I caught Tom red tongued, gently picking pea pods off the vines. And here I was blaming the chipmunks!
Tom, Zora, Rosie Poodle and Dulce Spaniel. All we need is Rock-It Lab to complete the crew.
I love that my dogs have friends. And that these dogs in particular are all friends. Happy to walk together, happy to hang together, happy to see each other. Makes me happy
What else makes me happy? How easy it was to get this photo. Seriously. They posed themselves when I asked them all to collectively “sit”. Such good dogs!
the pipes the pipes are calling
from glen to glen, and down the mountain side…
Been singing this tune all week because we have Danny visiting!
Isn’t he adorable?! His family has been doing an awesome job with him, making my job as easy as can be this week. Which is wonderful.
Danny is a 3m old lab pup. His owners say he’s a “silver” lab, but really as silver is just a genetically dilute form of the chocolate coat coloration in labs, he’s a chocolate labrador retriever.
As most lab pups who have come through my door for training or boarding, Danny has benefited from learning about balanced reciprocal play and that dogs don’t enjoy having their heads jumped on as a way of greeting. Zora is, thankfully, a great puppy teacher and has been enjoying making Danny her minion. She tells him what he can and can’t do with her, and with some consistent reminder’s he’s steadily grasping the realities of dog social interactions. Just yesterday, for the first time, I saw him actually ask her politely if she would play with him, and it worked! She obliged. This morning, on the other hand, he forgot and tried the classic lab jump on her head, which yea dude, that’s a no go, she no like that.
He is a sweet moose of a pup. And a labrador in every sense. Sweet, a bit slow on the uptake, needs loads of consistent repetition, and is currently a puppy version of Jaws. Seriously, he tried to eat my concrete garden statue, ignoring the antler lying right next to it. He is for sure all lab.
“Your dog, it’s a corgi and…”
“Is that a border collie corgi mix?”
“The queen has those dogs!”
“I’ve never seen a black and white one, are you sure she’s a corgi?”
And so many more. So to clear up any further confusion, here’s the what for on Cardigan Welsh Corgis.
1. There are 2 breeds of corgi. Both have Welsh in their name. Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Pembrokes are sometimes referred to as PWC or Pems. Cardigans are referred to as CWC or Cardis. Saying “oh my friend has one of those Welsh Corgis” doesn’t help clarify if your friend has a cardi or pem, except by the fact that you are saying it I know you mean your friend has a PWC, because people who understand there are 2 different breeds, know how to clarify correctly.
2. The Queen used to have Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Last I heard, they have all since passed away and the line of queens Corgis is now deceased.
3. Easy way to remember, at least here in the states where docking of tails is still the norm. Pembroke Corgis have no tail, the tail “broke” off (it didn’t really, it was surgically removed at age 3 days old). Cardigan Corgis have a tail, like long sleeve cardigan sweaters.
4. Pembrokes come in a variety of colors, red and white most common. Also sable, and black tri. Cardigans come in even more colors than Pems, in addition to red and white, in Cardis there is black and white with tan points, black and white with brindle points (Zora’s color), blue Merle (with tan or brindle points), and brindle. There is no “brown” corgi. Ok that’s a lie, there is but it’s uncommon and not a showable color last I read the breed standards, and I forget the genetics of it, but comes with a brown nose. I can’t remember if people call it liver or chocolate or brown. There is no Merle color in Pembrokes, only in Cardigans. So a Merle being sold as a Pem, is either a mix breed, or not a Pem.
4. Pembrokes usually have a rather fox type look to them. Their ears are usually set more Fox like and their facial feature angles are rather Fox like. Cardis have softer facial angles and larger rounder ears on average. Their front end assemblies are also very different.
5. Cardigans are larger than Pembrokes. Even Zora who is tiny for a female cardigan is larger than a comparable female Pembroke. For example Zora is 10.75″ at the withers and a very svelte in shape 23#. My friends Pem who was about Zora’s height, at her fittest agility weight was 19#.
6. Both breeds usually have a short dense, fairly water resistant top coat, with thick undercoat. But in either breed, there is a coat type that can occur called “Fluff”. Which is a long feathery often cottony coat type. It’s a cute look, but at least to my knowledge, a bear to take care of and maintain.
7. Both breeds of corgi are herding dogs. They are not terriers. Or dogs of leisure. They are active tough little dogs. Originally Bred long and low to herd Welsh cattle. Short so if a cow kicked, it missed the dog, kicking right over the dog. And as an all purpose farm dog, so though not true terriers, many would make fine vermin hunting dogs. As herding dogs, they are active, enjoy a good chase, controlling, motion sensitive, environmentally aware, and can be barky. They usually need a job. Once mentally and physically satiated, well then they can be quite the dog of leisure
Zora snoozing on a pillow, the princess that she is.
