I want everyone to meet Margo, my new family addition! She's a 6mo-old black brindle Cardigan Welsh Corgi (from a breeder, held for show but her sister ended up being just a bit better in the show evaluation so she was re-homed). She's SUPER sweet! Loves to lick faces and wag her fox tail!
The first few days:
She has only been home for three days, but already her and Gutie (my 1.5 year-old male Pem) zoom and wrestle through the house like they were born together (absolutely warms my heart to see them get along so well)! When Gutie has had enough, he just walks away and she's good about giving him space. When he gets a little grumpy, I interrupt their play by calling their names and they take a break. She is GREAT in the car, just cuddles up and snoozes on the seat (without a transport kennel). Great on a leash! Only a few tangles when I walk her and Gutie by myself (they'll get the hang of it eventually, I have one at each side not in front). 75% kennel trained (still cries, but she quiets down after 5-10 minutes when she realizes crying gets her nowhere). Sleeps through the night no problem, not even a peep (and I thought I wouldn't get any sleep the first week). We'll be working hard on potty training (3 accidents in the last three days, even after going outside every two hours, but I understand it's stressful and I've been rewarding her with praise and treats when she goes potty outside; I only discipline with the unpleasant rattle of a can when I catch her in the act). Gutie wasn't even fully potty trained until he was about 8-9 months (stubborn fellow), so I'm fully stocked on paper towels and carpet cleaner. Gutie needed potty training reinforcement after he was neutered, so I expect the same out of her when she's spayed soon. She does have almost full-reign of the house, but she's supervised and it's an open floor plan so we can see her everywhere she goes in case she does something naughty that needs correction.
Living in a suburb is new for her, but since she's been going to dog shows every weekend for the last 4 months in big cities so she's adjusting surprisingly well. Obedience training is pretty new, too. My hunny and I have taught her how to sit, come, and kennel-up the last two days (mostly because Gutie is a good teacher since he's so well trained, once he gets a treat for a trick the light bulb in her head turns on). It's obvious that she's been well socialized with other people, because she goes up to every stranger, sits politely, and gives kisses. She grew up with her pack of other Cardigans and the breeder also bred Wheatens, so she should be familiar with other dogs and different temperaments. She's also very polite at sharing chews, toys, and the water bowl. Food bowls I give separately, because Gutie likes to take his time (he's fed first after me and my hunny) and Margo WOLFS it down like it's her last meal (eats last). Luckily, I didn't even have to change either of their diets, Margo was eating the exact same brand as Gutie. They both get 1.5 cups daily, conveniently divided into 3 feedings (she's a skinny little thing, I'll change how much she gets if she starts putting on too much weight).
They're pretty good about let each other nap, but I kennel Margo up for about an hour in the evening after dinner so they both get their peace and quiet for a good snooze. It also lets them digest their food before they go brawling again. If Gutie doesn't rest, he gets grumpy and short. Dogs are such toddlers sometimes!
Margo is a PISTOL! LOTS of spunk! I live in a duplex and my neighbors are unfortunately downstairs, but we're friends and I've told her to text me whenever it's too loud. But right at 6am, she FLIES out of her kennel to go potty outside and then plays, plays, plays. Gutie, however, is used to sleeping in until about 8/9am, so he snoozes on the couch while she zooms around. It's very hard to keep her settled down in the morning, even after a long walk, so I may have to enforce quiet hours until 9am until she can hold her bladder that long at night. I think walking her in the morning and kenneling her afterwards for another two hours is okay? That would give Gutie time to sleep-in, too. I think she'll settle down a little more once she's more familiar with her new territory, too? I remember Gutie went roaming and sniffing every second of the day until he was comfortable with his turf.
She is intact, but this Saturday I'm taking her in for a basic wellness exam and to setup her spay appointment. She's fully vaccinated aside from kennel cough and limes (which she'll get Saturday).
Her only downside thus far is her ear-piercing bark. Gutie has a deep chested woof, but Margo still has her puppy yip. In your experience, has your dog's bark changed at all after 6mo? Her bark is a little deeper when she's trying to alert me, but still high-pitched. I'm not necessarily complaining, if that's the worst thing about her I consider myself very lucky! I can't remember when Gutie lost his puppy yip, but he always had a deeper voice. I think it may have gotten a tad deeper when he entered puberty at 6mo...
The last few days we've just been hanging at home, hanging in the yard, or going for walks in the neighborhood. Tomorrow we'll be going to a fenced-in area that is used as a skating rink in the winter. In the summer, it's a vacant fenced-in grassy lot. I did a lot of training with Gutie there that was very successful. I'm going to wait on bringing them both to the dog park until I can get her trained a little more (mostly so she stops or comes when called every time otherwise I think there's potential for problems with other dogs she doesn't know). I do know how important it is to socialize her with other dogs, so I've set up a playdate with another dog that Gutie knows very well this weekend.
While she's great on a collar and leash, I feel more in control when my dog is in a harness. I refuse to hurt either of their throats if they lunge trying to chase a squirrel and I have front-clip harnesses that redirects them immediately if they try anything naughty. It took Gutie until he was about 8 months to finally get the hang of walking right at my side without any tightness on the leash. He's incredibly loyal, so most of the time when we're out and about in the woods he's off-leash. Margo might get there, but for now I have a 6-foot leash for walking in the neighborhood and a 15-foot leash for when we're out on the trail or in the yard so she can explore a little more with Gutie when he's off-leash.
I haven't tested her with water yet. I think that will come once it gets hot enough (it's still in the 60s where I live in Northern WI). Gutie LUNGES into the water and he loves retrieving sticks/toys. I can't get him out of the lake most days. If he's not swimming, he just stands in the water up to his shoulders to cool off and look for fish. I'm hoping that his love for water will pass onto her, but I'm thankful to have at least one water dog if not two!
The cat isn't too happy about the two dogs, hahaha. She puffs up like a balloon and Margo just wants to give her kisses. But the kitty was like that when I first got Gutie and now they're so good with each other, so I think kitty will adjust just fine. She'll give Margo a claw-less hit on the nose if she gets too close and Margo hasn't yelped, she just leaves the kitty be like a good girl.
That's about all I can blog about at this point! I'm hoping that in the next six months, she calms down a little bit once she's adjusted to her new home. Gutie was a crazy boy until he hit about a year and in the last six months with him he has really mellowed out. I've been able to leave him home out of his kennel no problem without worry, he has earned that privilege! Having him fully trained will make training Margo much easier. Boy does he love having a companion to play with or even just watch to keep him entertained while I do chores. Before he was so bored even though we exercised 3+ hrs daily and played/trained in between exercise sessions. We still train, exercise, and play separately from Margo to keep him sharp and obedient. Margo will get there, we just need to be consistent with her.
This Friday will be her first day in the kennel for 4 hours at a time while I work (8hr shifts). I have no doubt that will be new to her, but thankfully she only needs to be kenneled like that Fri/Sat/Sun (and soon to just be Sat/Sun when she's good enough to go for daycare at grandma's with Gutie and his best friend Zoey the goldendoodle).