Bringing Home a new Corgi – Preparing your House, Family, and Pets for your new Welsh Corgi

Bringing Home a new Corgi – Preparing your House, Family, and Pets for your new Welsh Corgi

The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Corgis" by David Anderson. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.

Author Credit: David Anderson

There is a lot of excitement that builds up when waiting for your Corgi puppy to come home. There is also a lot of work that you need to do to ensure that you are ready to take on the responsibilities of being a puppy parent. With a small, smart, high-energy puppy, you are going to have your hands full keeping your puppy out of trouble. The best way to do that is to puppy-proof your home starting a month or more before the puppy arrives.

Preparing Your Kids

The initial preparation starts as soon as you decide to get a Corgi puppy. Your kids will probably be the ones spending the most time with the puppy, and that means you need to make sure they know how to behave around the puppy and handle it properly. Once the puppy arrives, it will be too late to try to introduce proper behavior.

Welsh Corgi sittting
Photo Courtesy – Janet Maddox

The best thing to do is to have the rules and responsibilities assigned before the puppy is even old enough to arrive. You will need to refresh these points several times, including the day when the puppy arrives.

As the kids start to play with the puppy, you will be able to firmly remind your children how to behave if they start to get too rough or excited with the puppy.

Here are the five golden rules your kids should understand before the puppy comes home:

  1. You must play gently. Their fluff ball appearance is deceptive in that it hides how fragile and small Corgi puppies actually are. There is not time when playing roughly with a young puppy is okay.

You must have firm rules about what will happen if your children begin to be too rough. A puppy who nips and bites when a child plays rough is not the party at fault – it is the child’s fault. Make sure your child understands this for safe and peaceful play time.

  1. Chase is an outside game. When the children go outside with the puppy and an adult, chase may be fine (if the puppy is up for it). It is never acceptable inside the home. Running inside the home creates one of two dangerous impressions on a puppy – either it learns that they are not safe even inside, or it learns that running in the home is fine. You do not want your adult Corgi barreling through the home knocking people over because this was considered acceptable when the Corgi was little.
  2. Leave the puppy alone at meal time. This is meant to address when the puppy is eating (although you can apply it to when your children are eating too since you don’t want your Corgi thinking that your food is fair game). You do not want the puppy to feel insecure about eating. Corgi puppies are not likely to create too much trouble if children disturb them, but you really don’t want your dog feeling like its food needs to be defended too. That is unfair to the dog. And old Corgis are protective, resulting in biting if the Corgi learned to fend for its food at an early age.
  3. Leave the puppy on the ground. Make sure to explain this to younger children especially. People want to pick up and play with puppies, but it is incredibly uncomfortable for the puppy. Kids will want to treat the puppy like a baby, and this can make the puppy both uncomfortable and fearful. The younger the child, the harder it will be for them to handle a squirming puppy. When the kids find out that the puppy has a very hard nip or bite, it is not the puppy’s fault – kids should not be picking up the puppy in the first place. There are plenty of fun activities that can be enjoyed on the ground, so kids should leave the puppy there to play. Remember to apply this rule to yourself as well so that you are setting a good example.
  4. Keep anything you value out of your children’s reach. There is really no age where your valuables are safe when it comes to kids and puppies. Even teenagers are likely to grab things that they should know better than to use to play with a puppy. Curiosity leads to kids not thinking about whether or not they should present something to the puppy. If you don’t want your children and puppy to destroy something, make sure it is never on hand to destroy.

Preparing Your Current Dogs

Once your kids understand the rules, you have to start preparing your current dogs for the soon-to-arrive puppy. Of course, you will need a completely different approach as your dog or dogs are not going to understand you sitting down and trying to lay out the rules for them.

Here is how you can start to prepare your other dogs for the new arrival:

  • Assess your dog’s personality. If your dog has never had trouble with other dogs, you are probably fine. If your dog has ever shown territorial tendencies, you will need to be very careful. If your dog is excitable, you will need to think of ways to help calm your dog so that it does not get too rough with the puppy.
  • Think of times when you have had other dogs over to your home. If your dog was territorial, this could be a sign that you will need to be extra careful when introducing the new puppy into your home. If you have never had another dog over, you might consider inviting a friend with a dog or two over to gauge your dog’s reaction. A dog’s personality can be significantly different when out walking compared to being at home.
  • Consider if you have seen your dog exhibit protective or possessive behavior. Food is the most common cause of possessive behavior, but dogs can also be possessive or protective about toys and people.
Welsh Corgi porch
Photo Courtesy – Gayla Miller

Make sure the space for the puppy is an area where your dog cannot go. Your new Corgi should not be interacting with other dogs without supervision. You will also need to ensure that none of your dog’s stuff (including favorite chair or other furniture) is within the puppy’s space.

