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Does your bulldog seem to follow you everywhere you go? It all seems cute and nice until you can’t even have a minuter to check Twitter in the bathroom without them standing outside the door trying to push themselves in.
Is this natural or should you worry? Are all bulldogs like that?
Are Bulldogs clingy? Bulldogs can be overly attached and too clingy to their owners due to stress, separation anxiety, boredom, or curiosity. Some bulldogs are too clingy that they’re called “velcro dogs” because they become almost attached to you anywhere you go. You can train your dog out of this clinginess.
So, yes, bulldogs can indeed become clingy, and it is something you should work on. To learn why some bulldogs become too clingy and how you can help them become less clingy, keep reading.
7 Reasons why Bulldogs are Clingy
Here are 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Could be acting overly clingy:
- Separation Anxiety
- The Behavior was reinforced
- Protection and Companionship
Let’s discuss each of these quickly and see what they mean and how to know if it’s the reason behind your dog’s clinginess.
Your bulldog may be stressed and is seeking comfort by staying near you most of the time. Research has shown that dogs do feel comfortable around us, even more so than they do around other dogs (find the sources at the end of the article).
If your dog started hanging around you all of the time after a big move, such as to a new city, neighborhood, or just a new house in general, they could be seeking the comfort they know because they’re stressed from the change.
Bulldogs are one of the dog breeds most prone to separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a serious behavioral problem in dogs, and it has an effect on all of your dogs’ behaviors.
Some dogs develop separation anxiety when they spend most of the time alone in the house as we go to work, and others can develop it even when they’re not left alone at all.
If your dog starts acting strangely and out of character as soon as you get away from them, whether out of the house or just out of the same room and only calms down when you get back to them, there is a good chance it’s separation anxiety.
The Behavior was reinforced
Unfortunately, many of us reinforce many undesired behaviors in our dogs unknowingly by approving these behaviors. For example, if you have laughed when your dog started following you everywhere and found it cute, you have reinforced this behavior.
Instead, you should train your dog to stay in the room alone while you leave it, and not allow them to follow you everywhere.
Young puppies will imprint on their owners from the time of their birth until they are about 6 or 7 months old. They will view the owners just as their parents do and start developing the same bond their parents have with the owners.
In general, young puppies will start copying everything their parents do, and this includes both the good and the not-so-good behaviors.
Dogs are just as curious as cats and babies. Young puppies are particularly curious as everything in the world is brand new to them, and they will try to explore as much of this world as possible.
This curiosity will make them follow you everywhere you go, try to find out what you are doing at all times, and smell and sniff everything.
Although bulldogs may look lazy and boring to people who have never been around one, I assure you they are not boring, and they get bored quickly if they don’t get enough physical and mental stimulation.
If your bulldog is bored, they will naturally start looking for ways to relieve this boredom, and following you around could be their way of doing that.
Protection and Companionship
In the wild, animals in the pack will look out for each other, especially during vulnerable moments like when we’re sleeping or going to the toilet. Your dog could be just following their instincts to keep a watchful eye over their pack, which is you in this case.
This could be especially true if you have not taught your dog early on that you are the one in control in all situations and let your dog’s protective instincts run the show.
Your dog’s protective instincts could indeed save your life one day, but they could also make a lot of situations more difficult than they need to be. You should take the time to train your dog to control their protective instincts and to recognize when they are needed and when you are in control and need them to step back.
Is it Separation Anxiety or Velcro Dog Syndrome?
Separation anxiety and velcro traits may look very similar to the untrained eye, but it’s important to understand the difference between them because separation anxiety is more serious and will need your attention.
The main difference between separation anxiety and velcro dog syndrome is anxiety.
If your dog becomes anxious when you leave them alone, it’s probably separation anxiety. Annoying or destructive behaviors in your absence, such as consistent barking or whining, destructive chewing of the furniture and other items, or going potty where they shouldn’t, are all warning signs that your dog may have separation anxiety.
In other words; Remember Marley from the movie Marley and me? Yeah, this dog very clearly had separation anxiety.
Check out this comparison table of Separation Anxiety symptoms vs velcro dog symptoms:
|Separation Anxiety Symptoms||Velcro Dog Symptoms|
|– The dog follows you everywhere you go |
– Gets very anxious and stressed when you leave
– uncharacteristic and destructive behaviors when you are not around
– Trying to escape the house when left alone (to find you)
– Peeing or pooping inside the house
|– The dog follows you everywhere you go|
– Keeps their eyes glued on you
– Always paying attention to your slightest actions, trying to anticipate where to go next
– Wanting to stay as physically close to you as possible
Now that you know the difference between both of them, let’s see how you should actually train your dog to be alone to try and prevent these problems from developing in the first place.
How to Train your bulldog to be alone
You should train your dog to be alone as early as possible. Don’t wait for the dog to start showing signs of behavioral problems to start teaching them to be alone, because by then it will have become more difficult and will take more time.
Here is how you can teach your bulldog to be alone:
Teach them to “sit” and “Stay”
Teach your dog the basic commands of “sit” and “stay” as early as possible. You can do this easily by asking them to “sit” when you see them positioning themselves to sit, and then rewarding them when they sit.
You can also teach them to stay by asking them to stay after they sit down, and when they don’t move, you reward them, if they move, you don’t, and so on.
Repeating this cycle of commanding and rewarding will instill the behavior in your dog’s mind and teach them that this is how they get good things.
Teach them to “stay” while you leave
After teaching your dog to sit and stay while you’re close to them, it’s time to teach them to stay while you leave the room.
Here is how you can do that:
- Ask your dog to sit and reward them when they do
- Ask them to stay, and start moving a few steps away from them
- If they stay calm, reward them, but if they move, don’t, and repeat from the start
- With each repetition, get a little further away from them, until you’re at the room’s door
- Start getting out of the room completely, just for a few seconds, and get back in
- If the dog stayed calm when you moved out of the room, reward them
- If the dog moved or tried to follow you, repeat from the start
- Repeat this process until they can stay completely calm as you leave the house
- Repeat this process with longer time periods in each repetition.
You should start the rewarding with their favorite treats, and then move down the ladder to just praises. Move up and down the treats ladder as you see fit for the training situation’s difficulty for your dog to make it worthwhile their effort.
This process can take a long time, even weeks or months in my experience, so you need to be patient and understand that this is a long-term and ongoing thing.
Your dog’s training is not a one-time thing, and you will need to keep training them to reinforce the good behaviors and stop the bad ones for as long as you have them.
When should you seek professional help?
If your dog’s undesired behaviors are getting out of hand or you have been working on them for a while and can not see any progress, it’s time to seek professional help.
You can ask your vet for a recommendation, sign up your dog for basic obedience classes in your area, or, in more severe cases, seek the help of a professional dog behavior therapist.
Why is my bulldog clingy?
Your dog could be clingy because they are sick, stressed, imprinting on you, or are suffering from separation anxiety. Your dog could be clingy to you because you knowingly reinforced the behavior earlier in their lives as well.
Why does my bulldog sit and stare at me?
Dogs could stare at you to show their affection or to keep a watchful eye on you to protect you. Eye contact between dogs and humans has proven to release oxytocin, the hormone of love that boosts bonding and trust.
Why does my bulldog follow me everywhere?
Your dog could be following you everywhere to seek comfort or because they are sick, stressed, or are suffering from separation anxiety. They could also follow you to keep a watchful eye on you and protect you as they would’ve done to their pack in the wild.
Our Picks for English Bulldogs (Tested by the bulldogs themselves)
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