The Language of Corgi Dogs: Decoding Body Language for Successful Training

Welcome to the fifth installment of our series on understanding the psychology of Corgi dogs. In this article, we explore the intricate world of Corgi communication and body language. To train and bond effectively with your Corgi, it's essential to decode the messages they convey through their expressions, postures, and vocalizations. By becoming fluent in your Corgi's language, you can strengthen your connection and achieve remarkable results in training.

Tail Language

Corgis, like many dogs, possess a highly expressive tail that they use as a means of communication. Understanding their tail language can offer valuable insights into their emotional state and needs. Here's a closer look at some common tail positions and what they might signify:

  1. A High, Wagging Tail: When your Corgi holds their tail high and wags it energetically, it's often a delightful display of excitement and happiness. For instance, imagine coming home after a long day, and your Corgi greets you with a tail held high, wagging furiously, and an exuberant demeanor. This is a clear sign of their joy at your return.
    Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy Training, Language of Corgi Dogs
    High Wagging Tail
  2. A Lowered or Tucked Tail: Conversely, a lowered or tucked tail can be an indicator of fear or submission in Corgis. For instance, if your Corgi encounters a larger, intimidating dog at the park, they might lower or tuck their tail as a way of showing deference and trying to avoid conflict. It's a way of saying, "I'm not a threat."
  3. A Stiff, Upright Tail: A tail held stiff and upright can signal alertness and heightened interest. For example, during a herding task, if your Corgi spots a group of livestock and their tail becomes rigid and straight, they are likely focused and ready to work.
  4. A Slow Wagging Tail: Sometimes, a Corgi might wag their tail slowly, almost like a gentle swish. This could indicate uncertainty or curiosity. For instance, if your Corgi encounters a new person or object, they might wag their tail slowly to express curiosity and a desire to investigate.
  5. A Rapid Tail Wag with a Low Set: If your Corgi wags their tail rapidly, but it's held low or tucked between their legs, it can be a sign of anxiety or insecurity. For instance, if your Corgi is exposed to a loud and frightening noise, you might observe this type of tail behavior as a response to their unease.

Understanding your Corgi's tail language allows you to respond appropriately to their emotional needs. It's essential to consider the context and other body language cues, such as ear position and facial expressions, to get a complete picture of what your Corgi is trying to convey. This insight into their emotions can foster a stronger bond between you and your four-legged friend.

Facial Expressions

A Corgi's facial expressions are like a window into their emotional world. Learning to decipher the subtle cues in their face can help you better understand their feelings and respond appropriately. Here are some key facial expressions to look for, along with real-world examples:

  1. Raised Eyebrows: When a Corgi raises their eyebrows slightly, it often indicates curiosity or interest. For instance, if your Corgi is in a new environment, their raised eyebrows might show their intrigue as they explore. If you introduce them to a new toy, those raised eyebrows might signal their excitement to investigate.
  2. Relaxed Eyes: Soft, relaxed eyes with a gentle, open gaze typically indicate contentment and comfort. For example, during a cuddle session or when your Corgi is enjoying some downtime, their relaxed eyes will convey a sense of ease and relaxation.
  3. Slightly Open Mouth: A Corgi with a slightly open mouth is usually in a calm and relaxed state. It's similar to a human's relaxed, half-smile expression. Imagine your Corgi lounging on a sunny afternoon with their mouth slightly ajar, reflecting their peaceful state.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy Training
Bared Teeth

Now, let's consider expressions that might suggest discomfort or aggression:

  1. Tense Face: When a Corgi's facial muscles appear tense, it can be a sign of stress or discomfort. For instance, if you're introducing your Corgi to a new dog that they perceive as a potential threat, you might notice tension in their face as they assess the situation.
  2. Narrowed Eyes: Narrowed or squinting eyes in a Corgi can indicate unease or even aggression. If your Corgi encounters a situation that makes them feel threatened or fearful, they might narrow their eyes as a defensive response. It's essential to be cautious and give them space in such situations.
  3. Bared Teeth: Baring teeth is a clear sign of aggression or extreme discomfort. If your Corgi feels cornered or threatened, they might display this warning signal as a way to communicate their need for distance and protection.

