Do You Have a Velcro Dog?

Sadie is off on a family vacation and I, Gram, am taking over for awhile. Sadie asked me to tell you all that she will miss writing, but that she loves traveling with her Mom and Pop Pop.

So you will have to do without Sadie’s wisdom for a little while!

Most of us love it when our pets really bond with us. Nothing makes us feel more loved then when we think and know our dog loves us.

However, there can be a problem when you have a Velcro dog that follows you everywhere and will not let you out of its sight.

Now some of you may enjoy that type of closeness, but there are some of us that enjoy our bathroom time without the company of our dogs.

There are many schools of thought as to why a dog will attach itself to its human and I will try to cover a few of them.

Some say it is the thought of separation anxiety – your dog will miss you if you leave. That is not always the truth.

Separation anxiety can be diagnosed with some of the following symptoms:

  • barking or other types of vocalizing such as howling when you are gone
  • Destructive chewing such as window sills, doors and even household objects
  • Excessive drooling or panting
  • Escape attempts
  • Inappropriate elimination after you leave
  • Excessive celebration when you arrive home

    Separation anxiety requires some help from your vet or a trainer. It cannot be done cold turkey. However, it has been proven that we, the humans reinforce this behavior by our attitude.

    If you are thinking about how bad you feel leaving your dog home alone, while you are at work, you are adding to the anxiety. Dogs can pick up your vibrations, as silly as it sounds. They are very intune to out thinking. The best thing to do is not think about leaving the dog and think about just getting ready. Also do not make a fuss over the dog before you leave. Give the dog a few treats or a new toy and just “go.”

    Many times it is our behavior that causes our dogs to become Velcro dogs. For instance if every time we see our dog, we stop and give it a pet, scratch, talk to it or give it a treat, that reinforces closeness to the good stuff.

    Once in awhile a bad experience creates a fear in a dog and they feel that they need the closeness of their human to protect them.

    Puppies also learn that the closeness of their humans, not only provides direction and guidance, but protection and good stuff.

    Aging dogs or dogs that are not well also are inclined to stick close to their humans, especially if their eyesight or hearing is going bad.

    Having a Velcro dog is not bad, as long as it does not become an annoyance. Sometimes having a dog underfoot can be a danger. You can trip or fall and that can create more problems.

    It is important that you teach your dog some independence. Basic training and obedience to commands such as sit/stay become very necessary. Training your dog to sit in a stay position while you are in the room is a very good beginning. Extend the time gradually and if necessary give your dog a toy or a Kong treat to keep him busy while you do things around the house.

    Allowing your dog to sleep in your bed, is another bad habit, many of us have. This too, creates a dependence on being close to their human. Allowing the dog to sleep in your room in its own bed is a very good choice and does allow for a little independence.

    I know how hard that is to do, as I love having my animals in bed with me, I seem to be the dependent one and not them.

    If your dog is really clingy and has a severe anxiety problem there is a product on the market that comes in a spray, a collar and a plug in diffuser that contains a pheromone (a scent that reminds them of mom). It has a calming effect on them and works rather well. It can be purchased at leading pet stores and is known as D. A. P.

    There are also medications that your vet can prescribe to ease your dog’s anxiety, however, the first course of defense is to control yourself in small doses from being an over protective pet parent, do some training, get advice from your vet and if nothing else try the D.A.P.

    Good Luck!