Why Do Corgis Bark So Much?

Adrienne Farricelli

Corgis bark so much for the simple reason that they were selectively bred to use their barking back in time when they made wonderful all-around farm dogs. Corgis are therefore very vocal companions using their barks to communicate a variety of emotions. Forearmed is forewarned goes the saying, so any time you are interesting in opening your heart and home to a specific dog breed, it helps to conduct some research so to have a general idea on what to expect.

Corgis bark so much that neighbors can easily become frustrated by their relentless barking especially when left outside in the yard for too long. We can't blame them though: corgis have a history as workers and therefore tend to suffer when they aren't provided with sufficient outlets to keep their minds and bodies busy. 

Barking to Move Cattle 

Whether you own a Pembroke Welsh corgi or a Cardigan Welsh corgi, one thing is for sure: these dogs are big dogs at heart, only that they have a long body and short legs. 

Historically bred as herding dogs, corgis have excelled for many years as all-around farm dogs. Their herding style mostly encompassed nipping at the heels of stubborn livestock to encourage them to move along the agricultural areas of Wales, in the United Kingdom.

Being short and low to the ground offered the advantage of keeping these dogs away from the dangerous hooves of cattle. While nipping the cattle's heels, any kicks from these animals would have therefore traveled over the corgi's head without harming them. 

On top of working as "heelers," corgis also used their barking to get these large animals to move. Barking is therefore a strong inhered trait that was selectively bred in this breed. 

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Corgis were often used as herding dogs during the day, and keen watchdogs at night. 

Barking to Send Strangers Away 

On top of barking to move cattle, corgis also barked to chase away any stray animals from the farm. Now that most of these dogs are kept in homes as companions, they may still instinctively use their barking to send away other dogs and cats from their perceived territories. 

This alertness tendency makes corgis quite sensible watchdogs, ready to sound the alarm upon detecting any changes in their environments. Their ears twitch almost constantly and seem to capture sounds that other dogs may fail to notice. It doesn't help that a corgi's barking has also" big dog" bark that means business and can pierce your ears.  

While this tendency to bark works well on a farm with lots of acreage and with livestock to protect, it can quickly turn problematic in an urban setting. Corgi may also become suspicious of strangers and may be too fast to alarm-bark if they feel threatened by something or someone. 

Barking Out of Boredom

Blessed with short legs, corgis fortunately don't need to pack a lot of miles to get tired, but they are still working dogs at heart. 

This means that corgis thrive on exercise, training and mental stimulation and therefore love to be kept busy. Fail to keep corgis busy, and they may find their own forms of entertainment, but these are often not fun for their owners. 

Left in a yard with nothing better to do, corgis won't spend most of their time thumb-twiddling. Instead, they'll likely start barking at every minimal sight or sound, or they may find other entertaining hobbies such as digging, chewing and destroying things. 

Barking for Attention 

Corgis are smart dogs and their history as herders caused them to develop an independent mind of their own. When they were herding, they often had to make decisions on their own with little or no human guidance. On top of this, a certain dose of persistence was sometimes needed to move stubborn livestock. 

In a home setting, corgis who are bored or desire attention, may happen to bark at their owners in a demanding way. Often, this takes place when corgis feel a little neglected as it may happen when dog owners work all day and come home only to ignore their dogs who have been waiting for them for hours.  

The corgi may therefore start barking when the dog owner comes home from work and sits on the couch to watch a TV maratone of a favorite show. "Bark, bark, bark" it's as if the corgi is saying: "Hey, what about me? Ya know, I need to be walked, fed and would like to play. Please pay attention to me when I am talking!"

 This behavior is therefore often fueled by attention. If your corgi barks at you and you pay attention to him (by looking at him, talking to him or even scolding him -because negative attention is better than no attention at all), his barking behavior will put roots and persist. 

If you decide to pay attention to him sometimes yes and sometimes no, you will have further allowed the barking behavior to strengthen since by doing that you will have reinforced keeping at it and persistence. 

Now That You Know...

As seen, corgis have their own good reasons to bark. As dogs bred for herding, they are naturally prone to being vocal. Here are some tips to reduce your corgi's barking.

  • Recognize why your corgi is barking. There are different types of barking in dogs and each may have their own meaning. Tackling the underlying issue is important. 
  • Provide your corgi with enough mental stimulation. Brain games, daily walks, play, should help provide productive outlets for this smart breed's needs to exercise its body and mind. 
  • Provide an outlet for your corgi's natural instincts. You can enroll him in herding trials  if there is a herding club in your area. No herding club? Learn about the fun sport of Treibball. 
  • Avoid leaving your corgi too much time in the yard alone. Left to their own devices, dogs left in a yard alone a good portion of the day may feel lonely, bored and frustrated. This often leads to excessive barking. 
  • Enroll your corgi in training. These dogs are very smart and learn quickly. With training, you can ask your corgi to perform alternate behaviors other than barking. For example, training your dog to lie down on a mat can dodge a barking episode in its tracks. It is harder for dogs to bark when laying down, and if you give them a chew to enjoy while there, they'll be less inclined to bark. 
  • Reward your corgi for being quiet. If your corgi barks at you when he's bored and wants attention, ignore him. Be aware of extinction bursts. Then, when he gives up and leaves, praise and reward him. However, make a mental note and find ways to prevent these episodes of barking from occurring in the first place. For instance, if your corgi barks at you in the evening when you sit on the couch, make sure to walk him first, feed him and then give him a fun chew toy or stuffed Kong to enjoy while you're watching your movie.  
  • If your corgi barks in reaction to certain noises, try using the "hear that method" every time these noises take place. 
  • Be patient and have realistic expectations. Fighting many centuries of ingrained barking in this breed to the point eradicating it completely is impossible, however you can curb the barking enough to make it more tolerable. 

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