When I was growing up, we had a female dog who suddenly turned extra clingy; it was like an overnight change. What follows are my recollections of the change in behavior, and additional research Ive done into why dogs can become so attached all of a sudden.
Around this time in his life, he suddenly turned into the most clingy and needy dog you can imagine he would not leave my side, would cry outside the bathroom door, and insisted on sleeping in my room with me. Why my dog was suddenly clingy was due to his old age and a further diagnosis of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, which is very similar to how humans will experience dementia or Alzheimers disease.
All of this advice about your clingy dog is based on personal experiences, my own research, and talking with vets. If your dog suddenly becomes more attached to you, and the behavior chance is accompanied by other symptoms (e.g., sickness) please talk with your vet. The effect of separation anxiety can manifest itself in lots of ways, one of which will be your dog being clingy all of a sudden.
Your dog can be clingy all of a sudden due to separation anxiety.You can understand too; if you have left them and they are worried, they might then want to be attached to your side at all times to make sure it doesnt happen again. Dont make a big fuss of your dog when you return home to reduce any over-excitement practice a calm routine at all times. Similarly, dont make a big deal about leaving the house perhaps just try short absences at first.
Burn off any excess energy the dog has before you leave the home, meaning regular exercise and play. When change happens, it can mess with your dogs emotions, meaning they might suddenly become clingy to you for protection. Changes can include aspects such as you getting a new dog or pet, perhaps a baby was born and comes into the home, or you have undergone a house move.
Your dog will become nervous and clingy, possibly even hiding behind your legs as you talk to the stranger and perceived threat. You might want to look for toys that can stimulate, like the Amazon dog puzzle game I mentioned consider having a Furbo like below too for when you are out The bottom line is you need to get them stimulated to stop the sudden clingy behavior due to boredom.
Boredom is one of the easier problems on this list to fix when it comes to a dogs sudden clinginess. And now to the main reason again why my own dog was being extra clingy all of a sudden; Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CCDS). In fact, our dog suddenly getting clingy was the first suspicion we had that he might have a problem, similar to dementia and we were right after going to the vet.
I didnt honestly mind him wanting to be extra cling and attached to me all of a sudden as he got progressively worse. When dogs are ill, some can get extra clingy and want to be attached to your side suddenly. With this in mind, if your dog is attached to you all of a sudden, it could be worth having a vets check-up to see if there are any underlying illnesses that arent obvious to the eye.
This reason for a suddenly extra clingy dog is for the females only and happens when they start to go into heat their time of the month / leading up to the menstruation period. Ive also put together some additional guides which are somewhat related to the issue of sudden attachment, which offer more insight see below.
Why is my dog not leaving my side all of a sudden?
Separation Anxiety Can Cause Your Dog to Not Leave Your Side. Some dogs even try to prevent you from leaving. Dogs with separation anxiety will sometimes start barking, pacing or exhibiting other distressing behaviors after a short time after being left alone.
What does it mean when your dogs are clingy?
While a clingy dog’s behavior can be rooted in emotional or physical distress, a clingy dog is insecure and wants care, support, and reassurance. While a clingy dog may only be suffering from a behavioral problem, clinginess may be an indicator of a more serious underlying condition.
It can be annoying to have a clingy best friend following you everywhere: the bathroom, underfoot, even the smallest trips across the room. The pooches who do this are known as velcro dogs because they stick to your side.
Many dogs need more daily physical and mental stimulation especially young puppies. If they have the energy to burn and no fun activities to funnel it into, they may follow you around.
Our canine companions may not seem like traditional pack animals, but dogs have been domesticated over centuries to accompany humans. If your dog gets a treat, cuddle, or affectionate stroke every time theyre with you, theyre more likely to follow you around. You are rewarding your dog every time you give them a treat, cuddle, or compliment.
These breed traits can include natural protective instincts, herding tendencies, or just a need for companionship. Herding breeds like Australian shepherds, border collies, and shelties dont have sheep to chase down so theyll keep an eye on the whole family. Guardian breeds like german shepherds and great pyrenees will protect their herd.
