Hello! My name is Caitlin. I am looking into getting myself a furfriend in May and and am deep in the dog research but keep finding myself bored reading about other breeds and am getting serious Obsessive Corgi Disorder.
In short: there are a few corgi questions/concerns I have that I would like some first hand owner advice.
- Dog aggression
Can a well trained and socialized corgi play nice and keep the bark within an appropriate and dare I say helpful level?
Is a corgi the right dog for me?
I live in Los Angeles (Los Feliz for those familiar) a very dog friendly city. I am looking for a friend to get out and active at least twice a day, a companion at home, and a new hiking buddy. I am not partial to small dogs but my dream German Shepard or lab is not practical living in an apartment. A corgi seems like the perfect compromise - big dog, small legs. Can do the hikes with me as they were bred to do this kind of work but will be fine on busy days where we can only go on walks. I am 23 and finally graduating college in May. After this I will be work at home or free lance odd jobs while I pursue acting. So I will be home A LOT. I live with my sister (26) who has no interest in owning a dog herself but is perfectly fine with me getting one, and aware that this means inevitably that she has one too. She will have no problem at enforcing dog laws I set in place though, she will probably be the one reminding me to stay tough. Corgis are the only breed that make her go ooo aawwww eeeeh and for this reason I really started researching owning a corgi. (plus I grew up with a corgi mutt) I would love any dog and to have 12 of them but for her, I think getting a corgi would mean she would bond WAY more with it. So I am kind of hoping that you guys can tell me that a corgi will work for me!
Dogs bark. We are two young girls living in LA and our old apartment was broken into and tons of photo gear stolen. A dog would have certainly deterred them coming in while we were asleep. I dont mind my dog letting me know somebody is coming up our steps and at our door. However, we live in an apartment and as a good neighbor I want to be sure that with consistency a corgi can learn when are appropriate times to bark and when to listen to me that I've heard it and he/she has done their job, hush! The building next to us has a very untrained pit who lives outside 24/7 and barks at neighbors closing windows, talking, anything... so the noise of a dog in LA wont be new but I dont want my dog to learn that dogs bad habits or to be the loud dog.
Dogs are all over LA. I am aware that dog parks will be a big part of keeping my dog well exercised. I dont need a dog that is best buds I just cant have a dog that shows aggression. I grew up with a corgi mutt who was not friendly with other dogs and have heard this can be a real problem for them. I just want my dog to be able to hike with me at the off leash trails right on the edge of the city or play in a dog park without stress. I walked two aggressive dogs in these trails for work for a month and it was NO FUN for anyone. Like I said, I dont need a dog who loves to make friends and I dont intend to be the absent minded dog owner in the dog park but I need a dog to play nice. I want to be able to sit with my dog at cafe and not have it lunging at passing dogs.
I am very excited to get a dog. We had to put our last family pet to sleep in February, our sassy cat Milli. She NEVER liked dogs (neighbors accidentally rescued a pregnant cat so we saw her hissing at their dog at 2 weeks) so a dog was never an option. Have been waiting till the fear of loosing a pet is smaller than the joy of having one. So I am FULLY aware of the ridiculous expenses that can come up, and I am willing to pay, for a pet. Getting the pet isnt the issue its whether this is the right pet.
I am SO excited to train, and socialize, and get myself a new best friend. Sorry for the longest first post ever. The corgi I grew up with
phew! This is good to hear. I know I am going to get a puppy because I know I have the time and patience but also I have hopes that growing up in an apartment and all that comes with it (noise, crate training, lots of neighborhood dogs, etc) will make my dog more appropriate for that type of lifestyle than an older or rescue corgi.
How old was your dog when he had the bad dog park experience?
He was just under a year when it happened. He had one other experience several months after with a husky and that kind of sealed his personality. It was a bad situation because he was attacked and broke his leg so we couldn't go back to the dog park for several months. So basically I didn't have the opportunity to bring him back and have him interact with safe friendly dogs shortly after the incident so I think it made the whole situation much more traumatic to him. Its sad because he is VERY social and I can tell he does love other dogs, he wags his whole body and pins his ears and gets so excited, but he is so unsure that he goes into protection mode first, if the dog tolerates his snippy behavior without incident then he will slowly progress to playing, but he has never (and I don't think he will ever) been ok with big groups of dogs again after the incident.
