Dogs are naturally loyal animals that are great to have around for friends and family. But if your dog is clingy or excessively attached, it can be a challenge. While some dogs may be clingy more often than others, there are several reasons why your dog may be more attached than others.
So, why is my dog so clingy? Likely reasons why your dog is clingy are that it has separation anxiety, it wants something from you, it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, or something causing it to be fearful.
There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog is clingy and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.
Why is my dog so clingy?
Below are likely reasons why your dog is clingy and what would make them more likely.
The cause could be that your dog has some separation anxiety. This is where your dog does not like being left alone and being left alone causes your dog to become anxious. This would be more likely if your dog starts to become anxious when you are leaving it by doing things such as pacing or crying and if your dog tends to follow you around the house.
It wants something from you
The cause might also be that your dog is waiting to get something from you. This would be more likely if your dog tends be clingy at around the same time that you would normally give it things such as food or exercise.
Encouraging the behavior
It might also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it becomes clingy, it will encourage your dog to do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want and to avoid giving it rewards when it does not.
Something causing it to be fearful
It might also be the case that something in its environment has been causing your dog to be fearful. This would be more likely if your dog is more clingy at times when it is more likely to be fearful such as when there are loud noises around the house or when there are people around.
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 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.
Mistreatment when it was younger
The cause could be that someone mistreated it when it was younger and it now doesn’t like being left alone. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter.
In this case, it might start being less attached as it gets older and you can still do the training tips below. If the over-attachment is bothering you then you could also consider getting help from a dog behaviorist.
Illness or injury
It might also be the case that an illness or injury has been causing your dog to be clingy due to feeling vulnerable. This would be more likely if your dog has been being clingy suddenly and if it has been showing signs of being ill or injured such as by limping or being fatigued. In this case, the best option would be to take it for a checkup.
It wants attention
The cause could be that it is looking for attention from you. This would be more likely if your dog is more clingy 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 exercise, training and by playing with it but to try and avoid rewarding it with attention when it becomes obsessive.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.
If your dog has always been clingy
It would help to consider when your dog started being clingy since it might have started doing it due to an event that occurred.
Things that may have happened could include:
- Moving home
- Someone left home
- Another pet died
- Someone was aggressive towards it
What is different when your dog is not clingy
It would also help to consider whether or not there is a certain time that it tends to become clingy.
For example, if it tends to become more attached or anxious when you are leaving home then it would suggest that it does it due to separation anxiety. Whereas, if it does it more before it has been fed or given exercise, it could be the case that it is waiting for you to feed or exercise it.
What to do about your dog being clingy
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
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 clingy you would stop giving it attention when it is too clingy and then reward it when it shows signs of being less clingy.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to try to redirect its focus towards something else when it starts being clingy. Things to redirect its focus towards could include toys, bones or to perform a trick.
Give it a set routine
It could also help to try to feed and exercise your dog at a regular time each day. By doing so, it should help your dog to know when it can expect to get food or exercise and make it less likely to follow you around for the rest of the day.
Limit reasons why it might get anxious
It would also help to limit reasons why your dog might become anxious. Ways to do so could include letting it outside to pee or poo before leaving it and letting it stay in a cool, quiet room that is not too bright.
If your dog has been being very clingy, it would help to take it to the vet for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your specific dog and to rule out medical causes.
Why is my dog clingy in the morning?
The reason why your dog is clingy in the morning is likely to be that it is waiting for you to feed it. If your dog does not sleep in the same room as you, it could also be the case that it has some separation anxiety.
Why is my dog extremely clingy?
If your dog is extremely clingy, it would be more likely that it is due to things such as being mistreated by someone when you are not around, illness, injury or something in its environment causing it to behave that way. In this case, it would help to take it to a vet for expert guidance tailored towards your particular dog.
Why is my dog randomly clingy?
It would help to consider the timing of when your dog is randomly clingy. It is likely that it is actually being clingy due to things such as wanting you to give it food or exercise or that there is something in its environment that is causing it to be clingy.
Why is my dog clingy after grooming?
If your dog becomes clingy after you groom it, the cause might be that your dog is feeling vulnerable due to being touched by someone it is not familiar with and being in an environment that it is not used to.
Why is my dog clingy when in heat?
The reason why your dog is clingy while in heat is likely to be that it is feeling vulnerable.
Why is my dog not clingy suddenly?
The reason why your dog has suddenly stopped being clingy could be that something was causing it to be anxious but it has now gone away. It might also be the case that your dog has learned that you do not want it to be clingy.