by Peg Hickel


The Cardi has a heritage of working with, and for, man.  The old Welsh crofter was a poor man.  His dog had to earn its keep. If it didn't, he couldn't afford to feed it.  Hence it was only those dogs who knew their tasks and performed them well, who passed on their genes  to future generations.

So far, innate as it is, the desire to please is still very much there as you will discover when your dog is ready (at 8-10 months) to begin his formal obedience training.  You will find that not only is he a happier dog, but that he is a much easier one to live with and to control.  Recently I read that a Cardi puppy is twice as boisterous as a Pem puppy.  A Pem I've never had, but in over 20 years of Cardis, boisterous I can vouch for!

I'm not going to tell you how to obedience train your Cardi. There are classes for that in most areas, plus many excellent books on the subject.  What I will do is to give you three important lessons that your puppy, or adult, MUST learn. Not only could any of these save his life, but they will also give him a good head start when his formal training begins. Nothing much is needed other than the cardboard tube from an empty paper towel roll, and a no nonsense tone of voice.


When a puppy starts to do anything not desirable, a firm NO and a whack with the tube on your hand usually stops him right away.  With an especially obstreperous one you may have to give him a smack on the bottom with it.  You'll be surprised how soon he learns what that word means.  The door may be left open when he has learned this, and he will stay till he is told otherwise.  The same applies to open gates.


Never allow a dog to jump out of the car as soon as the door is opened.   This has caused many a dog to meet an untimely end. Tell him WAIT and make him do just that until you tell him ALRIGHT (OK).  Using this command you can later make him wait while you are doing something and will be back to him shortly. This one word saved the life of one of my dogs.  He had just been sent out after a glove in Utility practice, when out of nowhere came a truck across the grass directly towards the glove that he was on his way to.  I roared WAIT and he came to an immediate stop.  Had he not, he would have run right under those wheels.


You don't need to be told how very important it is to know that when you call, that dog can be depended on to do just that, no matter what he may be doing at the time.                       When the

puppy is a baby you will have to give him a name.  Now he knows who he is and that you are talking to him.  So "N....., COME!" in a happy tone of voice, rewarding him always with much petting and maybe a treat.  It won't be long before in his mind coming when called is a pleasant experience.  However - and that day will come - sooner or later he will decide that he has other things to do at the moment. Now is the time, and right now, that he MUST learn that he had better come, or else! Never, never call him to you and then punish him!  This I can't stress enough, as it is a bad mistake that many make.  You will walk after that rebellious youngster and when you catch him, put on that collar and leash, walk backwards repeating "COME" as you go.  Give him some good hard yanks, and I do mean yanks, and bring him in to you. (Do not PULL him in... the dog will just fight... yank and release....Command... yank and release, etc.  Editor).  When he gets there, be sure to tell him what a clever little dog he is and how pleased you are with him.  Keep on with this until the minute he hears the command he can't get to you too quickly.   Once he is solid on leash, remove it and repeat the command.  Being a smart little Cardi he's probably wise to the fact that you now have no control over him, and he'll thumb his nose at you.  So, once again, you walk till you corner him, back goes the leash, and the whole procedure is repeated until he has got it fixed in his mind that to come when called is a pleasant experience.   But that not to do so is most unpleasant!

Keep in mind that you are not "asking" your dog to obey these commands, but that you are TELLING him to do so.  Now start working with that puppy on these three lessons - you will both be happier when they are impressed firmly in his mind, he'll be safer, and best of all, you will have his respect as well as his love.

Published in the CWCCA AKC Centennial Handbook (1985).


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