Plan to have your dog meet the puppy for the first time outside of the home. Designate a spot that is neutral ground for the first meeting. This will ensure that your dog does not feel territorial upon meeting the puppy, giving them a chance to get to know each other a little.

Make sure that you have at least one other adult present for the initial meeting. This will ensure that you do not have to manage an excited dog and an energetic puppy by yourself. The alpha of the home or the two people who will be in charge of the dog and puppy should be present for this first encounter so that both your new puppy and your dog see the pack hierarchy of your home.

You may need to take the introductory period very slowly, depending on your dog’s personality. It may take you a week to get the dog and puppy acclimated to each other. Remember that you are completely changing the dynamic of the home, and your dog may not be too pleased with this. If your dog is older, this could be incredibly difficult, and there are good odds that the dog will take that frustration out on the puppy. Make sure they are both safe and happy before leaving them to regularly interact.

If you have multiple dogs, all of these rules still apply. You will need to consider the personality of each dog and carefully monitor its behavior with the puppy. The introduction may need to be done with one dog at a time so that you do not overwhelm the puppy. Introducing each dog one at a time will help them calm down a bit before bringing all of the dogs together at one time.

Dangerous Foods

Welsh Corgi playing
Photo Courtesy – Cindy Duwe

There are a lot of foods that people eat that are dangerous or deadly to dogs. Some of these foods are well-known (even to those who never had a dog), while others come as a surprise.

You really have your work cut out for you with Corgis, though, because they love to eat. The following is a list of foods that you need to make sure your Corgi can never get to as they are potentially fatal if consumed by a dog.

  • Apple seeds
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Cooked bones (they can kill when they splinter in the dog’s mouth or stomach)
  • Corn on the cob (it is the cob that is deadly to dogs, corn off the cob is fine, but you need to make sure that your Corgi cannot reach any corn that is still on the cob)
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions and chives
  • Peaches, persimmons, and plums
  • Tobacco (your Corgi will not know that it is not a food and may eat it if it is left out)
  • Xylitol (a sugar substitute in candies and baked goods)
  • Yeast

In addition to these potentially deadly foods, there is a long list of things that your dog shouldn’t eat for health reasons. The Canine Journal has a lengthy list of foods that should be avoided. It includes things like alcohol and other things that people give dogs thinking it is funny. Remember that dogs have a very different metabolism and the effect that these foods have on them is much stronger than the effect on people.

For the sake of your Corgi’s health, it is best just to keep all of these foods out of reach, even if they are non-lethal.

Hazards to Fix

Your home is full of things that are potentially dangerous to your Corgi. Preparing your home is going to be a relatively time-consuming endeavor, but ultimately a worthwhile one as it will help you keep your puppy safe.

You should start puppy-proofing your home at least a month before you bring your new Corgi home. The following will help you get an idea of what you will need to do, although there may be more or less to do depending on your home.

Kitchen and Eating Areas

Welsh Corgi lazy
Photo Courtesy – Betsy Ellsworth

The kitchen has plenty of dangerous things in it besides food. Easily the most life-threatening things in the kitchen are the poisons and cleaning supplies. Just as you would secure them from a small child, you have to secure them from your Corgi puppy. Keep in mind they are exceptionally intelligent dogs, and at some point they will likely figure out how to get into your cabinets if you do not puppy-proof them.

You will also need to be vigilant in putting away the poisons. Leaving them up on countertops is not safe because no matter how small your Corgi seems, there is still potential for that little pup to get up on the counter tops through means you never considered. At no time should you leave poisons in an unsecured place in your kitchen.

The trashcan is also transformed from a trash receptacle into a potential danger. Anything you put in it can be dug out by a Corgi if you do not take necessary precautions. You can lock the trashcan up in a pantry or cabinet, or you can get a locking trashcan. Whatever you choose, make sure that the trashcan is always locked where your Corgi cannot explore it.

You will need to make sure there are no electrical cords around the kitchen that the Corgi can pull or trip on. You do not want to have your blender pulled off of the counter and smashed on the floor because the cord was dangling over the side of the counter. The same thing applies to the cords on blinds. Keep them well off of the ground and out of reach of your Corgi.