Understanding your Corgi's facial expressions goes beyond just recognizing their emotions; it's about responding appropriately to ensure their well-being. For instance, if you notice your Corgi's tense face and narrowed eyes during a social interaction, you might intervene to reduce their stress and create a safer environment for them. This level of communication can deepen your bond with your Corgi and help you build a relationship based on trust and understanding.

Ear Position

Corgis are known for their distinctive, upright ears, and these expressive appendages play a significant role in their communication. Understanding your Corgi's ear positions can provide valuable insights into their emotional state and needs. Let's explore the nuances of ear language with real-world examples:

  1. Forward-Facing Ears: When your Corgi's ears are upright and facing forward, it's often a sign of alertness and curiosity. Imagine taking your Corgi on a nature hike, and their ears perk up as they detect the rustling of leaves or the sound of a distant bird. Their forward-facing ears indicate their keen interest in the environment and their readiness to explore.
    Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy Training, Language of Corgi Dogs
    Flattened Ears
  2. Flattened Ears: Conversely, flattened or pressed-back ears are a clear signal of anxiety or fear in your Corgi. For instance, if you encounter a noisy thunderstorm and your Corgi becomes frightened, their ears may flatten against their head. This position is a protective response, as they try to make themselves appear smaller to potential threats.
  3. Slight Tilting: Sometimes, your Corgi's ears might adopt a subtle tilt to the side. This can indicate curiosity or confusion. For example, if you introduce a new toy with an unusual shape, your Corgi might tilt their ears as they try to understand this novel object, showing a mix of curiosity and puzzlement.
  4. One Ear Forward, One Ear Back: Occasionally, a Corgi may position one ear forward and one ear backward. This can be a sign of divided attention. For example, during a training session, if your Corgi is focused on you but also hears an intriguing noise from behind, they might display this ear position as they decide where to direct their attention.

By paying close attention to your Corgi's ear positions, you can gain valuable insights into their emotional state and intentions. This understanding can help you respond appropriately to their needs and create a positive and reassuring environment. For instance, if you notice flattened ears during a loud thunderstorm, you can offer comfort and reassurance to help ease their anxiety. This level of communication fosters trust and strengthens the bond between you and your Corgi.


Corgis are not shy when it comes to expressing themselves vocally, and their various sounds are a significant part of their communication repertoire. Understanding the nuances of your Corgi's vocalizations, including their tone, pitch, and frequency, is essential for interpreting their emotions and needs. Let's explore this aspect of Corgi communication with real-world examples:

  1. Barking: Corgis are known for their distinctive bark. The tone and intensity of their barks can vary greatly. For instance, a sharp, rapid bark when the doorbell rings signals alertness and protective instincts. Your Corgi is telling you, "Someone's here, and I'm on guard."
  2. Whining: Whining is often an expression of need or desire. If your Corgi whines while sitting by the door, it could mean they want to go outside. In this case, their whining serves as a request, saying, "I'd like to go out, please."
  3. Growling: Growling is a vocalization that can convey discomfort or a warning. For instance, if your Corgi is enjoying a chew toy, and you approach them too closely, they might emit a low, rumbling growl as a way of saying, "I'm not comfortable with your proximity to my prized possession."
    Pembroke Puppy, Language of Corgi Dogs
  4. Yipping: Corgis are known to yip when they're excited or engaged in play. During a lively game of fetch, your Corgi might emit high-pitched yips of enthusiasm, expressing their excitement and joy.
  5. Tone and Pitch: The tone and pitch of your Corgi's vocalizations can provide additional context. A playful and happy Corgi may have a higher-pitched, bouncy bark during playtime. In contrast, a Corgi feeling threatened may have a deeper, more serious tone when growling or barking in a defensive situation.
  6. Frequency: The frequency of vocalizations can also convey emotions. A Corgi that repeatedly barks or whines might be expressing frustration or a strong desire for attention or action.

