Hi everyone! We just recently adopted a black-headed tri Pem from a shelter. It's been a week to be exact, and Vivi, as we named him, has made tons of progress since he first set foot in our house. At first, he was very timid and withdrawn, but still followed us to be in the same room. It's understandable since he had just been neutered that day. He was very sore and stiff for a few days, and hardly wanted to move (except on walks, lol), but he wanted to sit with us and cuddle all day. His suture site and testicular area (not sure what to call it, but since he was intact until 1 year old, it had developed fully, so the sack is still there) was very bruised as well.

He wouldn't eat the food the shelter gave us (Pedigree) and wouldn't eat the mixed in Wellness kibble either so we were worried something was wrong. He would eat some kibble from my hand, but seemed to like the Wellness better, so I tried taking out all the Pedigree and he finally ate the whole bowl of Wellness! I guess he just hated that cheap stuff, hehe. So we ended up switching him to his new food right away, and he did fine with the transition.

He also had no interest in playing, even when we met him before his surgery, which worried me a little. I also noticed that he seemed to have a cold, with a little bit of clear mucus dripping from his nose, sneezing, and an occasional cough. It worried me enough to ask the vet for a prescription (of an antibiotic which he recommended) to be sent to our nearby pharmacy, but when I found out that it was $90 I decided to wait it out since it really wasn't that bad yet. Anyway, that has cleared up completely now on it's own, so I'm relieved.

A few days ago, my brother and a friend from college came over for the weekend, and they're pretty big guys with wide shoulders and deep, loud voices. Vivi was so scared of them, he eliminated when he was approached. I told them to leave him alone and to try to keep their voices down to see if he might warm up. Right now, he's still scared of them and is a little frightened when they move suddenly or hears them from another room, but at least he's not shaking or hiding anymore, and hasn't eliminated in the house since. He just won't get too close. So far, this is the only problem we're having with Vivi, and it's weird because he didn't act like this at all when he first met my husband. Does anyone have suggestions?

We're also a little concerned that he's too skinny. Could someone tell me if it looks like he needs to gain some weight from these pictures? If he does, I'm sure it won't be hard to get some weight on him though. :)


Laying down:

Side view:

Anyway, while my brother and friend were still here, I tried playing with him with a stuffed loofa dog and he actually started playing with me! He played tug a little (I was sure not to let him win) and fetch and it made me so happy I was almost in tears! It was so great to see his little nub wagging for the first time. And while I was at work, and my husband was at home, he told me that he ran in circles in the back yard and played with his toy on his own. My little boy was frapping! Then last night I caught him on video playing with his toy by himself.

After what I saw today, I know he is definitely a normal corgi! I took him for a long walk with some running in the grassy park areas near our house and when we got home, I took him out back to furminate him. After I was done, he started frapping around again! It was too funny! He would charge full speed at the wall and turn just in time, and weave between our furniture out there, kicking up dust behind him the whole time. It lasted several minutes. I wish I could have gotten a video of it, but there will be more chances I'm sure. :)

Overall, Vivi is the best dog I've ever had. He's so sweet and loving. He loves to be with us and cuddle, which I hear isn't that normal for a corgi this young. He has no bad manners, is good on walks, house trained, crate trained, cuddly, adorable, funny, and has short legs. What else can I ask for? We love him.

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Comment by Mary on December 1, 2009 at 7:29pm
Congrats again Abbea! I love your videos that you've put up too. He doesn't look too skinny. I keep an eye on Nibbler, who was kinda skinny when we first got her. A good rule is that their waist should tuck in slightly when looking at them from above. Whenever strangers meet Nibbler they are shocked to see a smaller corgi, and I hear of lot of "our friends corgi is at least twice that size". Also feel along the rib cage. You should be able to feel them a little but they shouldn't be protruding. Nibbler was also very shy when we first got her so we did what others have already commented on. We cut up tiny pieces of pupperoni (her favorite treat) and brought them with us and had new people give her a treat. Another thing that helped was giving her a "safe space" with a bone when first introducing her to new people. The first time she went out, she went to a pool party with us. She would get treats from a few people and then so she wasn't overwhelmed, we put her in her kennel with a chew toy for a little bit.
Comment by Alyssa & Chris W. on November 30, 2009 at 3:07pm
I'm so glad you rescued him. He's so cute and he sounds like you have been able to help him relax a little. He looks so happy in his pictures and in the video. I'm glad he's eating and playing. I know it'll only get better and better as time goes on. Congratulations on your progress and please keep posting updates. :o)
Comment by Kristin, Honey, and Hooch on November 27, 2009 at 3:46am
Vivi is a total darling! He's so cute! What a beautiful dog, and lucky you to get him out of the shelter. :) My girl Honey came out of the shelter, too, and she's turned out to be an utterly fantastic dog. He does look a bit underweight to me--see how he does in the next few weeks on his new food and he should fill out some more. I wouldn't feed him more than "normal", though.