Bathroom and Laundry

Welsh Corgi adult
Photo Courtesy – Tammie Songer

You will need to do the same puppy-proofing in the bathroom as the kitchen. The poisons must always be stored where the puppy cannot reach them, and the trashcans locked so that they cannot be explored.

Keep the toilet closed too. Corgi puppies can do things you would not expect, so make sure they cannot get into the toilet. Never use automatic toilet cleaners. In the event that someone leaves the toilet lid up, your Corgi is going to try to drink from it. Make sure when that happens that your dog is not drinking poisons.

Your laundry area will need to be puppy-proofed as well, but usually it is considerably easier. For the most part, you need to make sure that there is no dirty laundry where your puppy or dog can reach it. It usually won’t be dangerous, but you do not want your dog dragging dirty underclothing around the home. There will also be times when things will end up in the wash that have potentially poisonous substances on them (such as clothes that have bleach or oil). You need to get in the habit of keeping the dirty clothes out of your Corgi’s reach. If you have a laundry room, the solution is to simply keep the door closed at all times. This will also keep you from the surprise emergency vet visit after your Corgi eats a sock or hose.

Other Rooms

Make sure that you keep cords out of reach, that there are no cleaning products around the home, and that any potentially dangerous objects are stored somewhere safe. If you have a fireplace, make sure all of the cleaning supplies and tools are somewhere that your Corgi cannot get to them to play. You also need to keep the place where the fire is closed off so that your Corgi cannot get into it.

For stairs, use a gate to keep your Corgi from falling down them. For tables, make sure you do not leave anything dangerous, such as scissors or sewing supplies, where your puppy can climb up to them. Pens, pencils, and other tools need to be kept out of reach, as well as valuables and anything you don’t want your Corgi to chew.

For cat owners, the litter box needs to be stored somewhere that your cat can go but your Corgi cannot. This likely means teaching your cat to use the litter box in a new place, so make sure you move the box well ahead of the puppy’s arrival. This will keep you from having a cat who has two reasons to be angry at you.

Garage

Garages are a place of excitement and danger for Corgis. With all of the chemicals and hazardous items, your Corgi should never be left alone in the garage. Of course, you probably cannot keep your Corgi from ever being in the garage either (at least when you take your puppy somewhere, it will pass through the garage). This means you will need to take the time to puppy-proof it as well.

Welsh Corgi sleeping
Photo Courtesy – Liza Gagne

All tools, equipment, and items related to car maintenance (or anything with an engine or wheels) needs to be stored somewhere with a lock. This includes things like leaf blowers and bike tools. Your puppy is just as likely to try to chew on a bike tire as to lap up antifreeze or try to roll around in fertilizer. Keep all of these somewhere the puppy cannot go.

Fishing equipment also needs to be organized and stored in a place where your puppy cannot reach it. It can be in a closet or high on a shelf. If you store it up high, make sure there is no way to climb up to it. Do not leave any part of the equipment dangling over the side of the counter.

You should step back and examine your garage from the perspective of a toddler, then get down and look at it from a Corgi’s angle. Anything that looks like it could attract attention and cause problems needs to be moved well out of reach.

Outdoors and Fencing

Never leave your Corgi puppy outside alone. Too many things can happen when your puppy is unsupervised. Even if you have a fence, you cannot leave the little pup outside without someone watching at all times.

It won’t take you as long to puppy-proof the outside as the inside, but you should still plan for it to take an hour or two as you are going to be looking at things in a whole new way.

Welsh Corgi on carpet
Photo Courtesy – Jennifer Durward

Inspect the fence to make sure there are no breaks, holes, or potential problems. Make sure there are no gaps under the bottom for your Corgi to tunnel under. If you see any gaps, holes, or broken areas, get them fixed before the puppy arrives. Your Corgi will try to get through these as soon as it notices them, and that is dangerous in the event that your Corgi either escapes or gets stuck.

Select an area you want your Corgi to use as a bathroom. Once you know where you want your puppy to go, make sure there is nothing poisonous or dangerous in the area. Even a birdbath is a potential danger, so select the area well.

Select a different area for playing to help your Corgi know when you expect business to get done and when it is time to play. Your Corgi will learn fast. Give the play area the same inspection that you gave the area to be used for the bathroom.

Walk around your yard and make sure all chemicals and potentially dangerous tools are moved out of reach. If you have a shed, lock it up, and make sure the Corgi cannot enter.

Make sure none of the plants in your yard are a danger to your dog. There are good odds that your puppy is going to chew on them, so make sure there is no potential for danger when it happens.

