Just a warning: this post is HUGE. I've broken it down into parts so you can read and respond to sections easily without feeling the need to respond to the whole thing. :]

Hey, everybody! I'm new to the site, and will soon be new to the world of dog ownership. I've only had cats growing up and have seriously wanted a corgi since I was 16 or 17, though I dreamt of owning one since I was 12. I'm 19 now (though I will be 20 by the time I can get a corgi), and a student at Virginia Tech. I'm moving off campus next school year specifically so I can have the opportunity of getting a dog.

Owner benefit: I've heard from a lot of people that college students shouldn't get a puppy. I disagree with that in my case. I'm an engineering student and have a LOT of homework to do. As such, I spend a lot of time in my room doing said homework. I'm not a party girl... I think the longest activity I do all weekend is play Dungeons and Dragons, and I can bring Waffle to that with no problems. I also have severe depression (and have had it for a while) and am finally seeking help. My medicine isn't doing anything except giving me insomnia... I was discussing the want and possibility of getting a puppy with my therapist. She seemed really positive and agreed with me when I mentioned how it would help me. The responsibility of taking care of a puppy would force me to get out of bed, go outside and exercise, be on a strict routine, and be mentally challenged but also immediately rewarded. So, Waffle would not only be a dream come true, but a treatment for this disease that's been plaguing me for years. Unlike medicine, it will actually work. Does anyone have any stories they can share about dogs helping depressed people function again? Just curious.

Expenses: Because I am a poor college student, money is kind of a big deal. I worked all summer at 7$/hr in a popcorn factory and managed to store $1000 in my savings account. This is and has always been specifically for dog purposes. I made an excel spreadsheet of all the things I would need for getting a dog initially. However, I am not sure of the biggest expenses at all. How much is neutering for a corgi pup? Shots? The corgi itself?? I snooped around the internet and guesstimated... Basically, does this expense sheet look right? If I forgot something IMPORTANT, let me know.

Moving: I can't move in to my apartment until August of 2010. As such, I really want to get my corgi in late spring/early summer so I can begin training him at my parents' house and he can be moderately well behaved and potty trained... It will be difficult (no, impossible) to return to my apartment every hour during classes, but doable every 3 or 4 hours. I was discussing this with my friend, and she brought up a slightly upsetting point. She has a friend who has a dog named Chubaca, not sure of the breed. Chubaca was a puppy that was trained at home and was brought up to Tech for living in an apartment. He was perfectly trained, but moving reverted him back to square 1--mostly peeing everywhere. Is this a problem for corgies? If so, or even if not, how can I minimize the trauma of moving and prevent this from happening? If it does happen, is there anything I can do to stop it besides getting super strict with the potty training?

Furry family members: I'm moving in with a friend from middle school and her roommate. They are both animal people, one studying animal science and one studying bio with intent to go to vet school, so of course they both want pets. VetSchool wants and is definitely getting a cat (I'm very happy about this!!), but AnimalScience wants to get a dog. She is unsure if she will be getting a dog, doesn't know what breed, and doesn't know what age. So, this is iffy but still a concern. Mostly, I'm afraid the other dog may ruin Waffle's training if AnimalScience isn't being very stern in making her dog a good citizen. I can eliminate the problem with toy stealing by keeping Waffle's all in my room... I also don't want them to eat each other's food. I don't know... Should I even be concerned?

Training: I'm really looking forward to training him and having that bonding time and control. I don't think I will be taking him to obedience classes... but I may if I'm having a hard time doing it on my own. (I watch "It's Me or the Dog" and am minoring in behavioral psychology... so I want to put my skills to the test before spending money.) Potty training, sit, stay, heel, drop it, leave it, etc are all basic and necessary. I was reading about "emergency recall training" on these forums and am definitely going to teach him that. Are there any other invaluable commands I need to teach him?