And there you have it, some base similarities and differences in Corgis, Pembroke and Cardigan. And Zora will have you know, she’s all corgi. Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Not like the Queen’s. She is The Queen. Now where’s her crown?
A lovely morning for a walk. Tom guiding on my left, Dulce spaniel and Zora walking nicely on my right.
Nearing the end of the walk, final stretch of sidewalk towards home. I live on the main road through town, so there is always traffic, it’s busy. It’s trash day. It’s the time of year for road work so various bits of construction. You get the picture.
Dulce, who is walking with her gentle leader head collar on flicks her head and does a little woof, the way she does when there is something ahead she’s unsure about. So we stop, do a couple of hand touches for some treats, she settles. I glance ahead and see the orange and silver stripes of a traffic barrel at the edge of the sidewalk. Ok, makes sense Dulce is unnerved, she can be worried about stuff like that.
Dulce is willing to trust me, and Tom and Zora are unphased, so we keep going. As we are passing, the traffic barrel says, “Hi!”
Not a traffic barrel.
I can only imagine what the construction worker thought as I’m approaching, telling the dogs, “Don’t worry, it’s just a barrel.” LOL
There are loads of games you can (and I do) use to teach and reinforce the come cue (aka Recall). Round Robin, Restrained Recall, Tag, The Stalky Stalk Game, Hide & Seek, Treat Toss, The Bowl Game, and more. But relatively simple game my friends and I often play with the dogs on our walks is calling them back and forth between us.
The “rules” of the game are pretty simple:
The “if they want it” is because we’ve learned some of the dogs prefer to only gets treats from me, or from my friend. But they learn they will only get those treats if they actually complete the loop of run to the opposite person, then run back when called. So they race away when called to the other person same as the rest of the dogs, don’t really care or want that person or the food, but are thrilled to then be called back and get their treat then. Race away, race back, race away, race back.
How far apart we are to start depends on the dogs in the group at the time and where we are (ie what distractions are or aren’t around), and as the dog’s get into the game we gradually move further and further apart. Sometimes if we’re playing the game on the trails (vs in a field) the dogs end up racing around corners, over fallen logs, up and down hills and generally having a great workout.
The dogs quickly figure out in order to get a food treat they have to A. Go all the way to the human calling them, B. Actually go from Person A to Person B if they want a treat when Person A again calls the group, (except for Tom, he’s special, and as such his version of the recall game involves a sit stay and me moving away) and C. Ignore the other dogs around them. I’ve found this a great game for teaching dogs the value of not focusing on the dogs around them, I’ve done this game with dogs that have a tendency to want to chase or body block, and by the end they’ve stopped fixating on the dogs running around them and instead race as fast as they too can to get to the human calling them. We’ve even been able to time our calls with some of the regular dogs to build up to dogs passing each other without a second glance. It’s great fun for us all! (note, if a dog has a tendency to want to grab other dogs, they don’t play the game while other dogs are also running, safety first always)
Another piece we often add into the game is the dogs not leaving the present human until the other human actually calls them OR the present human sends them to the other human. This teaching of the send has proved useful on a number of occasions. The dogs all learn that if they hear the word “Katrin” and race to me, good stuff will happen. Or “C—” and they race to her, good stuff will happen. Or “J——” and they race to him, good stuff will happen.
We do this game close to every walk in the woods as it really helps to remind the dogs that coming to us when we call is a good thing, doesn’t mean the walk is over necessarily, and helps increase the dog’s value for the humans in the highly stimulating environments of the woods, fields and ponds.
A bonus of the game? The dogs get additional running time and end the walk really tired.
Upon reading “It’s in the Bag” over on LA’s blog, I laughed. It was a great post! As I go around with my backpack as standard attire, people are often asking me, “What’s in that bag?” As in “Isn’t that heavy?”
For me, the backpack is part hands free convenience and part occupational therapy. The added balanced weight of it helps with proprioception when I’m walking. Without it I often feel like I’m falling through space. That said, for the first time in my life I am currently researching a smaller purse type option for when hubby and I are out together. I’ve never purchased a purse in my life, and my fashion friend S. is already excited to help. When you are not a fashion person (my mother refers to my preferred style as ‘frumpy’. I prefer the terms ‘utilitarian’ and ‘comfortable’ but ‘frumpy’ works too), I have learned it is always good to have at least one friend who’s eyes light up at the idea of shopping for you.
My current backpack I was surprised how much I like it and how well it has held up over the past nearly 2 years of daily use in all weather. The one prior was falling apart and this one was a reasonable price, good Amazon reviews, seemed to fit my criteria and had free returns. Sold! I would buy another in a heartbeat.
