When it comes to dogs, you should take any sudden changes in behavior seriously. What may seem like a simple quirk could signify a serious issue. This is true for sudden clinginess and dogs that begin to follow their owners wherever they go.
If you have recently noticed that your dog is following you everywhere you go, we can help! Not only will we explain the most common reasons why dogs begin shadowing their owners, but we will also go over ways that you can help your velcro dog get over the underlying issue that is causing this behavior change.
Table of Contents
- Why Has My Dog Started Following Me Around?
- How to Stop Your Dog from Following You Everywhere
- For More Information
Why Has My Dog Started Following Me Around?
While having a dog that displays loyalty and trust by staying by your side can be flattering and a sign of good training, if this behavior suddenly comes out of nowhere, it can be a cause for concern.
When a dog starts following a person out of nowhere, it could signify anxiety, fear, boredom, and much more.
Their behavior could also be related to the temperament of the particular dog breed that you own. Certain types of dogs are bred to be close companions to their owners, so they tend to follow people, especially as they become adults.
To help you get to the root cause of your dog’s sudden behavioral changes, we will review the four most common reasons why dogs begin following their owners closely.
1. Your Dog Is Bored
Clinginess can signify boredom, often triggered by a lack of mental and physical stimulation. Like humans, dogs can experience boredom if their days are not filled with enough excitement.
Changes in your schedule can significantly impact a dog. If you recently started working longer hours, you may be now spending less time with your canine companion. Not only should you try to spend more time with your pooch, but you should also try to mix up the activities you and your dog do together.
Try taking your dog on some different walking routes. Consider dog-friendly hiking trails, beaches, and dog parks. Playing games with your dog can be great for mental and physical stimulation. You can also consider investing in some new dog toys that will hold your furry friend’s attention while you are away.
2. Your Dog Is Suffering from Separation Anxiety
Another common issue that can cause dogs to become clingy is canine separation anxiety. As the name implies, separation anxiety occurs when a dog becomes anxious when left alone or just separated from a particular person.
This chronic issue can trigger various behavioral changes, including escape attempts, excessive barking, nervous pacing, self-destructive behaviors, and clinginess. You may have also noticed that your dog becomes anxious or depressed as you prepare to leave the house.
Separation anxiety is widespread when dog owners have significantly changed their schedules and availability. If you have recently started a new job or school program or have been away on a lengthy vacation, your dog’s clinginess may be linked to separation anxiety.
If you suspect your furry friend is suffering from this issue, take note of any other symptoms the dog has recently started to display. You can then relay this information to your veterinarian. If a separation anxiety diagnosis has been made, the veterinarian can discuss potential treatment options.
The ASPCA has an informative guide on separation anxiety that could help you identify the condition in your own pooch – ASPCA Separation Anxiety Guide.
3. The Dog Has Experienced a Scary or Traumatic Event
Dogs will also begin following their owners around as a fear response. Dogs often see their owners as guardians or protectors, which explains why they seek those people out when they feel they need to feel safe and protected.
Your dog’s recent clinginess could be a reaction to a traumatic experience they underwent or simply a response to something that scares them, like a loud noise. Dogs can react with fear to an almost limitless number of things. Something as simple as moving to a new house could scare your dog.
Welcoming a new dog or person into the house could also scare your dog. It might even be something that happened while you were away, like the dog falling down the stairs or a loud car alarm going off outside.
If your dog’s clingy behavior is a fear response, you may also notice other signs, like pinned back ears, shaking, tail tucking, and a lowered head. If your dog is scared, it might refuse to eat or drink.
If your dog is in fear, you can speak with a veterinarian about different strategies that you can use to calm the dog and help them feel more comfortable. Weighted vests, calming treats, and training classes can help a nervous and afraid dog feel more comfortable.
4. The Dog Is Competing for Your Affection
Dogs can also be very competitive and territorial animals. This explains why many dogs become incredibly clingy when their owners bring a new dog or even a new human baby into the house.
The dog might be competing for your attention and affection. They might also appear more aggressive than usual, so it is essential to stop this behavior. This is particularly important if you have welcomed a baby or puppy into the home, as the dog’s aggression could result in severe issues down the line.
Try to give your dog the same level of attention they received before changing your household. You can also consider putting your dog through socialization training. These classes will teach the dog how to behave appropriately with others.
How to Stop Your Dog from Following You Everywhere
If your dog’s recent clinginess is becoming an issue, there are a few simple things you can do to help your dog get over this new behavior. The following are some of the easiest ways to teach your dog to stop being so clingy:
- Give the dog plenty of attention.
- Try to separate the dog from yourself and provide positive reinforcement when they behave correctly.
- Increase the amount of physical and mental stimulation your dog is getting.
- Consider obedience and socialization classes.
- Speak with your veterinarian if you suspect separation anxiety is the cause of your dog’s clinginess.
- Gradually desensitize your dog to the experience of being left alone.
- Try to make time spent alone more enjoyable for your dog by introducing puzzle toys.
Fortunately, some issues are much more severe than a dog that follows its owners around closely, but that does not mean that the issue should go untreated. Use the techniques listed above to reduce the behavior.
For More Information
The Animal Humane Society has a straightforward guide to socializing dogs that could be useful if you have concerns about your dog’s clingy behavior – How to Socialize Your Dog.
The Kennel Club also has an informative guide that goes into further detail about dogs that follow their owners – Why Does My Dog Follow Me?