by Steffi Trott,
Corgis are adorable, smart, loyal, devoted … However, they also have one not-so-desirable characteristic, and this is their tendency to show reactivity. The Queen’s Corgis are actually known for repeatedly biting staff, and everyone who has met a few Corgis knows that they can become quite grumpy with strangers as they age.
The good news is that you can prevent reactivity from occurring by following a few rules in raising your Corgi:
Exposure, Exposure, Exposure
It is very important that you expose your Corgi puppy to as many different people, dogs and situations as possible during the first few months of his life. Take him wherever you go: To coffee shops, to parks, to restaurant patios, to friends’ houses, to outdoor malls, to the post office etc. The more your puppy can see and learn that people and dogs are just another part of life, the better.
Help Him Keep His Boundaries
Corgis are super cute, which can become a problem. Strangers are magically attracted to them, and want to touch, hold and cuddle every Corgi they come across. Corgis however often do not like this at all and prefer to just be left alone. Help your Corgi set his boundaries by kindly but firmly telling strangers that your dog does not want to be petted. If you see your Corgi straining to get away, trying to hide behind you or pinning back his ears it means it’s time for you to step in and help him!
Taking your Corgi to weekly training classes will make a huge difference in how well he tolerates people and dogs. The consistent exposure and positive experiences that come from weekly classes will form a lasting association in your dog’s brain, and have him actually look forward to seeing all his friends during the lessons.
In my time as a dog trainer, I have actually never seen any Corgi that attended my puppy classes become a reactive dog later in life. Corgis also are very smart and enthusiastic learners that often go on to complete tricks or agility classes after their initial obedience course.
Know When To Leave
If you are ever in a situation in which your Corgi seems overwhelmed and does not stop barking, lunging or growling – just leave. It is much better to stop negative experiences as soon as possible, rather than letting your dog rehearse his reactivity and become more and more stressed. The longer he spends in this anxious state of mind, the more likely he is to react the same (or worse!) next time.
Corgis have the potential to become very social, outgoing dogs – just follow the above advice and you will have a happy, adorable companion that you can take anywhere.
Steffi’s Training tips
Steffi Trott, founder of SpiritDog Training, is a dog trainer in Albuquerque, NM and offers local training classes, online classes and online consultation. Ask her questions in the comments below.