So what’s in it?
As my back pack is what I grab to go whether I’m walking, taking a Lyft, getting a ride, going on the train, it carries the things I use nearly daily and other more emergency but still often used things.
In 1 side pouch are 2 tennis balls, in the other side pouch is a small dog treat bag, in the front strap is a lightweight set of ear bud head phones.
In the main section:
In the smaller zippered section
The things in my bag have over the years earned their place in their degree and frequency of use. Stuff for me, stuff for the dogs, stuff to help ensure I can get myself safely to and from.
So, what’s in your bag?
Dog play is fascinating and hysterical!
Lucy spaniel invented this game today and played it over and over and over.
She takes the ball, and goes under the a-frame. Pushes the ball in the space under the a-frame, then uses her paws to pull it back. If it goes too far out of range, she barks. Zora grabs it, decides it is too slimy and gross, and spits it out. Lucy takes the ball back, and under the a-frame to play her game once again.
I’m a rather routine, predictable person. I find routines comforting and reassuring. I like having plans. It’s harder to get lost, lose things and be forgetful when life is orchestrated with many patterns. It’s no surprise I have any number of patterns I tend to follow when it comes to agility trials. Everything from how things are packed in our car, to setting up or breaking down our crating space. And of course pre and post runs.
Zora and I have what I call our Corgi Warm Up and Corgi Cool Down routines. She recognizes each phrase and the predictions of behavior it means. As I feel warm up and cool down is important with the canine athlete I thought I’d share our routines
Our Pre-Run Corgi Warm Up Routine
We have 2 types of corgi warm ups. One involving handling warm up and one involving stretching.
The handling warm up we do first thing of the day before the general briefing at the trial, and depending on the courses then set may or may not do it at other points before certain runs. During the handling warm up we find an open area, might be where the club has the practice equipment set up, might not, and we review various motions and cues. Switch, out, here, go, tight, wait, and so on. Get as in sync with each other as we can. If a particular course has a spot that looks rather tricky, we will practice the motions so that when we actually get on course there is a better (but not guaranteed as yesterday’s trial proved. LOL) chance I’ll handle it correctly. During our handling warm up I try to vary type and positions of rewards to further reinforce where on course I’d like Zora to be relative to me when we do that motion or cue once on the field.
The other warm up we do, this one we do before every single run, is our stretching warm up. Which includes portions for me and for Zora. We start off with some walking and trotting, then some moving in figure 8s to the left and the right. Next we do some leg, neck, tail and back stretches, and light muscle massage. From there we move to the ring as either we are first dog or last and there are now about 4 dogs to go. We jog to ring side for a bit faster movement. Once ring side we do some pivots, sit down stand position changes, hand touches, and turns to the left and right, working to ensure our muscles are warmed up before running the course.
By then it’s our turn, we walk to the line, Zora moves into her down, I cue her to “watch” which means look down the line my foot is pointing to show her where she’ll be going on the release. We get our “Good luck” cue to remove the leash from the judge. Leash off, I move to my starting position, and off we go!
Our warm up stretching routine usually takes about 3min. When we are first dog on the line, I have to time my walk through so I’m done with a minute left in the walk through. That way I have my 3 minutes as it’s usually about 2 min after the walk through ends to first dog, us.
Our Post-Run Corgi Cool Down Routine
Our Corgi Cool Down routine is similar to our warm up stretching routine, only done in reverse with an addition that makes Zora’s eyes sparkle. Aka Squeaky Ball. Squeaky ball doesn’t actually squeak. Maybe it does still now that I think about it. But Zora doesn’t squeak it. She holds it, carries it, and fetched it, no squeaking. She loves loves loves Squeaky Ball. It’s her special post trial run toy that she only gets now a days at agility trials. Oddly enough at home she likes it ok, but she loves it at trials. I think she’s associated it with trials hence it’s value there. At home she’d chose a tennis ball, at a trial she wants Squeaky Ball all the way. It’s a soft plush fluorescent orange or yellow (we have one of each so just depends which I happened to pull out of the bag) ball with a squeaker in it. Squeaky Ball is always part of our Corgi Cool Down routine.
We finish the course, the leash runner hands me Zora’s leash. I hold it out, Zora shoves her head into it, and we leave the ring together. Head on over to where we left our treats and Squeaky Ball ring side. She gets a couple of good girl treats then I say the magic words, “Let’s go play Squeaky Ball!” And she starts prancing. We jog together to the exit door or open area to play a little game of Squeaky Ball fetch. After our game, we do some body stretches, figure 8s, trotting, walking, light massage, Zora gets a drink and then quiet time until we do it all over again for the next run.
Do you have a pre or post exercise routine? Please share, I’d love to hear them!