Your dog is so clingy all of a sudden. This might surprise you if your dog used to be independent before.
Sometimes, they only seek attention. But it can be unsettling to encounter such behavioral change.
If you ask yourself questions like:
‘Why did my free-spirited dog become so clingy?’
‘Why is my old dog following me around all day?’
‘How can I make my dog less clingy?
This article is for you! Here, you’ll discover:
- Why your dog is clingy all of a sudden.
- The difference between a dog with separation anxiety and a velcro dog.
- Why your old dog suddenly trails behind you all the time.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
Why is my dog so clingy all of a sudden?
Your dog is so clingy all of a sudden because they are in distress. Dogs who experience separation anxiety get anxious when their owners aren’t around. Their anxiousness during your absence might be due to traumatic experiences and illnesses. Sometimes, female dogs become clingy when in heat.
Why is my old dog suddenly clingy?
Your old dog is suddenly clingy because they’re undergoing functional changes. Aging dogs slowly suffer from losing their senses over time. Hearing is the first to go before losing their vision. They get clingy because they need their trusted human to guide them around.
11 reasons why your dog is so clingy all of a sudden
#1: Your dog has separation anxiety
Have you recently noticed that your dog keeps trailing behind you? Do they whine when you lock the door behind you?
Watch out for these signs because your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Scientiests found other strange behaviors dogs display when they have anxiety:
- Getting scared easily.
- Sleeping on their owner’s bed.
- Showing frequent aggressiveness.
- Destroying things when their owners aren’t present.
- Peeing and pooping when their owners aren’t around.
- Pacing back and forth when their owners are about to leave.
- Whining excessively the second their owners leave the house.
- Becoming anxious with loud noises like thunder and getting more clingy.
If your dogs aren’t showing these signs but remain clingy, they are velcro dogs.
Velcro dogs will only follow you when you’re in the house. Compared to dogs with separation anxiety, they never get anxious when you leave.
What’s the difference between velcro dogs and separation anxiety?
Still confused? To put it simply, velcro dogs are clingy when you’re on-site. But dogs with separation anxiety get anxious the moment you set your foot outside.
But do you need to worry when you have velcro dogs?
If you pay no attention to velcro dogs, it can escalate to separation anxiety. Therefore, it’s indeed worrisome.
What should you do when you have a velcro dog?
Train your puppy to become independent. You may do this by playing games that will set off boundaries. Like, teaching them the word ‘stay’.
Reward them if they successfully win the game. In that way, they’ll know it’s a good thing.
The other solution is to buy stimulating toys. Preferably something that will take their attention from you, like puzzle ball toys.
You can also make their food container exciting by providing interactive food maze toys. Aside from stimulating their playful side, it also encourages their curiosity.
Note: It may take a long time to train a velcro dog. Don’t expect that it’ll be an quick solution. Remain patient with your dog and do not ever punish them.
How to manage separation anxiety?
This research provided treatment for dogs with separation anxiety.
According to it, to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety, you should:
- Seek a vet’s help immediately.
- Interact with your dog frequently.
- Create a safe space for your dog.
- Make time for distance-related training and games.
- Introduce a new dog and allow them to warm up to each other.
Most importantly, know what your dog really needs. They could be showing other signs of mental and physical conditions.
#2: Your dog is ill
Before showing clinginess, your dog may have shown other symptoms.
Researchers found that epileptic dogs become extra-clingy when they’re about to have an episode.
Among 229 dog owners, 25.4% predicted their epileptic dogs’ behavior through increased clinginess.
Also, a shift in their interactive ways should raise concerns.
In fact, this study found that clinginess is often associated with musculoskeletal pains. When dogs are sick, they seek attention and comfort.
Note: Take clinginess as a sign to have your dog checked by a vet.
How to manage?
There’s nothing you could really do, except seeking professional help. Never diagnose it by yourself.
You should also be aware of your dog’s past medical records. In this way, you’ll know what medical treatment they’ll need.
#3: They are aging
Your dog ages and so is their health. Senior dogs first lose their hearing senses, according to this article. Then, they will slowly lose their eye-sight, too.
When this happens, dogs become anxious. Without enough energy to bark and play with you, they’ll cling onto you instead.
But what if your dog is aging healthily?
This research found that healthy senior dogs are also vulnerable to functional changes. They will also undergo cognitive dysfunction.
Clingy senior dogs prefer to stick with their owners to guide them. Without their hearing and sighting senses, they won’t know where to go.
How to manage?
As previously said, dogs’ health worsens once they reach their peak age. With that in mind, make sure to visit the vet for regular checkups.
In the meantime, continue to be their guide. Specifically, if they ever experience losing one of their senses.
#4: They have abandonment problems
Dogs with trauma often end up in shelters and adoption centers. Adopting them often doesn’t come with a glimpse of their history.
This happens when their past owners left them alone to fend for themselves. These dogs get more clingy, especially if they eventually warmed up to their new owners.
Such dogs fear that if you leave the house, it’ll be permanent.
Researchers found that dogs with no separation trauma are passive when you get home. But dogs with a previous case of isolation are more active.
Some common symptoms are:
- Erratic breathing.
- Sudden paw-lifting.
- Increased vocalization (barking, whining, growling).
Some dogs, however, don’t do any of these. They resort to violence instead of showing these signs.
Findings found that during the initial screening of shelter dogs, many were aggressive.
43 dog shelters participated in the experiment. 16 dogs showed aggressiveness. 11 of them were fearful and the rest displayed excitement.
How to manage?
If you’ve noticed that your shelter dog is showing aggressiveness, seek a vet immediately.
What can you do from your side is to spend time with them. Make them trust you by playing games that revolve around distances.
