For quite some time I’ve thought my Rottweiler was obsessed with me and my partner too… and you know what?
Sometimes we just worry too much and what we may perceive as so-called obsession turns out to be nothing more than harmless affection.
That being said, once the thin line of affection to obsession is crossed, you’ll usually notice serious behavior problems.
While some articles discuss the surface reasons for your dog’s obsession, I’ll try to shed more light on the scientific side (all studies linked below) and how you can avoid these behavior issues.
You may be tempted to put off training your dog to actually enjoy being alone from time to time, but that’ll come at a price sooner or later.
Serious behavior issues are not only uncomfortable for your dog, they can also cost you big bucks to get rid of and can seriously affect your and your dog’s social life.
Let’s go over what it means when your dog is obsessed with you, how you can spot the specific signs, and how to get rid of the root cause.
What Does It Mean When Your Dog Is Obsessed With You?
Your dog is most commonly obsessed with you due to a lack of exercise or food, behavior issues such as separation anxiety, external changes (new home, pregnancy, period), or simply positive reinforcement especially if you have a velcro dog already.
Of course, your first point should be checking that your dog has the right amount of food, an overall healthy diet, as well as a feeding schedule.
Just because you’re feeding your dog doesn’t necessarily mean that the diet is balanced.
Personally, I feed a raw diet and a proper diet can also be the reason why your dog gets more clingy at certain times.
My Rottweiler kind of expects her food in the morning and sometimes in the evening and that’s when the stalking and intense stares can start.
A lack of exercise is also a common issue so make sure you’re properly exercising your dog. Boredom can lead to your dog being obsessed with you because they have nothing else to do.
Tired dogs are good dogs, remember that.
Exercise also extends to our next issue which is separation anxiety.
I’ve got a complete and simple-to-follow separation anxiety guide if you’re afraid that your dog might suffer from this.
Address this issue asap as it can lead to destructive behavior in the future (we’ll discuss other signs your dog might show below).
Another really likely possibility is the plain ol’ positive reinforcement.
If your dog is obsessed with you due to positive reinforcement, that just means that you’ve rewarded your dog in the past for being close to you and following you around.
A healthy bond where your dog wants to be with you is totally okay and we actually kind of want to implant this in our dogs’ minds when we train them to be off-leash.
However, once your dog can’t be alone anymore or experiences any of the signs below, you should act.
Last but not least, there are a couple of surprising reasons for your dog’s obsession, especially if the behavior change occurred suddenly.
Why Is My Dog So Obsessed With Me All Of A Sudden
If your dog is obsessed with you all of a sudden, it’s most likely due to external changes which include moving, you or your wife’s pregnancy or period, as well as household changes such as a diseased pet or family member or a newly added pet which induces jealousy.
Yep, all these reasons can be the root cause of your dog suddenly acting all clingy and never leaving your side.
However, it’s important to keep medical issues in mind and have your dog checked out by a vet if you’re unsure about a behavior change out of the blue.
So let’s check out all the possible causes.
Moving homes can be very stressful for some dogs and it’s definitely possible that your dog tries to stick to you more in a completely new environment.
Why should your dog be obsessed with you due to pregnancy or period you ask?
While science hasn’t yet uncovered everything related to a dog’s sense of smell (e.g. how they detect certain illnesses), it’s clear that dogs do smell these changes.
Same as with being in an unfamiliar environment, your dog may be obsessed with you because he just recently lost his furry best friend or because somebody has left or was newly added to your household.
If you brought home a rescue dog, chances are that your dog claims the number one spot and slowly has to get used to the new situation.
Keep in mind that the same is true vice versa – rescue dogs often go through various fear stages.
Signs My Dog Is Obsessed With Me
Signs that your dog is obsessed with you include never leaving your side, overall alertness of where you’re going, and most commonly barking, whining, or destructive behavior when you leave for a short period of time.
If you noticed a recent change in your dog’s behavior, that’s a sign that something has changed that has caused your dog to be obsessed with you.
However, not every kind of affection is necessarily an obsession.
My Rottweiler follows me around all the rooms in the house, is always relatively close when out and about, and yet she has absolutely zero issues with separation anxiety.
If your dog stays close to you all the time but can actually stay alone without any issues or stress, then that’s a good sign.
There’s a term for breeds who are prone to being clingy – velcro dogs.
Dog breeds definitely have these predispositions and how you raise them as puppies can determine whether or not their independence will go up or down.
How Can I Stop My Dog Being So Obsessed With Me?
To stop your dog from being so obsessed with you, it’s crucial to make them enjoy their alone time through positive reinforcement, avoid them following you everywhere, and not rewarding clingy behavior.
Separation anxiety is a big element when it comes to a dog’s obsession with people as a lot of them have issues with staying alone.
Exercise your dog before leaving, make sure they get a potty break and are not hungry, and provide them with toys and you’re off to a good start.
Over time, you want to increase the time spent alone but only take tiny steps. A couple of seconds, a minute, five minutes, ten minutes, and so on.
Never set your dog up for failure.
While you want to encourage them to enjoy their time, it’s equally as important not to reward clingy behavior.
Rewarding obsessive behavior means letting them follow you everywhere, immediately running back to because they whine when left alone, or allowing them to be on your lap or totally in your face all the time.
Why Is My Dog Obsessed With My Hands
Dogs are often obsessed with your hands or face since these are the main points of interaction and your hands provide food, play, pets and might be recognized as the equivalent to dog paws.
My Rottweiler is definitely into human hands.
Whereas some dogs are jumping up and generally try to lick your face, I always thought it to be interesting that my dog prefers hands so strongly.
She’ll literally go after your hands if you pet her, asking for more.
A good way to solve this is by just putting your hands away and rewarding your dog for calm behavior.
Don’t make it a game of chase and don’t reward your dog going after your hands for licks if you don’t want to encourage that behavior in the future.
My Friend’s Dog Is Obsessed With Me
If your friend’s dog is obsessed with you, it might be because of your activities with the dog, generally upswing in the mood once you arrive, or perhaps your scent.
Yep, dogs learn by association.
Every time you’re over at your friend’s house and interact with the dog, talk to them in a happy voice, or the owner is genuinely happy to see you, that can create a positive association.
The dog will remember you being there equals a fun time.
Sometimes it’s pretty simple and the dog just likes you playing with him or they just love your scent (having pets of your own can practically act as a canine magnet).
My Dog Is Obsessed With Being Petted
If your dog is obsessed with being petted, that’s a sign of a strong bond and you should definitely dedicate some time in the day just to your dog.
In case you think the need to be petted is a bit excessive, try redirecting them to play, brain games, or whatever else you have at hand.
As long as it’s not neurotic behavior, being obsessed with pets shouldn’t hurt anybody though.
If your dog is rambunctious around strangers with a fiery need for pets, you may try to tone that excitement down via training and plenty of exercise.
Some dogs even growl when petted and that’s not necessarily a bad sign either.