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
It sounds like you have really done your homework and that is good! You seem to be looking at Corgis for the right reasons. They are great hiking buddies, but don't need much running and so are happy with leash dogs.
If you get from a good breeder and socialize extensively, there is a good chance a Corgi will be good with other dogs. They don't have a strong tendency to be dog-aggressive per se, but they do tend to be dominant and pushy with strange dogs and can be territorial with them around the house. I was determined to avoid this and so I 1) told the breeder that we lived in an area with lots of dogs and other activity and so wanted a dog who was not likely to be fearful, and 2) socialized the heck out our puppy when we got him. Both my Corgis are good with other dogs. One can be a little snarky on-leash, but she is a female and I have found that is often true of female dogs of many breeds. Both of them are routinely off-leash with other dogs of all sizes and I never worry, though I do supervise initial meetings with the female and keep her leashed around dogs that have a low tolerance for crowding (she likes to run right up near other dogs faces and bark).
My bigger concern would be the barking. Corgis are quick to sound the alarm. You can train them to settle down once you assess the situation, but it is much harder to teach them not to bark at all when they hear or see something. One of mine barks whenever someone walks down the street, the other one whenever she hears another dog. Both tend to bark a lot when they play. Remember that a barking dog can seriously limit your housing options. It is difficult to eliminate hard-wired behaviors, and barking is definitely hard-wired in a lot of Corgis.
Every breed has its good points and bad, and it's a matter of weighing what you can tolerate. I posted a short article in the FAQ that you may find helpful:
Thanks for the reply! I had originally wanted a girl pup thinking they'd be less dominant but with research seems its the opposite. Do you find the males tend to be quieter and less dominant than females?
A big part why it's important I have a dog who can be nice is because I have so many friends with dogs. Its not unlikely when a friday night at a friends house turns into more of a dog party. The dogs that would be around most would be the silent old mini poodle who ignores all dogs and people besides his Nathan (thought this one would be a great first socializing since the poodle could care less about other dogs) the older border collie who is totally mellow and friendly but not afraid to let other dogs know when she has had enough invasion of space (the next in line for socializing) and finally the insane Boston Terror (yes, terror, not terrier. usually the one the border collie has to tell to back off) who is the friendliest and craziest guy in the world (the last to be introduced since he can be a lot to handle for all dogs and people). So I have friends who would love to help me socialize in safe places before we ever go to the dog park (I've heard people dont recommend it early on since they can have a fearful and life changing experience plus shots for puppies). Like I said, I dont think I need a dog that LOVES other dogs and I definitely don't mind having to keep my corgi occupied with games and a constantly moving hiker to keep down on any herding (though maybe one of my other friends dog who I dont see as much would be perfect best friends since that dog LOVES to be chased)
Barking is my biggest concern too. Even before the idea of a dog came my sister and I have fantasized about getting another roommate and moving into some of the amazingly reasonable houses a little further out of the city. All things point to my life getting more dog friendly rather than less. However, I have been prepping my sister already with comments about the 'negative' sides of corgi's so she is prepared as well. I think she would be so sad if I got any other kind but a corgi so its important she knows what she is asking for.
I would not set your heart on either male or female. Tell the breeder what you want and let her pick the pup. Our female is sweet, submissive, a cuddler and a people-pleaser. Our male is pushy and bossy and thinks he knows best. On the other hand, Jack is bomb-proof with other dogs and is a real nanny-dog (quick to respond to trouble--think Lassie with short legs), while Maddie is a bit of an air-head and does not read situations very well, and so sometimes gets herself into jams which she has no idea how to get out of.
In general, I think with Corgis the males tend to be easier than the females but every dog is different and there is a wide variety of personalities. It sounds like you want "happy-go-lucky" and the breeder can pick the most tolerant pup in the bunch.
My dog was the runt of the litter, so to compensate for that she turned into a super alpha female. She does fine at the dog park, she loves to play with dogs of all sizes and she can hold her own with the biggest of dogs. The only problem I have, which is probably from a lack of training and correction, is that she has issues when she's indoors with other dogs. She gets extremely territorial and bossy which is why I can't have other dogs at my house. As for bringing her to other homes, that's an issue too. As soon as she steps foot into another home, she takes charge. I should have worked harder to correct this issue. But I know of other corgis that don't have this problem, so if you stay on top of your training, you should be fine.
I got my reply all typed out, then saw your link to the picture, looked at it, came back and my reply was gone. Argh!
Your childhood pet looks like a very happy guy. I think that they can be trained not to bark excessively and it sounds like you will not be kicked out while you are training. We have a new neighbor with a barking dog and ours just ignore her completely. Snickers really only barks when she is excited, which is most common when someone comes home or my heavy footed son comes down stairs, and when she plays. I think for a neighbor, these short bursts of barking are much more tolerable than a dog that incessantly barks all day.
I don't feel that it is healthy to ignore OCD, once you have it, it is in the best interest of you and your sister to get a corgi and relieve the suffering. Perhaps a breeder can steer you toward a pup who is less vocal?
HAHA! I agree that this OCD is most likely going away only if I give into it.
I love the idea of rescue for a dog but the more research I do the more I realize I probably will be spending the extra money and time looking for a good breeder and the right pup. Our cat had health issues, diabetes and heart problems most likely because she was product of a stray cat party (she was the only one in her litter who didnt have an extra toe, though those big paws are cute, definitely a sign of some sketchy DNA lol) The idea of a dog who has good health and happy dogs in their history sounds very appealing, though there is no guarantee, I'll save my rescue dogs for when I live in a more appropriate place to have dogs and more experience owning them.
