Corgi Training for Beginners

a Corgi standing on a skateboardWhether you plan on competing at the Westminster Dog Show or simply dream of having a four-legged best friend, you’re going to have to train your dog. You might think the Pembroke Welsh corgi is innately proper—it is, after all, the dog breed of choice of the Queen of England—but that isn’t the case.

If you want a dog with impeccable manners instead of one that causes mischief all the time, you’ll have to train your dog at home. So you don’t get too overwhelmed, we made a list of corgi training trips and schedules you can follow.

Training Tips

According to research, the corgi is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. This means your corgi will be easy to teach but will also require you to be more firm. Here are some training tips to keep your corgi from assuming the alpha position or attempting to be the boss of you.

Use the Right Training Method

You might think there is only one way to train your pup, but there are actually many training methods handlers, and owners use. This can be anything from positive reinforcement, where you give your dog a treat every time they do something good, to mirror training, where you rely on a model for your dog to copy.

Choosing the right training method relies heavily on you. This has to be something that you can follow and stick to. Sometimes, the right training method will also depend on your dog’s breed, but since corgis are generally known to be submissive, the choice is up to you.

To start you off, here are some important dos and don’ts that are important in corgi training:

Dos

Even if your corgi is just a puppy, you need to start training them right away. As soon as you get your new pup or when they are about seven weeks old, you should acquaint them with the basics.

Reward Them When They Deserve It

Every time your dog does what they’re told, be sure to reward them. This could be in the form of a treat or through praise like saying, “Good girl!” while scratching behind their ears. And make sure to remember to reward them whenever they go potty outside, so it becomes part of their daily routine as soon as possible.

Include Grooming in Your Training Regimen

Some dog owners fail to do this, but it is very important, especially for corgis, since this double-coated breed is quite a shedder and will require daily brushing. If you don’t brush them daily, especially in the spring and fall, you’ll have a visible layer of dog hair on your floor in less than a week.

Make Sure They Get Enough Exercise

During the training period, be sure to give your corgi enough exercise every day. This breed is highly energetic as it is, and as a puppy, they’re going to need to blow off some excess energy if you want them to pay attention to you during training. Include activities that will also stimulate their mind, like letting them play with interactive toys.

Give Them Their Own Safe Space

Your dog will need a safe space where they can relax during the day or when they aren’t training. A kennel is a perfect hideout for your puppy, especially during their training period. Not only does it keep them safely sequestered, but it also helps them exercise bladder control.

Don’ts

Now that you know the most important things to do during training, here are the things you should avoid doing:

Don’t Leave Them Cooped up for Too Long

As mentioned, corgis are highly energetic. What’s more, they love being around humans and love to be the center of attention, so leaving them cooped up for a long time isn’t going to sit well with them. Don’t ever leave your pup for more than 6 hours, or it might lead to destructive behavior.

Don’t Punish Them

Like all other dogs, corgis are very curious animals. It’s normal for them to explore and try different things like drinking from the toilet or nibbling on shoes. Don’t discipline your dog as punishment is not effective in changing negative behavior. The same goes for when your corgi has an accident inside the house. Yelling will make them fearful of you and in the end, less likely to listen to you.

Don’t Start Socializing Them Unless They’re Ready

Corgis are very social animals and will need interaction with other people and dogs. As a responsible dog owner, you shouldn’t take your corgi outside to play with other dogs if they haven’t gotten all of their vaccinations. You shouldn’t let other dogs in the house either unless your dog is fully vaccinated.

Don’t Overfeed Them

Another important thing you should never do is overfeed your dog. At the very least, your puppy will have a hard time concentrating during training when overfed since they won’t be as interested in the treats. Depending on the amount they have eaten, it can also lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

You should also keep in mind that the corgi breed is prone to obesity due to its low and compact build. If you overfeed your pup regularly, it’s guaranteed to cause all sorts of health issues.

Training Schedule

owner training a corgi puppy

To make sure that your puppy’s education is right on track, you need to make a proper training schedule. We’ve made one for you and your puppy to follow based on a dog’s age:

7 Weeks

First things first, you need to teach your puppy the basics:

Daily Routine

Puppies should have a daily routine, and it’s the first thing you need to acquaint them with. Your corgi should learn where and when to eat and drink, sleep, go potty, and get groomed.

Verbal Cues

You can easily establish good and bad behavior by introducing verbal cues. For example, every time your puppy obeys your command, you say, “Yes” or “Good.” But when they display bad behavior or approach off-limits areas of the house, simply say “No” or “Uh-uh.” Another important verbal cue is the “okay,” which is a release command.

Housebreaking

This should easily be the top priority for anyone with a new puppy or dog coming into their life. If your corgi gets used to relieving themselves inside the house, they will carry that behavior up to adulthood.