He has also never lived anywhere but an apartment, well 4 to be exact lol. Until I moved to my current location he never had a yard and was perfectly happy going on walks and to the park, beach, or river everyday. He is an excellent apartment dog because I can still play inside with him on rainy days and get some of that energy out, if he were a bigger dog there's no way we could play chase or fetch in a small apartment.
aw man, i dont blame the little dude! I would be scared to go back too!
Like motorcycles dog parks seem to be the same that it is never you and your dogs that you worry about, but the other dogs. You can drive safely until some semi comes plowing through.
Do you have any friends with good dogs? It may be a great place to start! To make that good dog friend and go from there.
SO SO SO SO good to hear that a corgi can be good apartment dog! I think its sealed, Im getting a corgi.
Hi Caitlin, welcome! The OCD is strong, isn't it? I had known Corgis before, but when we were at our vacation house in Montana 2 summers ago I met 2 Corgis that I absolutely fell in love with (can't resist that Corgi-smile!) Last Christmas my hubby gave me a leash with a note that said, "you will need this when you find the one you want!" I decided summer would be best to bring a fuzzy-baby into our home since I am a teacher and would be off all summer, BUT that didn't keep me from contacting many, many breeders and learning as much as I could. I also became a member of this site and started asking questions, just like you did! It was a long wait but I found a breeder that I connected very well with and let her know exactly what I needed in a puppy. Even though the breeder was 300 miles away, she was able to help me select "the" one. We picked up "Story" at the end of May and this little girl has shown me that I will only have Corgis from now on!
You have received some great advice so far, socialization is so important! Story has met friends at puppy school, one dog in particular is her best, best friend! Story comes on a little strong, not aggressively, but she has a strong personality, so she freaks smaller dogs out (she has a Yorkie cousin, and it took them awhile to get used to each other, but now they are buds.) As far as barking goes, yes, they bark! However, I took the advice of a famous trainer, Ian Dunbar (SIRIUS puppy training, you can find the series on YouTube), and we taught Story to "speak" because then you can also teach them "quiet". Like the other Corgis on this site, she is an alert barker and will tell you when something is out of place. When my husband is out of town she is even more alert and protective. She will be quiet though, (I use the same as another member, "Thank you Story, I see it!") We have a dog in our neighborhood that barks all the time and it does not seem to set her off, at all. The only thing she has done that I've had to correct is barking at people or dogs when we are on a walk. She didn't do it aggressively, it's as if she was saying, "Hey, look at me! HI!!" I do carry a pheromone spray with me on walks and have only had to use it a couple times (if she does not respond to "quiet" I will press the spray can and the noise + smell deters her from barking.)
One of the important things about Corgis is that most of them are very social and need a lot of attention from their family, and they love routine. Story adjusted well to being home part of the day alone (she has an x-pen in the kitchen) but when we get home she DEMANDS attention. She gets a walk and lots of playtime (we are talking hours of playtime) of fetch, tug-of-war, going somewhere in the car, integrated with training time. Another thing to know about Corgis is that most of them LOVE food. Story was fussy at first, and I hand fed her in the beginning. I had read that Corgis LOVED to eat, but didn't initially see that with her (except certain treats). Then just before 6 months the Corgi appetite became very apparent, she would inhale her food then act as if she hadn't been fed. This means there needs to be great communication between you and anyone else that may feed your dog, because your dog will SWEAR that she hasn't been fed! LOL! Story gets breakfast from her bowl but I put her dinner in a variety of food toys to slow her down and make her work for it a bit.
Corgis are "independent thinkers" so consistency on your part (and your sister) is very important! I would highly recommend a puppy training class. Not only is it great socialization, but just knowing you will be going every week makes you continue to practice and train every week. Story and I are on our 3rd class (advanced) and she is almost 7 months old. You can start looking for training facilities and observing to find one that is a good fit (preferably one that uses positive reinforcement). We just go to PetSmart, and I really like it.
