If your dog always has to touch you this post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog always touch me? Possible reasons why your dog always touches you are looking for attention, rewarding the behavior, separation anxiety, wanting you to do something, looking for attention or that it makes it feel more secure.
There are a number of reasons why your dog might be doing it and it could be a combination of factors. However, there are a number of things you can consider to help in figuring out the exact reason.
Why your dog is always touching you
Each of the different reasons why your dog is always touching you will likely come with some clues.
Below, I will show you a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
Looking for attention
It could be the case that it does it for attention. This would be more likely if it tends to touch you in a way that makes you give it attention, it does it when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. But, it would help to avoid giving it attention when it starts touching you.
Related: Why does my dog sit so close to me?
Rewarding the behavior
It could be the case that it always touches you because you have encouraged it to do so. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats, extra attention or food when it touches you then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to wait for it to stop touching you before rewarding it.
The reason why it does it might be that it has separation anxiety which is where it doesn’t like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it tends to touch you more just before you would normally leave home and if it gets anxious when you are leaving home.
In this case, you could try to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving and when you are away.
To do this you could do as follows:
- Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your dog
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
It wants you to do something
The reason why it touches you might be to get you to do something. This would be more likely if it does it at a certain time such as when you would normally feed it or walk it.
It makes it feel more secure
Dogs evolved as pack animals so it is natural for them to want to be around other people and dogs in their pack. The reason why it always touches you could be that it makes it feel safer. This would be more likely if it does it in a way that doesn’t force you to do something such as by leaning on you or by sitting by your feet.
It’s showing affection
The reason that it touches you could be that it is just being affectionate. This would be more likely if it also tries to get you to do things such as give it belly rubs when it does it.
It wants to know you’re ok
The cause could be that it wants to know you’re ok. This would be especially likely if it does it more when you are feeling ill or when you are showing signs of being ill or distressed.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when trying to figure out why it does it.
When your dog first started touching you a lot
If your dog did not always touch you all the time it would help to consider what else changed when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards when it does it, suddenly getting less attention or a change in its daily schedule.
When your dog touches you
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to touch you more. If there is a certain time that it does it more then it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it touches you more when you would normally feed it then it might be trying to get you to feed it.
How it touches you
It would also help to consider the way that it touches you. If it touches you in a way that gets you to move or to do something then it would be more likely that it does it in order to get something from you. Whereas, if it doesn’t get you to move when it touches you then it would be more likely to be due to things such as being affectionate or that it makes it feel safer.
How to get your dog to stop touching you
If you want to get your dog to stop touching you, here are some options that you have.
Redirect its focus
One option would be to try to recognize when it is like to start touching you then to redirect it to go somewhere else or to focus on something else before it starts doing it. By doing so regularly you should be able to get it out of the habit of touching you a lot.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward your dog for doing things you want it to do and avoid rewarding it when it does not.
To use it to get it to stop touching you try rewarding it when it does not touch you but it normally would and training it to lay down somewhere else as discussed in this post.
Give it distractions
In addition to the above, you could also give it things such as toys, puzzle games or bones to be distracted with so that it is less likely to seek attention from you.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it touches you because it is looking for rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
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