Everyone likes their canine to love them and be their best friend, but sometimes a clingy dog, aka Velcro dog, is overwhelming even in the best of circumstances.
Does your dog follow you from room to room throughout your home? Does he get extremely jealous when you pay attention to another pet, another person, or even just your phone?
You love your dog, but they literally follow you everywhere. If you can't even go to the washroom without a canine audience, then it's time to address your dog's clingy behaviour.
What is a Velcro Dog?
Clingy dogs, also called Velcro dogs, are dogs that are especially clingy and attached to their owners. This can be based in dog anxiety, or it can be a learned behaviour.
These dogs tend to follow their owners everywhere they go, seeking constant attention, affection and reassurance.
It’s true that man’s best friend is extremely loyal, and many dogs seek out the companionship of their owners - after all, a dog is a pack animal.
However, the Velcro dog takes clinginess to the next level. It becomes almost a compulsion. The needy dog simply must be beside you and always have you within eyesight. This is sometimes referred to as Clingy or Velcro Dog Syndrome.
It's challenging to manage clingy dog syndrome, as it requires consistent training and socialization to help the dog become more comfortable and confident.
Professional help from a veterinarian or a certified dog behaviourist may also be necessary in severe cases.
Signs of a Velcro Dog Syndrome
Clingy dog syndrome is not a recognized medical condition but rather a term used to describe dogs that exhibit excessive attachment or clingy/Velcro behaviour towards their owners.
It is a behaviour that can be caused by a variety of factors, including lack of socialization, separation anxiety, fear or anxiety, illness, a change in routine, or genetics.
Dogs with clingy dog syndrome tend to follow their owners everywhere they go, seeking constant attention and affection and can even become agitated or destructive when they don't get the attention they seek.
Velcro dogs can also become anxious or distressed when left alone and may exhibit destructive behaviour or vocalization in response.
Dogs who are over-the-top clingy may also have difficulty adjusting to new people or environments, preferring to stay close to their owners.
Let’s evaluate the signs of Velcro dog syndrome so you can determine if your dog has clingy dog behaviour.
There are several signs that your dog may be exhibiting clingy behaviour:
- Following you around: Dogs who have clingy dog syndrome will often follow their owners everywhere they go, even to the bathroom or the kitchen.
- Constantly seeking attention: Clingy dogs may paw at their owners or nudge them for attention, even when they're busy or trying to relax.
- Whining or barking: If your dog is overly clingy and fond of you, then the animal may whine or bark when you leave them alone or are out of sight.
- Anxiety when left alone: A dog who cannot stand to be away from you may exhibit signs of separation anxiety when left alone, such as destructive behaviour, excessive barking, or house soiling.
- Jumping up: Clingy dogs may jump up on their owners or other people in an attempt to get closer to them.
- Needing physical contact: A dog who is overly clingy will constantly want to touch you by leaning against you, lying beside you, pressing against your leg, or whining to be petted.
- Unable to adjust to new people: The Velcro dog may also struggle to adjust to new people or environments, preferring to stick close to their owners.
It's important to note that some of these behaviours can also be signs of other issues, such as anxiety or a lack of training, so it's always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer if you're concerned about your dog's behaviour.
While some dogs may naturally be more clingy than others, velcro dogs will show extreme stubbornness even if it causes them harm or distress.
If you are wondering how to stop dog barking when left alone, how to prevent destructive dog chewing, or put a stop to your dog's overbearing clinginess, then it's time to start training better behaviours and routines.
Training and socialization can help reduce clinginess in dogs, and providing them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation can also help keep them calm and content.
Velcro dogs can be very loving and loyal companions, but it's important to establish boundaries and teach them to be comfortable being alone for short periods of time. With the right care and training, clingy dogs can be happy and well-adjusted pets.
14 Clingy Dog Breeds
If you are wondering why is my dog so clingy, then you might want to consider the breed. Some breeds are naturally more clingy than others.
While you might not mind a dog that enjoys your company, it's a good idea to understand what you might be getting into when looking for the best dog breed for you.
Let’s explore the top clingy dog breeds.
Below are several clingy dog breeds:
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Bichon Frise
- Yorkshire terrier
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Bichon Frise
- Doberman Pinscher
- Cocker Spaniels
It's important to note that not all dogs of these breeds will necessarily be Velcro dogs, and other breeds can also exhibit clingy behaviour. Each dog is an individual and can have their own personality and preferences.
If you are on the hunt for a new dog, then check out Should I Get a Dog to make sure you are ready for this big responsibility. And then hop over to our New Puppy Checklist to make sure you stock up on all the best dog and puppy gear.
What Causes a Velcro Dog?
Remember that while clingy dog syndrome can be frustrating for owners, it is not the dog's fault, and with proper training and care, most dogs can overcome this behaviour and become happy, well-adjusted pets.
