Pembroke Corgis are working dogs that thrive on being given a job to do. The breed has had plenty of success in Obedience, competing at all levels including individual Kennel Club Championships and notably beating many other breed teams to win the Obreedience competition at Crufts.
Any obedience training must be fun. Corgis love fun and can start training as small puppies. Simple games chasing toys, waiting in anticipation for the toy to be given and leaving the toy are all good fun games that set the pup on its way to engaging with the human it owns!
One of the best ways for you and your corgi to start training towards competing in obedience is to participate in the Good Citizen Dog Scheme. There are four award levels: Puppy, Foundation (from 8 weeks old), Bronze, Silver and Gold. There are over 1700 organisations throughout the UK that promote Good Citizen Dog Scheme training and its awards. Classes are usually run on a weekly basis and are fun and enjoyable for you and your dog.
If you and your corgi enjoy these initial classes then you will undoubtedly enjoy learning more about competitive obedience. Competitive obedience requires you to learn specific exercises. These are performed to increasingly higher levels of accuracy and complexity. It is challenging for both handler and dog, but then Corgis love a challenge! Whatever level or accuracy you aspire the key is making it fun, fun, fun for your dog. Nothing is better than seeing how pleased your corgi will be when they just know they are clever and did the job well.
However, to attain this you will need the help of a good trainer who knows all the ins and outs, ups and downs of obedience training and competition. Most dog training clubs will offer this or be able to refer you to a specialist trainer. Other Corgi owners will also have their preferred trainers, so just ask.
Levels of Progression:
Introductory, Pre Beginners, Beginners, Novice, Class A, Class B, Class C and then Championship Class C.
When starting out you have to enter the lowest class you are eligible for and you can
enter one additional class (up to Open C); at some shows you can enter two additional classes (always check the schedule for the 3 class option).
Once you have 'won out' of Beginners with any dog then
you cannot take any future dogs into Beginners or any class below that.
You would have to start any new young dog off in the Novice Class.
If you win a class the show secretary informs the Kennel Club of that win at the end of the show. You need to keep a list of your wins for your own information. You could join the Obedience Leagues where you can enter your results so they will be permanently recorded.
Competitive Obedience Exercises:
Not all the exercises are included at all levels. The more complex exercises are introduced as dogs progress through the level. The range of exercises are:
Heel on a lead and heel free. As dogs progress through the levels fast and slow paces are introduced. Also more turns, circles and recalls.
Retrieve. At the lower levels it can be any article chosen by the handler. As dogs progress through the levels the article to be retrieved will be stipulated accordingly e.g. a dumbbell or an article provided by the judge.
Sit and Down Stays. As dogs progress through the levels the length of time increases and the handler may be in sight or out of sight.
Scent discrimination. As dogs progress through the levels scent decoys are introduced and the number of scent cloths increase.
Send Away, Drop and Recall
Distant Control. Dog to sit, stand and down.
Rules about how you encourage your dog range from Introductory, where you can carry a toy or a closed container of food during the class and can talk to and encourage your dog at all times in all the tests. Though to Class C where you are unable to talk to your dog whilst under test, only a command or signal can be used at the start of each exercise (except for send away), extra body signals, and even head movement during the exercises will mean loss of points. You can talk to/praise your dog between exercises.
Food treats are not allowed to be given during an exercise at any level.
Points are awarded for each exercise to give the overall class placings.
To compete in Kennel Club registered obedience competitions your corgi needs to be on the Kennel Club's Breed Register or Activity Register.