Does your dog always follow you like a shadow? Does he constantly look at you & never leave your side? If you answered “yes” then, chances are that you have a clingy/needy dog who consistently needs your presence around him to feel safe & comfortable.
It may sound cool to have your pooch follow around, but it doesn’t take long to get completely annoyed with his clingy behaviour when he doesn’t even grant you some privacy in the bathroom. If you have a cling dog then, you would know how big a hassle it is to leave the dog alone – even for a minute. The clinginess of the dog can frustrate anyone pet parent as they couldn’t do anything with their dogs never leaving their sides.
Clingy dog behaviour indicates an underlying bigger health problem: separation anxiety which makes it even more important to manage your dog’s clingy behaviour before it becomes worse.
This clingy behaviour can make your dog act like a “Velcro dog”. Now, you must be wondering,
What is a velcro dog?
A Velcro dog is a term used for dogs that cling to their owner like a Velcro at all times. Your dog will run from rooms to rooms, just to stay around you. This clingy behaviour of your dog can become very annoying which makes it important to manage this before your dog becomes an obsessively needy dog. Some breeds of dogs (mainly lap dogs) are more dependent on their owner. They are bred to be around their owner all day long. Well, the problem starts when your dog acts as a Velcro dog along with some destructive behaviour.
What causes Velcro syndrome in dogs?
Encouraging the behaviour unknowingly
Yes, you read it right. Sometimes, the pet owner can be the culprit of encouraging clingy behaviour in their dogs. If you praise or give treats to your dog all the time then it can make him feel that staying close to you can bring him lots of treats or praises. Lack of proper boundary can result in making your dog clingy so, it is important to teach your dog some boundaries.
Lack of mental stimulation
The next thing that you can cause Velcro syndrome in dogs is a lack of mental stimulation. Sometimes, dogs follow you around all the time because they don’t have any better thing to do. Basically, they see it as a source of entertainment so, if you see him being a Velcro dog then, consider engaging him in some indoor games so that he can get mentally stimulated.
History of separation anxiety
Separation anxiety can be an underlying cause behind your dog’s clinginess. If your dog keeps following you everywhere then, you need to evaluate his behaviour and look for any signs of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety in dogs starts with developing a dysfunctional attachment to their owners so you need to be cautious & take proper steps to manage it.
Hearing or vision loss
Another possible reason behind your dog’s clingy behavior can be his deteriorating sense of hearing or vision. With age, a lot of changes take place in a dog’s body. Hearing or vision loss could a possible reason why your dog prefers to stay close to you.
Sign of an illness
Sudden onset of clingy behaviour can also indicate the underlying hidden medical illness that your dog may have developed. Sometimes, when dogs become sick then they prefer to stay with their owner. The clingy behaviour acts as a coping mechanism for them.
So, these are a few things that trigger clingy behaviour in dogs. No matter what causes this behaviour, it is important to manage it as soon as possible until it becomes more problematic.
How to manage clingy behaviour in dogs?
Don’t confuse clingy behaviour with loyalty. Your dog can still be loyal without being following you like a shadow. To help you reduce the excessive clinginess of your dog, we’ve rounded some effective tips to make your pooch more independent.
#1. Train the stay command
The first step to manage your dog’s behaviour is by training him to stay at a place. By teaching this command, you can help your dog learn to stay in a place for a brief period of time. Start with a short distance then, gradually increase the distance so that learn the process. Make sure to use positive reinforcement to help your dog enjoy learning this command
#2. Desensitize to getting up
The next thing you can do is desensitizing your dog from getting up. If your dog always gets up every time you get up then, you should repeat this action over & over again so that he gets fed up & stop responding. By repeating the action, you can make your dog understand that following your action will be futile for him.
#3. Install baby gates
The next thing that you can do to keep your dog maintain at distance is by installing baby gates around the house. It will prevent your dog from following you all the time. Make sure to provide some toys so that they don’t get bored.
So, these are a few things that you should be doing if your dog shows clingy/needy behaviour. Don’t forget to give your dog proper mental & physical stimulation so that he doesn’t have enough energy to follow you around.
Wrapping it up, we can say that having an over-dependent or clingy dog is not a good sign. If you find your dog being clingy/needy then, make sure to take proper steps to manage it before it becomes more problematic.