Hey guys!

We've had Booker for two weeks now, he is a 9 week old Pembroke. He's is super smart. The last two weeks we've taught him: sit, down, up, shake, leave it, kissies, quiet, and now roll over. I didn't think he'd learn that quickly but he's so smart. However we have a few concerns with some of his actions.

We know that Corgis are barkers and that is fine with us however it's when he chooses to bark that concerns us the most. He will bark at us when we eat if he is not eating as well (my sister-in -law gave him human food and now knows he can have it, we're still upset about this), and we can't stop it. He knows what quiet is because I've gotten him to do it many times before, it's like he's being stubborn about it when it comes to food. He also does this while training/playing. When I tell him to leave something he barks and turns and growls and keeps barking. I tell him to be quiet or he won't get the treat. This only works some of the time, sometimes he'll bite me and growl at me in frustration. Both my husband and I try to "yelp" when he does this but he attacks harder and fiercer. It seems the yelping excites him more. That's when we put him in his crate for a time out but usually when we let him out it's like a ball of nails attacking us again. Sometimes we have to leave him in his crate for 30 minutes to calm him down and I feel terrible about that, because he really just wants to play after all.

As I said, I know a lot of this is him wanting to play, which is totally fine, but we really don't want him barking, "demanding," rewards or nipping at us to get what he wants. We've taught him kissies to stop the biting but when he's a very playful or rebellious mood he won't give us kissies, if anything I think his bites get worse. It gets to the point I have to pick him up and hold him in the air to stop it and before we were using a squirt bottle which works, but many suggested against that. Does anyone have any other recommendations? We're just worried about him not becoming a sweet boy that we know many Corgis are and we know he's young. If anyone else experienced this how long did this stage last? Thanks in advance everyone, it means a lot!

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You did get him at a very young age so some of this might have been resolved by his mom and litter mates if he had a few more weeks with them. However, he is here now and obviously well loved.  I have always found it helpful when working with a new puppy is to remember that he is an infant right now and I am basically teaching him a foreign language. A human infant takes years to learn the things we expect a puppy to learn after one try. You have to remain consistent and patient. He will make great strides in the next few months but it will seem like forever while you are going through it. It is possible that the yelping over excites him, if so I would contact Beth on this site.  I know she had success using another method and wrote about it. It sounds like most of the behaviors you are describing are all due to pent up energy so try to have more frequent play times that allow her to run around. My first corgi was like that and I was able to take him on frequent but short walks (just allowing him to wander and play) that really helped. I prefer using very positive methods in training such as praise and tiny treats instead of spraying water etc. If you've ever tried to reason with a toddler you quickly realize that you can't win with force. Sounds to me like you have accomplished an amazing amount in just 2 short weeks so pat yourself on the back and stop thinking that he can learn everything right away. Corgis are really worth the effort!

Thanks Bev! I really do wish we would have known about waiting till 10 weeks but not much we can do about that now. I'll definitely look into contacting Beth though. Today the yelping worked, he laid down and looked up at me sad, so it is probably we just need to be more patience and keep wit the consistency. It is also our first puppy so we want to make sure we're doing everything right as well haha. But thanks for the encouragement, it really means a lot!

I think you've been doing too much too soon and overstimulating him. In addition he may have been "played with" roughly ( most guys like to rough house...). If he was my pup, I would do away with treats altogether until there is no more an expectation of food, simply reward with "good boy" or by throwing a toy, or taking him out, etc. anything he likes that is not food.  Then I would concentrate all my training on "gentling"  him, while providing adequate calm exercise (walks) appropriately for his age.  All his handling should be calm, slow, open palm  and gentle to reprogram his responses.  He should learn hands always feel good when they reach for you. You will not be able to do this if he is not walked often.  He should also have toys he can chew and amuse himself with WITHOUT needing a person to interact with him 24/7.   If he barks when you eat, feed him and take him out before your meal, then crate him while you are eating.  The demanding behavior has gotten established because it  worked, at least some of the time.  He is obviously a smart pup and will teach you to stay a step ahead of him!  You can return to occasional low value treats for calm behavior when he is further down the road. For instance, if he is lying down for awhile, you can walk up to him and drop a small treat by him.   

