Oh boy, the biting thing. I feel your pain.
It can be so frustrating when your Corgi constantly bites your feet, ankles, and hands, especially when it seems like they’re only focusing on you!
But don’t worry, since a lot of Corgi owners deal with this, we know a lot about why it happens and how to stop it. I’ve been helping Corgi parents with this for a while now and I’m sure these tips and tricks will help you too.
6 Reasons Your Corgi Bites You
Let’s explain the reasons why your corgi is biting you. In most cases, it’s a combination of the following issues below.
Consider each cause and identify if it could be related to your situation.
1. Removal from mother and siblings too early
One of the main reasons Corgi puppies bite their owners is because they didn’t spend long enough with their mother and puppy siblings.
You see, during those first 8-10 weeks, puppies are learning how to play and communicate sensibly through biting and nipping each other. And if they bite too hard, their mom gives them a firm scolding! This serves as a vital lesson in controlling the strength of their bites, and what is and isn’t appropriate.
If they don’t get to learn these lessons with their doggy mom, they might try to figure it out with their human mom. And that’s where the biting problems start.
2. Corgis are herders (AKA Nippers!)
Corgis have a high prey drive and are still very much familiar with their herding instincts.
Breeds with high prey drives and herding backgrounds are known to be “mouthy”.
👉 It’s in their instincts to want to nip and “herd” anyone and anything around them.
Does your corgi often play with you but it quickly turns into chaotic biting and chewing of your hands? This could be the cause.
3. Lack of physical and mental stimulation
It is not uncommon for corgis to bite their owners, particularly when they are not provided with enough stimulation and activities throughout the day.
These short-legged fluff balls have a lot of energy and need outlets to expend it.
👉 When bored, left alone or understimulated, they may become overly excited or anxious when they finally get the chance to play or receive attention.
Without proper outlets for their energy, biting YOU may become a way for them to release their pent-up tension.
4. Owners have reinforced the biting (by accident)
This usually raises a few eyebrows! It’s extremely easy to accidentally reinforce undesirable behaviors when owners react incorrectly.
🎯 To effectively address this behavior, it’s essential to react in a way that discourages it all together.
- For example, pushing your corgi’s muzzle away, showing frustration, or quickly moving your hands can actually signal to your corgi that nipping is a fun game and that they haven’t done anything wrong.
This can lead to your corgi becoming more persistent in their nipping, as they believe it’s a behavior you approve of.
This is also why some corgis tend to only nip certain individuals: it’s a direct result of how those individuals react to the behavior.
5. They lack training & sense a lack of authority
Corgis can become disobedient and mischievous if they sense a lack of authority from their owners.
Unwanted behavior can manifest in various ways, such as biting or ignoring commands. Training, obedience, and discipline are key in preventing these issues and establishing a healthy, respectful relationship with your Corgi.
It’s important to note that this behavior may be more prevalent in Corgi puppies and can be addressed through proper training.
It’s worth observing who your corgi listens to the most. If your corgi bites one person at home, and ignores their commands to stop (yet listens immediately to someone else) then it could indicate an authoritativeness issue with the person being bitten.
Biting and nipping is considered an “act” of aggression, and with dogs, the most common cause of aggression is being fearful or scared of something.
However, that’s not what we are really talking about here. This article focuses more on what seems to be untrained and annoying biting that owners can’t seem to stop. Not malicious attacking. As that’s a different issue altogether.
Still, it’s worth considering if this may still be the cause.
Is there anything in your close environment that could be scaring your Corgi or making them fearful?
If your corgi only starts biting you after suddenly getting spooked in anyway, then this could actually be the cause. In this case, handling the source of the fearfulness should be the priority.
How To React To Your Biting Corgi
The way owners react to their corgi biting will be the difference between getting them to stop or reinforcing it to them! So this is crucial.
- The absolute first step is to take immediate action to stop the biting, without resorting to physical or verbal abuse.
