If your Labrador is very needy you might want to know why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you why your Labrador might be doing it and what you can do to get it to be less needy.
So, why is my Labrador so needy? Possible reasons are that it wants attention, it has separation anxiety, it’s bored or that you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
Your Labrador might be doing it for a number of reasons and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are also a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador is so needy
Below are some reasons why your Labrador might be being needy 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 being needy when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by walking it, training it and playing with it. However, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it becomes needy and to wait for it to stop before giving it attention again.
It was mistreated as a puppy
The reason why your Labrador is clingy could be that it was mistreated when it was a puppy and it does not like being left alone now. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter.
In this case, it might start to become less needy as it gets older and you can still do the training tips below. If it is bothering you then you could also consider getting help from a dog behaviorist.
It has separation anxiety
It could be the case that it does it due to having some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and it becomes anxious when it is left alone. This would be more likely if your Labrador starts being needy when you are about to leave home.
The reason why it has been doing it could be that it is bored. Labradors are a breed that is meant to get exercise on a daily basis and they can behave abnormally when they do not get enough. A lack of exercise would be more likely to be the reason if it does it more when it has not gotten much exercise.
Generally, it is recommended for Labrador to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.
You have reinforced the behavior
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged it to be needy 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 is needy then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to try to avoid rewarding it when it misbehaves unless necessary.
It could be the case that your Labrador does it naturally. Labradors were bred to work with their owners for hours on a daily basis so it will naturally look to you for direction. This is why it is important to give it lots of training so that it learns how it is meant to behave.
Things to consider
When it started being needy
If it was not always needy, 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.
If it started being needy suddenly it would make it more likely to be due to things such as a change in its schedule, something causing it to be anxious or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior. It would help to consider what else changed at around the same time that it started doing it.
When it becomes needy
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to be needy since it could 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 would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
How to get your Labrador to stop being needy
Below are some things you can do when getting your Labrador to be less needy.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging good behaviors by rewarding your Labrador when it shows signs of displaying them.
To use it to get your Labrador to be less needy you would stop giving it attention when it is too clingy and then reward it when it shows signs of being less clingy.
You could also train it to sit or stay and then tell it to sit somewhere else when it starts being needy.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have inadvertently trained your Labrador to be that way by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead of rewarding the neediness, try to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to redirect its focus when it is likely to start being needy.
It is also important to give it exercise daily if it is a healthy adult. It is generally recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If it is already getting daily exercise, you could try wearing it out more by getting it to play fetch.
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, train it and to play with it.
Take it to the vet
If you can’t figure out why it has been doing it or it has been showing signs of illness, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador and to find out if it is due to medical causes.