Corgis are known for being smart, energetic, and adorable. Plus, they’re practically royalty: Pembroke Welsh Corgis are a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II.
But they also require some extra love and attention when it comes to exercise, training, and grooming. For tips, we talked to Anne Bowes, the owner of Heronsway Pembroke Welsh Corgis who has bred, raised, and trained more than 135 litters of Corgis over 52 years. Bowes is a member of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America and was the 2007 Herding Group AKC Breeder of the Year.
Growth Stage: Between 8–16 weeks
Training Goal #1: Socialize Corgis Around Other People
Corgis are little socialites. They love spending time with humans, which is why it’s important to get them used to meeting new people. Starting around eight weeks, you need to start socializing your dog around strangers. Bowes recommends taking Corgis to a busy area, like a street corner or park, and stand with the Corgis while traffic, bicyclists, and people go by. Reward Corgis with treats.
“The best thing to do if you have a puppy and you want to socialize them, is take them to a playground when the children are out and just stand there,” said Bowes. “In five minutes, you’ll have a circle of children around that puppy. And that’s what you want.”
Training Goal #2: Get Corgis Used to Grooming
It’s important to get Corgis used to regular grooming immediately.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis have a double coat and they tend to shed on a daily basis. Brushing out your Corgi daily removes dead hair and prevents some of the shedding from getting into your carpet.
Since Corgis have such thick coats, using a blow dryer helps them dry faster. But you need to get them accustomed to blow dryers early. “The sound is what bothers them the most,” said Bowes. Before using a blow dryer on a Corgi, try keeping them in the same room with the blow dryer running. If you don’t want to use the blow dryer on yourself, just run it while the Corgis are in the room. Slowly introduce it and make it as pleasant as possible.
“Pat them and tell them how fabulous they are while you’re blowing them dry, making it as good as an experience for a puppy as possible,” said Bowes.
Grooming sessions need to be something Corgis look forward to, so you want to start creating positive associations early on. Always reward Corgis with a treat and affection after a grooming session.
Training Goal #3: Expose Them to Their Environment
Puppies are naturally curious about the world around them, so it’s perfect time for them to be exposed to their environment and acclimated to activities.
“Whatever it is that they have to endure as an adult dog, they should start learning that as a puppy,” said Bowes. “If they get exposed to it as a puppy, then when they’re an adult, they will accept it.”
For instance, if puppies will need to go on long car rides or out on a boat, they need to experience that a young age.
If you want to participate in dog sports like Barn Hunt or Obedience with your Corgi, you need to introduce them to as many loud noises as possible. Bowes will play a recording of cheering and applause to help acclimate the puppies to the sound. You can even invest in a small set of equipment that dogs can explore at home.
“Start them early, as early as you can,” said Bowes.
Training Goal #4: Teach Your Corgi to Play Fetch
While Corgis are smart dogs, they also need to be physically active. Fetch is an easy way to get Corgis moving.
“Corgis naturally love to fetch. It’s something that they like to do as soon as they’re introduced to it and train to it,” said Bowes.
“The real reason why I [teach fetch] is because one of the health issues in Pembroke Welsh Corgis is obesity. They’re fabulous eaters, but there’s not a lot of places to put all that appetite they’ve got. They often are too fat and too heavy.”
If Corgis can play fetch (or ball), they can get exercise and help maintain their weight.
Puppy stage: By 6 months
Training Goal #5: Crate Train and House Break Your Corgi
While some Corgis may be crate-trained or housebroken before entering your home, these are important steps in puppyhood. To avoid unwanted accidents, always potty train your pup. Crate training is an essential part of housebreaking puppies, as dogs don’t like to soil where they sleep.
“Corgi puppies are very smart. They’re very clean and they really, really want to do what you want to do. And they’re very easy to crate train,” said Bowes. While Corgis puppies may wet the crate, they rarely poop in it.
Training Goal #6: Teach Your Corgi Basic Commands
Corgis should know popular commands like “Sit,” “Stay,” and “Heel.” Next, you can teach them commands like “Down” to get them to lie down or “Off” to get them off the couch.
Commands like “Leave it” and “Drop it” also teach Corgis to leave certain objects alone or to drop something they aren’t supposed to have. This is especially helpful since Corgis have a strong jaw grip and will prevent them from eating what they shouldn’t.
Training Goal #7: Keep Your Corgi Active
Corgis need a lot of mental stimulation, so be prepared to keep them both physically and mentally active. Since they are also prone to obesity, regular exercise routines in addition to a few daily walks will help keep them healthy for years to come. Training classes and dog sports are great ways to keep Corgis healthy. Corgi puppies can participate in obedience classes, training classes, and AKC Family Dog programs like Canine Good Citizen.
Growth Stage: By One Year
By the time your Corgi is one year old, they should know basic obedience, be housebroken, and be acclimated to daily feedings and walking routines.
Training Goal #8: Get Your Corgi Involved in AKC Dog Sports and Activities
Dog sport enthusiast Czarina Ellington who competes with her Literary Corgis in Agility recommends finding a local trainer and trying out different sports until you find what works for you and your Corgi.