23 year old part owner of a 5 year old female tri-color.
About My Corgi(s):
We brought Molly home around Christmas 2002 when she was a small puppy (she's literally sextoupled in size since then!)--the picture was taken around that time. The second Lord of the Rings movie came out around then, and she was dubbed PRESCHIOUSSS immediately. She's stayed pretty much true to that form.
We trained her exclusively with food-based positive reinforcement which worked extremely well--Corgis aim to please. However, the drawback to this is that she is driven ENTIRELY by food. Her favroites in the family are ordered exclusively by how much food they give her. I give her next to none, since she is sightly overweight, which puts me at the bottom. She will eat anything--except her dog food. This is due to the others (her favorites) giving her people food all the time. This got to the point where she now "needs" some people food mixed in with her dog food. First is was Parmesan cheese, then it was crumbled up crackers, now it's cereal. When I feed her, all she gets is her dog food--I know dogs, when she gets hungry enough, she'll eat it.
FAQ about Corgis that I wish I knew before hand (in order of importance):
1.) HANDLE THEIR PAWS FROM THE EARLIEST AGE POSSIBLE. Molly will tolerate most anything, but she HATES having her paws handled, nails cut, and fur-between-the-toes trimmed. She is the sweetest dog in the world, but if you mess with her paws, she will bite you, hard (the only time she does that). I recommend that you clip your Corgi's toenails, just a little bit, once or twice a week from when she's just a pup--this way she will get used to it. This is the most important thing I would have done differently had I known about it.
2. Given enough food, Corgis will eat until they die. This breed is driven by food more than most others--your Corgi will beg CONSTANTLY--DO NOT GIVE IN! Since they are such small dogs, they can become overweight very easily--particularly without adequate exercise. An overweight Corgi will be prone to a myriad of health problems before age 10 and will have much shorter life and lower quality of life than a properly fed Corgi. The food drive will manifest itself and become obvious on day one.
3. My Corgi picks favorites, yours may too. I'm near the bottom of her pecking order, and it hurts. She LOVES my stepmother--even though she's now playing second fiddle to a horse! (and is too stupid to realize it!) She will sit around in the kitchen looking out the back door until my stepmother comes home--Molly refuses to interact with anyone unless my stepmother is home. It's very weird, I will have been home all day, and Molly won't want to have anything to do with me. My stepmother comes home and boom--Molly brings ME the toys and wants me to play with her.
4. She HATES all wild animals that venture into her visual cone of dominion in the back yard. She always growled a little, and then barked if you riled her up (or the animals got too close). When I was a teenager, I encouraged her to run out and chase them--I thought it would be a fun exercise filled activity for her (she might be fast, but deer are about 4 times faster, she never comes close). Little did I know that it would turn into an obsession.
She's a big baby, so at first she would run out to the edge of the patio, and then turn tail and run back before the animal decided to flee. But one fateful day, a deer was close enough that when she went out that sliding glass door, it took off running. It was a life changing moment for Molly. She now LIVES to chase the animals away. It's her second favorite thing next to food--this was definitively proven Thanksgiving 2007 when there were several deer in the back yard at the time the meal was being served. Ordinarily she'd go crazy, but with the bounty of food upon the table--she paid the deer no mind.
I’m sure it's a territorial thing. She doesn't chase them off into the distance, but only out of the area of the back yard that is her cone of vision/dominion from the door. She comes trotting back down the hill, all tired out, with that big Corgi smile on her face.
Fortunately her desire to please is strong enough that when she starts growling and barking at the animals and you want her to stop--all you have to do is yell MOLLY! like you mean it, and she shuts up right away. Sometimes if you are elsewhere in the house and can't hear her growling at the animals, she will come and get you acting like she has to go out to pee--but it's a clever ruse to get you to let her chase the animal. In these situations, as she is tearing up the hill at full speed, if you yell MOLLY! like you mean it, she will stop dead in her tracks, turn around, put her head down, and saunter back inside.
She is so vicious toward the "intruders" that she jumps on and throws ~30 lb. self against the glass door with serious force. She broke the seal between the two panes of glass in the door, and it would fog up between the glass! She was the impetus for the much needed window and door replacement initiative. The new door had to be chosen for its strength.
