Your dog is obsessed with you because you’re the ultimate source of comfort for them. Your dog looks to you for protection, food, playtime, exercise, and so on. You’re their whole world, so it makes sense for them to be obsessed with you.
As a dog owner, you want to develop a strong connection with your furry friend. This connection will come as you spend time with them, train them, and feed them.
However, there’s a big difference between a dog having a strong connection with you and a dog being obsessed with you. Unfortunately, many dogs develop obsessive personalities. This obsession will lead to severe separation anxiety and possibly destructive behavior while you’re gone.
This guide will cover what obsessive dog behavior looks like, why it happens, and how you can put an end to it.
One important note before we get started. Never yell at your dog for their obsessive behavior. They’re already anxious, and the yelling will make it worse. There are much better ways to help ease their stress and anxiety. We will cover those at the end of this article.
Why is Obsessive Behavior a Bad Thing?
When you have a strong bond with your dog, it’s normal for them to want to be in your presence. This may be a friendly trip together to another part of the house or sharing your bed with them.
However, hyper attachment (obsessive behavior) occurs when your dog is unable to separate from you in a healthy way.
When your dog is obsessed with you, they’re persistent on spending time with you and only you. When leaving, your dog may whine and exhibit signs of stress even when it’s part of your daily routine.
Obsession with a single owner can make it difficult for your dog to develop healthy relationships with others in the household.
The best way to help your dog eliminate obsessive behavior is to figure out why they’re so obsessed in the first place.
Causes for Obsessive Behavior
You Feed Them
Dogs become obsessed with the person who feeds them. They become even more attached to that person when they get hungry. This may occur in the morning or throughout the day, depending on when they eat and how often.
In their eyes, you’re their source of survival, so if anything happened to you, they would be out of luck.
If you feed your dog a good majority of the time, there’s a good chance this is why they’re obsessed with you.
The best way to end the obsessive behavior is to either have someone else feed them or let your dog free-feed if that’s a possibility.
Looking For Attention
Are you spending enough time with your dog? Obsessive behavior can occur when your dog hasn’t received enough attention.
You may think you’re spending plenty of time with your dog, but if you’re spending less time with them than you used to, they might be looking for attention. Dogs will notice even a slight drop in time spent together.
Take this opportunity to bond with your dog through exercise, playtime, and going on long walks.
Just like humans, dogs experience stress. When your dog is stressed, they may find comfort in your presence.
Though this might feel special for you as the owner, it causes your dog to be overdependent on you for their needs.
Many things can cause stress for dogs, including previous trauma or loud noises. Obsessive behavior due to stress is usually temporary, as it’s a result of something occurring in their environment.
Even though your dog might have an independent personality, they likely hate being left alone. This is especially true for those who work a 9-5 job and are gone for hours at a time.
Separation anxiety is common in dogs since they are naturally drawn to being with their pack. This results in the dog becoming nervous and not able to adjust to their time alone.
It’s essential to give your dog some alone time during their puppyhood years. This helps your dog become adjusted to the separation from a young age, so that as an adult, it’s a typical aspect of life.
Some dogs require up to an hour of daily exercise to get rid of all their energy. If your dog is following you around all day and is in a playful mood, the obsessive behavior is probably because of built-up energy.
Allowing your dog to get some exercise will burn off the extra energy. Be sure you are providing times throughout the day to let your dog run around for a few minutes.
Two Ways to End Obsessive Behavior
Although it is possible to “teach an old dog new tricks,” the sooner you train your dog that it’s ok to be alone, the easier it will be.
Here are two great ways to put an end to obsessive behavior.
Crate training is a great way to help your dog get adjusted to being alone, even with you in the household.
It will help them understand boundaries and keep them at ease when you’re gone for a few hours.
When crate training, the goal is to get your dog to view their crate as a safe space for them. You want to make it a positive place for them to spend their time. This is why it’s essential to never use the crate as a tool for punishment.
Building a Routine
Dogs are creatures of routine. They know exactly when it’s time to eat, sleep, and play. That’s why creating a routine for them is so important if you want to eliminate obsessive behavior.
By bringing balance to their day in their time with you, diet, and playtime, you create a reliable schedule for them. You want to provide them with their daily needs before they have to come to you and provide reminders.
When you participate in these activities following obsessive behavior, you’re telling your dog that this is how they need to act to receive the attention, playtime, food, or walk they want.
As busy as life can be, make sure you devote the time necessary to bond with your dog in a healthy, balanced manner.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.