“How do you prevent your pet dog from demanding that you entertain him at all waking hours?”
A clingy dog can make it difficult to get anything done.
While most dogs want our attention, there are dogs out there who want our attention all the time – literally all the time.
If they’re awake, they want their owners focusing completely on them.
It can become a problem when you can’t bring in groceries without tripping over the dog or you’re trying to get anything done, but your dog is pawing and whining at you.
So how can you make your dog happy and still get down to business? Let’s find out.
How to Handle a Clingy Dog
1. Is Your Dog Clingy or Neglected
Wait, don’t go anywhere. I don’t mean neglected as in he doesn’t have food or water or that you never play with him or take him out.
I mean neglected in the sense that you forget to give him quality one on one time.
Neglecting that quality time is a trap that almost all pet owners fall into at one point or another. I have. Life gets hectic. A thousand things are coming at you at once, and playing fetch or wrestling – even just cuddling – falls by the wayside.
Your dog may have become demanding because you’ve forgotten to give him the attention that he needs. When that happens, your dog may do two things. He’ll either lay dejectedly on the couch or floor, or he’ll become a demanding guy.
He wants your attention, and since he can’t verbalize it, he’ll resort to pawing, jumping on you, whining, and other in-your-face forms of telling you that you need to pay attention to him.
Then again, on the other hand, you might just have a dog who requires lots of attention. Some breeds are hard-wired to demand attention. Some dogs are just born with personalities that need it.
2. Is Your Dog Clingy or is he Acting His Breed
Some dog breeds are more independent than others.
If you have a lap dog like a Maltese or a breed that’s been bred to be highly interactive with his people like a Lab, then your dog is not clingy. He’s just being his breed.
Certain breeds like Maltese, Shih-Tzu, and Labs have the clingy gene bred into them. If you don’t want a dog that constantly demands attention, be sure you do your homework and get a breed that is more independent in general.
If you already have a cling monster, you can still try the information below to see if you can at least reduce the cling factor.
3. How to Make Your Clingy Dog Happy
From a purely biological perspective, your dog needs some good old fashioned walking at least an hour a day. It won’t be all at once, just cumulatively. Dogs love to go on walks. It releases energy, it gives them new and interesting places to go potty, and best of all, they get to be out and about with their best pal.
Check out these 5 Games to Make Walking Your Dog More Fun
From an emotional perspective, it’s important to remember that dogs are called man’s best friend for a reason.
Dogs were bred to work and play with their humans. They require interaction, and it has to be more than just feeding and taking them out to do their business. Most dogs need a solid hour of quality interaction throughout the day. More is better, but that hour is the minimum. Here are some ways you can have some fun with your pooch and make sure he gets all the attention he needs.
- A good half hour walk (not just until they go potty)
- Playing fetch
- Wrestling (if you’re dog’s into that)
- Lots of cuddling
- Obedience training (dogs need mental stimulation, too)
- Agility training
- Pretty much anything that gets you interacting with your dog for an extended period of time
4. How to Break Your Dog of His Demanding Ways
In addition to giving your dog attention, you have teach him that it’s not all about him. He needs quality interaction, but he also needs to know that you’re not always going to be playing with him. So when it’s time for you to get down to business, here’s what you do to teach your dog that it’s no longer play time.
Whether he’s pawing at you, whining, or just staring pitifully, ignore him. Don’t give any attention to what he’s doing. If you do, you’ve already lost.
Remember, all these things are an effort to get your attention, so don’t engage on any level. Don’t tell him “no.” Don’t give him an idle pat in hopes that all the previous attention will make that pat enough. Don’t even look at him. Physically turn away from him.
It seems mean, but if you engage with him at all, even to give a corrective “no”, you’re giving him exactly what he want. Turn away and do not acknowledge what he’s doing. Eventually, he’ll figure out that it’s not working and go on about his business.
5. A Clingy Dog is a Dog Who Loves You
It can be exceptionally annoying when your dog is constantly underfoot or pawing and whining all the time for your attention. But remember what I always try to remind myself of when I’m getting fed up: your dog is clingy because he loves you.
Of course, you can’t let him rule the roost, but it is important to remember that fact so that you can calmly focus on changing his behavior rather than being constantly annoyed with him.
If you give the blueprint I laid out above a try, chances are your clingy dog will be far less clingy in a matter of days. It make take longer for some dogs, and as I said, you may never completely get rid of the cling in some breeds.
That being said, these tips can and will help you mitigate the constant demands of a clingy dog.