Having some issues with behavior (biting mainly)

Hello everyone,

Normally you see my better 1/2 posting (Rebecca), but I (Kevin) am posting today to address an issue we are having with our 10 week old Pembroke "Buddy".

I am blessed to be able to work from home most of the time, so I have been able to take an active part in his life right now. I have him going outside every 2 hours for a pee break. Followed by about 20-30 min of company and then I crate him for another 90-120 min until its time to go again.

We have only had buddy for about 11 days now and he is doing very well. He has not had many issues as far as housebreaking goes. When it has happened, it's usually my fault for not timing things correctly. He seems to be very healthy. He doesn't eat all of his food all of the time, but he is eating and his "poo" looks fine. He seems to not like water too much. Is this normal with Corgi's? My childhood dog was a lab and he seemed to go to his water a lot more than this little guy. I know the sizes are different between the two breeds, but I wonder if the frequency of his water breaks are too low, even for him.

The main issue as of late is biting. He gets really mouthy and also likes to tug on my pants a lot. I make it clear that i dont like it and will put him in the crate (without making it feel like a punishment) if he gets to be too bad with it. It was suggested that we try laying him on his back (either on floor or our laps) until he calms down. It worked great for a few days, but now he just whines and tries to get away. Is he just milking me so I will let him go? I don't want to do it too much and cause some type of negative behavior, but if that is the way to treat dominant behavior, then the poor guy would be on his back quite a bit.

Anyway, we would appreciate any feedback our fellow Corgi owners may have. We want what's best for the guy, but we are both very new to this.

Note: We are working on getting him into puppy classes ASAP. He goes in for his 2nd distemper tomorrow, so that will clear him up for those classes. The issue we are having is that most classes are 1/2 way through their 6 week duration right now. Is it safe to wait a bit? Should we get a private trainer? DVD's, Books???

Anyone run into any of the same issues with this behavior and issues finding training? We will do anything it takes, we just need some direction.

Thanks for reading!


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Comment by Rachel on January 27, 2010 at 10:22am
I've actually heard the complete opposite about putting a dog on it's back. Some people have said it's de-moralizing and can negatively affect the dog. I'm not an expert on this topic so maybe someone else can speak to it but I've never done it with Izzie. You might have to do it for an extremely bad behavior, but I would say it wouldn't be appropriate for play nipping. I've found the "OOOoowwwww" and ignoring them to be the most effective.
Comment by Spencer (and his parents) on January 26, 2010 at 6:20pm

I'm not sure about other Corgis here, but Spencer would mouth us and with those sharp puppy teeth it hurt. We tried every method out there to try to get him to stop. Until one day when he was 4.5 months our friends came over everytime he "bit" her she said "OWWWWWWWWWW". In a calm, but deep and annoying tone. From that moment on he got better until he didn't do it at all (about 1 week).

As for water, we had a water bottle in his crate and water by his bowl. He's always done a good job self regulating. At a year old, he is drinking about 2.5 small bowls a day unless he's running around a lot (Prob 3 cups).
Comment by Rachel on January 26, 2010 at 4:01pm
About the water thing: If you are worried that he isn't drinking enough water you can mix water into his food and then he'll be forced to gulp that up when it's feeding time... :-)
Comment by Kari & Quin on January 26, 2010 at 3:49pm
My puppy is 11 weeks and when she gets mouthy i say ouch and pull my hand away when she bites pants or socks or feet i stop walking and when she lets go i say good girl also i take this as a cue that she is bored and break out the clicker and teach her a trick or work on a previous one or play fetch. It always calms her down.
Comment by Bev Levy on January 26, 2010 at 3:25pm
At his age , he can do a few 10 to 15 minute walks a day. Just make it fun and don't worry if it is not in a straight line!
Comment by Kevin and Buddy! on January 26, 2010 at 3:20pm
Thank you for the replies everyone. The main reason we have been keeping him crated was because it was recommended to us to do so in order to get him on a schedule. I have always just wanted to gate off the kitchen during the day and let him do his thing, but I have been advised not to do that, especially with the fact that we rent our current place and cannot afford destruction of the place.

