If you are reading this topic, then your dog must be needy. That is, it refuses to let you out of sight, follows you around the house, craves for your attention constantly and whines when it can’t have its way. And you need to find out the causes for that and hopefully, solutions that work for your dog. Because needy behaviour can be annoying at times even to the most patient of us, no matter how cute the creature is. So, read on.
To begin with, there are multiple reasons to explain why a dog might be needy or clingy. It is important to understand that oftentimes it is the dog owner who is responsible. If you don’t already, think of your dog as your infant baby for a moment. Are you letting it get bored? Do you provide it enough exercise, both mental and physical? If not, it is in need of stimulation and will cling to you for a lack of better things to do.
Or it may be that you give in to its needy display. When you pet it every time it is near you, give it a treat to stop it from whining and let it have ceremonious goodbyes and hellos whenever you go out and come in through the door, you are enabling its needy behaviour- letting it know that such actions will always result in rewards. Dogs are clever enough to figure that out. It learns that you will oblige it when it is being needy. This develops a pattern of such behaviour. For instance, if your dog is replaced by your child in your bed, it will whine until its place is restored because it hasn’t known better.
Another reason you can’t miss is that some dogs are bred to be that way. Breeds like Viszla, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd are known to be dependent dogs. If your dog falls under this category, you can do little to fix it. Humans have bred these dogs in this way to fulfil their purposes for thousands of years.
Like every other human, dogs can also get anxious when their owners move house or shift to unfamiliar locations. This anxiety can take time to go away and this can result in them developing clingy behaviour.
Needy behaviour is also seen in aging dogs. Something commonly experienced by aged dogs is loss of hearing and vision. In such a case, they find it difficult to process the bodily changes occurring in them and may cling to familiar faces for comfort.
If you can’t identify with any of the reasons already brought up, the only explanation is that there may be an underlying health problem that has escaped your notice. Look out for signs. If such behaviour is fairly sudden, it is a good idea to get your dog checked by a vet to determine if there is an illness.Dogs are dependent on us and any disturbance in their daily structure can cause needy behaviour.
Why is my Dog so Needy for Attention?
If dogs need attention from humans constantly, it means that they are seeking validation from the ones they consider as family. Much like human babies, they will do anything to keep the attention of their owners. Some common attention-seeking traits include barking, whining, stealing or damaging things, rubbing their nose all over you. It doesn’t mean that you need to cater to your dog all the time. However, you do need to make an effort to gauge the underlying causes. An important cause to ponder is trauma. Trauma may trigger such behaviour from your dog. Did it suffer from ill-treatment at the hands of its previous owner? Was it in an accident? If so, it is your responsibility to make it feel safe and secure. Give the attention it needs. Just make sure not to overdo it.
Why is my Dog so Needy when in Heat?
Female dogs commonly go through heat twice a year and a period lasts for about two to three weeks. The cycle which starts once they hit puberty occurs when they are about six months old. It is called the estrus cycle. Needy behaviour when in heat results from the bodily changes that occur during the period. She may experience a loss in appetite. Hormonal action means she will feel cranky, fatigued and anxious, much like humans. Naturally, she will look up to you for comfort at such a time. If at other times it is not recommended, you should indulge a dog in heat. Give her the attention that she needs, give her treats, make her feel loved. Adequate exercise and rest are also necessary.
One point to keep in mind is that all dogs are different and respond differently to different situations. Your dog may react to her heat cycle by being needy while others may become very aggressive, quiet, over-friendly or even run away to an isolated place. Recognise and accept the differences.
Why is my Dog so Needy in the Morning?
Do you feel that your dog is more needy in the morning? It may be because its energy is high and unhinged in the morning. Unsure of where to spend its energy, it may come clinging to you.Another explanation again places the blame on you. If you over-indulge it, expect it to come wagging its tail at you. If you are not keeping separations a small affair and if it doesn’t share its bed with you, it will make a big deal when it sees you after a long gap in the morning.
Dogs know how to observe and a needy dog has watched you leave for work every morning. To prevent you from leaving, it may behave more clingy because it thinks that you will give in to whatever he demands. Your reaction to such behaviour is what determines if it continues. If you react positively, you reinforce such behaviour.Oh, might I also mention that it could be the work of the canine genome? Studies have shown that dogs wake up happy and excited due to a diurnal endorphin release co-determined by an ancient canine gene.
How Do You Deal with Needy Dog Behaviour?
Now that you know the causes for needy behaviour, all that remains is to correct it. How do you deal with it?
Your dog may also may display such worrying behaviour if it is bored or doesn’t get enough mental and physical stimulation. If you recognise such a problem, it is a good idea to take your dog out on walks, occasionally play games with it (beware of overdoing it) or get him play dates.
If you still don’t see favourable changes in your dog, there probably is a health condition that is not apparent. In that case, it’s a good idea to take your dog to a vet and determine the underlying cause.
If all else fails, a behaviourist is your next stop. He or she will be adept at determining the psychological cause and help bring about the desired change in behaviour.
As for your needy aging dog, give it care and attention that comforts it as it undergoes confusing changes.
At the end, it is your responsibility to make your dog feel secure and satisfied but not at the cost of your independence and space. It helps to look at your dog through the lenses of compassion. After all, the most mature dog gets as much mature as a 4-5 year old toddler.