Thursday, June 9, 2011


My condolences to our yet-unmarred, unscratched and unchewed furniture. To our nearly new carpet and wood floors. So long, slacking on exercise.

I'll miss you dearly, no-fur-on-my-clothes.

Because, you see, we're picking this guy up on Saturday to come live with us:


And although I totally love dogs, and I've been dreaming of having a puppy for a long time, and Corgis are the cutest things I've ever seen, and I will pet him and love him and squeeze him and hug him and call him George (not actually calling him George), I'm frankly a little bit scared about all this.

I've mentioned before that I've never owned a dog, which is what's causing the majority of my apprehension. Aaron and I have been reading all about "puppy training" and "Corgi characteristics" online. We've talked to friends and family who have dogs. We've looked into obedience training. We're going to borrow some books. Plus, Aaron grew up with dogs - so he has a step up on me.

Yet there's still a part of me that wonders, can we do this? (Answer: listen to your own advice. Yes.)

So for anyone out there that has trained a puppy (this guy is currently about 3 months old) - or ever had a dog, actually - can you give me some advice? Recommend books? Tell me what you wish someone had told YOU when you were training a new dog? I could use the help.

(P.S. We do have a name picked out for him, but I'll wait until after this weekend to tell you guys. The suspense!)


  1. If you have a PetsMart close by, sign up for their puppy classes (especially for you since you've never owned a dog). Those classes are great for training the dogs as well as the owners.

    Also, make sure you take him out as much as you can while he's young to socialize him. The puppy class will help with that because there'll be other dogs there, but you can take him to a dog park or any outdoor restaurant that will allow you to have him leashed to the table.

    I could go on and on (because we've been there, lol) but you can contact me directly if you have any questions (or wanna vent about your furniture. We just got new couches this year now that Roscoe is 2-years-old and out of the "biting" stage).

    Good luck and enjoy your puppy! I kinda miss being able to hold Roscoe in my arms. =(

  2. You sure have the right attitude towards your belongings that may become the favorite teething rings and/or toilets for your puppy....But there is nothing better than having a rough day and coming home to a friend that will shower you with love no matter what kind of day they had!!

  3. That little guy is just adorable.

  4. As a Corgi owner, I would warn you to not let them jump off of things (stairs, furniture, out of vehicles). Their long backs are very prone to injuries and arthritis early on! Also, go get raised pet food/water bowls (available at most pet supply stores). It's much easier for Corgi's to swallow and not choke if the food and water is higher. Lastly, because Corgi's are smaller sized, get a harness instead of a collar/leash. The less you pull on their necks, the less neck/back problems you are going to have later on. You are going to love having a Corgi!!!!

  5. I know it will take a little while for the puppy to understand this but the biggest change we have had, both growing up with dogs and now having our White German Shepard Kahuna, is that always make sure the dog knows YOU are in control. Like they will test you, by chewing something, or peeing when they have learned not to, and know, you need to make sure to tell them in ways it's not okay. For example, when we leave kahuna at nighttime after working all day, she'll sometimes pee, just the smallest amount, but right in the same place by the front door. She knows this is bad. We make sure to still tell her this is a bad thing. We don't go potty in the house. That's it. No more yelling or making them see what they have done. When you are calmed down and not upset have them roll over on the floor (with you ALWAYS higher then them) and rub there belly telling them it's okay now. (learned that from our trainer) Also, the hardest part is making sure that you try to stay as positive as you can. So when Kahuna does something she isn't supposed to. We just simply say no, that's not a good girl and enough. Also, if she does something like this, we make her lay down somewhere, just not on the couch. (we allow her on our couches but NOT the beds) You'll learn how your little one will want you around and want to be all yours. You can do it. Just get some vinegar and simple green and you're good to go. (Oh yeah, if you put vinegar down on carpet after you clean up their mess they won't go back there again.) GOOD LUCK!!!!

  6. It is all about showing that you are the boss. Hard to do when they are SOOOO cute! But from day 1 you have to set down the rules, and be consistent. Little things make a big if your puppy is laying in your way when you walk down the hall, don't walk over him/her...make them move. Have him eat after you eat...and ALWAYS win when you play tug. Little signals like these show you are the dominate one.

    You SO CAN do this!! I'm so excited for you!!

  7. Touch his paws a lot. If you don't when they are young they get annoyed by it. This helps when clipping nails and also for general cuddling. In fact, when we start to pet Carlo he puts his leg up so we can hold his hand, too. Cutest thing ever.

  8. Hi Kim - If you're planning on having kids (or your puppy will be around kids) in the future, you can prep your dog for it now. We had a trainer tell us this great piece of advice. She said that while you're petting and playing with your puppy slightly tug on their tail and ears and even their fur and act like it's not a big deal. We have a huge Akita and did this with her and she is great with our two young kids and the occasional tail, ear, or fur tug that inevitably happens with kids. Also, I'm a huge believer in Cesar Millan's (the Dog Whisperer) training methods!! Good luck!! I'm so excited for you and your husband. Corgis are SO cute!

  9. Kim...just remember...YOU ARE the ALPHA! xoxo

  10. SUCH A CUTIE!!! I'm so happy for you! I was worried when we decided to get dog #2, I was freaking out at the time about the extra work, but now...she is my BEST friend. She's laying on me as I type this. :) You'll be fine, I highly recommend plenty of chew toys - our dogs love rawhides and they never chew the furniture or our stuff. Congrats!!!

  11. As a veterinarian, I agree with the playing with the ears, nails, teeth/mouth, etc. I do NOT agree with the dominance advice above (rolling/pinning), nor with the Ceasar Milan way of teaching. I highly recommend a positive reinforcement training method, instead of a punishment based training method. They have found the dominance/punishment way of training can actually cause some (and not all, some dogs this will work for) dogs to become more fearful and even aggressive. If you catch the pet in the act of chewing, one sharp No and hand them something they can chew on. If they are chewing their toy lots of praise, petting, etc. If you catch them IN THE ACT of peeing, one sharp No to get them to stop, then take them out and praise lavishly when they go out there. Clicker training is another positive training method. You are the leader, but you do not have to be dominant to do so. Be consistent in what you will and won't allow, as this is the way to show them you are the leader and they will look to you for guidance. I highly recommend socialization/puppy/training classes. The animal humane society (google it) has a tab for training/behavior, and on that tab there is a library-very good information here. Congrats!

  12. I appreciate all of this advice, everyone. Much of it echoes what I've been reading, so that's reassuring. :)

    Thank you!!

  13. We got a puppy last summer. He was our first and we had no clue how to care for him, how to train him, what to feed him, etc. We were smitten with this furry fellow, but completely clueless. We talked at length to our vet and then we took a few PetSmart training classes, starting with the puppy class. I highly recommend their classes. They're inexpensive, they help to socialize your dog and they use the positive reinforcement techniques that the vet above suggests. The trainers will also spend oodles of time, answering questions, suggesting products and helping you in any way you need.

    We have found bully sticks, rubbery chew toys and dog-friendly plush toys to be our best defense against household damage. As long as our dog has something of his own to chew, he doesn't touch shoes, furniture, books, etc. My kids will often leave toys on the floor and then the dog will will grab them, if they look like dog toy, but really the bully sticks, chew toys and stuffed animals have been the key to damage control. I keep a supply of new dog toys in the house at all times, so that there's always a new one available after he's destroyed another.

    Congrats on your new little guy! Be prepared to fall in love! :)


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