If you’re recently asking yourself ‘Why does my dog want to be close to me?’, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to learn more about:
- The #1 reason why dogs want to be close to their owners.
- How you could be reinforcing the behavior without realizing it.
- What role does the hormone oxytocin play in your dog trying to be close to you.
- What you should look out for if your dog is trying to be close to you all of a sudden.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
Why is my dog trying to be close to me?
There is a variety of reasons why your dog is trying to be close to you: they feel you’re ill, pregnant, or sad. They’re pack animals and want to protect you. It makes them happy to be near you, you two could have a strong bond. Or, they’re adopted from a shelter and have learned to trust again.
Why is my dog so close to me all of a sudden?
Your dog is so close to you all of a sudden either because they sense something is happening to you, or to them. It might be that they sense changes in your body due to sickness, stress, or pregnancy. They could be getting older, sick, or recently have gone through a change in routine.
15 reasons why your dog is trying to be close to you
#1: The most common reason why your dog wants to be close to you
Dogs are pack animals. They hang out together with their pack and help the other members get food. Plus they have each other’s back.
So, what does it mean that your dog wants to be close to you?
That they have accepted you as a pack member. And, they’re looking out for you because they care about you.
That’s why it’s rather useful to perceive this as a blessing rather than a curse.
Yeah, sure – you’ll step on your dog’s toes every now and then (happens to the best). But for the most part, you’ll have a company that’s packed with unconditional love.
In short – the unwritten law by which a pack functions is that the members do stuff together.
#2: Your dog is a _______ detector
Wondering why the space above is empty?
That’s because dogs serve as different types of detectors.
Maybe you’ve heard about the most common purpose of police dogs. They detect drugs, explosives, etc.
So far, so good. Police dogs do this while they’re working. But what about pet dogs?
Well, dogs in general can sense we can’t. This applies from stress to an illness, or pregnancy.
Such is the story of a pet owner. She shared on a forum that her dog used to sleep next to her husband.
At some point though, the dog started sleeping only next to the wife. Both of the spouses had no idea what all of this was about.
Turned out, the wife was pregnant. And as soon as the dog knew, she stuck like glue to her female owner.
The woman was amazed by her dog’s ability to sense something way before it was evident. And grateful.
What’s more, scientists have found out that dogs have the ability to detect cancer in a human with 97% accuracy.
#3: Out of protection
Your dog wouldn’t leave you out of their sight. And it’s no coincidence.
To them, being by your side is not just fun and games. They take it as their duty to protect you. And they take it seriously.
That’s why your pooch doesn’t let you have your privacy when you’re in the toilet. It’s no different when you’re cooking.
O.K. Maybe a tiny bit different because they’re hoping to get a tasty bite out of the meal you’re making.
But hey – they came with the intention of protecting you. And ultimately that’s what they’re doing. A tasty treat would be a bonus in that case.
To put it simply – the hormone of happiness.
Dogs feel it when they’re around their favorite people. You also feel it. When you’re in love for example. But also when you’re with your beloved dog!
So, yeah, your dog doesn’t leave your side because they feel over the moon when they’re with you. 🙂
And science has found out that you both benefit from staying close to each other.
#5: You have a strong bond with your dog
If your dog has bonded to you, they will likely follow you from room to room. Lean on you. Curle up in your lap (if they’re small) when you’re sitting or lying in bed.
It’s a sign of affection. Dogs in the wild sleep by touching the back of other pack members.
As a result of this instinct, your dog might sleep back to back with you. Or just in a position that allows your dog to touch your body.
#6: You have a rescue dog
Giving a rescue dog a second chance in life is a big thing. Some dogs go through unimaginable hardships before they end up at a kennel.
There are people who mistreat their pets. Then the pets might run away.
Then there’s the other kind of people who decide they can no longer take care of a dog. And drop them off like that in the middle of a highway. Or in a forest.
And, last but not least, there are always strays whose life is nothing but a constant struggle. Some of these poor things have rarely experienced kindness in their existence.
At some point, someone gives a signal about a stray. Or an abused dog. And then the animal control puts the dog in a shelter.
With a little bit of luck, the dog is liked by a dog-plover wanting to not buy but adopt a furry friend.
