Pavlov The Corgi interview
Pavlov the Corgi (Photo: @pavlovthecorgi / Instagram)
Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Updated on September 17, 2019
Exclusive This article features content exclusive to the helloBARK! website.

Pavlov is a Corgi based in Santa Barbara, California.

Owners Anthony and Tram have managed to build an impressive following on Pavlov’s Instagram account (@pavlovthecorgi).

The Corgi has over 110,000 followers on the photo-sharing app with some extremely passionate fans.

They’ve also experimented on other platforms on social media, such as YouTube.

We spoke to Anthony for the second episode of our helloBARK! podcast to learn more about Pavlov and Corgis.

Note: We’ve renamed the show to the helloBARK! podcast.

You can follow our dogs Copper and Skye on Instagram here (@lifewithkleekai).

1) How did you end up with Pavlov?

We got Pavlov in December 2015. Tram and I had been together for about four or five years at that point. I had just graduated at UCLA and she was an undergraduate in her senior year. I accepted a job offer to stay in LA. We were in the transition of taking the next step in our relationship. We had always talked about getting a dog together. We had a known stability that we were going to stay in LA a little longer so we went and got Pavlov.

2) What attracted you to the Corgi?

Pavlov the Corgi (Photo: @pavlovthecorgi / Instagram)
Pavlov the Corgi (Photo: @pavlovthecorgi / Instagram)

We did a lot of research to see what breed was best for us. Tram has grown up loving dogs. I had dogs all my life. I didn’t really know the number of breeds and how your lifestyle needs to match [the breed]. We had to rule out some dogs that weren’t realistic for our living situation. Tram wanted an English Bulldog her whole life but it wasn’t feasible financially or as a lifestyle. We were going to live in an apartment and stay fairly active, it really made sense to go and get Pavlov.

3) Were there any surprises that you weren’t expecting?

He has lived up to the expectations. There weren’t really any surprises. He is a well tempered Corgi. They’re a medium dog technically. They stay active. They’re working dogs so they bark a lot and want to work a lot. When we get home, he’ll bark briefly and then bring us a toy. It’s our time to work! He doesn’t bark as much as we expected him to. We did a lot of training. Whenever we found a behaviour we weren’t fond of, like barking at skateboards or bikes, we went ahead and tried to correct that. He’s been great!

4) What should potential Corgi owners think about before getting one?

You need to make sure you’re ready to keep them active. Pavlov wakes at 6am: he’s like ‘alright feed me and let’s go on a walk’. We have to make sure he gets a walk in afternoon and in the evening as well. If you keep them active, they’re fulfilled and won’t be too restless. We have toys that keep his brain working. Puzzle toys are good mental stimulation for them. Corgis aren’t the best dogs for beginners because it requires the patience to curve some of the behaviour that people don’t like with dogs.

5) Do Corgis really like to herd?

Pavlov the Corgi (Photo: @pavlovthecorgi / Instagram)
Pavlov the Corgi (Photo: @pavlovthecorgi / Instagram)

They sometimes nip kids because they’re herding dogs. If there is a kid or a bike, their instinct is to chase after it. We took Pavlov to get herding instinct tested. It’s something they do on some farms. There were 20 Corgis and they put them in the ring with some type of cattle. The dogs go in with a rope and handler. They see if instinctually they go out and herd them. You’d be surprised about half of the Corgis didn’t have that instinct because it was bred out of them. Pavlov stays pretty true to the herding dog presentation.

6) What are common questions you get asked about Pavlov?

People first ask if he’s a real Corgi! He’s a tri-colored Corgi and a lot of people are used to seeing a red and white coat of the Corgi. We’re like, ‘he’s a real Corgi’. People are always so amazed by how they look. He’s a show stopper as an objectively attractive dog but Corgis attract a lot of attention because of where they are in pop culture.

7) Tell us your funniest Pavlov story….

Our best stories are the ones that come from fans. For some reason, we’ve fostered a really intense fandom from fans. It’s been translated into some acts that would surprise anyone. We have two people who have Pavlov tattoos. It happened really early on about a year and a half ago. We have a larger following now. It was like, ‘wait, what?’. Someone took a picture of Pavlov on a hat and they got it [as a tattoo]. The second one was directly a picture of Pav. She primed us and said she was going to get her Pavlov tattoo today. We were like, ‘yes, we love that type of stuff’. She sent us the before and after – it was the exact same picture. That’s as crazy as it gets. We don’t even have it [a tattoo] so it’s on our list now. We have to even up the score a little bit and get some ourselves.

8) How did Pavlov get such a big Instagram following?

Pavlov the Corgi (Photo: @pavlovthecorgi / Instagram)
Pavlov the Corgi (Photo: @pavlovthecorgi / Instagram)

We started when there were already Instagram famous dogs. We never thought it would happen to us. We didn’t set off with that intention at all – we’ve no background in social media or photography. It was a big learning process for us. It didn’t take off as fast as it would if we had the experience and knowledge that we have now. We took no puppy pictures! Puppy pictures are how people grow really fast, really quickly. After a year, we only had about 10,000 followers. There were a couple of viral spikes that made it a little easier to jump from one tier to another. It has been an upward trend which is reflective of our content quality and how much effort we put into it. The better our content got and the more time we put into it, the results have been reflected.

9) What advice would you give to someone starting off?

Firstly, you’ve got to have fun! We can all get caught up in it and forget about the having fun aspect. I used to think so much about what people would react to. I’d hold stuff back and try to do what everyone else is doing. The more fun we were able to have, we were able to allow ourselves to have a unique voice. Our audience can clearly see it is coming from us and not a deviation of something that someone has done before. The second would be community. Instagram is a social platform. If for some reason Instagram shut down and we lost everything, I know we’ve made some awesome friends. That community can help pages to take of as well. We respond to nearly every direct message we get. We get lots of messages every day but the people who follow us and go out of their way to comment, those are the people we really want to say thank you to for really supporting us. Overall, you’ve got to keep learning. I still watch YouTube videos and listen to podcasts. We’ve taken it more of a mission on us to learn even more even though you’d think it might be the opposite once you get to this level.

10) How much time do you dedicate to your Instagram page?

It’s definitely like a part-time job. That’s what made me feel more confident putting the work into it. I’d set aside time to work on it. It’s hard. Tram works full-time and I’m a doctorate student. Sometimes I don’t get home until 8pm. It can be hard when you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to post tomorrow or trying to come up with a caption. It definitely takes a lot of time. It’s hard to put a number on it. I imagine I spend like four hours (a day).

11) What other Instagram accounts would you recommend?

Our friend @emwng she’s got great content. She’s got a Corgi and an American Eskimo. I learned a lot from them just in terms of overall cleanliness. She has a background in photography and content creation. We used to model our stuff a lot on her then we became friends with her and now we create content together – so that’s pretty fun. Our friend @tofu_corgi. We met them when Pavlov and Tofu were four months old. They’ve got 150,000 followers on Instagram – they’re awesome. On Twitter, @weratedogs and @dogthoughts is awesome. I get a lot of inspiration from Twitter – and not even dog accounts.