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Hello -

My wife and I adopted the sweetest little corgi about 5 weeks ago. She is two and a half years old and has an unbelievably calm temperament. Very little barking, very well-behaved around human food, very good at waiting until we tell her it's ok to come onto the sofa, etc.

When one of us leaves she generally will get plop down by the door and look at it forlornly until that person comes back. This is a little sad, but it's been getting better as she gets used to knowing that we will come back. Now we can coax her to cuddle with the other one on the couch, eat treats or play with her toys.

What is strange is her behavior when the other person comes back. She gets very excited (very cute!) and runs around the apartment making chewbacca talk that corgis can make - there's occasionally growling or barking, but mostly it seems like she's trying to talk. However, she centers it on the person who has been home. It seems like she is simultaneously nervous that someone is breaking into the home and happy that Mom or Dad has come back.

She jumps up onto the person who has been home, circles around them, chewy talks at them. It seems like she really wants that person to do something but we have no idea what it is. I've never heard of this behaviour with a dog before (normally they want to see the parent who came home!) She is smiling and wagging her non-tail, so it does seem like she is happy!

Based on a quick google - we've tried not riling her up, ignoring her, giving her treats. Giving treats has been the most effective because then we can focus her on some of the tricks she's been learning (sit, down, shake, roll-over.)

I know we are still in the 3 month period where her behaviour is evolving and she gets more used to us. But I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for what it is she wants us to do.

Thank you in advance!
 

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Z, Rescue Mutt
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My dog does the same thing. When someone else comes back, she runs to me and makes fuss. I think she just is telling me "hey, someone's at the door, open it so I can say hi!" and when they've come in, my dog, I think, is trying to show me "look who it is! why aren't you more excited? come say hi with me! isn't this so cool?". A lot of it is probably just that your dog is excited, and wants to include you in the fun.
What you're doing sounds good. Teach her to sit and wait a little back from the door and greet on command (or have her wait on her bed, if you prefer). Reward for calm sitting by the door when they first come in, and for any (calm) attention she gives to the person who just returned. If you want, I have found that teaching a dog to go to a bed or other spot when people come home is a good way of promoting calmness.
And yeah, she's a new dog, she may figure it out a bit more as she settles in.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes! That's exactly what it seems like "look who it is! why aren't you more excited? come say hi with me! isn't this so cool?" :):) Because of the pandemic we haven't had anyone else over so we aren't sure how this behaviour translates to not-mom-or-dad.

We tried greeting each other and that didn't really seem to make her feel better.

We will try going to bed, as well.

Thanks for the reply!
 

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I wonder if she is a little stressed (I wouldn't like to try and pinpoint why).

Have you heard of the fight or flight stress response, where the body floods with adrenaline in preparation to fight off, or run away from, a perceived threat?

There has recently been another two added - freeze (rabbit in the headlamps) and flirt (look how cute I am, no need to treat me as a threat).

It sounds like you might be seeing some flirting?
 

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Yes, maybe JoanneF!

We have been speculating about what may have happened in her past home that could make arrivals a little stressful.

There isn't anything obvious that we would be doing that would exacerbate it. She's never been yelled at, punished or hit in our home and we've worked really hard to make her feel at home, etc. But if you have any ideas for stuff that we might be doing that is less obvious let me know! Or ways to reduce stress when someone comes home. (As I mentioned in my OG post, diverting attention to tricks and treats has seemed to work recently :) )
 

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If you have found something that is working, stick with it.

And it's still early days.
 

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I really like your plan to do a training session when someone comes home. Adding stucture might help her know better how to react and also she will see you are not a threat if that's her issue.

Personally I wouldn't put her to bed, but I guess it depends on the dog, my own are just too curious and being pent up away only stresses them out more. Like looking at me instead of the stimulus, that just won't happen for me, so I train to watch the stimulus calmly with distance and gradually reducing it until they are desensitized and ok with seeing other dogs on walks as an ex.

I have a similar issue as well, covid really isn't helpful since nobody comes into the house but me and my partner as well. I'm home all day and my partner works. There's no trouble with him getting excited for my partner to chine home and my pup is running back and forth between him and myself. But for deliveries or someone besides the two of us comes to the door, I have to find a way to train him for it. It'll take a long time (waiting for covid to end so I can actually train it), but that will be my best bet I think.

Could she be showing herding behaviour? I've never had a herding dog, but I could see that happening...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the reply Schnauzaluv!

Just to be clear, we aren't putting her to bed. What happens now when one of us comes home is we will have her "sit" then say "go to bed." Once we can get her listening she will generally run to her crate and then we can have her "wait" while we go get a treat (she's so good at waiting!)

Then we come back give her the treat and after that she seems to be much more under control! Our goal is to have her notice when she's getting riled up that she should go lie down and cool off.

There have even been a couple times where she gets excited and then runs straight to her bed and waits for a treat :eek::eek::eek::eek:

I hear you on the COVID issue. We'd love to be able to have someone not one of us into the apartment to see how she reacts but I'm not sure how long it will be before we can test that.

We have been seeming to have good success with this tactic so far. I'm curious what other people think our endgame or transition plan should be? I don't think we want to be giving her treats every time we come home, or seem to be rewarding her getting hyped but I also don't want to move off of this too soon!

We 100% think that this is herding behaviour. Corgis are herders and she also does it sometimes late at night when she wants me to stop doing chores and be in the same room as my wife.
 

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Sounds like you are making good progress with her!

Training a new behavior takes as long as it takes, and hundreds of repetitions (and reward) for it to become 'habit' for the dog. Even then, in order to maintain good behavior it needs to be 'rewarded' in some way, at least on occasion - never take for granted good behavior from your dog, say 'Thank you' let them know when they are getting it right. The 'reward' can be a food treat, can be meaningful praise, can be a chance to play to with you, or go back to doing what she was doing - it doesn't always have to be a food reward! Mix it up, once she solid with the behavior.

Take the time to 'proof' the 'go to bed' behavior to help her generalize it. Turn your back on her or sit in a chair and give the cue. Move the bed to a different location, and practice with it there. Practice when you are not in the same room, out of sight of the bed (then go to her and give her the reward). Practice when you are playing with her, reward her for going to the mat, and then immediately release and use resuming play/interaction with you as a 'bonus' reward.

Dogs (all animals) by nature repeat behaviors that are rewarding for them, when we stop rewarding them in some way, the behavior tends to fall apart over time.
 

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Oh! Great suggestion on using it when playing. We have been using it in our training sessions in between sit, shake, roll-over etc.

(it's also where she gets her meals because we really wanted to establish her crate as a good place.)

Thanks for the feedback on various rewards! We will try those out once we feel like she's comfortable with what we are doin now :)
 

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Oh! Great suggestion on using it when playing. We have been using it in our training sessions in between sit, shake, roll-over etc.

(it's also where she gets her meals because we really wanted to establish her crate as a good place.)

Thanks for the feedback on various rewards! We will try those out once we feel like she's comfortable with what we are doin now :)
Ok, this is somewhat off-topic rom the original topic, but you said your dog knows shake- if she doesn't already know it, you might consider high-five too. Since you teach it by offering your hand to shake, and then just raising it gradually over a few days, it's a good way to teach your dog to think and adapt on different tricks. That ends up being a good skill if you want to progress from "beg" to "stand up" or from "roll over" to "play dead", as a few basic examples.
 
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