If your dog is anything like my Harvey, they don’t leave your side. Harv will follow me around the house wherever I go and stare at me as if he adores me. While I find this behavior very lovable, why does my dog follow me everywhere?
My dog never leaves my side because he is a “velcro dog.” Since dogs are pack animals, they view their owners as part of their pack and therefore like to be close to them. Velcro dogs, however, take this to a whole new level.
There are multiple reasons as to why your dog is a velcro dog. Let’s dive into them.
Your Puppy Has Imprinted
Puppies up to six months can imprint on their owners, meaning they view their owners as they would a mother. Puppies naturally want to follow around their mother, which is why they may be following around you.
However, imprinting is probably not the case if you adopted your puppy later in their life.
Another main reason your dog might be glued to your side is because you give them constant positive reinforcement.
I must admit, I am very guilty of this. I constantly tell Harv what a good boy he is and give him small treats throughout the day. I never go an hour without giving him lots of pets and kisses.
If you do the same with your dog, that might be the reason they are so clingy. Why wouldn’t they want to follow the person around who gives them a bunch of treats and attention?
Looking at how you treat your dog helps to understand their behavior. Do you overly award them and allow them to sleep in your bed? This is fine, but make sure their clingy behavior isn’t having a negative effect on their mental health.
Is My Dog A Velcro Dog Or Does He/She Have Separation Anxiety?
While we might enjoy having our pup follow us around everywhere, is it a healthy or unhealthy attachment?
A velcro dog will be attached to you while your there, but be able to function fine when you are not.
A dog with separation anxiety will panic and become anxious whenever they are without their person. As a result, the fear of being away from their favorite person can result in not only negative effects on their mental health, but also their physical health as well.
Therefore, it is perfectly fine for your dog to be a velcro dog, but just make sure it doesn’t develop into separation anxiety.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Developing Social Anxiety
If your dog never leaves your side, it is important that you do not let this develop into separation anxiety. A few ways to avoid this are:
- Social interactions with other dogs
- Social interactions with other humans
- Spending time away from your dog
Making sure your pup interacts with other dogs and humans is important. They need friends besides you.
Another important thing to do is spend some time away from your pup. Most of us don’t want to do that, but it is important so that they learn you are going to come back and that they will be fine until then.
Spending Time Apart From Your Pup
During a pandemic, we are not spending much time away from our dogs. Especially puppies born during the pandemic are not getting the proper social interactions they require to prevent separation anxiety.
Typically, we spend time away from our dogs when we go to work. However, with many people working from home, this is not the case any longer.
Harvey was born in the middle of the pandemic. As a result, I have been able to spend almost my whole day with him every day. There came a point though when I started to realize he was no longer just a velcro dog, but that he might be developing separation anxiety.
To attempt to fix this, I stopped taking Harvey on every car ride I went on. Before, I’d take him with me every time to run errands, but now I only take him occasionally.
I also started forcing Harvey to spend time with the other dogs in our home without me by blocking them in the kitchen while I worked in the living room. At first, he wined at the gate, but eventually, he accepted that it was okay and he could play with the other pups.
It Is Okay For Your Dog To Be Clingy To You
We oftentimes love that our dogs follow us around but don’t pay much attention to the why aspect. As long as your dog is fine when they are apart from you, having them follow you around constantly isn’t anything to be concerned about.
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