Make sure all water areas, such as pools and small ponds, are secured. Your fire ring or pit and grill need to be secure so that your puppy cannot play in them.

Walk around your yard and think of it from the perspective of a small child. This will help you identify other potential dangers that need to be addressed before the puppy arrives.

Supplies and Tools to Purchase and Prepare

You need to have everything purchased and ready before your puppy arrives. Even the most basic list is quite extensive, so start shopping a month or two in advance. The following lists the basics:

  • Crate
  • Bed
  • Leash
  • Doggie waste bags for walks
  • Collar
  • Tags
  • Puppy food
  • Water and food bowls (sharing a water bowl is usually okay, but your puppy needs its own food dish if you have multiple dogs)
  • Toothbrush
  • Brush
  • Toys

If you think of anything that you would like to get, add it to the list. This could include things like flea treatments for when your puppy reaches the age that you need to start treatments.

Training tools and treats need to be on your list, so know how you plan to train your dog, including housetraining. If you plan to start training indoors, you will need the right equipment. Training (both house and behavior) will begin that first week when your puppy arrives, so you need to have everything ready beforehand.

Also, if you plan to train your Corgi puppy to do agility courses, then you may want to pick up a few of the basics. It will be a little early the first couple of months to start training, but before you know it, your Corgi is going to be ready for something new and exciting, and agility courses can give your puppy the excitement and exercise that will keep it too tired to misbehave.

Planning the First Year’s Budget

Welsh Corgi lying down
Photo Courtesy – Janet Maddox

Puppies may not be as expensive as children, but they can still cost a considerable amount of money. This means you need to create a budget so that you have adequate funds available for all of the essentials, such as regular vet visits and shots, food, and supplies.

It is a given that you are going to end up spending more than you plan on, so try to build a cushion into your Corgi supply budget.

The best time to start your puppy budget is the day you decide to get a puppy. In all likelihood, you are going to need to spend a good bit of time researching the things you will need to do over that first year. Vets have different prices between cities and states, so you will need to find out which one has a great reputation and how much it will cost for each visit that first year. There are a lot of things that Corgis can do, so if you want to get involved in an organization, or even just basic dog training, you will need to conduct research.

Puppies can be a lot more expensive than most people realize. That is why you need to start budgeting immediately and make sure you have done your homework well ahead of your Corgi’s arrival.

Keep Things out of Reach

This is incredibly important to understand when you bring a Corgi into your home. They are not only smart, they are far more agile than you would expect with that stout little body. This is a breed that can win agility contests, and it clearly isn’t because of its sleek athletic build. This breed is smart and knows how to use its stout figure to do stuff you would not expect.

A Short Story on Their Intelligence and Problem Solving

There was a family who had a Corgi and noticed that food had been disappearing from the table. They had no idea how this was happening, so they filmed the kitchen to see what was going on.

Enter their Corgi.

The dog moved the kitchen chair out from under the table, hopped up on the chair, and easily reached the food. Once the dog was done eating, it was time to hide the evidence. Once on the ground, the Corgi pushed the chair back under the table.

Corgis know what they want, and they are always looking for ways to get it. If you don’t want your Corgi snacking on your food or getting into dangerous stuff, the only way to really secure your stuff is to keep it in a place where the Corgi cannot reach–or get to by moving something. Usually locks are the easiest way to go.

Clearly, out of reach for a Corgi is entirely different than it is with nearly any other breed. Not all Corgis are so focused and determined, but it is better to err on the side of caution and make sure you don’t inadvertently leave a puzzle for your Corgi to solve. Your Corgi is not being a bad dog – it is being the incredibly clever creature that it has been bred to be. Also, your Corgi does not like being alone and does not like to be bored. Making sure that these two things don’t happen often (and certainly don’t happen at the same time) will do a lot to help. However, the best solution is to always keep things somewhere safe if you don’t want your Corgi to get them.

Summary

With a Corgi, it is a constant game of out-thinking your dog. Your puppy will be incredibly fun, but there will be a whole lot of learning in those first few months. To make sure you aren’t distracted, have everything set up well ahead of your puppy’s arrival.

Don’t forget to prepare your other pets too. It is going to be a very stressful time for them, and you want to let them know that you still care about them; you are just adding to the family. You will need to plan to spend alone time with your current pets after the puppy gets home too. If you build that into the schedule now, your pets will be less anxious later when it is obvious that the schedule is not entirely different.

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