Then, if the dog shows no aggressive behavior, the person takes them home. And despite all the good intentions, the dog has a hard time warming up to the person.
It takes a lot of time, dedication, and work to make an abused dog trust people again. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible. It very much depends on what the dog has gone through up until this point in their life.
One dog owner told his tory in a forum. He adopted a Fox-Red Labrador.
The dog was suspicious of him at first. But after spending quality time side-by-side, the dog has warmed up to him.
The result was that they became inseparable.
Note: Another thing is that an abandoned dog could have become deeply traumatized. So, they wouldn’t let their current owner out of side.
#7: You have a working dog
I’ve mentioned working dogs in reason #1.
You should know another thing about them. They tend to search for human company more than others.
Their purpose is to work closely with humans. That’s what they were originally bred for. Such is the case with herding dogs for example.
#8: Your dog is an elderly one
Elderly dogs experience significant changes in the ways their senses function. Reduced vision and hearing are among the most notable losses.
An older dog might not feel as independent and confident as before. And since you’re the person they trust the most, they’re likely to turn to you for support.
You know how there are service dogs who help disabled people lead a more independent life?
There are guide dogs, hearing dogs, dogs who bring remote controls, and other items to humans with limited mobility.
Now, let’s look at things a bit reversed. In your case, you will have to be the one providing assistance to your dog.
Impaired vision might cause your dog to bump into furniture and hurt themselves. That’s where you come in.
Your guiding hand can correct the dog’s movement to slightly change their direction. Just enough to avoid a nasty bump.
Having you there will make your dog feel comfier and calmer.
#9: Your dog is feeling under the weather
We all have these days for one reason or another. Dogs make no exception.
If your dog experiences something they haven’t felt before (such as an illness or some kind of physical pain), they‘d likely stick to you.
Another reason for your dog feeling unusual might have to do something with moving house. Or introducing a new family member your dog hasn’t yet got used to.
Any major change can cause a disturbance in your dog’s mood.
Have you recently had a newborn child? Or maybe a new partner?
Did this directly affect how you interact with your dog? Maybe you’ve changed their sleeping place. Or introduced new rules.
#10: Your dog gets rewarded to be your second shadow
‘What’s so rewarding about that?’ you might ask.
Well, your actions. To you, they could seem small, normal, or like nothing at all but for your dog, they’re a big deal.
What am I talking about?
A pat on the head. Squatting beside your dog and giving them belly rubs. Or asking them to perform a command and rewarding them with a treat or two.
I mean – who in their right mind would say NO to that? From a dog perspective, that is.
It all boils down to one thing – whether you talk to your dog or touch them, or give them food, it’s all about attention. Dogs love it.
Some pet parents can’t resist handing their friend treats everytime dogs are near them. The term ‘puppy eyes’ exist for a reason.
#11: Out of boredom
Sometimes it’s just that simple.
You bet it comes to that if:
- The walks don’t last long.
- Your dog doesn’t get to interact much with other dogs on walks.
- You don’t play games with your dog while out and about (and at home).
- The dog doesn’t have puzzle toys for mental stimulation when you’re out of the house.
- You haven’t enrolled your dog in any kind of training and you don’t train them yourself.
Maybe someone or something in the house is making your dog fearful.
Are there new people who have come to live in the house recently? And does your dog act differently around them?
If so, they could have mistreated your dog by yelling at them, or scolding them.
Your dog could be sticking to your side in the hope that you’ll protect them if needed.
The same goes for moments when there are fireworks or thunder outside.
#13: Velcro dog syndrome
Some people mistake a dog with a separation anxiety for a velcro dog.
Let’s draw the line between the two.
A dog with separation anxiety gets uneasy when the owner is not around. The dog mights tay by your side for the most part. But they get frustrated if you’re not around.
A velcro dog on the contrary, is a dog that wants to be with you whenever you’re around. Your absense doesn’t cause distress in them though.
#14: The dog is about to give birth
A dog could become clingy about pregnancy either because the lady of the house is pregnant or the dog itself is.
If the dog is pregnant, trying to be close to you is a sign of trust. There’s no one your dog would rather be close to in such a period of time.
Giving birth to puppies can be a very exhausting experience. During this time your dog would need you the most.