Understanding your Corgi's vocal cues is like deciphering their unique language. It allows you to respond effectively to their needs and emotions. For example, if your Corgi barks excitedly when they see their leash, they're likely expressing their enthusiasm for a walk. Recognizing this can make your interactions more enjoyable and fulfilling for both you and your furry companion.


Corgis, with their unique physique, exhibit a range of postures that can provide valuable insights into their state of mind and emotions. Understanding these postures is crucial for effective communication and training. Let's delve into some common Corgi postures with real-world examples:

  1. Confident Stance: A confident Corgi will stand tall and proud with a straight back. Imagine taking your Corgi to a dog park, and they confidently stroll around, tail held high, and ears perked up. This posture reflects their self-assured and comfortable demeanor.
  2. Relaxed and Playful: During playtime, a relaxed and playful Corgi might adopt a "play bow" posture. They lower their front body while keeping their rear end up, often with a wagging tail. This playful stance invites interaction and signals their readiness for fun.
    Pembroke Welsh Corgi
    Rolling Over
  3. Submission or Submissiveness: When a Corgi feels submissive or apprehensive, they may crouch or lower their entire body. This is commonly seen when they encounter a larger or more dominant dog. It's their way of communicating that they mean no harm and are not a threat.
  4. Tense or Defensive: If your Corgi feels threatened or uncomfortable, they might assume a tense or defensive posture. This could include standing with their hackles raised (the fur along their back) or stiffening their body. In such situations, they may be preparing for a defensive reaction.
  5. Rolling Over: A Corgi rolling over onto their back can signal submission and trust. For example, during belly rub time, your Corgi might roll onto their back, exposing their vulnerable belly as an expression of trust and submission to you.
  6. Leaning: Corgis are known for their endearing habit of leaning against their owners or objects. When your Corgi leans into you, it's often a sign of affection and a desire for closeness. This behavior says, "I trust you, and I want to be near you."
  7. Ears and Tail Position: Posture often includes the position of their ears and tail. For instance, a confident Corgi's tail will be held high and wagging enthusiastically, while a submissive Corgi may have their tail tucked between their legs.

During training exercises, paying attention to your Corgi's posture is crucial. If you notice signs of submission or discomfort, such as crouching or avoiding eye contact, it's essential to adapt your training approach to make them feel more at ease. Conversely, a confident posture indicates that your Corgi is receptive to learning and engaging in training activities. By being attuned to these postural cues, you can create a positive and effective training environment that caters to your Corgi's emotional needs and learning style.

Eye Contact

Eye contact is a powerful form of nonverbal communication between you and your Corgi. It can convey a range of emotions, establish trust, and influence the dynamics of your interaction. Let's explore the significance of eye contact in your relationship with your Corgi with real-world examples:

  1. Establishing Trust: When you maintain gentle and direct eye contact with your Corgi, it can be a way of establishing trust and leadership. Imagine you're teaching your Corgi a new trick, and you maintain eye contact as they follow your cues. Your unwavering gaze conveys confidence and direction, helping them understand your expectations.
    Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy Training
    Eye Contact
  2. Submissive Gaze: On the flip side, avoiding eye contact can indicate submission or discomfort in the dog world. For instance, if your Corgi encounters a more dominant or assertive dog at the park, they might avert their gaze and look down or away. This submissive posture signals to the other dog that they don't intend to challenge their authority.
  3. Reading Emotions: Your Corgi's eye contact can also reveal their emotions. If they maintain a soft, relaxed gaze during cuddle time, it indicates contentment and a sense of security. Conversely, if they avert their eyes and appear uneasy when introduced to a new and potentially intimidating situation, it's a sign that they might be feeling anxious or uncertain.
  4. Training and Commands: Eye contact is vital during training sessions. When your Corgi maintains eye contact with you while you give commands, it shows they are attentive and ready to respond. For instance, during obedience training, your Corgi's focused gaze on you indicates their readiness to follow your guidance.
  5. Bonding Moments: Sometimes, extended eye contact can be a bonding experience. Imagine sitting with your Corgi, and you lock eyes for a moment during a quiet and peaceful time together. This prolonged gaze can deepen your emotional connection and reinforce the bond between you.