Definitely correct that I trust our neighbors will be pretty forgiving, we don't have an on site manager and everyone in the building is pretty easy going and friendly. I'm convinced if I just make sure everyone knows its my adorable puppy making all the noise they will be a little more forgiving.
I have known some other cats that way so I knew it was a typical odd mutation that happens. Her siblings all looked SO different too. I hear cats can be pregnant with different males kittens if it happens all around the same time. A gray fluffy guy with blue eyes, a taby, an orange one, spots, stripes... Silly!
I think a corgi would be wonderful for you, if you consider the following:
1) Corgi's are "Alert" dogs. This means that if something is amiss, they will bark. They will definitely let you know if there is any danger. Sometimes this is as much as a garbage can being out of place. I would worry a little about the neighbor's dog barking, this will usually set mine off. But that being said, my corgi's are good about stopping when I tell them to, although they usually have to get the last word in before they stop.
2) IF you socialize well, then issues with other dogs should be minimum. Corgi's are bossy, but everyone is different- they will try to herd the other dogs at the dog park. Mine are well socialized, and the only aggression comes from other dogs attacking first. Be sure to go to lots of classes, obedience, agility--whatever. Keep them around other dogs at first and you should be OK.
3) Be sure your sister knows about the hair. They shed- everywhere. There will be hair in your food, your drink, your toothbrush, your bed, your clothes...everywhere.
4) The most important part is that you are the boss. You HAVE to be the boss. If you don't, then you have a monster of a dog. Like I said, they are bossy, and you MUST let them know that they cannot just do whatever they wish. Corgis are wonderful dogs though if well adjusted.
I have never regretted owning one. My days are fun-filled, full of laughter. I love their personality and their attitudes. Yesterday I was trying to work from home, and Seanna was at her dog bed in the front of the house at her spot looking out the window, where she spends all of her day if nothing else is going on. She was raising cane, which of course started the whole pack off. (I have four, plus my parents dog right now). I kept yelling at them to shut up, and nothing was working. So I went stomping in there, telling them that I bet when I got there there wasn't going to be anything to bark at. Lo and behold, the neighbors up the street were walking their two corgis in front of our house. Boy, did I get "the look". She threw me the "I told you so" stare. So of course I had to praise her and tell her she was a good girl.
If you take everything in to consideration, and are willing to do the work involved to be a responsible dog owner, then I look forward to welcoming you to corgi ownership.
Jennifer, you raise a very good point about telling her she is good for "proper" alert barking.
Jack is my alert barker (Maddie is content to play second fiddle and usually only joins in raising the alarm if there is a lot of noise outside or other dogs besides Jack are barking; she figures he has the situation under control).
I have had the most success by saying "Thank you Jack, I see it. Good boy" when there is something there, so then on the rare occasion when he is barking at something that he should not be I can just tell him "no". Since he knows I acknowledge what he sees, he's pretty good at learning not to bark at certain things like the mailman that are no cause for alarm.
Once I acknowledge him with a "thank you" and a look out the window, he usually stops. Corgis are, as you say, alert barkers and don't tend to bark just to hear their own voices like some dogs will.
I like this. One of the many reasons I prefer corgis or any working dog for that matter. They are doing a job. It makes sense to me that your dog will stop when you have payed attention to what he is telling you.
Ha! Love the story of Seanna knowing better about when to be alert. I think I would be bored with a dog who just listened and behaved all the time. Every pet I have owned (with the exception of the fat orange cat also in that photo) has been a little snarky friend with a BIG personality. I loved my cat who one moment would be purring and loving and the next be grabbing your hand and ready to play fight. A big personality is a must. It sounds like all corgis have plenty of that.
I have been allergic to animals my whole life but just cant stop rubbing my face in them! I'd take watery eyes, a stuffy nose, and washing my hands and face a million times any day if it means I get to have my pets. My sister and I have discussed we would take the tumble weeds that corgis provide over the bristly stubble of a lab any day. A quality vacuum is a purchase I will make in these next few months while I am holding off buying the dog. I have fond childhood memories of pulling out those tufts of hair sticking out of my dogs fur and Trusty didn't play fetch and we werent allowed to play tug o' war so most of my 'playing' with the dog involved me brushing him or training him haha.
About being the Boss, I am ready to set down corgi law. I read constantly about Corgis being smarter than their owners and I look forward to the challenge. The biggest issues I see is when all people in the house dont follow the rules and since my sister is far less partial to dogs I think she will be more than happy to lay down law as well. I think I speak dog better than I speak human so I think this understanding I have will be an asset.
Thank you for the help!
I think the main thing with corgis is proper socialization. I too heard that corgis were not friendly with other dogs, but in all honesty pretty much every corgi I have ever met in person is super outgoing and friendly. It has a lot to do with how they were raised. If you get a puppy from a responsible breeder who did the socializing while it was young, then continue with the socializing and puppy classes as the pup grows I don't think that will be an issue. One issue though is that corgis, being a big dog in a small body, tend to not fit in real well at dog parks because they are too big for the small dog area yet too small for the big dog area. Franklin used to LOVE dog parks and we went everyday. He got along best with the big dogs but one day was mauled by two great danes and has never been the same since. I can't even go in a dog park now without hiim becoming snappy and protective out of fear. He is still great one on one with other dogs and we frequently go to cafes for lunch and everyone loves to pet him and let their doggies sniff him and that's fine, but he is no longer a dog park dog.
With the barking, Franklin isn't a constant barker, he does alert bark and he barks A LOT when he plays, but he doesn't just sit at home and bark. Like with the socializing, a lot of how a dog is going to be at home is how its raised. If you raise him used to being in a crate, used to be left alone at times, he/she should be fine at home and not bark constantly. Most of the time constant barking is from separation anxiety or lack of exercise/interaction. I wouldn't think it would be a problem for you.