This can be very tedious at first because you have to check on your puppy every time they start sniffing in circles or take note of when they usually take their potty breaks. But, once your corgi understands where they should do their business, housebreaking will be easy.

A good tip is to let your corgi go potty after every meal. You should also take them outside to do their business first thing when they wake up. Then, make sure to praise them every time they finish pooping or peeing in the correct spot.

Leash Training

Although corgis are small, they are very strong. It’s essential that you leash train them as a puppy unless you want to end up with a heavy adult corgi walking you instead of you walking them.

Start with the proper collar—a flat one that should fit snugly around the neck of your dog. There should be about two fingers worth of clearance between the neck and the collar to avoid choking your dog. You should also opt for longer leashes as corgis are shorter and closer to the ground. Start training inside the house before you take your dog for a walk outdoors.

Crate Training

Some people don’t like using crates for their pets because it seems like a prison cell for their dogs. But crates are actually very helpful for puppies and can keep them away from danger. Letting a puppy loose around the house can lead to chewed-up furniture or accidental electrocutions.

At first, it will be hard for your puppy to stay in a crate. There might be crying or howling, and you will be tempted to let your corgi out. But crate training is great for puppies as it also helps with housebreaking—dogs are less likely to pee or poop where they sleep.

Pretty soon, your puppy will think of a crate as their own room. Remember to make your corgi’s crate comfy and cozy by placing a dog bed or pillow in it, plus maybe a toy or two.

8-16 Weeks

By this time, your puppy should have mastered the basics of living at home and now can move on to meeting other people and pets and doing outdoor activities.

Socialization

It’s highly crucial that you introduce your corgi to other dogs and humans at this stage. Corgis are actually bred to herd animals, so if you don’t familiarize them with proper interactions early on, their herding instincts will kick in. Also, without proper socialization, they may be likely to nip at people’s feet and might develop aggressive behavior.

Grooming

The corgi has a fluffy appearance because of its short double-coat, which has its pros and cons. The good news is, your corgi will barely need haircuts or trims throughout its lifespan. The bad news is, they will shed all year round. However, with proper and regular brushing, you can keep fur flying around in your home to a minimum.

This is why it is critical that you train your corgi for grooming. You have to start by teaching your pet to accept the handling of their paws or face. You can then move on to training them to sit still when you brush their hair or give them a bath.

Proper Behavior

Almost all puppies are excitable, and it will seem cute at first that they jump around every time they see you. However, if you don’t teach them proper behavior, they will continue jumping up at you until they are full-on adults. Here are other common behaviors that you should work on with your pup:

  • Keeping calm inside the house. You shouldn’t allow them to do a lot of rough play, racing, or barking indoors.
  • Gently taking toys or food from your hand. It’s bad manners to swipe treats off of you.
  • Socializing politely with people. This means no mouthing, nipping, jumping, or barking.
  • Waiting before entering or exiting. When you open the front door, they shouldn’t just zoom away—they should get permission first before they can go through.
  • Keeping quiet. It’s okay for your dog to bark, especially if they are alerting you of something, but once you give the command for them to stop, they should.

Playing Fetch

You might think that playing should come naturally to a dog, but it actually requires training, too. Playing fetch is the perfect exercise for your corgi to keep them from becoming overweight, which is very common among the breed.

Make sure the toy you use is lightweight and isn’t too big for your dog’s mouth; at the same time, it shouldn’t be so small that they could accidentally swallow it. Not teaching your dog to play fetch can be disappointing. Imagine throwing a ball and your corgi ignoring the ball or picking it up but never returning it to you.

Car Rides

It’s fairly common for dogs to be anxious during car rides because they get motion sickness. You can train them to limit anxious behaviors by taking them on short car rides before going on long ones.

6 Months

Before hitting their birthday, your corgi should be ready for basic obedience training and exercises that stimulate their mind.

Basic Commands

This is the time to teach your corgi popular commands, starting with “Sit,” “Stay,” and “Come.” It will also help if you teach them “Drop it” or “Leave it” commands, which exercise impulse control and calmness.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

A bored dog has a tendency to be destructive. Corgis will require exercises that not only keep them fit but also keep them sharp too. You can train them to do tricks, like “Play dead” or let them go on doggie playdates.

Consistency is Key

Don’t be too hard on your corgi (and yourself) if you fall a little behind schedule. The most important thing in corgi training is consistency. As long as you stick to a daily routine and keep using the same cues for good and bad behavior, you will see development in your puppy.

If one day you allow her to sleep on your bed because she shoots you adorable puppy eyes, and then the next day you tell her “No,” there will definitely be confusion in your pup’s mind. It’s one of the toughest things you have to do: resist the cuteness of your corgi. But as long as you’re consistent, your pup will definitely grow into a well-behaved adult pooch.