If your dog won’t leave your side, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog not want to leave my side? The most common reasons why your dog won’t leave your side are that it has separation anxiety, fearfulness, nature, you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior or that it wants something such as food from you.
Since there are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop.
Reasons why your dog doesn’t want to leave your side
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog doesn’t want to leave your side and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
The cause could be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it tends to become anxious when you are leaving home or going to bed at night. Signs of being anxious could include crying or pacing.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause could also be that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it won’t leave you alone, it will likely behave that way more in order to get more rewards.
The cause could also be that something has been causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it has started following you around suddenly and if it does it more at a time when it might be fearful. Things that could be causing it to be fearful might include fireworks or other pets.
It wants something from you
The cause might also be that it wants to get something from you. This would be more likely if it won’t leave your side before getting things such as food or a walk but it does leave you alone afterward.
The cause could be that it is bored and looking for ways to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if it tends to bother you when it has not been able to get exercise and if stops doing it after getting exercise. It would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
The cause might also be that it is hungry and hoping that you will give it some food. This would be more likely if it does it more before you have fed it. However, it might also be a sign that it has not been eating enough or that there is an issue with its diet. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since a change in its diet.
Dogs were bred to work alongside humans. Due to this, it is to be expected that your dog will look to you for direction and that it will cause it to follow you around at times. This is why it would help to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that it learns what you expect from it.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did leave your side, in the past, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as:
- Something causing it to become anxious,
- Another pet,
- Learning that the behavior gets rewarded,
- A change in its daily routine such as not being fed at the same time
- Something causing it to be fearful.
What is different when your dog does leave your side
If it does it more at a certain time, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it tends to do it more before you leave home, it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety. Whereas, if it does it more before being fed or walked, it would be more likely that it is waiting to be fed or walked.
The body language it shows
It would also help to consider the body language it shows when it won’t leave your side. If it shows signs of being anxious such as by hiding its tail, crying or making itself appear small, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to something causing it to be anxious or fearful. Whereas, if it shows normal body language, it might be doing it because it is waiting for things such as food or exercise.
What to do about your dog not leaving your side
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to but to avoid rewarding it, with things such as treats or extra attention, when it does not.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has been doing it because it wants to get exercise. It would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed. It would also help to try to exercise it at around the same time daily so that it does not follow you around, at other times, thinking that it might get exercise.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to try to get it to focus on something else when it starts bothering you. Things that you could get it to focus on would be laying down in a certain spot or you could give it a toy it likes.
Ensure that it is getting the right diet
It could be the case that your dog has been doing it due to being hungry. It would also help to ensure that it has been eating the correct foods and that it has been eating the correct number of calories since.
Give it distractions
It could also help to give it things to be distracted by. Things you could give it would include bones, toys or puzzle games.
If your dog has been doing it excessively or you cannot get it to stop, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and what you can do about it.
Additionally, if you have not taken it for a checkup with the vet, in a while, now might be a good time to do it. By doing so, you should be able to rule out more serious issues and get expert advice tailored toward your particular dog.