I'm happy you have considered the long-term commitment and cost of bringing a dog into your life. Corgi puppies are extremely adorable and they are wonderful companions for a long time to come. Like many purebred dogs, Corgis can develop various health problems which may become quite costly in the future. It is also likely that you and your Corgi will be expanding your family some day (your future spouse, children) so please look at your future self, too and be certain that you can give your pup a forever home! Corgis are amazing family dogs, Story loves her kids (and all the kids on the soccer team, too!)
LOL, talk about a long post! Good luck to you and keep us posted! ^..^
I love a long post! Keep 'em coming!
Great advice. Definitely training classes!
I love love love the idea of giving one of the meals in treats. Especially on days where I have to run out and put them in the kennel around meal time. Keep yourself occupied for an hour or so with kong dinner, nap for an hour, then I am home!
I am definitely open for the idea of traveling for my forever friend from the right breeder. I live in LA but am from Reno Nevada so pretty much anywhere from here to there I am willing to go (which is most of california) Plus I have a feeling I can find just as great of dogs but for a bit less money in Reno as opposed to everything pricey Los Angeles. (so any breeder recommendations are welcome!)
Thanks! I am sure to post more questions soon!
You've already gotten really good advice so I'll just play the devil's advocate. If for some reason your corgi ended up being dog aggressive, or barked a lot, or your sister was allergic, do you have a back up plan? Are you going to be okay with it? I'm not trying to discourage you from getting a corgi at all, but sometimes things happen and it doesn't work out quite as planned.
This is a GREAT question, and a very serious reality. Made me kinda sweat thinking about it haha.
We will get hooked on allergy meds, dog stays completely out of her room then (which will probably be the rules anyway). Most of the dogs I have ever owned or walked have been dog aggressive - it would be a big bummer to not be able to socialize with other dogs and their owners but I have no problem with hikes in leashed areas and dog parks at the wee hours of the morning when no one else is there for the big exercise. I'd pray that my neighbors would understand the barking but as I will probably do anyway I will be looking for a guest house or small home to share with others so there isnt as much shared walls with neighbors. The WORST back up plan which I am not ok with is that my mom certainly or maybe my dad would take the dog. My mom has a really friendly dog and a massive yard, my dad doesn't have a dog but the last dog he had was our corgi mutt and he lives in dog heaven surrounded by mountains and a lake. Both of them have said they would happily take my dog if I ended up traveling/working for a few months (I am an aspiring actor, so its something I have factored in.) Or even the worst - for whatever reason I can not take care of the dog anymore, my parents would happily step up. I hate this idea of giving my dog up to my parents or notorious dog rescuing aunt but I at least know whatever pet I get would never ever end up in a shelter. I can't stand people who agree to get a family member but ditch the dog as soon as it gets tough. People would be real mad if you gave a kid up for adoption because they misbehaved!
Welcome to the crazy Corgi family. I have a couple points to bring up with regard to Corgi's. Each one is very different. Our first, Sherlock, was a terrific herder for our 2 year old son. He would not let him step foot out of our sod or driveway. He played frisbee and fetch for hours. Please note, he had to be put down due to eating items which were not food. He started chewing on plastic toys, which he passed fine. However, he moved on to palm tree nuts, from our Florida palm trees which became trapped between his large and small intestines. After 3 incidents and very expensive surgeries, he ate another palm nut and our vet told us he could not do another surgery. It was so sad and very difficult to put a 2 year old pup down. These palm nuts are ALL over here and my current Corgi's dont like them at all, so he was an anomaly. But watch your shoes, baseboards, toilet paper rolls...anything they can reach they will chew.
Our breeder then gave us Dana who was 6 months old, to replace him. We had her for 13 years and she was a love. She never barked, EVER. We actually wondered if there was something wrong with her. We had an appraisal done at our home and she barked at the gentleman who came. We all looked at each other as we had never heard her bark before. Needless to say, I cancelled the appointment and asked him to leave. My feeling was for her to bark, something wasn't right. She did not play at all, but wanted loves and cuddles and long long walks. She was attacked several times by a neighbor's dog, who finally had to be put down (after 14 attacks on other dogs). She was never friendly with other dogs after the attacks. And who can blame her. She lived to be 14 and was a great Corgi.