If they manage to follow your command, praise them. Let them know that they’re doing good.
Note: Medicate your dog’s abandonment issues immediately. Otherwise, thsi behavior could progress into separation anxiety. It’ll be more difficult to handle and treat when it happens.
You might also want to read: 7 Reasons Why It’s So Hard To Adopt A Dog From A Rescue
#5: You moved out of the house
Dogs love to have their own place in the house. That’s why an unexpected shift in location can cause them to panic.
Moving to places where your dog is unfamiliar with, prompts clinginess. Since they only know you, they’ll tend to follow you around.
You may even find them wanting to sleep in the same room as you.
How to manage?
Without a familiar safe space to go to, your dog will come t you.
Spend some time and go together around the house. Spread some of their favorite toys to help your dog perceive the place as theirs.
Soon, you’ll find them roaming around the house. This will allows them search for the perfect area where they can be more comfortable.
#6: You have a new furry friend
Having a new animal in the house will stimulate a dog’s territorial side. In short, their clinginess is a sign of jealousy.
They may also show excessive affection toward you. Such as frequent rubbing and whining. Your dog knows that having new furry friends means divided attention.
This is the same when you introduce a newborn. Though some dogs are more welcoming, others might cause trouble due to arising jealousy.
Sometimes, owners who had a dog before having a baby, experienced dog clinginess.
How to manage?
In this study, researchers discovered that dogs are more attached to children. Allow your dogs and infant to warm up to each other. Soon, they’ll be inseparable.
When introducing a new animal, study their behaviors first. Here’s how you can introduce a new pet.
- Place the new pet in another room.
- Try to introduce them between a door at first.
- If the new pet is a dog, walk them together, at the same distance.
- When you’re out, make sure the two pets are in separate rooms to avoid fights.
- Treat your first dog the same after introducing another animal to your household.
Do not leave them alone together until they’ve warmed up to each other and you’ve monitored them. Look for warning signs like low growls, when they play. Sometimes, it can lead to fights.
Note: Also, if your dog accidentally harms the pet, don’t use force. Do not punish your dog. Instead, separate the two of them. And keep them at a safe distance.
#7: There’s a stranger in the house
Nurturing a dog alone can lead to issues, especially if there are no outdoor activities.
These findings claim that their loyalty to one individual is dangerous. Rising conflicts like aggressive behavior toward strangers do happen.
In the same report, dogs display threatening stances when a stranger pets them. They tend to show it based on where the stranger touched them.
At the same time, they’ll try to get closer to their owners. To them, it means seeking comfort.
Additionally, this report found that dogs eat differently in the presence of a stranger. They will eat beside their owners or use the food container nearer to them.
Take a look at this read next: 17 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks At Certain People + 5 Tips
How to manage?
If your dog gets vicious, take them to another room. Ensure that they’ll have what they need in the room like water and food.
But the wisest solution is to put up dog gates, like a baby gate. In that way, they’ll be able to see you. In return, they’ll get less anxious and stressed.
Also, if a visit from a stranger is not that important, have it outside.
Better yet, allow your dog to sniff and familiarize your friend’s scent. If you would like your dog to associate your friend with good things, give your dog treats as soon as your friend walks in.
Note: Watch out for warning signs like a low growl.
#8: There’s a change in your daily routine
Let’s say you used to have a walk with your furry friend every day.
Once your schedule became hectic, someone had to step in. Be it a family member, a friend, or the dog lady across the street.
It’s good that someone you trust makes up for your absence. But they didn’t raise your dog, so there’s no intimate attachment.
So if your dog suddenly gets clingy, think of something you used to do together.
How to manage?
A walk in the park might seem like a small event to you. To them, it’s a way of living. It won’t hurt to take some time and spend time with your dog.
If you really don’t have that much time, have someone do it. But make sure the person is trustworthy and can handle dogs.
Note: Having someone to do your daily routine with your dog isn’t always efficient. If your dog has trust issues, refrain from doing this.
#9: Your dog is in heat
If your female dog suddenly becomes clingy, check if she’s in heat.
This report shows that dogs in the estrus cycle experience hormonal change. This leads to behavioral changes.
During this time, your dog will not leave your side. They will also experience physical pains, making them dead-set in seeking comfort.
To know if your dog is in heat, look out for symptoms like:
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Trembling bodies.
- Frequent urination.
- Tense body posture.
- Approaches male dogs
- High levels of alertness.
How to manage?
You can spay your female dog to avoid this in the first place. But if you do not wish to do that, stay by her side.
You can’t really do anything, except let her be clingy. And comfort her so she’d feel calmer.
#10: Your dog is about to deliver her puppies
Your dog will show signs that she’s going into labor. One is her sudden clinginess.
Researchers discovered that a pregnant dog is emotionally sensitive. They tend to bond with their owners to gain support. That’s why they get clingy.
Aside from being clingy, they will also show other symptoms. Their heavy panting will say it all, along with a drop in temperature.
How to manage?
Like humans, they will also need emotional support. Handle it by canceling your schedule and stay with her until she gives birth.
But if you really can’t really clear your schedule, take her to the vet. Particularly if you live alone.
#11: Boredom makes them clingy
Studies show that your dog’s attachment with you relies on your strong bond. You used to play fetch with them when they were puppies, but something changed.
So sometimes, you may unknowingly encourage their clinginess. You may have neglected them for too long that they become clingy.
When you haven’t been playing with them, they’ll cling to you instead. They need you to stimulate their mind by directing their actions.
How to manage?
Take advantage of your free time by teaching them something new. You can also refresh their minds about commands you’ve taught them some time ago.
Level up the excitement by hiding treats around the house. In that way, if you can’t be home, they’ll have something to work on.