This could involve distracting your Corgi with something else, removing them to another room, or removing yourself as a last resort.
🎯 At the same time, give a firm “No!” to indicate your disapproval, and do not give your Corgi any further attention (for now).
If possible, try redirecting their energy to a toy and reward them for focusing on it for at least several seconds. If this doesn’t work, take them to another room for a brief cool-down period. This is not a punishment, but a way to break the physical act of biting and give your Corgi time to calm down.
When they return, present them with distractions and toys to keep them occupied and reward and praise them for calm behavior or focus on the toy (for at least several seconds).
🎯 A crucial point to remember: With every undesirable behavior commited, a dog must first understand it’s wrong via your dissaproval, then be shown what they should have done instead, and finally experience your approval for doing the right thing. Without a lesson like this, bad behavior will continue forever.
The key steps summarized:
- Stop the biting immediately but remain calm. Distract, remove them, or remove yourself (last resort)
- Mark your disapproval by giving a firm No! (tone of voice is all you need. Do not shout).
- Redirect their attention to a toy
- Reward them if their focus remains on the toy for at least several seconds. Waiting ensures they understand the reward is for focusing on the toy, not your hands!
- If redirection doesn’t work then remove your corgi to cold down for a few minutes in another room. Show them zero attention.
- Bring them back out and try again but ensure they have plenty of distractions and toys ready. Always set your corgi up for success to begin with.
- Reward them instantly if they choose their toys over your hands.
- If they ever go back to your hands or biting you. Repeat the process.
Be sure to never get mad or show your frustrations. This will only devalue your position as the “alpha”, and your corgi will take you less seriously.
Preventing Biting In The Future
Prevention is always better than cure as they say. If you have managed to stumble across this post before your corgi gives you this issue then that’s awesome, but if not, then these tips will STILL help for future behavior.
1. Mental Stimulation
Keeping your corgi’s mental stimulation levels high will only see improvements to almost every aspect of their healthy, behavior, and life.
By giving your corig outlets to expend their mental energy, tension, and frustrations they will be FAR less likely to cause mischief and engage in behaviors like biting you.
To increase mental stimulation you can training into their daily routine along with puzzle games and extra socialization at the dog park.
2. Daily training
Corgis love to be trained despite it not being a very common thing talked about in the corgi community.
Training not only increases mental stimulation but it increases obedience and makes it far less likely for a dog to act up.
Plus, by giving your corgi daily training activities, you are reinforcing your position as the one in charge. This way your corgi gets used to listening and obeying you, instead of messing you around.
3. Rules and boundaries
Dogs see things in black and white, and when we owners blur the lines between right and wrong, it’s very hard for them to know what to do.
🎯 To clear this up, the best thing to do is set rules and boundaries and stick to them.
Really have a think about what you will allow your corgi to do in the house, and never deviate from that.
An example would be whether or not you let them up on the couch. If you do not, then don’t let them up “sometimes” as this blurs the lines, causes confusions, and will encourage your corgi to push more boundaries and misbehave.
4. Always correct bad behavior
Similar to above, owners should never let bad behavior slide.
Always see every bad behavior as an opportunity to teach your corgi not to do it again in the future. (of course, it probably will happen) But with time, less and less.
Correcting bad behavior should start when you get your corgi home and will need to continue for as long as it takes.
The more consistent owners are with redirection training and positive reinforcement, the better behaved their dog will be.
How Long Will It Take?
How long will it take for your corgi to stop biting you?
Honestly… It depends.
Sometimes it could be very quick if you react correctly and make good progress with your redirection attempts.
If, however, your corgi seems to find the whole redirection thing a little difficult, then training will take much longer.
It also depends on the main cause, and how long the issue has already been happening.
Just remember to be patient with your Corgi, never show your frustrations, and use every chance you can to show them what they should have done.
The information laid out above has helped hundreds of other corgi owners solve their biting issue, so we hope it helps you too!