When Jack was a young puppy, we had to put him in his x-pen every day when we ate dinner or he would bark at us for food.   Honestly it was a stage and he outgrew it, and penning him was just a way to contain him until the problem solved itself with some age and frustration tolerance.

It was me who had a pup who got more excited by the yelping.  His was a very rough-and-tumble litter and his mother played rough too.    If I'd yelp it would just encourage him.     What I would do is keep baby gates up in the kitchen.  I'd go in the kitchen and play with him, and if he'd bite my hands I'd say "Ah-ah".  If he stopped, we continued (even if he started biting again soon thereafter). But if he would not stop, I would detach him from me as calmly as I could and step out over the baby gate.   I would wait a minute or so and come back and try again.   It is important that you leave him, rather than carrying him away.  It shows him that rough play causes you to leave.   

I also took him to a big empty space (our basement at the time) and would run so he could chase me.  The second he would nip my pants or ankles, I would stop, cross my arms over my chest and stare at the ceiling and ignore him.  He would get bored and wander away and as soon as he did, I'd run off again.  Again, he learned "bite the humans and the game ends."

I found giving him cardboard boxes to shred was a good outlet for his energy.  He also liked to chase empty plastic single-serve water bottles.   And we played a lot of tug with a long rope tug.   You can also teach "leave it" this way by swapping out the tug for a treat or another tug toy.

At times it seems ENDLESS.  Puppyhood for us was exhausting, painful (from biting) and LOUD, lol.  The hardest thing to do is keep your head on as you try to get through this stage.  It passes, but it takes some time and some work.  

Everything Beth said is a GREAT technique.  It's best to work on teaching your dog how things work, rather than punishing him for being a crazy kid.  My puppy still barked when we ignored him, but I felt that stepping away helped ME get in a better head-space to try playing again.  That, in turn, influenced how I acted towards my dog and how he acted towards me.  Also, you don't want your dog to be afraid of you.  That's the worst!  You just want him to know how things work in the household.  He'll figure it out eventually.

Our pup was wild and loud and did a lot of biting during play.  I thought everyone who had photos of their puppy sitting calmly was a liar.  I was convinced he would never sit still and let me pet him or cuddle with him.  All of it passed.  Jerry is a brave boy who is happy to play with any and all animals.  He plays gently even when we roughhouse.  At night, when he's tired, he loves to sit on the couch with us for a bit for some snuggles and love.  

Just remember he's a baby and try to set a good example :)

I don't have puppy experience but my dog never begs because like you, I never feed her from my plate. I wouldn't worry too much about Booker getting people food from others if it happens rarely. I am sure he will listen to you mainly as he grows. Sully has been fed on rare occasions by others so she does try to beg sometimes from people she thinks might be softies then she goes away when ignored. On the very rare occasions she gives me the sad, starving puppy eyes I turn my back to her and she goes to her bed without complaint. I adopted my dog as an adult so I have no puppy advice but you got al the advice you will need from everyone else. Just wanted to let you know the occasional bite of people food he might sneak from visitors is probably not too bad in the scheme of things.

Hmmm....  Sometimes, as with small children, a sudden shift in the grown-up's behavior will disorient the brat long enough to interfere with undesirable behavior.

Instead of  yelping, try becoming, very quiet. Lower your voice or don't speak at all. Stop moving and stop engaging. Or place your hands where the pup can't easily reach you to nip (behind the front legs, for example) and gently lift him into his crate. Whatever it is you do in response to the obnoxious behavior, try doing the exact opposite. Quietly and calmly.

Occasionally Ruby would go kinda rowdy, too. She doesn't do it anymore...seems to have outgrown that. It may be better to get up and walk away than to engage in a tussle in an effort to persuade an excited pup to stand down.


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