The first step is to understand why the dog is clingy. What factors have caused the dog to feel insecure and act like a Velcro dog? As with anything in life, once you identify the cause then you can work towards a solution.
Below is a list of possible causes that result in clingy behaviour. This is only a brief list of the top causes. Often the pup’s insecurities stem from other issues or a combination of factors. As noted, cling dog behaviour can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Lack of socialization: Dogs that weren't socialized properly when they were puppies may become overly attached to their owners and have difficulty adjusting to new people or environments.
- Separation anxiety: Dogs with separation anxiety may become excessively clingy when their owners are about to leave or when they're left alone.
- Change in routine: A change in routine, such as a move to a new home or a change in the owner's work schedule, can also trigger clingy behaviour in some dogs.
- Fear or anxiety: Dogs that are fearful or anxious may seek comfort and reassurance from their owners, leading to clingy behaviour.
- Loss of a family member: If there is a death in the family, a divorce, or a child leaves home for college, your dog might feel heartbroken, and its world will seem shaky, which will make the pup extra clingy.
- Health issues: Some dogs may become clingy as a result of an underlying health issue, such as pain or discomfort.
- Moving: Moving is stressful for everyone in the family, including your furry friend. Your dog might experience more clinginess because of fear and uncertainty during the transition.
- Change of ownership: Dogs change ownership for a variety of reasons, but it can cause an upheaval in the animal’s life and sense of security.
- Genetics: Certain breeds, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, are known to be more prone to clingy behaviour than others.
It's important to identify the underlying cause of clingy behaviour in dogs to address it effectively. A veterinarian or a professional dog trainer can help determine the cause and develop a plan to help the dog become more comfortable and confident.
Understanding Pack Mentality
If you are wondering why is my dog clingy, then all you have to do is consider a dog’s pack mentality. Dogs are social animals that have evolved to live in groups, known as packs. Within a pack, there is a hierarchical structure where each dog has a specific rank, with some dogs being dominant and others being subordinate.
A dog's pack mentality is the set of behaviours and social interactions that dogs use to establish and maintain this hierarchy within their group. In a pack, dogs use body language, vocalizations, and other forms of communication to convey their position within the group.
In a healthy pack, all members understand and respect their place within the hierarchy, and conflict is minimized. Dogs in a pack also tend to work together to achieve common goals, such as hunting or defending their territory.
While dogs no longer need to live in packs to survive as domesticated pets, their pack mentality still plays a significant role in their behaviour and interactions with other dogs and humans.
Understanding a dog's pack mentality can help pet owners better communicate and bond with their furry friends and also prevent potential conflicts with other dogs.
Your furry friend sees their human family as their pack, which is why some dogs will choose to follow whomever they perceive as the protector of the pack.
Ways to Overcome Clingy Behavior in Your Dog
Clingy behaviour in dogs is a widespread problem, but it can be addressed with some training and behaviour modification techniques. Here are some tips on how to treat clingy dogs:
- Set boundaries: It's important to establish clear boundaries with your dog. This means not allowing them to follow you into every room or sit on your lap all the time. Instead, designate certain areas where your dog is allowed and train them to stay in those areas.
- Practice independence: Encourage your dog to spend time alone by providing them with toys and puzzles to keep them occupied. Start with short periods of time and gradually increase the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable.
- Reward good behaviour: When your dog is calm and not seeking attention, reward them with treats, praise, or playtime. This will reinforce the behaviour you want to see. At Homes Alive Pets, we offer a wide assortment of treats and toys.
- Ignore clingy behaviour: When your dog is displaying clingy behaviour, do not reward them with attention. Instead, wait until they are calm and relaxed before interacting with them.
- Gradual desensitization: If your dog has separation anxiety, gradually desensitize them to your departures. Start by leaving for only a few minutes and gradually increase to an hour or two. Make sure to reward them for calm behaviour when you return.
- Seek professional help: If your dog's clingy behaviour persists despite your efforts, consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. They can provide personalized advice and training to help address the issue.
Remember, treating clingy behaviour in dogs requires patience and consistency. With the right training and approach, you can help your dog become more independent and relaxed.
If your dog's clingy behaviour is rooted in anxiety or fear, then natural calming solutions for dogs might help reduce the stress that is triggering your dog's needy behaviour. Here are a few top calming solutions that might help your dog break his clingy habits:
Attention, Exercise and Socialization!
Clingy dogs can be both endearing and challenging for pet owners. While their desire for constant attention and affection can be a sign of a strong bond and loyalty, it can also lead to separation anxiety and behavioural issues if not managed properly.
When learning how to deal with a Velcro dog, you’ll need to practice patience and set boundaries. We know it's hard to say no to those big sad puppy dog eyes, but sometimes you need to put your foot down and encourage healthy and safe alone time.
Provide your furry companions with the right amount of attention, exercise, and socialization. With proper training and care, clingy dogs (Velcro dogs) can become well-behaved and loving pets that bring joy and happiness to their owners' lives.