Currently we have a 1/2 brother - sister combo from a breeder in Central Florida. Ryno and Wrigley are my babies. My kids (18 & 15) say I spend my time and energy with them, and love them more. I tell them, well, it's because they arent sassy teenagers and the love on me any time I want.
Feeding can be a challenge as they like to eat quickly and can choke or regurgitate. Our breeder recommended getting 3-5 pool table balls. We put them in a divided bowl, the food falls around it and it forces them to around the balls and slow down. They make bowls with a similar arrangement, but this is easier to clean for me. Diet is critical for Corgi's so check when you get yours and buy small bags of grain free type natural dog foods till you find one your dog likes and is good with her/his digestion. Our male, Ryno got overweight so we give less kibble and add frozen organic green beans to every feeding. They both love the green beans, it fills them up and they get some nutrition from it too. Make sure you are careful with treats and food around Corgi's. It is the one time they will get very aggressive and nasty. They like their food!
Potty training tips: We never used the potty pads as we have tile so it made more mess than cleaning up a little piddle or poo (or a lot with 2 puppies). However, we fed them and immediately walked them afterwards till they got the message. I also recommend having your puppy cage trained. We sent our breeder several small BABY blankets which each member of our family took turns sleeping with so she could get them used to our scent. When we picked them up, they recognized our smell and weren't shy. Then those blankets went into their cages with them. We had no crying at all. Every time they go into their cage they get a small treat and never protest being put up. Hang a bell on a cord next to the door. Ring it every time you take your pup out to potty and it will learn to ring the bell to go out. Corgi's are VERY smart. Absolutely CAGE train them.
I hope you have great success finding a reputable breeder. Most Corgi breeder's will take back one of their dogs if for any reason things don't work out. That is an important question to ask when you interview. Also, find out how many litters the bitch has had and how many she will have before retiring from breeding. My breeder didn't allow more than 4-5 per bitch to keep them healthy and from being breeding machines.
I know you are focusing on a puppy, who can resist those little fat corgi pups with no legs? So cute. But check with Corgi rescue groups in your area. You might find your perfect match and not have to potty train. Most rescue groups have foster homes for their corgi's so you can visit, they can visit you and interview you to make sure it is a good fit. The foster family usually knows the personality and little things about the dog (kid friendly, barks, likes cats, food preferences, play preferences, swims etc) since they have had them in their own home.
This is all amazing information!
Noted on the palm tree droppings - we have them all over in LA too and the boxer labs I used to walk always tried to eat them - those dogs were big enough to digest them whole. I think the 'leave it' command will be key as we are city dwellers. Lots of stuff on the streets I don't want my dog going near.
We had a ridiculously obese cat (I think he had thyroid issues) but we did a rock in the bowl the same way. I will remember that for my future pooch! I will try to make carrots the ideal treat for my pooch to cut calories!
I live in an apartment with a sister who is 100% ok with me getting a dog but loves the idea of being able to put it in a crate when I am not home and she can't watch them. It just makes sense for an apartment puppy to learn how to be content in a crate. Love the baby blanket idea! (until they start eating the blanket)
Sounds like a Corgi is a good match for you. It's too difficult to say how much barking your Corgi may make. Our dog does not bark at all unless she is hungry or wants to go out and that's only if you ask her.
As long as you can put the time into walking and training which it sounds like you can do easily, go for it and post pictures!
All the Corgi's I know get along with other dogs and people.
Lulu, my Cardigan Welsh Corgi, is famous for her tenderness and friendliness in our neighborhood. Although female Cardigan are usually more dominate and guarded, socialization for sure makes a huge difference. I visited my breeder and her farm so I could see in what kind of environment she raised her dogs. I also had a chance to see how Lulu interacted w/ other puppies and dogs before adopting her. When she was little, I brought her to nearby parks every day so she got exposed to people and dogs continuously.
Lulu used to be a barker. Now I am using a barking collar (Citronella Anti-Bark Dog Collar), which has discouraged her from barking. She still makes sounds or tries to talk to me but she has learned to keep her volume down.
So how you raise your dog is the key; the breed is not the only factor.
babyproof your home, keep all food garbage locked-up, watch your visitors.