So if you want your Corgi to spend time with you, instead of spending time guarding the yard from deer, squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks, rabbits, raccoons, large birds like ducks, geese, and turkeys (which we found out that she can catch--it's not a pretty sight, and the massive tuft of feathers taken out was probably not all that pleasant for the turkey), cats, other dogs, and small children, then I seriously recommend discouraging this behavior.
5. She is "THE SOURCE," of all hair. Corgis shed constantly, and also "molt" semi-annually. Baths, which Molly tolerates well, can trigger shedding episodes later that day, or the next day. Frequent brushing and a powerful vacuum cleaner are recommended.
Molly, as you can see, is a tri-color with an entirely black body. The shedding black fur will turn gray/white and loosen in clumps when it starts to shed. When this first happened we thought there was something wrong with her or that the breeder had dyed her fur to make her look better when we were buying her! However, once you pull/brush out the gray shedding hairs, her coat returns to its normal black color.
6. I can't speak for other Corgis, but Molly never grew out of playing--some breeds do, some breeds don't. She likes to play just as much at age 5, as she did when she was a puppy.
7. My Corgi has ADD. Molly has a very short attention span, the shortest I've ever seen in a dog. Unless there is food involved, it's 2-5 seconds. So if you are throwing the toy across the length of the kitchen, and she thinks she catches a glimpse of some animal outside--she will totally forget about what she was doing and then investigate the yard. Finding nothing out of order, she will walk around, maybe get a drink of water, lay down somewhere in the kitchen, and THEN 5-10 minutes later, she'll be back with the toy wanting to play as if none of this had happened.
8. She picked up a lot of cues from us naturally, i.e. without specific training. She was housebroken within 2-3 days, maybe fewer; we didn't really have to try to teach her that. She has been a beggar from day one, but she NEVER tries to take food that she hasn't been given. You could leave a bounty of her favorite treats and goodies on the coffee table, and she will sit there and look at you (you know the begging look) and wait for you to give (or not give) her something. She taught herself how to come get us to let her outside—there was no training for that at all.
9. She will eat almost anything. This is a mixed blessing; it means that broccoli and carrots (which have essentially no calories) are favorite treats. But it also means that anything that falls on the floor and smells/looks edible, it's hers. She's never gone for inedible things like jewelry or plastic (though she investigates them), but she will go for foods that are bad for her, so be careful.
I agree about the regional differences. The deer that tried to stomp Henry was close to the Snake river. Although this was at a resort, and the deer didn't seem to fear anything! The deer in our area (Willamette Valley) just run.
This is a great site, isn't it? I've learned a lot about dog behavior in general, can corgi(s) in particular...
Watch those deer! They can turn and inflict an injury faster than you think. Henry had a run in with one that had a fawn and she stompted him. Luckily there wasn't any injury involved, but I do know of dogs that were hurt badly.
I stupidly 'trained' Henry to chase the cats away from the bird feeder. Now any strange cat causes a ruckus. He lives with 3 cats and doesn't bother them, but other cats. Oh MY!
I also made the mistake of laughing at his frantic barking at sheep and cows when driving. Imagine, if you will, this and a trip through Eastern Oregon's open range. He learned the word, cows, bovine and other words to discribe cows. Now all you need to do is say cows and he breaks into a frenzy and looks around for them cows. Trying the no-cows (sub no-bark) to train him to stop barking.
Re: #2 What is it with these Corgis? My husband says "it's all about the food" Don't think you are special cause whoever has the "food" is king. She is a very polite beggar. No barking or whining .....just the INTENSE stare.....inching closer and closer to make sure you notice her. And...she snores like a freight train!
I had to chuckle while reading your FAQ's, especially when getting to #7. Our Golden is just as bad, although we call it DAD (Doggie Attention Deficit). She is the same unless food is involved, her attention span on any thing will last only 2-3 seconds. The only thing we have noticed that will keep her attention for any amount of time is Chipmunk's or Fish outside. She will sit in the water for hours on end and watch the fish swimming around.