If your Labrador is very attached to you, this post will show you a number of possible reasons why and what can be done about it.
So, why is my Labrador so attached to me? Common reasons are that it wants attention, it has separation anxiety or that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.
There are a number of reasons why your Labrador might be highly attached to you and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are also a number of things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador is so attached to you
Below are a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It wants attention
The cause could be that it is looking for extra attention. This would be more likely if it starts acting more attached when you have not been giving it much attention or if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by training it, playing with it and exercising it. However, it would help to avoid rewarding it with extra attention when it behaves in a way you don’t like unless necessary and to use positive reinforcement training to change its behavior.
Labradors are a breed that is known for being very affectionate and it could be the case that it does it naturally. This would be more likely if it has always behaved that way and it does act unusually in any other ways. 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.
The reason why it does it could be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it starts being more attached when you are about to leave home and if it becomes anxious when you are leaving.
You can watch the video below for some tips on what you can do about its separation anxiety if it seems to have it.
Reinforcing the behavior
It could be the case that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it behaves that way then it will likely do it more in order to get more 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.
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.
Things to consider
When it started to do it
If it has not always behaved that way, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
Things that may have happened could include:
- Moving home
- Someone left home
- Another pet died
- Someone was aggressive towards it
When and where it does it
It would also help to consider the timing of when it tends to behave in a more attached way since it could also be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it does it more when you are about to leave home it might be because it has separation anxiety.
How to stop your Labrador from being so attached to you
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to stop acting so attached to you.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging the behaviors you want to see by rewarding your Labrador when it shows signs of displaying them.
To use it to get your Labrador 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.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
It would also help to avoid reinforcing bad behaviors by avoiding rewarding them. Instead, it would help to redirect its focus when it is about to start doing it and to make use of positive reinforcement training.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it does not feel the need to get it from you as much. Ways to give it attention would be to walk it, play with it and to train it.
Avoid leaving it for extended periods
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.
Give it lots of exercise
It would also help to make sure that it is able to get the recommended amount of daily exercise. Generally, it is recommended for adult Labradors to get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy.
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