Understanding your Corgi's responses to eye contact allows you to adapt your interactions to their emotional needs. If your Corgi averts their gaze in a new or intimidating environment, you can provide reassurance and a comforting presence. During training, positive and encouraging eye contact can motivate your Corgi to excel in learning new skills. Ultimately, eye contact serves as a powerful tool for building trust, fostering communication, and strengthening the special bond you share with your Corgi.


Corgis are expressive dogs, and their use of gestures can be both charming and effective in communicating their needs and desires. Understanding these gestures is key to responding appropriately to your Corgi's requests. Here are some common Corgi gestures with real-world examples:

  1. Paw on Lap: When your Corgi places a paw on your lap, it's often a clear signal for attention and affection. For example, if you're sitting on the couch reading, and your Corgi gently rests their paw on your leg, they might be saying, "I'd like some love and cuddle time, please." Responding with pets and snuggles reinforces the bond between you.
    Corgi Training, Language of Corgi Dogs
    Raised Paw
  2. Raised Paw: A Corgi raising one of their front paws is a classic gesture for playfulness. During playtime, your Corgi might engage in a playful "paw wave," inviting you to join in the fun. It's their way of saying, "Let's play together!" You can reciprocate by initiating a game of fetch or tug-of-war.
  3. Scratching: If your Corgi scratches at a specific area, like the door or their leash, it's often a signal of readiness or desire. For instance, if they scratch at the door, it's their way of indicating they'd like to go outside for a walk or playtime in the yard. Responding promptly to these gestures ensures your Corgi's needs are met.
  4. Tapping Food Bowl: When it's mealtime, your Corgi might tap their food bowl with their paw as a way of reminding you. This gesture communicates, "I'm hungry, and it's time to eat!" It's a simple yet effective way for them to convey their needs.
  5. Pawing at Toys: During interactive play with toys, your Corgi might use their paws to bat at or push a toy in your direction. This gesture indicates their desire to continue the game. If they're nudging their favorite squeaky toy toward you, it's an invitation for you to engage in a lively play session.
  6. Touching Nose: Corgis are known for being resourceful problem solvers. If your Corgi lightly touches their nose to a closed treat jar or a container with food, they're displaying their problem-solving skills and indicating they'd like access to the treats. It's their way of saying, "I know the goodies are in there; can I have some, please?"

Understanding your Corgi's gestures fosters effective communication and strengthens your bond. When you respond to their cues promptly and appropriately, you create a harmonious and fulfilling partnership. Whether it's playtime, mealtime, or cuddle time, your Corgi's gestures are their way of engaging with you and expressing their needs, making for a happier and more connected relationship.

Adjusting Your  Training Approach

Adapting your training approach to accommodate your Corgi's comfort and well-being is a crucial aspect of effective and ethical dog training. Recognizing when your Corgi is stressed or uncomfortable during training is the first step, and then making the necessary adjustments is key to their success and happiness. Here are real-world examples illustrating the importance of adjusting your approach:

  1. Example 1 - Leash Training: Imagine you're leash training your Corgi in a busy park. Initially, your Corgi is excited but soon starts to show signs of stress, such as pulling, panting excessively, or avoiding eye contact. In this situation, adapting your approach might mean finding a quieter environment to continue training or using shorter training sessions to gradually acclimate your Corgi to the busy park setting.
    Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  2. Example 2 - Obedience Training: During obedience training, if your Corgi becomes anxious or fearful when asked to perform a specific command, such as "stay" or "come," it's essential to adjust your approach. You can break down the command into smaller, more manageable steps, provide ample positive reinforcement, and use a calm and encouraging tone to reduce their stress and build their confidence.
  3. Example 3 - Socialization: Socializing your Corgi with other dogs is crucial, but if you notice signs of stress, such as excessive barking or hiding behind you, it's time to adapt. Instead of pushing your Corgi into a potentially overwhelming situation, you can gradually introduce them to new dogs one at a time, starting with calm and friendly ones. This gradual approach helps reduce stress and builds positive associations.
  4. Example 4 - Positive Reinforcement: If you're using positive reinforcement, such as treats, during training and your Corgi appears uninterested or stressed by the treats, it's essential to adjust your rewards. Experiment with different types of treats or use praise and affection as rewards if that's more appealing to your Corgi. The key is to find what motivates and comforts them.
  5. Example 5 - Fear of Grooming: Grooming can be stressful for some Corgis. If your Corgi shows signs of discomfort, like trembling or trying to escape during brushing, adjust your approach. Start with short grooming sessions and gradually increase the duration as your Corgi becomes more comfortable. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, to create a positive association with grooming.

In all these examples, the key is to be attentive to your Corgi's signals and adapt your training methods accordingly. This not only reduces their stress but also ensures that training remains a positive and enriching experience. Training should be a partnership built on trust and cooperation, and by adjusting your approach, you help your Corgi learn and thrive while strengthening your bond.

Building Trust

Open, friendly body language from you, such as relaxed posture and encouraging gestures, helps your Corgi feel at ease during training.

Building trust is a fundamental component of successful dog training. Your Corgi needs to feel safe, secure, and confident in your presence to learn effectively. Your body language plays a crucial role in conveying these feelings. Here's how this concept works in real-world scenarios:

Scenario 1

Relaxed Posture: Imagine you're introducing your Corgi, Bella, to a new training exercise like "sit" or "stay." Your body language is relaxed, with an upright but not tense posture. Your shoulders are loose, and your movements are smooth. Bella observes your calm demeanor and relaxed posture, which signals to her that this is a safe and non-threatening environment for learning.

Scenario 2

Encouraging Gestures: During a training session, you're teaching your Corgi, Rocky, to perform a new trick, like "roll over." You use encouraging gestures like an open palm, gentle clapping, or a nod of approval when Rocky gets it right. These positive gestures convey your enthusiasm and encouragement, which reassures Rocky and builds trust. He associates your gestures with success and will be more eager to repeat the behavior.

Scenario 3

Patience and Respect: In another scenario, you're working on leash training with your Corgi, Oliver. He's a bit stubborn and hesitant. You demonstrate patience by not pulling or jerking the leash but instead allowing him to explore at his own pace. Your respectful approach tells Oliver that you're considerate of his feelings, making him more willing to cooperate.

Scenario 4

Eye Contact: While training your Corgi, Daisy, in a distracting outdoor setting, you maintain gentle, frequent eye contact. This signals to Daisy that you are there to guide and support her. The eye contact helps her stay connected with you, even in a stimulating environment, reinforcing her trust in your guidance.

In each of these examples, your open, friendly body language communicates to your Corgi that you are a reliable, supportive, and non-threatening presence. This trust forms the foundation for effective training, making your Corgi more receptive to learning and more eager to participate in training exercises.