I think that's it. Of course I'll ask questions as they arise. :3

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OMG. xD I can imagine a rogue corgi. Charisma score of 18! Hahaha.
Thank you for sharing your story with me. :) I'm hoping Waffle does for me what Ziggy did for you.
Wow you are so much MORE organized then we were when we got Roxi hahaha. We knew we had the tight enough funds but man... We just sorta strolled on over to the farm and went "that one" and hoped for the best lol.

aww.. What a lucky pup you'll have to get such a responsible owner :)
When you have less than $2000 to your name, you gotta PLAN. :] (My parents pay for all my college expenses...)
Plus, I need to at least feel prepared. I'd rather ask questions now and never need to use the answers than ask them frantically when everything is falling apart, lol.
Congratulations on your thoroughness and preparedness! I won't address all your topics, as many have been discussed in detail, but here are a few thoughts:

First, don't be offended or take it personally (hard, I know) if you talk to some breeders who are not interested in placing a puppy with a college student. They are going by the averages, and many college students are not at a point in their lives where they are ready for a dog. Be prepared because the good breeders will ask you a lot of questions. You want to explain in detail what your schedule is like, that you are not someone who is interested in going out at night all the time, and what your back-up plan is on housing the dog if you need to find new accommodations in a hurry (as many apartments don't allow pets). If you know for a fact, for example, that in a worst-case scenario you could move in with your parents, or a sibling and they would be more than happy to welcome the dog into their home, then I would offer up that information. Too often when young people graduate from school and have to move to a new city and a new job, the dog or cat ends up in rescue. I am not saying YOU would do that, but that is the reason why many breeders and rescues won't place with a student. Be prepared to show them that you are different.

Living situation: As a new dog owner, you are of course going to want to ask for a less dominant puppy, BUT with the knowledge that you will be moving and having roommates who may or may not have pets coming and going, along with the certainty that your situation as a student means your schedule may change unexpectedly and dramatically, you do not want a really timid reserved dog, or it will be stressed. Probably your ideal dog would be one of medium dominance and "happy-go-lucky." We live near a busy park and there are lots of comings and goings, and when we got our first Corgi the breeder picked a pup for us who was not bothered by anything. Screaming kids, rude dogs, the ROTC practicing maneuvers, and marathons all roll off his back. A lot of that is socialization, but it is also innate disposition. A good breeder will pick a pup for you whose personality will handle the sort of lifestyle you have. A placid reserved dog who would be a good match for a retired couple whose routine is carved in stone might not thrive with you, and vice-versa.

Training: I agree puppy kindergarten is great, but you can socialize other ways if you are diligent and put the time into it. If your puppy has lots of opportunities to meet new friendly people and new friendly dogs, then you may try training on your own. If you are having trouble, though, don't hesitate to sign up for a class. The commands you listed are great. "Off" is very valuable too, which means to get off the furniture.

As for your questions about depression, I think a pet can be very helpful. After suffering off and on for depression from my late teens to my mid-twenties, I finally got it sorted out and was doing great but then in my mid-thirties, out of the blue I started suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Winters here are long and very, very dark and my job start time means I have to wake up in the dark for about 6 months out of the year, and it was killing me. Two things really helped: A sunrise alarm clock, and getting our first Corgi a few years ago. I did not get the dog because of that (we always intended on getting one as soon as we were in our house), but he helped enormously. When I get home from work and it's dark and I don't want to move off the couch, I know that if I don't take him for a walk he'll be pestering me all night. And then he starts bringing me toys and he wants to play, or we'll work on training, and it keeps me from sitting and doing nothing which makes the SAD worse. However, I must say that I have a husband who handles the morning dog duties. I honestly don't know how well I'd handle it if I needed to take the dogs out at 6:30AM when it's still pitch dark and 10 degrees and icy in mid-winter. So overall I think pets are wonderful for mood disorders in most cases, though there might be instances where certain aspects of pet ownership could exacerbate some symptoms.

Good luck, and I think you'll be a great Corgi owner! Just remember they need a good amount of exercise to be happy, so make sure you'll have time in your life to provide that.
Thank you for your extremely thorough reply, especially the part about what I should say/do when dealing with the breeders. I definitely wouldn't know to say any of that. ...nothing would break my heart more than being told I can't have a corgi because I'm an "irresponsible college student". :[

I think I will enroll him in puppy school because I don't know anybody with dogs. I know lots of people and can get him socialized in that respect, but I want him to be good around other dogs as well as other people. And yes, "off" will be an invaluable command if he has stolen my spot on the couch! lol.

"Happy-go-lucky" is the perfect way to describe the Waffle I have in my head. With all the hustle and bustle and moving around, I'm definitely going to want a dog that can adapt and go with the flow without stressing out. I'll be sure to mention that to my breeder when the time comes, thanks.

I'm so glad I don't have SAD. My favorite time is nighttime and I do enjoy the cold as long as I'm properly dressed. I think my biggest issue will be waking up to feed him and walk him, and that will only be an issue for the first 2 weeks because of the time it takes to form habits and all. It ought to be okay...

