Tori is a 28-year-old, three-time animal mom and DIYer living in Northern Atlanta with her boyfriend.
The First Step: Deciding What Kind of Dog We Wanted
I had been begging my boyfriend, Ian, for a dog for at least two years. I already had adopted two cats when we first started dating and wanted a dog. After we moved in together, he eventually gave in and decided it was time!
We started our search in a couple of different ways by deciding what kinds of dogs we liked based on prior experiences, appearance, etc. As we narrowed it down, our main concern was picking a dog that was good with cats. Since this was our first dog, and the cats were four years old at the time, our first priority was the cats and making sure they felt comfortable.
We poured over research about different dog breeds, how they were with cats, how easy they were to train, health issues, adaptability to the south, etc., and we did so much research that my brain physically hurt. One night, I decided to watch dozens of Animal Planet's "Breed All About It" and "Dogs 101" videos on YouTube, and that's how we finally decided on a Corgi. We researched pricing on both types of Corgis—Pembroke and Cardigan. As much as we loved the way a Cardigan looks, they are significantly more expensive than Pembrokes and are less common. We ended up paying $1000 for our Corgi, Parker.
Dogs 101: Animal Planet Corgi Facts
The Reasons We Chose a Corgi Puppy
We ended up going for a Corgi because of a few reasons:
- They are incredibly intelligent dogs. They are very motivated to learn, which makes them pick up on commands incredibly easily.
- They are known to have an easy disposition to cats. Corgis are herding dogs—it's their instinct! As we learned while raising her, she loves to herd the cats.
- We wanted a dog that would be pretty energetic but also not so hyper that he/she would be bouncing off the walls constantly. During our research, we read that Corgis are incredibly energetic puppies but usually calm down a little bit by their third birthday.
- The breed was quite a bit cheaper at the time that we purchased Parker than a lot of the other dog breeds we looked at.
- We wanted a medium-sized dog. At the time, we didn't realize Parker was going to end up being so small, but it ended up working out anyway. Today, she weighs about 20 pounds, which is a perfect size for our kitties!
Where We Found Our Corgi
After we narrowed it down to a Corgi, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out where we wanted to get our future companion. We live in Georgia, so we had to do a lot of online research for breeders and rescues in the area to see what options we had for both adults and puppies.
I was checking the shelters every day for Corgis to show up, but they never did. After a couple of months of this, we finally decided that we would get a puppy, which was also going to be advantageous so we could have total control over the puppy's learning and avoid any possible problems.
We found several reputable breeders in the southeast area and settled on one just outside of Atlanta. We had such a good experience with them! They are a nice family with a farm where they raise both goats and Corgis.
Eventually, we decided on a tri-color female. Most Corgis are actually born with tails and on day three, the tails are often docked to conform with the breed standard. We decided that we didn't want to dock the tail, so we asked for it to be left intact; we were also put on a waitlist for a litter. As soon as it was determined that a tri-color girl was a part of the litter, we were sent a picture of her and the little stinker was set aside for us!
Bringing Our Puppy Home and Teething Problems
At about seven weeks, we were allowed to visit our little puppy for the first time. She was definitely the runt of the litter. Her littermates were twice the size of her, so we knew she was going to be small, but she sure was spunky!
A few weeks later, we were allowed to bring her home, and we started her training from there. Corgis are incredibly smart and get bored easily when they aren't given things to do, so we had to do a good job making sure that she was always entertained. She was also in the process of losing her baby teeth, so she was teething a lot and was constantly chewing. We managed to curb the teething pretty easily by constantly redirecting her to a chew toy, bone, or rawhide if she started getting nibbly on things she wasn't supposed to be nibbling on.
Crate Training Our Puppy
We tried to crate train her at night but my boyfriend's heart couldn't take it. For the first several months, we had her dog bed up in our bed at night so she could grow accustomed to sleeping with us. When she was a few months old, she didn't like sleeping on the bed with us anymore, presumably because she wanted more space, so we put her bed on the floor and she sleeps in that to this day!
We did crate train her while we were at work though, and that was very helpful in her potty training, too. In the mornings, we'd take her out for a walk and potty, then feed her breakfast. When it was time to go in the crate, she would get a puppy-sized Kong full of peanut butter to distract her while we left the room. After she finished the peanut butter, without fail, she would fall asleep and be good until we came back for lunchtime. Staying consistent with this was really what made all the difference with her being fine in the crate and not causing a ruckus.
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Potty Training Our Puppy
As we found out with Parker, she had a very tiny food processing system and had to go out just about every two hours. When she was still really small, we came home to many poop explosions in the crate because we could only come home every four hours. The key was patience—she clearly didn't like pooping in the crate, and when her bowels got big enough to hold for four hours, she grew out of it pretty fast.
During the time that she was potty training, we also bell-trained her, so that when she needed to go outside she could tell us by ringing these bells on the back door and we could let her out immediately. We accomplished this by ringing the bells every time we walked out of the back door with her. It took her a few months to catch on, and she actually only learned after my cat Zeus figured it out. She saw him get to go outside on the line every time he rang the bell and it was like a lightbulb went off in her head.
As she got older, she started to ring the bell when she got bored, so sometimes we wouldn't know if she would need to go outside for real or not. For a while, if she rang the bell, we would get her to come back to us and play with her for a little while to see if that solved it. When she figured out what we were doing, she would go back and ring it again if she really needed to go out. Eventually, we became able to tell the difference in her bell ringing—if she rang it and walked back over to us she wanted to play, and if she rang it and sat next to the door she really needed to go potty.
Now that we've moved to a new place, she only rings the bell if she needs to go potty, and we've been doing this continuously since she was a puppy, so this communication method has sunk in and has become very convenient!
The Cutest Puppy on the Block
Luckily for us, the breeder had done a wonderful job socializing her, so she came already pre-programmed to be amazing with children and other dogs. Seriously, when she sees a child she starts wiggling in excitement and has to go say hello immediately!
We made sure to keep this up by going on nightly walks with the neighbors and their dogs of all sizes, as well as taking her to the dog park which is her favorite past time nowadays.
While socializing dogs is incredibly important, I do want to add a disclaimer that not all dogs like dog parks. If you're not sure, it may be a good idea to keep them leashed the first few times you bring them until you know they are comfortable. If they start lashing out, it may not be a good idea to keep bringing them back to the dog park. Many dogs get incredibly stressed around other dogs, which is how fights in dog parks happen.
Questions & Answers
Question: How did you get your cats to get along with your corgi, Parker? I'm thinking about adopting a corgi puppy but I don't know how my cat will react to one.
Answer: The biggest thing you can do is make sure your cat has plenty of places to get away if she doesn't want to be around the dog. We have cat trees and areas that are cordoned off from the dog. That will help her understand that she still has safe territory and feel safe around your puppy!
Mai on August 19, 2019:
I recently got a corgi and he won’t stop barking and chewing on our ankles. What do we do
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 01, 2018:
I enjoyed learning about corgis and about Parker. She certainly is cute! I'm glad you didn't get her tail docked. I consider tail docking to be a cruel and unnecessary procedure, unless it's medically essential.
ToriM (author) from Atlanta on April 01, 2018:
@Dr Mark you caught me! Corgis are some of the cutest dogs on the planet!
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 31, 2018:
Oh come on and admit it! The real reason that you chose a Corgi is because they are so cute. That picture of Parker plopped down next to the fridge is adorable.