Hello All,

I have recently got my first puppy. Gabby is now 4 months old and we've had her for 2 months. She is very smart and knows basic commands and tricks. She is enrolled in puppy classes for socialization and she also has an older sister, a 9-year old golden.

My only issue with Gabby is her aloofness and lack of emotions towards us. She is NEVER happy to see us, she rarely wags her tail when we come home. Whenever, we sit in the living room, she just goes into another room and sits by herself. I am so frustrated and heart broken, since I've always wanted a companion dog.

Gabby does not like attention (at least she does not seek it) and does not like to be petted. Here is what we do on daily basis: Gabby gets up at 6:30 I take her out, hand feed her, play with her and then leave for work. I come home for lunch around 11, and we spend an hour together playing and going outside. When I return home from work, we go for an hour long walk to the lake where she can run off the leash. When we come home, we play, eat, and  Gabby chews on her toys. When she is tired, she simply gets up and goes somewhere else. Also, every week we go for puppy classes.

She is super friendly with strangers and other dogs but not with me. Could you offer some advice? Will she change as she gets older? I don't care if she is independent, all I want her is to have at least some affection towards me.

Thank you!

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I'm so sorry you are frustrated with this. But it sounds like you are a doing a great job being a corgi momma. The only thing I can think to suggest is to make sure she is getting 1:1 time with you, without the other dog around. Animals can sometimes bond better with each other than us, unless we deliberately work to bond with them. 

Thank you Jenny!

The golden is my boyfriend's dog and we see her every weekend or during school breaks in summer and winter. I spent with Gabby every single minute of my time after I get from work. Basically, from 4pm till midnight. That's why I'm so sad about the whole situation. She gets my undivided attention, and consequently my research and school work starts to suffer, since I cannot do anything else but entertain her and make sure she is happy.

Ruby the Corgi Pup (now a couple years old) was a lot like that for quite some time. She didn't seem to like to be petted. She'd tolerate it but appeared not to welcome it. And whereas Cassie the Corgi (about 9 years old) is standing at the door when I come home, Ruby takes her time in climbing out of her den in the back bathroom and strolling out to see if I'm still in one piece and have any food.

Consider the human: some of the creatures are the touchy-feely type: they love to be hugged and to hug in return. Some are less comfortable with that sort of behavior. Possibly dogs have a similar range of feeling. People who don't enjoy being handled don't love you any the less...they just want you to respect their boundaries. Maybe dogs feel the same way?

Comparisons like that go only so far. Dogs, after all, are dogs. So...consider the dog. It's a carnivorous pack animal evolved to hang together with members of its own kind so as to gather ample food and raise a decent percentage of surviving offspring. Certain behaviors have communicative functions, and many of these relate to pack hierarchy. When you place a hand on a dog's head or the back of its neck, you say "I am the boss here and you are the underling." Accepting this means "Yup, you de boss!" But some dogs may wish to differ, or at least to keep their options open. This could be a reason that some dogs don't seem to go all gooey and saccharine about a lot of petting.

Over time, Ruby has become more open to the occasional pet-fest. I've found that she doesn't much mind my petting her when she's on the bed (denning behavior????). And if I put my hand, limply, near her face and allow her to sniff first, she doesn't seem to mind a little petting. Also she seems to prefer being stroked under the chin and around the ears to being petted on the head and back. And I stopped worrying about her propensity to lay abed when I come in the door. She'll come out whenever she's good and ready, which is usually fairly soon.

Remember, she's not a person. She's certainly not a child. She's a dog. Let her be a dog.

Thank you Vicky for your insightful response! Gabby indeed does not mind to be petted when she is laying down on her bed. She also does not mind to be held or sit on my lap but only if I hold a bone for her to chew on. I don't mind her not being a cuddly dog, but I really hope that she'll grow into being my companion.

It could happen. Ruby is a lot chummier than she used to be when she was little. It takes awhile learn to socialize with humans. Make her feel happy when she's doing things you like.

One of the things I was most disappointed with in my puppy experience was how little I felt like my corgi cared about me.

