What’s Are Velcro Dogs?
The velcro dog (or shadow dog) is a term used to describe clingy dogs who literally stick to their owner like glue, never leaving his/her side.
It’s not always a bad thing, in fact many owners love it!
My own dogs are definitely velcro dogs. I have a rescue miniature dachshund who loves to snuggle inside my woolly jumper (whilst I am wearing it!). My other dog is a middle of the night stealth master and somehow gets into my bed, without being noticed. They know my routine better than I do and it’s rare to visit the bathroom alone. If I can’t sleep and get up for a cup of tea, they wake from their blissful slumber and follow me downstairs to sit by my side.
Would I Like My Dogs To Be More independent?
Without a doubt, yes!
Owning two velcro dogs makes me feel like I have instilled this behaviour into my dogs and made them too ‘clingy’. I love having them snuggled next to me and enjoy every moment with them but do my dogs rely on me too much?
When I go out shopping, visit friends or even attend a doctor’s appointment I feel terrible for leaving them. I have turned down invitations and cut short family celebrations because I know that my dogs miss me when I leave them.
Ideally, I would like my dogs to be more independent and secure in the knowledge that I still love them without having to be surgically attached to me.
Are Velcro Dogs A Result Of Bad Ownership?
This characteristic in dogs is often due to the breed of dog. Some breeds are naturally clingy, whilst other breeds are more independent and some are even aloof.
Dogs are natural pack members, so it makes sense that they want to stay close to those they love and respect.
Herding dogs naturally watch every gesture from their owner so will always want to be by their side.
With rescue dogs who have abandonment issues it is understandable to want to confirm to the dog they are now safe. Without verbal communication between rescue dog and new owner we can be guilty of overindulging our pet to get the message across, that they now are now safe.
Of course, if you spoil your dog or treat him/her like a baby they will love the attention and naturally want to be by your side.
However, he may just be a natural velcro dog.
Breeds Most Likely To Be Velcro Dogs
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Hungarian Vizsla
- Italian Greyhound
- Border Collie
- Doberman Pinscher
- Great Dane
- French Bulldog
As you can see from this list any breed from the smallest to the largest can be a velcro dog.
A Great Dane is just as likely to want to sit on your knee as a tiny chihuahua.
When It Becomes Too Much
When a dog becomes too dependant on his owner undesirable behaviours may appear when the owner is not present. Separation anxiety symptoms include crying, howling, scratching at doors and destructive behaviour.
Here is additional information about separation anxiety and how to overcome it.
My Top Tips If You Feel Your Dog Is Too Clingy
From personal experience of velcro dogs I found the most effective way to calm this behaviour is to teach the STAY command.
This post illustrates how to train the SIT and STAY command.
With consistent, positive reinforcement training you can show your dog that it’s ok to be alone for short periods, Over time you can leave the room without your dog following. He will gain confidence and independence and become a happier dog.
Another tip is to give your dog a job to do. Use interactive toys to hide treats and move the dog’s focus away from you. These boredom busters are fun and use dogs natural instincts to sniff, chase and search.
Also, share the dog chores with other members of the household. Encourage partners and older children to feed the dog, give out treats, walking and training. This will increase bonds with other humans and make dogs less dependent on just one person.
If your dog suddenly becomes clingy, he might not be feeling well, so it would be a good idea to visit your vet.
Is Your Dog A Velcro Dog?
Share your stories in the comments. Do you love having a constant companion or would you prefer for your dog to be more independent?
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I enjoyed your thoughts and helpful tips about velcro dogs. Mine are loved and spoiled, always by my side but content and independent . I sleep better when they sleep next to me, it helps they are small and have a small padded bench next to my bed so they can safely come and go without injury. During illness, they never leave me but choose to cuddle close…what a blessing they are to me . I enjoy your blog, hope to follow many more that you post
Thank you for stopping by. Your dogs are as special as you are xx