Shelter and rescue dogs may show Velcro behavior because of their previous life experiences. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it could be whats causing your pooch to follow you to the porcelain throne. Young puppies from birth to 6 months can imprint on their owners and treat them as they would their mother.
Young puppies learn about themselves and the world around them by exploring and observing their environment. This is part of why proper socialization and training are important at a young age. Older dogs with vision or hearing loss may become clingy because they must depend on their humans more.
If you suspect that your dogs clinginess is caused by blindness, inability to see, deafness, or another health concern, talk to your veterinarian.
In this article well go over why some dogs become velcro dogs, whether or not you should be concerned about it, and what to do if your dogs clingy behavior becomes a problem.
And breeds that have been bred to work alongside their owners all day long are also prone to developing velcro dog syndrome. If we stop every time we see our dog to give him praise, a pat on the head, or a treat he learns that staying close leads to the good stuff.
If you dont mind it thats great its just important to understand that many times we encourage our dogs behavior without realizing it. Aging related changes such as hearing or vision loss can be stressful and scary to dogs, so they may choose to stay by your side for extra comfort. If thats the case check out these indoor games you can play to keep your dog busy.
If your dog has suddenly started following you around everywhere and there arent any obvious triggers I suggest making an appointment with your vet to rule out any medical issues. Barking or howling when youre gone Destructive chewing & destruction (such as doors, window sills, household objects) Escape attempts Excessive panting or drooling Urinating or defecating when youre gone Pacing around Your dog becomes anxious when youre getting ready to leave Your dog exhibits inappropriate behavior only when youre not there There was a study in 2001 that found dogs who have hyper attachment to their owners are more likely to develop separation anxiety.
Velcro dogs may be more susceptible to developing separation anxiety, but that doesnt mean its inevitable. If youre concerned that your dog is being too clingy and/or may develop separation anxiety pay attention to their mood when theyre following you around. If your dog stays calm when following you around its fine its a common behavior that many of us find flattering.
If your dog a a mild case of separation anxiety one thing that can help is giving them something to do when you leave. After a few days she understood the drill and started looking forward to the moment I left because it meant I get something yummy. If your dog has moderate to severe separation anxiety heres some tips to help manage the behavior.
Since separation anxiety takes awhile to manage I recommend reaching out to a professional trainer or behaviorist for help. If your dog has a serious case of separation anxiety I highly recommend picking up a copy of Nicole Wildes book Dont Leave Me! But there are a few instances when your dogs clingy behavior can be hazardous, such as when youre making dinner or cleaning the bathroom.
Shell eventually get tired of responding since these triggers will no longer have a strong meaning. Give your dog a lot of praise when they stay to reinforce that its a desired behavior. Reward him when he goes there and be sure to add some extra incentive such as toys or treats, something that will make want to stay there.
Dogs thrive on meaningful play and activities, so try adding more mental stimulation to their routine. Basic obedience training, agility, nose work, hide and seek, playing tug, and learning new tricks are all ways to mentally tire out your dog. As I mentioned above one of the easiest ways Ive found to give my dog some extra mental stimulation is using a stuffed Kong with healthy treats.
As pet owners, we learn what our dog or cat wants primarily by paying attention to how they act. However, its not always easy to understand whats going on when a change in behavior happens. Sometimes a normally independent pet can suddenly become clingy for no apparent reason, and its our job to figure out why. Here are some possible reasons.
Your dog or cat may experience a deterioration in hearing or vision as they age, but even younger pets can sometimes have issues. Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays with lots of family and friends in the home can also be stressful and cause anxiety in some pets.
How you know it’s separation anxiety
Dogs will often develop separation anxiety when left at home as your work or perhaps if left in kennels when you go away. The effect of separation anxiety can manifest itself in lots of ways, one of which will be your dog being clingy all of a sudden.You can understand too; if you have left them and they are worried, they might then want to be attached to your side at all times to make sure it doesn’t happen again.However, separation anxiety and clingy behavior aren’t always the same as explained on the PetMD.com website.Having said that, a dog that is suddenly clingy to you, could be exhibiting separation anxiety as it is a symptom.
