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Why Corgis Hate You Touching Their Paws: The 3 Reasons

The paw thing… Yep, this is a common issue with corgis.

If your corgi doesn’t like their paws being touched, welcome to the club!

We also have owners asking why their corgi goes to the extent of trying to bite them when touching a paw.

What you’ll learn below:

  • Why corgis don’t like their paws touched
  • Whether this is a real issue anyway
  • How to handle aggressive reactions to paw touches
  • How to make your corgi comfortable with paw touching

Let’s get into it

corgi paw

3 key reasons corgis don’t like their paws touched…

The truth is, this is a normal reaction shared by all dogs.

That’s right, almost no dog naturally likes having their paws touched. So it’s not just a corgi thing.

1. They never got used to the feeling

The simple explanations are usually the correct ones, and that’s true here too. 

  • Your corgi won’t like their paws being touched because they probably never had them touched “enough” while they were young.

It’s not until several months later when owners finally see those nails getting a bit long that they finally try touching the paws. And this sensation is too overwhelming.

The areas of our dogs we touch the most often are also the areas that are the most desensitized to our touch. The areas that rarely get touched will be sensitive to it.

This makes perfect sense and is why most dogs aren’t too pawsitive about paw massages.

2. The tops of the paws are extra sensitive

Yes, this is also true.

Although the bottom paw pads are thick, strong, and somewhat resistant, the top of the paw is one of the most sensitive parts of a dog’s body. Source

In general, the paws are an extremely important area of your corgi’s body.

The paws are usually the first point of contact with the ground and are sensitive enough to relay essential information about their surroundings and environment.

Their paws are just like our hands. Somewhat resistant, but also very sensitive to touch.

So again, dogs just aren’t going to like the tops of their paws touched or held.

You might actually notice your corgi being less bothered about you touching their paw pads compared to the top of their paws. Most owners report this.

3. Previous accidents or past trauma

Though this is a less common reason, it’s still a possibility.

If your corgi has had previous injuries or experienced any kind of trauma in the area, they might be afraid of owners touching their paws for many years after.

This is essentially a natural defense mechanism to try and prevent further injury.

If you burn yourself once, you’ll be more cautious the next time around something hot. Our dogs have similar learning behaviors as we do.

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Is this even a problem? Or should we do something about it?

Considering the fact that all dogs don’t really like their paws being touched it’s not a massive problem right off the bat.

But there are two instances when owners should take action:

  • If your corgi reacts aggressively (biting or growling)
  • If their reactivity prevents you from cutting their nails.

If your corgi isn’t giving you those two problems above, I wouldn’t worry too much.

If your corgi is uncomfortable but non-aggressive, then owners can slowly desensitize paw touching over time.

Handling aggressive reactions to paw touching

If touching your corgis paws outright triggers an aggressive reaction then for now avoid doing it. 

  • Trying to force your corgi to get used to paw-touching when they clearly have a huge issue with it will just prove to be frustrating for them.

They need to feel more comfortable first.

Of course. If your corgi does go to snap or bite it is important to make them aware of your disapproval. A firm “No” with a deep tone of voice is all it takes.

In regards to solving the aggression. This can be complex and take a variety of training tactics over many months.

Owners in the past have seen good results by rewarding with treats as they pat their corgi closer and closer to their paws. 

Grabbing or touching the paws directly is quite startling, so owners begin with a belly rub and try to familiarize their corgi with more touches to their upper legs, before occassionally touching the middle, lower, and then the paws.

This would not happen all in one session, but over the course of several weeks.

You do not want to push the mark. As it will likely just cause backfire.

  • Best tactic: Reward your corgi little by little for their tolerance of leg touching, and SLOWLY work your way down a little more every session.

This should be practiced on a daily basis to see the best results. 

It’s best to do this after exercise while your corgi is already very relaxed and sleepy.

If your corgi stirrs too much as you get nearer the paws then ease off a little.

Getting your corgi used to paw touching

For those that don’t need to take such a slow approach (like the above), you can casually start touching your corgis paws little and often, but not so much to disturb them significantly.

The aim of this is to not annoy or antagonise your corgi, but more so to let them learn that touching their paw isn’t such a big deal.

Desensitizing is done slowly and gradually over a period of weeks. And you can throw in some rewards and treats to speed it up.

The more you get to touch your corgis paws the less bothered they should become. But only if you go about it correctly.

What not to do:

  • Touch their paws abrubtly and with force
  • Touch their paws when they’re too excited
  • Touch their paws for too long
  • Touch their paws directly (always start at the leg to avoid shock)

What to do:

  • Touch their paws when they expect to be touched
    (take advantage during brushing & bathtime)
  • Touch their paws little and often
  • Reward and praise for non reactive behavior
  • Dont’ over do it

Will your corgi ever be used to this?

Paw touching generally isn’t liked by any dog, so there’s a chance your corgi will never entirely get used to it.

And that’s entirely fine.

Not enjoying a foot massage doesn’t make them a bad or weird dog, it actually makes them normal

So, as long as your corgi doesn’t react aggressively, you don’t have much to worry about it. And you might not even have to “do” anything about it.

Thanks for reading!

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.