As far as the walking part goes, I was told to hold off on the longer walks until they had their 2nd set of shots since we live in a more urban area. We would have started walking him immediately if we had been told to.
Comment by Bev Levy on January 26, 2010 at 3:11pm
Oh, I do not think putting them on their back is a great method. I think corgis were bred to have a little attitude and that particular training method can go the wrong way with certain dogs. I think Sparty would have turned into a vicious dog if we had done that to him and my other two probably would have become fearfull. Not the outcome I would want.
Comment by Bev Levy on January 26, 2010 at 3:04pm
I have had one corgi that was JAWS and two that showed no desire to bite anything. Congratulations you have one that wants to do what he was bred to do! LOL Unfortunately I was not looking for a cattle herder so we quickly put a stop to the biting by letting out the most dramatic high pitched yelps imaginable when the teeth came out. If the biting continued he was confined in the kitchen for about 10 minutes. I would not use a crate for this since you need him to enjoy being in his crate. The best two best things I did with my little hellion was Obedience classes and a lot of walks. He is now a wonderful but still high energy dog of 10. My easier corgis are as sweet as can be but not as smart and silly either so you really are lucky(I do love them too). Have fun but exercise really is key.
Comment by Edward and Gemima on January 26, 2010 at 2:40pm
Kevin, OK....so I'm no expert but we have two Corgis who went through puppyhood in the last year. Edward(8mos) and Gem(1yr). So here is what we did and we have had good luck so far.....First of all, I agree with the exercise thing mine still get naughty if they don't get their walks. Are you going out with him when he potties? You could get some good exercise in after he does his business(make sure it is after)Mine are crazy about having me outside with them even if it's just feeding the birds for a few minutes.
Second, with the biting(we called it teething) we have 2 children so it was a priority to teach them not to bite to the point where it was painful or even uncomfortable. We did the turn on the back with a firm no, ouch. Also our breeder instructed us to yelp at them if they got too rough(I think this worked really well for us and our kids)just like one of their litter mates would do if they were doing something they didn't like. I also have pulled up on the loose skin of their neck, just as their mother would do when things really get out of hand!(I didn't have to do that much, they seem to get it when it is something that their mother may have done) Mine really liked ice cubes(good for the water intake) too when they were teething and make sure you are redirecting the biting to a toy or chewie...cow hooves are a favorite of Ed and Gems.
Do you have any toys with long ropes and something to chew at the end?? I often will type away at the computer while trying to entertain Ed with a toy in my other hand...usually he's done in 10-15 min and lays down or goes to sleep. Do you have his crate where he can see you???? We really tried to keep them close to us thru the puppy stage.
Don't know if any of this will help..but it has worked for us! I think it is wonderful you can work from home so that you can be there for Buddy!
Comment by Joanna Kimball on January 26, 2010 at 1:28pm

He's totally normal (and not getting enough exercise). Corgis are SUPPOSED to chase and bite and tug everything. When a puppy gets off my lap and tugs on my pant leg, I'm thrilled. Tugging is such a great drive to develop because you can use it to reward all kinds of behavior and it's a happy fun activity for a dog.

He's not dominant; he's a puppy. He's experimenting with behaviors and he's VERY bored. Unless I'm reading it wrong, he's being crated for between 3/4 and 7/8 of his entire life. You'd bite somebody's pants too!

The crate is for when he's unsupervised and for naps. It's not for his life or his whole day. He needs to have long walks, long play sessions, hang-out time in front of the TV, lots of chewing, lots of tugging, running around after leaves, etc. He has a thousand years of walk-and-trot-all-day-long breeding behind him; corgis were not created to sleep for hours at a time after 20 minutes of limited activity.

You are also really under the gun on his socialization - he's got two more weeks before his socialization window closes. By that time he should have had positive interactions with a hundred people of all ages, sizes, abilities, races, fashions, etc. He also needs to be exposed to vehicles, other animals, different textures (sand, dirt, snow if you've got it, pavement, rubber, etc.) Just getting that accomplished is going to solve a lot of your exercise needs right there!

http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/puppys-first-month-home-8-12-w... has a TON on developing bite inhibition, but honestly this puppy sounds like he's just telling you that he's wound up and needs to get more activity. If you get him moving a good part of his day and he's still doing it, when he tugs your pants say "Good tug!" and transfer his attention to an appropriate tug toy. Play a good little game of tug and then hand him a raw knuckle bone to chew in his crate.

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