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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, everyone. I hope you can help me with this problem because I'm not really sure what's going on.

Usually, my dad and I take care of our dog Ai together, with him usually taking over more since I can sometimes get really itchy because of my allergies.

So, I've been on a study abroad program in Japan for the last nine months (from September of last year to May of this year) and recently just came back on May 22nd. This is the longest time I have gone without seeing my dog once. Usually I come back home at least every one to two months. My dad has been taking care of Ai the whole time since I was not in the US.

Immediately after I came back, my dog suddenly changed some of her behaviors:

1) When either my dad or I walk her to the door (to go out for a walk) and open it, she'll just stand in front of the door and look at us and won't go out until we encourage her a lot more or push her butt a little.

2) We've taught her to wait at her food bowl and not eat until we instruct her to, which she still does...except this also takes at least maybe five tries of us instructing her to eat. I feel like she may also be eating a bit more slowly than what I remember from last year, but that may be my imagination. She also occasionally looks back at me while she's eating and will only keep eating when I encourage her. We have not changed the type of food she eats in a while.

3) This happened just yesterday, but she's never done this before. My dad and I haven't stepped on her front paw, but yesterday she was limping, so I inspected her foot everywhere but could not find a single scratch on her. Now she isn't limping at all, but she'll still occasionally lift her foot as if she's hurt. But at other times, she'll run around and play as normal at other times as if she's not hurt at all.

Keep in mind that these changes did not occur over this past week. She started doing the first two things immediately after I came back, so starting on May 23rd; she was exactly the same as she was nine months ago on the day before I came back. She also does all three things to both my dad and me. Everything else about her is still the same. She still comes and sits on my laps for pets, still jumps into my arms when I open them, and still plays with our cat when inside the house. So I feel the catalyst must be me since she only started doing these things right after I returned home and was completely the same the day before I came back... But I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong since I'm treating her exactly the same as last year.

Sorry for the length of my post, but I hope someone could shed some light on why she's suddenly started acting this way!
 

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Sometimes, dogs react to the smallest things in weird ways. Some dogs are afraid of people wearing hats, or bright colored shirts, or a certain hairstyle. Try to think about this: how did your study abroad experience change you? Did you change at all physically (hair, weight, etc.)? Did you buy some new clothes that might be quite different from the ones you used to wear? Maybe your dog just isn't used to you being around and needs a little time.
Also, could you tell me some things about Ai? What breed she is, what her personality is like, where you got her from, how long you've had her, and similar stuff would all be helpful to know.

About the limp, I'll do some research and get back to you. Please let me know how it all goes and keep me posted!
 

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1 and 2 sound for me as if she is making sure that you are still there. She doesn't want to take her attention off of you, who knows when you'll leave again, thus encouragement to eat and the looks back at you.

One question to 1 though: Do you normally open the door and let her go first? Maybe it helps if you go first, so she sees that you're coming with her.

Give her some time to figure out that you're really back for now and won't leave her alone again right now.
 
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