I felt the same way; that he was not happy to see me, that he did not seek attention and that he didn't want to be pet or cuddled.

Thankfully this has since changed, and my 2.5 year old corgi has been a snuggly, loving, must-be-close-to-you-at-all-times, corgi for over a year.

When he was a pup he was busy busy busy and his behavior definitely changed.  He very much loves to be in everyone's business and keep an eye on everything, and I think this instinct really contributes towards his need for togetherness.  

The one thing I did do consciously, and I'm not sure if this encouraged or changed anything at all, was spend a lot of time on the floor with him at his eye-level when we played.  I wanted him to get used to me being close to him and close to his face for praise and play, so that he wouldn't shy away from me when I did have to ultimately bend down (down down down) to pet him. :)

4 months leaves a lot of room for emotional growth still, and you're doing a great job so far!!

Hi Marina,

Thank you for sharing your experience. I feel exactly the same way. After all the time and effort I put in, I feel like my puppy does not care about me. I hate to be selfish, but I got the dog only because I wanted a loyal companion, which most of my dogs were. Now I feel like a full time care giver to a puppy that does not even want to come up to me unless I have a treat in my hand. She does the same thing to my boyfriend. However, when she meets new people she is super friendly and excited: always flipping on her back and rolling from joy. We never observe these behaviors with us. Your experience makes me hopeful that overtime Gabby will come around and become more affectionate to her humans.

I call my Jack "The Mayor" because he really does not like to be petted or brushed or fussed over or cuddled, yet when we go out he fawns over everyone and makes them feel special.   He truly reminds me of a politician out glad-handing.

Many Corgis still have what I think of as a working dog personality.   Working dogs see themselves more as your partner than your pet and they may or may not be super affectionate.  But they do show their loyalty in other ways.   It may not make you feel better to know that at 9, Jack never turned into a cuddler.  He sometimes likes to have his neck scratched, in a manly way.   Maybe his ears.  Otherwise, he doesn't like much physical attention.

But he does bring me toys to play.   Sits right by my side if I'm sick or sad.  Talks to me all the time, with a never-ending series of whines, barks, a-roos and wookkie noises.   And I think he would lay down his furry life for us. 

When it was time to get another Corgi, we got an adult who was a confirmed cuddler.   She is the one who always wants to be petted and cuddled and loved on.  But honestly if I were asked which of our two is more loyal to us, the cuddler of the one who doesn't like to be petted, my answer is 100% Jack.   Maddie would go with anyone who was kind to her, but Jack knows we are his people and he looks out for us.

Hi Beth,

Thank you for your response. I don't mind if Gabby is not cuddly dog, I just wish she was more affectionate. Now her attitude is "Just feed me and I'm going to do my own thing". The behavior that bothers me the most is that she does not like to stay with me in the same room. If I watch tv or read, she just walks and lays somewhere else. She does not voluntarily come up to me if I do not have a treat. I'm trying to stay positive. I think, I'm expecting too much out of a 4 months old puppy. 

It seems that you are doing all the right things, except that you  need to drop your expectations and, above all your disappointment, because the pup can sense something is wrong ( without knowing what or why )  and this can affect its behavior.  Just allow the pup  to come on its own terms, without judgement, as you would want someone to do with you  and look for things about her that you can truly appreciate, which will allow her to grow and blossom.  Everything responds to love, even plants, just give her time to become who she is meant to be.

Thank you Anna!

You are probably right. The puppy probably senses my disappointment and aggravations. I'm always having thoughts of disappointment with her behavior, or pitying myself for getting an unaffectionately puppy. Even though I love her, once in a while I'm regretting of getting a corgi instead of a golden retriever (who would be more affectionate). I'll try to be more optimistic and just love her no matter what.

A teacher I respect said it best: "Disappointment comes from taking stock too soon".  Dogs teach us many things and this may just be one of the things she's come to teach you!  Be playful about it and don't be hard on her or yourself.  I look forward to hearing good reports in the near future.  BTW, not all Golden Retrievers are affectionate either.  My friend bought two sisters at 7 wks of age, they are now 12 yrs.old and have always been polar opposites in personality as well as activity level. 

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