The suggestion of having men throw him treats, approach him slowly, and so on is a very good one, and other comments elaborated on that a bit more. It's not uncommon for dogs to have a fear response to large men, and I think with some time, training, and socialization he'll gradually get more comfortable around different types of people. Keep in mind, adjustment times for rehomed dogs can vary considerably, so his personality may take a month or more to fully blossom and for him to become more confident. It sounds like he's adjusting well so far, though. Just be patient with him! I'm sure you will. :)

I'm really glad you love him so much already, and I hope he continues to adjust gracefully and become happier and happier. I'm sure he's thrilled to end up in such a loving home. He's such a beautiful boy, I can't get enough of looking at his pictures!
Comment by Abbea and Vivi on November 26, 2009 at 6:02pm
We're at my parents' house now and Vivi is doing really well! At first he was very skittish around their dogs (a Shih-tzu and a Lhasa Apso/Yorkie Mix) who followed him all over the place and wanted to sniff. Once everyone calmed down, he actually started playing a little with the Shih-tzu. Their other dog is 10+ years old, and very overweight, so he doesn't play or really like other dogs up in his face, so he actually likes how Vivi isn't extremely playful and I think they're pretty much friends too. He's also still scared around strangers, but I've been taking some of your advice and having the ones he's afraid of give him some really good treats. My mom kept accidentally dropping breadcrumbs while making stuffing and she also gave him a small piece of turkey, so he likes her the most out of all the new people he's met. I think he's going to be fine, and he's turning out to be a great dog!
Comment by John Wolff on November 25, 2009 at 12:20am

Al & Gwynn

Comment by Abbea and Vivi on November 24, 2009 at 9:06pm
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions everyone! We have some drainage areas disguised as parks and Vivi seemed to love running around the grass there, up and down the hills on the sides. I'll encourage him to do that to build his muscle up.

He took some food from the friend today, so hopefully he'll get better with that.
Comment by Jane Christensen on November 24, 2009 at 8:51pm
Sounds like things couldn't be better for 1 week! I bet a month from now he will be used to big men and deep voices and everything else he is afraid of right now! He is a very handsome boy! As for the weight as others have said he's on a good food and don't overfeed and I think Beth's suggestion about him building up some muscle seems correct too! Can't wait to hear some new adventures!
Comment by Beth on November 24, 2009 at 7:48pm
Good for you! Vivi is a very handsome boy. I agree with the great suggestion about men tossing him treats. The secret is to toss the treat at a distance where the dog is comfortable and not force him to come closer. But also give it some time; we got our girl Madison as an adult. She's a retired show dog and when we brought her here she seemed petrified of big dogs; she'd back up to the end of the leash or hide behind me. I talked to her breeder/prior owner who could not recall her being afraid of big dogs before, and within about 2 weeks to a month the fear pretty much disappeared on its own; I think she just lacked confidence. A dog thinks in terms of "pack" and when one is placed with a brand-new pack, it can make them seem shy and fearful when that may not really be the case.

As for his weight, it looks like he could gain maybe 2 pounds or so, but I would just let it happen naturally. He looks like he's lacking any muscle tone at all so build up his exercise gradually. If you can do some hill work (walking/trotting up and down long gradual hills) he'll build his back end up in a hurry. Better to put on muscle weight than fat! I agree with just feeding him normally (about a cup of kibble a day, divided into two feedings, is the average for an adult and a tiny bit more for a dog who has not reached its full size) and let him build up slowly on his own. Don't have a goal of "weight gain" because Corgis as a rule gain very quickly and lose rather slowly.

Good luck with your lovely boy!
Comment by Nancy Geddes on November 24, 2009 at 7:29pm
What a precious black headed tri! It seems like such a win/win event for you! Give Vivi time and encouragement and he will blossom. My daughter has two rescued corgis and they have taken a wee bit extra time to come out of their shells; but the results have been heartwarming! John's suggestion is really excellent - have big guy with big voice and great treats. We look forward to hearing about Vivi's adventures!!!! All the best, Nancy, Bear, Tasha and Linus
Comment by Alice on November 24, 2009 at 6:29pm

I'm glad Vivi is settling in. He'll get more and more comfortable, he just needs time and encouragement. When my Mom got her Cardi he was about 10 months old and he was very shy and wouldn't play or bark. He became more outgoing and comfortable over time. I think it took him about a month or more before he showed his true colors. He remained well behaved but did new things like bark, venture upstairs on his own, greet people at the door etc.

I agree that he will need to be shown that he can trust people and perhaps men should come baring treats. he needs to confront his fears and see that he'll be ok. When Finn sees something that scares him such as a box on the sidewalk (this happened a few days ago) he'll growl and back off. I go up and touch the object then let him smell my hand, then I leave one hand on the object and extend the other hand to him and he'll inch closer and closer until he's sniffing the object (if he sees that I;m not afraid or in any danger it seems to lessen his fear). You could try something like this with him. Maybe get your brother to sit on the floor, lure Vivi in with a treat then continue as I do with Finn and reward him when he gets very close or sniffs them and especially if he allows your brother to pet him.He'll get over his fears.

As for his weight, he does seem a bit underweight. I would feed him as you normally would and see how he progresses. I wouldn't give him food in excess just to get his weight up. he is still young and doesn't look like he has filled out so that is a part of it. They tend to look very long and skinny until they mature and fill out. Think of a teenage boy and the way they shoot up in height and look lanky and awkward. By two he should be looking more filled out.

Anyway, everything you are doing sounds great. I'm glad you finally got your Corgi. He sounds great and I hope we'll see you and Vivi at a meet up in the near future. :)

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