Are you a “velcro” dog owner? Do you have a dog that follows you everywhere, even while you are brushing your teeth or going to the toilet? It’s likely that you think it’s cute or annoying, especially if your dog is constantly following you around, even if you are tired of nearly falling on your face each time you walk over to or around them.
- My dog won't leave my side: What dog owners should know
- Dog Breeds More Likely To Stick to Your Side
- Your dog wants your companionship
- Your dog can stick by you with reinforcement from their habits
- Separation Anxiety can cause your dog to not leave your side
- How can I get my dog to leave me and be more independent?
My dog won’t leave my side: What dog owners should know
Dogs are social creatures. Your dog will see you as the leader of your pack. It’s only natural that your dog will follow you everywhere. Dogs can be our best friends. Studies show that dogs make us happier and healthier.
Dogs want to be with their owners no matter what. Some dogs will follow their owners around out of love, while others may be anxious about being separated. It might help to examine the possible causes of your dog’s behavior.
Dog Breeds More Likely To Stick to Your Side
Many breeds of dogs, particularly smaller lap dogs such as Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs, love following people everywhere. These dogs are companion dogs and naturally love to be with us.
Herding breeds such as Australian Shepherds and German Shepherds are usually one-person dogs. They have been known to be loyal to one person in the past. Sporting breeds like Labrador Retrievers or Golden Retrievers have been bred to be companion dogs that love to play and are more likely to follow you around.
Your dog wants your companionship
Your dog may follow you everywhere because he or she prefers to be with you over other dogs and humans. Dogs have been bonded with humans for thousands of years. Natural selection has made dogs who enjoy spending time with people more popular than those who didn’t. Dogs love being around humans.
Your dog can stick by you with reinforcement from their habits
Velcro dogs associate positive and pleasant experiences with us, so they are often rewarded by our constant attention. We reward them with a place to rest on the couch with them while we pamper them. We also reward positive behavior with treats or food and reward their companionship through fun activities.
Fido will have a lot of fun going on a hike through the woods with you. Your best friend will soon discover that you are a source of fun and they will follow you wherever you go in the hope of getting some positive reinforcement.
Separation Anxiety can cause your dog to not leave your side
Separation anxiety is another reason why your dog won’t let you leave his side. Separation anxiety is when your dog and you are separated for any length of time. Some dogs become very anxious when you leave them alone, while others can be depressed when you get ready for work or pack your bags.
Dogs can even attempt to stop you from leaving. After being left alone for a while, separation anxiety dogs may start to bark, pace or display other distressing behaviors. Your dog may jump up and down when you return to your home and act as if he hasn’t seen you for years.
What to do if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety
Behaviorists recommend that you leave an interactive toy for your dog if you suspect your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. You can also leave a radio or TV on when you’re not there. You could also try desensitization which is a behavioral solution for separation problems.
This is when you go away for a short time. After many trials, the time you are away from your dog is increased until he is comfortable with the idea and knows that you will return.
Separation anxiety can manifest as excessive barking and urinating in the home, excessive barking and destructive behavior such as chewing or tearing up household items. Other signs include chewing, digging at windows and doors, attempts to escape and pacing. Your veterinarian can provide recommendations for medications and behavioral therapy if you suspect your dog may have separation anxiety.
Stop the Problem before it gets out of hand
It’s good for dogs to look at us for guidance, commands, and companionship. However, it can become annoying and unhealthy for them to keep looking at or following you. This can be especially problematic if the dog is selective in who they interact with and avoids other people. These cases could indicate that the dog is not being socialized properly or may have become too attached to one person. These dogs could develop fear aggression, social anxiety, fear aggression or other behavioral problems.
Your dog may become anxious if they are unable to socialize with others and only follow you. If you are not there, they may be anxious or cry.
There are some things you can do to help your anxious dog to learn to be more with you.
How can I get my dog to leave me and be more independent?
There are strategies you can use to help your dog learn self-confidence and detachment from you if you have had too much.
Get to know your dog
Your dog will learn to appreciate the kindness of other people. You can help your dog to bond with other members of your family by having someone else care for, train, and play with your dog. Even if you live alone, it is possible to have your dog socialized with other dogs.
Set Some Boundaries
Velcro dogs will follow you wherever you go. It’s important to let your Velcro dog know that they are not alone. This can be done by setting boundaries.
You could teach your dog to shut the door when you go to the bathroom or go into another room. Then, they will return within a few minutes. Although this training can take some time, your dog will soon learn that even though they aren’t able to see you, it doesn’t mean that you have abandoned them.
Don’t reward destructive behavior or whining
An anxious dog will do anything to get your attention, from whining to inappropriate elimination in their house. You can correct this by not rewarding your dog for his needy behavior. If your dog is crying when you leave the room, don’t give him consolation. Negative behaviors are not worth rewarding.
Don’t Dote on Your Dog
You don’t have to talk to your dog every day, but it’s okay to give him cuddles and attention. Encourage your dog to play independently, such as chewing toys and puzzles. Your dog will be able to engage in the same activities as you while you are away.
Make Your Dog Less Sensitive to Being Left Alone
A “Velcro” dog may be able to understand what getting your briefcase and jingling your keys mean, which can lead to anxiety. You can help your dog become less anxious by helping them to be desensitized to certain actions.
Your dog’s anxiety can be relieved by you not making it a big deal to leave, and by practicing those rituals frequently without ever leaving. You can grab your keys and your briefcase, then put your coat on, and go to bed. Your dog will soon stop associating these tasks to you leaving.
Talk to a Dog Behaviorist
Call a behaviorist if you’ve tried everything to get your dog to stop following you around and causing anxiety when you go out of the house. A veterinarian who specializes in animal behavior can provide you with tools and counseling that will help you and your “Velcro” dog.