If your dog has become clingy all of a sudden, 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 each of them.
So, why is my dog clingy all of a sudden? Possible reasons why your dog is clingy are separation anxiety, it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, a change in its environment, illness or injury, or it might be comforting you.
There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog has become clingy all of a sudden and it could be due to a combination of causes. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why is my dog so clingy all of a sudden?
attached to me
Clingy due to Separation anxiety
It might be the case that it does it because it has separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it does it more when you are about to leave home and if it becomes anxious when you are leaving home.
Clingy due to Encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that you have trained it to be clingy by giving it things that it wants when it is clingy. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it behaves in a clingy way then it will likely do it more in order to get those rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way you want as mentioned below.
Something in its environment causing it to be fearful
Another possible cause is that there has been a sudden change in its environment that has been causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if your dog has been become clingy since a change in its environment such as if you moved homes or if you got a new pet.
Your dog has a clingy nature
It could be the case that it does it naturally. This would be more likely if it is a breed that is known for being overly clingy and if it has always done it. In this case, you could try using positive reinforcement training to get it to learn to behave in a way that you want it to.
Clingy due to Illness or injury
Another possible cause is that it has gotten an illness or injury. This could have caused your dog to become clingy because it feels vulnerable. This would be more likely if your dog has started doing it suddenly since showing other signs of being ill or injured such as being fatigued or not moving around as much. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Clingy due to being bored
Another possible cause is that it is bored and hoping to get exercise. This would be more likely if your dog has started doing it suddenly since it started getting less exercise and it is not as clingy after getting exercise.
You started to be stressed
Another possible cause is that your dog is actually comforting you. This would be more likely if your dog has started doing it more since you have become more stressed than usual.
Things to consider about your dog being clingy
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started being clingy
If your dog has not always been clingy, it could help to consider what else happened when your dog first started being clingy. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as a change in its environment, getting fed less food, less exercise, illness or injury.
What is different when your dog is not clingy
If your dog seems to be clingy more at a certain time, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if your dog does it more when you normally leave home, it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog being clingy suddenly
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want to and to try to avoid giving it things such as extra attention when it does not.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
It would also help to limit reasons why your dog might be anxious. In order to limit its separation anxiety, it would help to avoid leaving it alone for a long time. This means that it would help to come back and see it quickly on your lunch break if possible. It would also help to make sure that the room it stays in is not too hot, loud and that there is space for it to lay down. It could also help to feed it and give it exercise before leaving it.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves training your dog to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use it to get your dog to be less attached you would stop giving it attention when it is too attached and then reward it when it shows signs of being less attached.
If your dog has been being very clingy or it has been showing signs of illness or injury, it could also help to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being due to illness or injury.