Ask three friends, “Why is my dog so attached to me?” and you’ll likely get three different answers. Some people swear the pup is angling for treats. Others say it’s anxiety or behavior you encourage. Who’s right? Depending on your dog, it could be one or a combination of these reasons.
Fortunately, if you’re worried your pup is excessively attached to you, there are plenty of ways to help them detach and become healthier, happier, and more confident!
Reasons Why Your Dog is Attached to You
Every pet parent loves the companionship and even devotion of their four-legged family member. But when you start to feel concerned about too much attention, it’s worth exploring what might be going on.
- Separation anxiety is the first thing many people suspect, and they could be right. Dogs display anxiety in different ways, including pacing, lip licking, and hypervigilance. The good news is there’s a lot you can do to help reduce your dog’s stress. Distractions like interactive toys and desensitization training can help.
- “Velcro attachment” is more common in some breeds, such as herding dogs. It’s also seen in dogs who were abandoned. Many times, dogs learn to become clingy because of the attention it gets them. One of the kindest things to do in this case is to help your pet become more independent and confident. Ignoring attention-seeking behaviors and setting limits while rewarding good behavior encourages a dog to be happy without your constant attention.
- Dogs get bored, too. Puppies especially need daily playtime, but older dogs also thrive when mentally and physically stimulated. Be sure to schedule at least 20 to 30 minutes (or more depending on breed) of pure playtime to keep your pet energized and less you-focused.
- A health condition might also be why your pup is suddenly spending more time by your side. Since a dog can’t tell you when they’re hurting, get in touch with your vet to find out if a health-related issue may be the culprit. Once treated, your pet should return to his usual behavior.
Is Your Dog Too Attached?
It’s healthy for dogs to look to their pet parents for commands and cues. But when they can’t stop following you around, it could be unhealthy for them and frustrating for you. While it can be heart-wrenching to say no to your pet, it's important to remember that reducing their social and separation anxiety is a loving thing to do. That makes for a happier life for both you and your four-legged friend!