Positive Body Language Techniques

  • Relaxed Posture: Maintain an upright but relaxed posture during training sessions. Avoid tense or aggressive stances.
    Corgi Training
  • Smiling: A friendly smile conveys warmth and encouragement.
  • Open Palm: Use open palms to signal positive reinforcement and encouragement.
  • Gentle Clapping: Soft clapping or applause can signify success and enthusiasm.
  • Nodding: A nod of approval acknowledges your Corgi's efforts and achievements.
  • Eye Contact: Maintain gentle and frequent eye contact to establish a connection and show attentiveness.
  • Kneeling: Kneeling down to your Corgi's level can make you appear less intimidating and more approachable.
  • Patience: Demonstrate patience by allowing your Corgi time to process and respond to commands.
  • Verbal Praise: Use a cheerful and encouraging tone in your voice when offering verbal praise.
  • Treats: Dispense treats with an open hand, offering them as rewards for desired behavior.

Negative Body Language Techniques to Avoid

  • Tense Posture: Avoid rigid or aggressive postures, which can make your Corgi feel threatened.
  • Frowning: A frown or stern expression can convey disapproval or stress.
  • Raised Voice: Shouting or using a harsh tone can cause fear or anxiety in your Corgi.
  • Pointing Fingers: Pointing directly at your Corgi can be seen as confrontational.
  • Avoiding Eye Contact: Continuously avoiding eye contact might make your Corgi feel ignored or unimportant.
  • Jerking Leash: Jerking the leash forcefully can cause physical discomfort and erode trust.
  • Impatience: Impatience and frustration can lead to negative associations with training.
  • Withholding Treats: If you promise a treat but don't deliver, it can confuse and frustrate your Corgi.
  • Standing Over: Hovering or standing over your Corgi can be intimidating; try to be at their level.
  • Scolding: Harsh scolding or punishment-based training methods should be avoided, as they can damage the trust between you and your Corgi.

Using positive body language techniques and avoiding negative ones fosters a trusting and cooperative training environment, where your Corgi is more likely to thrive and enjoy the learning process.

Scenario 1

Positive Body Language

Training Objective: Teaching your Corgi, Milo, the "sit" command.

Positive Body Language Use

- You: Begin the training session with a relaxed posture, bending slightly at the knees to be closer to Milo's level.

- Facial Expression: You wear a warm, encouraging smile.

- Open Palm: You use an open palm and gentle clapping when Milo successfully sits.

- Eye Contact: Your gaze remains soft but focused on Milo.

- Verbal Praise: Your voice is cheerful and supportive as you say, "Good boy, Milo! That's a great sit!"

Outcome: Milo responds positively to your friendly and encouraging body language. He quickly learns the "sit" command because he feels safe and confident during the training session. Your positive body language reinforces his trust in you as a trainer.

Scenario 2

 Negative Body Language

Training Objective: Teaching your Corgi, Bella, to come when called.

Negative Body Language Use

-You: You stand tall with crossed arms, appearing tense and stern.

-Facial Expression: Your face is set in a frown, conveying disapproval.

-Raised Voice: You use a sharp, loud tone when calling Bella.

- Pointing Fingers: Your finger is pointed directly at Bella.

- Avoiding Eye Contact: You avoid eye contact, making Bella feel ignored.

- Impatience: You become visibly frustrated when Bella doesn't respond immediately.

Outcome: Bella hesitates and cowers when called, as your negative body language and tone of voice make her feel anxious and stressed. She associates coming to you with a negative experience due to your harsh demeanor.

In both  these scenarios, the difference in body language and tone of voice has a profound impact on the dogs' responses. Positive body language creates a trusting and enjoyable training environment, while negative body language can lead to fear and reluctance in the training process.


In the heartwarming journey of training your beloved Corgi, remember that love is the thread that weaves through every interaction. Through positive body language and genuine connection, you're not just teaching commands; you're nurturing a bond that transcends words. Every wag of the tail, every bright-eyed look of understanding, is a testament to the love you share. As you continue this incredible adventure together, let love be your guiding force, for it's the love between you and your Corgi that makes each training session not just a lesson but a cherished moment, reinforcing the beautiful connection you share. In the end, it's love that transforms a well-trained Corgi into a beloved family member, loyal companion, and a source of endless joy in your life.


The Language of Corgi Dogs: Decoding Body Language for Successful Training

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