Guido + Cart + Hose

July 22, 2006

Guido loves getting hosed, and forgets all else.

Corgis are notoriously difficult to cart-train. Something about them being really, really, REALLY stubborn. Here's one approach that helped us encourage Guido (requires flash player):

That's Helen providing running commentary and "circling the wagon" so to speak.

(BTW: two years later, and he still loves his hose. He just needs more help, is all.)

Someone asked me "what was the turning point" for getting Guido to use his cart?

There was no particular turning point.

The 'lesson', if you want to call it that, that WE learned, is that it's all about motivation. When we first started we joked that Guido's motto was "will walk for food". Dangle a treat and he'd follow. When we took him to the beach we were hopeful, and pleasantly surprised, when he seemed to be willing to "do stuff" in his cart. We realized that if he was engaged in something that made him forget he was in his cart, he did better. We immediately thought of the hose. After being familiar with the cart for a bit, we started "hosing" him from time to time, and from day one his reaction was pretty much as you see in the video. He completely forgets that he's in a cart (even rolled it once). That is apparently building a level of comfort and familiarity that's allowing him to start to use it with less external motivation - more normal day to day kind of things. Our more recent breakthrough is that last weekend he pooped while in the cart. That's big.

So the only real turning point I can say was our realization that getting Guido to occasionally forget that he was in the cart has helped him feel more at home in it. And we did it slowly - it's been six months or so since we started.

I know it doesn't work for all. I know of at least one Corgi that simply would not. The theory there is that she was Alpha in her home, and the cart was seen in her mind as an obstacle to that status. But Guido's personality has always been more laid back (he's our "love sponge" - our only real cuddler).

Hope this all provides a little hope and encouragement for those who need it. "Out stubborning" a Corgi is definitely not easy :-).