Updated at: 24-12-2021 - By: petexpert

You may have what’s called a “Velcro dog.” Let’s find out what this means and whether you should be worried about your dog’s clingy behavior.

Many of you have reported changes in your dogs since the lockdown, one of these reported signs is being clingy. This is something that can be seen in dogs that are worried and are trying to get reassurance from something that is comforting – you!

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If you need to get your dog used to spending time alone, start early and follow our top tips to help you and your dog in the future.

Does your dog follow you from room to room? Does it seem like they always need to be as close to you as possible? While dogs are known for getting very attached to their human family members, excessive clinginess can make it difficult for you to relax or get work done. Here’s how you can help your velcro dog learn to become more independent.

How To Help Prevent And Stop A Dog From Being Clingy

Help your dog feel secure when home alone by creating a safe haven (a den), somewhere comfortable with blankets or bedding and a place your dog can safely rest in peace and quiet and where they will not be disturbed.

Build up self-confidence with being alone now, start leaving them for a short period of time and build this up – feed them a filled Kong or a super tasty long-lasting chew. This will take their focus away from being alone.

Keep your dog mentally stimulated throughout the day and especially just before you leave them. There are several ways to keep your dog mentally engaged, such as playtime with you but also when you’re not there.

Use an ADAPTIL Calm Diffuser in the area your dog spends the most time to provide your dog with comforting pheromones that are scientifically proven to naturally reassure dogs, just like mothers reassure their puppies and help reduce their worries and help dogs through learning to be alone and to perceive changes or potential fears in a calmer way.

Dogs are loving having us around but it’s important we prepare them for the future changes.

How To Help Your Dog Become More Independent

If you give your dog more spaces of their own, they may naturally spend less time clinging to you. Comfy dog beds in your living room, bedroom, and even kitchen can make it possible for your dog to stay in the same vicinity as you without making you feel cramped.

It’s possible that your dog simply needs more mental stimulation and seeks out your attention because they are bored. Dogs sleep for up to 16 hours per day, so it is not necessary for you to entertain them at all times, just enough to help tire them out.

If you’re new to training, try teaching basic obedience on a regular basis with core skills like sit, stay, and come. For those not new to training, you can try these fun enrichment activities for highly intelligent dogs. You can also use hands-off activities like a Kong, puzzle toy, and snuffle mat to help your dog stay entertained. Even a simple chew like a raw meaty bone can provide mental enrichment.

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Crate-training can also help your dog learn to be more independent. It’s important that you go at your dog’s pace so that crating is never unpleasant for them. Start with just five minutes at a time while you’re in your dog’s line of sight, preferably with a long-lasting treat or chew. By slowly building up the amount of time your dog is created, you can teach them to actually enjoy spending time alone.

When Your Dog Suddenly Becomes Clingy

Any sudden changes in your dog’s behaviour might  be caused by a new health issue. Some dogs become clingy when they’re in pain. Others may show strange behaviours when they’re in heat.

Senior dogs can become more clingy when they have canine cognitive dysfunction or “dog dementia”. They may also stay close to you when their senses have diminished. It’s worthwhile to see your vet for a checkup when your dog of any age has a sudden change in their temperament.

Your dog may even be responding to a change in your disposition. If you’ve been extra stressed, sad, or upset, your dog may have caught on.  Don’t rule out how fluctuations in your mood or your hormones can affect your dog. Some dog owners also  report their dogs becoming clingy when they have become pregnant, even before they’ve taken a test.

Professional Help For Clingy Dogs

Clinginess can develop into separation anxiety very easily, especially if you have unrealistic expectations or are simply not able to provide the comfort and attention your dog needs, when they need it. Working with a professional dog trainer who uses science-based positive reinforcement techniques is the best way to modify behaviour without creating a fear of abandonment. Healthy Houndz dog training offers private, in-home training for dog parents in Toronto and North York, and virtual training services via Zoom for dog parents around the world. Schedule your free consult call online.

Why Is My Dog So Clingy?

There are several reasons why your dog may be clingy. It may just be a learned behavior, or it may be a sign of an issue. The best option is to make an appointment with your veterinarian so you can work together to determine the cause for your dog’s clinginess.

How to Help Clingy Senior Dogs

Aging dogs with vision loss can sometimes benefit from adding night-lights in dark areas. Also, keep the general setup of your home and furniture the same. Dogs with sight loss tend to learn their way around their environment through their other senses but can get confused when even a chair is in a different place.

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Certain foods and supplements have been shown to help with cognitive function in dogs, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Finally, puzzle toys and other methods of mental stimulation have been proven to stimulate neurons in the brain, supporting cognitive function.

If these strategies do not reduce your dog’s clinginess, consult either your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist for further guidance.

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