Every dog is unique, with individual preferences, tendencies and personality traits. But there are certain traits that many dogs exhibit regardless of temperament—including the tendency to follow owners around everywhere.
If you feel like your dog is your second shadow, you might be wondering why. Is that level of attachment healthy? Is this something you need to worry about? Understanding why your pup is constantly on your heels is important for determining whether they’re enamored with you or if they have an anxiety problem that might demand dog training in McDonough, GA.
Velcro Dogs are Common
It’s common for dogs to want to follow owners everywhere, but there are lots of different reasons why dogs develop this tendency. Here are a few of the main reasons why your dog might stay close:
- Breed tendencies: Certain breeds are more likely to follow owners closely. Typically, working dogs like shepherds, collies and huskies will follow because they’re bred to work alongside their owners. Sticking by your side is their way of telling you they’re ready to work. If your dog seems clingy, it might be because he’s bred to be that way!
- Imprinting: Imprinting is a powerful mechanism that allows animals from many different species to build attachments with their parents. While imprinting is most commonly talked about in baby chickens, ducks and geese, it’s also possible for puppies to imprint on people. Imprinting usually happens when puppies are between 3 and 12 weeks old. A puppy who has imprinted on an owner is more likely to want to follow the owner around everywhere.
- Separation anxiety: Many dogs have anxiety that’s triggered when their owner leaves, but some breeds are more prone to it than others. This separation anxiety causes dogs to panic more easily—sometimes even when owners simply leave the room! Breeds like whippets, greyhounds and other sighthounds are notorious for this, as are pointers, vizslas and Weimaraner breeds. Making a fuss every time you leave the house or come home can actually reinforce separation anxiety. Taking some of the emotional energy out of leaving the house and coming home can make a big difference for your dog’s anxiety levels.
- Bonding: Sometimes, the reason dogs follow their owners so closely is simply because they are bonded to them. They like the companionship! As long as your dog isn’t showing signs of anxiety, there’s probably nothing to be concerned about if your dog seems to follow you around everywhere. Dogs enjoy social interaction and want opportunities to be with their owners. If they’re otherwise independent but like to be near you, it’s just a sign that they love you!
If you’re concerned about your dog’s separation anxiety or you feel like you’re constantly tripping over your dog at home, consider getting help from an expert dog trainer at The Paw Pad. Since 2009, we have been the premier local provider of doggy daycare, pet boarding and dog training. We can provide you with recommendations and tips to help you deal with your dog’s separation anxiety and help reinforce better behavior for your dog.