And oh yeah, we will definitely exercise. I sort of want to do agility with him-- not anything super competitive, maybe just participating in local agility matches, if any at all. One of the things I'm looking forward to most is exercising him and taking advantage of my beautiful rural campus. :3

Once again, thanks so much for your thorough reply.
One thing I forgot to mention is Dollar Stores. I got Tuesday a 5 meter leash for when we went camping and she needed to be leashed at all times for $1! Also we used to get her "poop bags" and dispensers there too. You can't buy much quality stuff for dogs there, but there are always a few Gems for those of us on tight budgets.

Definitely keep us updated, and good luck.
Hi. A lot of others have already said things I was going to say. To add to what Beth just said (above), I would agree that you need a more laid-back pup for your first Corgi experience, but like she said, probably not the MOST laid-back pup in the litter. However: just as a heads up, it could just be my particular experience, but I chose a laid-back puppy (but not the most timid), and ended up with a couch potato, whereas I'd been hoping to achieve more with her in terms of training. Hopefully you will not have to sacrifice trainability for resilience, but I thought I'd throw that out there. Luckily persistence seems to be the key and as you've already mentioned that you have patience, that ought to take you far in motivating Waffle to learn.

Another thing that might be worth mentioning (though it has little to do with anything already talked about): as far as I've heard, read, and experienced, many Corgis have sensitive feet and/or do not like having their feet handled - I have my own thread attempting to deal with this. So try to make sure you handle Waffle's feet (and make it a pleasant experience for him) regularly when he is young, and as often as possible. There should be some good tips on that thread, or on this site in general, for helping with the feet issue.

Finally, I smiled when I read your "Animals are people too" comment. I used to feel that way, but ever since I became aware of Cesar Millan and his approach to dog training, I began to adapt my own views on that issue. The main reason for this is that applying people psychology to animals can often lead to the animals being unfulfilled and unhappy. Of course, I think what we probably both mean when we say that comment is that animals deserve to be loved, respected, and taken care of, but it also makes sense that if we do not know any other way to relate to them other than human-to-human, that's how we'll relate to them. If you're interested in checking out some of Cesar Millan's techniques, his website is www.cesarmillaninc.com --Back when I first found out about him, he was still relatively new and mostly had material on dealing with problems that had already been cultivated in adult dogs. Luckily, he is now coming out with more and more material on how to raise dogs from puppyhood to avoid those behavior issues altogether. I apply his methods to my relationship with my Corgi, Heidi, and she's one of the best-mannered dogs I've ever had. The training is still an uphill climb, but that's more of a personality issue than a behavior problem. She doesn't have any behavioral problems that I can think of, other than having touchy feet. :)

Good luck!!! And, we should be friends. ;-) ~Allison and Heidi
I hope he isn't a couch potato. I want him to be an overachiever, lol.
Yes, feet! I read a thread about feet before you even mentioned it. I guess it makes sense that they would have feet issues because they have less bone length to distribute their force in. [/nerd] I'll definitely be sure to handle his feet.
Oh, and one other thing I forgot to mention - I've heard how much Corgis LOVE stuffed animals. I've never given mine any, just because I have 2 special stuffed animals that reside on my bed that I would like to give to my daughter (who is still cooking, due in Feb ;-) ) and I wouldn't expect my dog to know the difference between my special ones, and hers. So - I know it sounds like common sense, and I guess it is - just be aware that you might not want to give your dog something to chew on that closely resembles something they CAN'T chew on. (Another example, I never understood why people I've known in the past would give their dogs "old" shoes to chew on, and then get upset when they chewed their new shoes. Hello?!?!)

Yeah, I was thinking about that. I have a stuffed cat I've had for 18 years and probably looks like a dog got to her. :P I'd be VERY UPSET if it were actually chewed. I'm planning on keeping his toys in a basket or dog bed on the floor, though, so he knows what is his and has easy access to it. I think with the right training I can teach him that he can only chew on the things in the toy area, and nothing on my bed or anywhere else. That's the hope, anyway.

Also: lol, I've never heard the term "cooking" before in terms of being pregnant. Best of luck to you! I hear babies who grow up with dogs have stronger immune systems as children and adults. :]
Thanks :) Keep us updated. And post pics when you find your Waffle!


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