I have had my 10 week old Pembroke, Henry, for about two weeks now, and I feel like we are having trouble bonding. He doesn't seem to really care if I'm around or not. He is really good in the crate, almost never whines and just goes to sleep. I've never had a puppy or dog before, so I don't know if he can maybe sense my fear that I'm going to screw something up. He never wants to cuddle with me; in fact, whenever I try to cuddle with him or have him lay near me, he will get up and walk further away. I'm doing this all on my own (I'm a third year law student), and I'm doing the best I can, but it's so hard when there seems to be no pay off because he doesn't have any affection for me.
Has anyone else had this experience? Is he just too young still or is there anything I can do to help forge the bond? I play with him multiple times a day also, he's just not that interested in it. He'd rather chew on a toy in the corner.
Becca was an older puppy when I got her, but dog classes helped us bond. She is particular about being touched, but will cuddle on her terms. She will now climb on my lap and settle, but it takes major bribing to be able to touch her belly or pants. I would try to find a puppy class to join as soon as he has all of his shots.
Becca was 8 months when I got her and it took us 3 or 4 weeks to bond. Henry is still a baby. Keep working with him.
There have been quite a few of these posts lately so you are definitely not alone. Give it more time. I remember being very upset when my Henry was a puppy as he was never excited when I came home, but things change. :) I also highly recommend puppy classes, they are great for bonding and learning.
This is what worries me about getting a Corgi puppy! I love Corgis sooo much, everything about them is perfect--except I want a dog that is going to want to be with me and cuddle/play with me.. Ziggy is not the typical Corgi, so I was thinking that maybe that was why he doesn't give much affection, but I've been reading more and more of these posts lately and it makes me wonder if I'm not better suited to like a Golden Retriever or a Pit Bull or Pug (from puppyhood) or something of the like!
But like suggested, obedience classes! NILF has also been suggested quite frequently on this website, so maybe look into that too!
I don't want to scare you, but I have a year and a half old Cardigan who is the polar opposite of what one would see as "loving", or cuddly. Time has not improved this bond. Ace will lay at my feet, he would take a bullet for me, but he will never wag his tail when I say his name. Ace will never give me a kiss, beg me for pets, or flop over for a tummy rub out of the blue. Some dogs are truly not what we'd call affectionate. In Henry's case I believe it has more to do with the fact that he's adjusting to his new household (give him a good month before making any judgement calls like this!).
Stuff you CAN do to actively improve your relationship is sign up for puppy kindergarten together, train him on your free time, take walks together, help him get socialized, etc. The affection will come. I know that's what we, as dog owners, often want first because we tend to see our puppies as children, and we want them to reflect the love we shower upon them. But give it time! Worst case scenario, you end up with a stoic dog like I have. But I can tell you, I know that Ace loves me like no other human being. He'd do anything for me if he thought it would keep me alive. And that's something you can't extinguish in any dog. :-)
I think it takes time. Lucy is definitely not a cuddler, but it took her time for her to come sit next to me on her own. She does love to be petted and she loves to play, but she doesn't like to be picked up. When Lucy was a small puppy, we did some bonding over play and in obedience classes. We are still working on it and she is 18 months now. Lucy does not get all excited when I come home, BUT she will be standing or sitting at attention staring at the door when I walk in. I figure that is her kind of "welcome." She is not very vocal with me, but she follows me with her eyes a lot. She watches everywhere I go around the apartment; if she is off leash on wooded trails near my home, she will never let me be out of her line of vision. Again, I think these are signs she has bonded with me but it all has taken time.
Long reply--sorry, but these recent posts about bonding have really prompted a lot of thoughts for me recently!
Both of our corgis were rescued as adults, so I can’t relay any experiences or advice regarding the puppy stage. But I can tell you about having cuddly vs. non-cuddly corgis and give you another perspective to consider regarding bonding wih a non-cuddly dog.
Betsy was our first rescue, and our introduction to the world of corgis (she turned me into a complete corgi addict, LOL). She is the quintessential working corgi, super-smart, very businesslike, constantly aware of what everyone in the house is doing. She’s not cuddly, doesn’t wag her tail when we come home and doesn’t (normally) seek us out for affection. She *is*, however, super wiggly and sweet when she greets strangers and friends (esp. kids), with ears in full flattened mode and clamoring for attention. (I think she sees strangers as potential sources of food who are more likely to feed her than her heartless owners, LOL.) Now our second rescue, Fred, bless his heart, is dumb as a rock when compared to Betsy. He’s a sweet cuddle bug who lives for attention, coming up for body rubs and tummy scritches while making the cutest rumbly, wookie sounds. He's very happy to greet us when we get home and wags his nub to show us how he feels.
