Why Is My Dog So Clingy All of a Sudden?

By John Martin - September 13, 2022

Clingy dog at owner's feet

It is without a doubt that dogs are a man’s best friend. But are there times when you feel your pet is way more friendly than usual? Do they get super clingy and affectionate, unlike their usual selves?

It isn’t rare for pets to get attached to their owners. But if you think your pet is acting unusual all of a sudden, read on to know why.

Why Am I Noticing This Sudden Change In Behavior?

A pet owner recently told us how his dog was acting very clingy. It would usually not entertain hugs or sit on anyone’s lap.

But all of a sudden, it began to crave petting and hugging. It would sit impatiently outside the bathroom door when the owner was having a bath. It began to sleep with its owner and refused to sleep alone.

The natural reaction was to wonder why the sudden attachment came about. Did the dog decide to have a complete personality change overnight?

Reasons Why Your Dog Won’t Let Go

The reason behind clinginess varies from pet to pet. But these are some of the common reasons why your dog has been loving you a bit extra lately.

They Are Developing Separation Anxiety

Let’s be empathetic here. Imagine if your parents left you home alone all day when they went to work. Wouldn’t you rush to hug them when they get back home?

The same could be with your dog and it’s just a case of missing you. They might have felt locked up in their kennel all day and want to be around you more.

What you must pay attention to is how they react when you get back. Do they just get excited and act clingy? Or do they panic when you aren’t around?

Just like human beings, dogs panic and get anxious when they are alone too. Is your dog just waiting for you to get back or is it afraid that you have left it for good?

How Do I Avoid This?

The repercussions of separation anxiety may be dire. So once you begin noticing the symptoms, it is best you do something about it. Some tips include:

  • Stay calm when you get home and treat your dog’s unusual behavior as a natural reaction. Maybe you could act excited and show attachment too.
  • Don’t leave them locked up for long hours when you go out.
  • Give them something that has your scent. It will give them something to hold on to and reassure themselves with until you get back.
  • Bring them a treat when you return. This will let them know that you care about them and don’t plan on abandoning them.
  • Try to have someone over to keep them company when you are not home. This could be someone in your family or a pet sitter.

Also Read: How To Stop Your Dog From Scratching The Door When You Leave

They Are Not Used To Being Around Strangers

Ever noticed your dog rushing to you when a stranger walks into your house? This is as normal as your dog scratching its face randomly.

In some cases, it might not have been a stranger that made them run to you. It might have been the maid or a cousin who is visiting you for the first time.

If someone who visits you has brought their pet along, your dog might get extra clingy and try to mark its territory in your home.

What is happening is that they think the stranger is a perceived threat and want to be on guard. At times, they might try to protect you from the stranger, which is honestly just a sign of love!

How Do I Avoid This?

Once you understand why your dog is behaving in a certain way, it gets easy to avoid the situation. Here are some simple tips to avoid the above scenario:

  • Shake hands with the stranger or hug them to let your pet know they mean no harm to you.
  • Involve your pet and actively introduce them to the new person.
  • There might be instances where someone brings their pet to your home. Let your pet know that you still love them and are not planning to replace them.
  • Be empathetic and understand why your dog is acting clingy. Telling them off for their behavior and pushing them away will make things worse.

Also Read: Why Is My Dog Acting Weird All of a Sudden?

They Aren’t Comfortable With New Environments

Your dog might seek protection from you if they encounter a change in their routine or external environments.

Keep in mind that you are the only person that they are familiar with. They would want to hold on to what they are used to when subjected to a routine or circumstance that’s new to them.

How Do I Avoid This?

It is very simple to train your pet and prepare them for change. Some common methods include:

  • Involving them in your life decisions.
  • Make changes in your life gradually and check on them during every step of the process.
  • If you are buying a new pet or are bringing home a baby, try to prepare them for it a week in advance.
  • Make them feel important and valued—convince them that nothing has changed due to the change in the environment.

Also Read: Will My Dog Be Okay In Boarding Kennels?

They Are Bored Or Want To Play

A dash of empathy would get you through this situation as well. Wouldn’t we all badger our friends and family if we felt lonely or bored?

You would probably message them and get insecure if the reply was delayed. You wouldn’t want to hang up when you get on calls.

The bottom line is that you would act clingy too and hold on to people who you like spending time with.

Your dog is no different and is just looking for company. Your dog might try to divert your attention if you have been on your laptop for too long.

It might try to playfully bite your fingers, bark, and howl, or chew mindlessly on things while waiting for you to pay attention.

How Do I Avoid This?

What would you do if you were bored and had nobody to kill time with? Think along the same lines for your dog! Some solutions would include:

  • Try to keep stimulating your dog with interesting environments. Let them out in the garden or play some music.
  • Encourage them to interact, make friends and spend time with other dogs in your neighborhood. This way, they won’t be dependent on you for their fun.
  • Get them doggie toys that will stimulate their creativity and not make them cling to you. You could even get chew toys that will keep them engaged for hours.
  • Try to allocate a specific time each day to take them out—it could be for a quick walk down the street or head to the park for a ball game.

It Could Be Something More Serious

Please keep in mind that dogs go through problems just like human beings do. They have health problems and mental issues similar to ours.

Your dog’s clinginess may be due to something superficial like boredom or seeking companionship. But be aware that there are chances of diseases and mental health issues as well.

Your dog might have dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CCDS) that will get them confused. How would you react when you get confused?

You would get anxious and turn to someone you trust for support. Your dog would do the same and seek protection from you when it gets physical or mental ailments.

How Do I Avoid This?

The best solution would be to seek medical help from experts. Read on for some simple ways to help your dog if it is showing signs of dementia:

  • Avoid moving around your furniture. It will help your dog get familiar with its surroundings and have one less problem to worry about.
  • Be kind to your dog and let him sleep in your room. It will make a world of difference and help your pet feel safe and loved.
  • Try to stimulate them mentally by keeping them engaged and active.
  • A simple solution–distraction therapy. Distract your dog every time it seems to get confused.
  • Did you know there are puzzles and snuffle mats that help stimulate the dog’s mind? You could purchase some online to help your pet cope.

They Are About To Give Birth Or Due To Heat

You must be aware that female dogs go through menstruation and heat just like human females do.

There are also instances where pregnant female dogs wish to get comfortable when they are about to give birth.

As the dates keep nearing, they will want to stay close to you to gain respite from their anxiety. The best you can do is to make slight changes to your routine to accommodate them.

During this period, they seek comfort from their owners and get nervous. Some dogs might show the opposite symptoms and get aggressive or impatient.

In any case, it works to stay supportive and let them know you care for them. Take them for regular check-ups and ensure they are not in danger.

As a considerate and supportive dog owner, the best you can do for your pet is to be patient and support them.

Be conscious of their mood swings and don’t mind the unexpected mess—there will be a lot of it! Whether your dog is about to give birth or is facing its menstrual cycle, you will have to be ready to clean the mess.

Summing Up

Your dog might be getting clingy due to a variety of reasons—from anxiety to boredom to pregnancy.

Be informed to know the difference between casual clinginess and something serious.

If you truly care about your dog, it won’t be hard for you to stand by them through thick and thin. After all, it isn’t every day that your dog willingly lets you pet it and welcomes your gestures to show love.

Stay in the moment and be conscious of subtle changes in your pet’s behavior. Speak to a vet if things are moving fast and you cannot place your finger on what’s happening.

We hope this helps and you can cope with your dog’s sudden attachment to you. Keep in mind that you are never alone and you can find answers if you seek them!