#15: Some breeds are more dependent than others
Lap dogs who belong to the toygroup are usually more dependent than other breeds. That’s why they’re looking for verbal and body language queus from their owner. They need guidance.
3 tips if your dog is trying to be close to you
#1: Give your dog some physical and mental stimulation
I get it if you’re busy. It can be challenging and even stressful to cram a bunch of activities in one day.
But hey, your dog relies on you. If you don’t pay enough attention to them, staying close to you will be the least of your worries.
Behavioral problems might start occurring. When you haven’t been keeping an eye on your dog and their needs, you’ll most likely be puzzled.
A little bit of exercise each day goes a long way. For you and your dog.
Walk your dog
Look at it like this – going for a walk with your dog is not a chore. It’s a time-out. This is your opportunity to spend some time with yourself.
Dogs are our most devoted friends. They don’t judge, they act loving and understanding, regardless of whether we have had a bad day.
Be there for your dog like your dog is there for you. Take at least 30 minutes to walk in a fast-pace. But don’t forget to give your dog the opportunity to sniff here and there a bit.
Note: For best results and less stress, compose a routine for you and your dog. Dogs like to have a schedule because it’s predictable and gives them security. Scheduling walks can help you feel more relaxed and keep you physically fit. Plus freshen your mind.
Stimulate your dog’s mind
Dogs are creatures of curiosity. If you provide them with a puzzle, they’ll try to solve it.
Espaciallys ince puzzle dog toys involve tasty treats.
The benefits for you?
Such a toy can keep your dog occupied while you’re in and out of the house. It’s a win-win.
If you’re busy, your dog could still be near you. Say – next to your feet while you’re working on the computer.
On the other hand, while you’re out you won’t have to worry about the house being turned upside down. Or worse – actually finding it theis way upon coming back home.
Such toys can help a dog with separation anxiety.
Enroll your dog in agility training
Dogs love to learn. And your dog can benefit a great deal form an agility training.
Your dog will not only learn new things. They’ll also get rewarded while doing so. Plus they’ll use their energy.
A well-behaving happy dog. A bonus could be that your dg becomes more confident and independent.
This in turn can make your dog less willing to be close to you all of the time.
#2: Monitor your dog’s behavior
Keep an eye on how your dog acts. Is there anything out of the ordinary in the way they seem, walk, or go on about their day?
If so, the reason could be an underlying health issue.
Some signs of deteriorated health are when your dog is lethargic or uncomfortable.
As soon as you suspect this could be the cause of your dog’s behavior, take them to the vet.
#3: Create a dedicated space for your dog and teach them to go there
Do crate training
One thing you can do is start teaching them crate training.
Make your dog associate their crate with good things.
Here are some examples of how to get your dog used to the crate:
- Place a toy and a comfort blanket of theirs inside.
- Let the dog sniff around.
- Do not force them to go in, just wait patiently.
- Toss a cookie close to the entrance of the crate on the inside.
- Wait until your dog gets it.
- Then toss another one a tiny bit further than the previous one.
- While playing fetch, toss one of their favoriyte toys in the crate.
- If they go and get it out, reward them with a cookie.
Other options include feeding your dog in the crate. But it’s a further step to take, as your dog has to already be more or less familiar with this space.
A peek in the life of Lissa
Another thing is to just learn which part of the apartment your dog likes to chill in.
For Lissa (my long-haired Chihuahua mix), this would be the big bed in the bedroom. Lissa loves curling up on it in the morning and in the afternoon.
When she doesn’t feel like playing, or hanging out with me and my boyfriend, she’s there. That’s where we leave her just before going to the neighbourhood work cafe each morning.
If I were to lock her in oe room, she’d bark her lungs out. That’s because she’s unsure of what’s going on.
But when she sees us leave, and she’s in her favorite soft sheets, she feels okay. This is part of the routine. It’s familiar.
Plus, she still feels close to us because the bed carries our scents. It basically serves as one huge comfort blanket. 🙂
Having such a place for your dog could do wonders. Especially if you teach them to go there on command (and reward them with cookies every time they do).
According to science
One study revealed that the smell that activates the reward center in the brain of the dog most, is no other than the one of a familiar human.
This supports the statement that it’s good to leave a comfort blanket or some of your old clothes in your dog’s dedicated space.