Simply return to a shorter distance, repeat and reward as you did before. Do not encourage bad behaviour by repeating the command a lot.
Above all, training should be fun, and you should continue to reward them as they improve their skill level.
6. Increase the challenge for your corgi
Once your corgi can follow the steps above, you can start making it harder for them. This can be fun for the both of you.
Try calling them from around a corner, or from behind them. After all, its important that they learn to come no matter where you are standing. You can also try getting a family member to call their name. Coming to different people is very important when it is a family dog.
You can also begin to experiment with different (positive) tones of voice. By now you should slowly begin to reduce the number of treats you are giving them. Ultimately, they will need to learn to COME without reward.
7. Test their training outside
Now that your corgi has the basics under control, you can start to take it into field – which means heading out to your favourite dog park or walking trail.
If you are not in an enclosed area, use a long leash. This is so they can explore and come back to you – with the safety that if they misbehave, you’ve still got a handle on them.
In an enclosed area, you can try off-leash, as long as there are no other people or animals that could be a threat (or at risk).
How to fix common training problems
By being patient, staying consistent, and using positive rewards, you can teach your corgi to come back to you when you call them. Here’s a few bonus tips for when things aren’t going to plan.
1. My corgi doesn’t respond to my command
If your dog doesn’t respond, avoid repeating the command multiple times.
Instead, go to them, use a gentle leash tug, and reward them for coming.
2. My corgi gets distracted while training
If your dog is easily distracted, go back to a less distracting environment and gradually reintroduce distractions as they improve.
Adjust the value of your rewards based on the level of distraction. High-value treats or toys may be necessary in more challenging situations. While you should reduce your rewards as you progress, it’s ok to have this weening process take a while.
Final Thoughts on How to Train Your Corgi to Come When Called
Remember that training is a slow and steady process, and your corgi will get better with practice and time.
By following the steps above, you can ensure that your corgi comes when called, and gets to enjoy the great outdoors while staying safe.
Here are a few more skills you can teach your corgi.