I couldn’t love those two dogs any more than I already do (best dogs EVER!), but Betsy is the one I call my heart dog. I’ve never felt more connected to another animal in my life. I think it’s because we have such a deep mental understanding of one another, which is enhanced by her personality, her intelligence and her working-dog traits. She is so smart, has such an understanding of human vocabulary, and is so clearly able to “read” situations, that it is almost like interacting with another person. She may not always agree with me or listen to me, LOL, but I know that she *understands* me. In addition, she is the most deeply loyal, protective, hard-working dog I’ve ever known. A true caretaker of the family and especially of the kids (and most especially my daughter). From the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to sleep, she’s in working mode. She knows where everyone is at every moment. She refuses to go downstairs in the morning before my daughter is up and out of bed. She refuses even to go out in the backyard in the morning until my daughter has left for school. She watches over Fred (that is, she bosses him around, “tells on him” when he is misbehaving or not listening to us, herds him in and out of the house, etc., ), and constantly studies the routines and schedules of the house so she can be on top of everything. In the afternoon, she knows when the school bus is nearing the end of our block. We’ll go outside, and she will wait patiently on command, even as the kids are spilling out of the bus a half a block away (quite a feat, since she LIVES for kids). When released, she’ll run to the kids and escort them back down the block. I know without a shadow of a doubt that she would lay down her life for us. If one of us were hurt, she would stay right there and try to help. If that didn’t work, she’d find a way to go get help. I’ve never had a dog like that, and maybe never will again. Her intelligence, loyalty, and work ethic make me tear up when I think about her. No, she’s not cuddly (though she will occasionally come up on the couch and submit to some all-over body scritches, softly woofing if you stop too soon). She doesn’t wag her nub when we come home, but I know she’s happy we’re home, since she like nothing better than to have her little flock all contained in one place so she can do her job more efficiently and not worry about where we are.
Perhaps having Fred makes me more accepting of Betsy’s (apparent) lack of affection, but I think it is more that I started seeing her behavior in a new light once I understood her mindset and what really drives her. She just expresses her love and devotion through her work, so to speak. Is it any coincidence that Fred, who has no apparent work ethic or herding inclinations, is the most cuddly? Maybe I’m over generalizing based on my limited experience with just 2 corgis. It would be interesting to hear from others who have cuddly and non-cuddly corgis.
Well, after this very long post, what I’m trying to say is, keep your mind open to other ways that dogs can show their love and affection for you, and realize that there are other ways for you to feel close to your dog. I strongly agree with everyone who has said that training your dog and exercising your dog are ways to bond. The deep understanding Betsy and I have of one another has come mainly through that kind of interaction. And one other thing: when a dog like Betsy does shift briefly out of working mode to cuddle or seek affection, it is such a special treat—worth all the more because it is such a rarity! I can get Fred to cuddle any time I ask, but when Betsy crawls into my lap on the couch and humbly asks me to scratch her all over, it will keep me smiling for hours. If Henry grows up to be like Betsy, I’m sure you will have those moments, too. Be patient and don’t focus too much on expected behaviors that you think define love or affection, and you may find that your bond with Henry grows to be deeper than you could ever have imagined.
Thank you all so much for sharing your stories. I feel SO much more hopeful that Henry and I will have a bond that is all ours (even if it doesn't include affection). Because I have never had a dog before, let alone a Corgi, so I have just been very overwhelmed. I was questioning whether or not I had made a huge mistake and should give him back to the breeder. I researched a lot before I got him, and I felt like I was really ready to handle having a puppy, but I did not realize how much my life would change! I think I now know that the hard work will pay off when I have my little buddy to share my life with.
All things considered, he is a very good puppy (maybe too smart for his own good). He has been very easy to potty train, and while he hates the leash, he is coming around. I signed up for puppy classes today, so I'm hoping that will bring us closer. It sounds like Henry has a lot of the same traits as all of your corgis, so that makes me feel so much better!
One more question: for those of you who had your corgis as puppies, how long does it take to get out of the "oh no, what have I done!" stage and into the "I can't live without you" phase?
Thank you again!
I was in the "Oh God, what the hell was I thinking" phase for a good month, maybe two. Part of that was thanks to my untreated depression, part was due to Ace being completely aloof to my presence, and the rest just because having a puppy is overwhelming for a newcomer. When Ace was going through one of his "phases" (lying down on walks and refusing to budge, even though we hadn't been gone for more than 5 minutes, etc.) I swore up and down that I'd never get a puppy again.
Fast forward a year later and here I am, with a puppy (different breed this time around!). You really forget the adjustment period quickly and just realize that dogs are man's best friend for a reason. Nothing can replace that bond once it's forged between you two. :-)
The thing to keep in mind I think is that his aloofness is NOT a reflection of who you are. The Corgi isn't acting that way because he thinks you're unworthy of his love/affection. They just don't. So if that's where this is all coming from, I wouldn't worry.
For me, it took about 9 months to get to "I can't live without you." We had many challenges during that time. I did NOT think about booting him out the door before that, but it wasn't the happy, running through field of flowers under a rainbow with skittles raining from the sky experience. Today, I wish I could take him everywhere with me. He brings many smiles and laughs to me in the morning before work - when I REALLY need to smile/laugh.
I live in both stages all the time.