3. Clingy due to a stranger danger
Some dogs will get attached to you all of a sudden, the moment a strange person comes into your house, or meeting an unfamiliar person when on a walk.Your dog will become nervous and clingy, possibly even hiding behind your legs as you talk to the stranger and perceived threat.
5. Clingy due to dementia
Bored dogs will want your company more. It stands to reason too, if they are not stimulated by their environment, they will be looking for you to constantly provide it.For example, my dog I mentioned at the beginning of this article, would come and cuddle into me when he was bored.You might want to look for toys that can stimulate, like theThe bottom line is you need to get them stimulated to stop the sudden clingy behavior due to boredom. You could take their mind of things with a brisk walk outdoors or a ball game.Boredom is one of the easier problems on this list to fix when it comes to a dog’s sudden clinginess. Here are some more ideas you can try to keep boredom at bay.
6. Clingy due to illness
I am not a vet but do remember what we had to do with our dog when this happened. The points below helped him to cope better and actually reduced some of the clingy behavior.
9. Clingy due to human pregnancy
Following on from that, sometimes owners report clingy dogs when they are pregnant themselves. It’s said that dogs can detect hormonal changes in their owners, and can become more protective and clingier.Strange, but appears to be true.
1: Boredom or need for mental stimulation
Many dogs need more daily physical and mental stimulation — especially young puppies. If they have the energy to burn and no fun activities to funnel it into, they may follow you around. They’re looking for something to do, even if that’s causing trouble.
Our canine companions may not seem like traditional pack animals, but dogs have been domesticated over centuries to accompany humans. Dogs are not designed to be alone. Humans are a dog’s best friend. Dogs are pack animals — and humans are their pack.
3: Lack of confidence and/or anxiety
Some dogs are scared to be alone. Though this can be a sign of separation anxiety, it could just be that your dog is nervous. Some dogs may become clingy during scary situations, like storms or fireworks.This also applies to human anxiety: dogs can become clingy if they sense their human’s stress or anxiety. This is why they make such good emotional support animals.
4: Positive reinforcement
If your dog gets a treat, cuddle, or affectionate stroke every time they’re with you, they’re more likely to follow you around. You are rewarding your dog every time you give them a treat, cuddle, or compliment. By rewarding your dog, even unknowingly, you’re telling your dog that their clingy behavior is okay.
5: Breed traits
Some breeds are more likely to follow humans because of their natural instincts. These breed traits can include natural protective instincts, herding tendencies, or just a need for companionship.Herding breeds like Australian shepherds, border collies, and shelties don’t have sheep to chase down — so they’ll keep an eye on the whole family.Guardian breeds like german shepherds and great pyrenees will protect their herd. Loyal working dogs like doberman pinschers and boxers have been bred to work with humans, and will stay close because they are dependent on them.Small breeds like Shih Tzus make perfect lap dogs because they have been bred to be companions for dog owners.
6: Separation anxiety
Dogs with separation anxiety panic when you’re not with them. While clinginess can escalate to separation anxiety, not all clingy dogs have separation anxiety.
7: Emotional trauma
Shelter and rescue dogs may show Velcro behavior because of their previous life experiences. They may carry a lingering fear of abandonment with them.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it could be what’s causing your pooch to follow you to the porcelain throne. Dogs are curious creatures. They want to know what their pack members are up to. It’s possible you’re going to get treats or take part in a fun activity. Your four-legged family member isn’t taking a chance of missing out.
Young puppies from birth to 6 months can imprint on their owners and treat them as they would their mother. This imprinting process involves them accepting humans and other animals.Puppies have a lot of learning to do: they have to learn how to act and communicate as a dog. Young puppies learn about themselves and the world around them by exploring and observing their environment. If they get constant attention as they develop, they become afraid of being alone, which can lead to anxiety. This is part of why proper socialization and training are important at a young age.
Older dogs with vision or hearing loss may become clingy because they must depend on their humans more. This increased dependence is because their world is suddenly unfamiliar and scary to them.