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Pet Tip of the Week: The “Needy” Dog

by Dawn Watson

  Bonnie I

      Most domestic dogs crave human companionship, but how much is too much?

   Sometimes, a dog bonds with its owner so significantly that he becomes like a clingy child. It feels as though you cannot walk without tripping on him, can’t sit without him jumping into your lap, and can’t sleep because he seems obsessed with being close to you. If this is the case with your dog, here are some things you can do to give him confidence while giving you some breathing room.

   First, don’t reward his behavior by giving in to his demands. When he jumps up, place him firmly on the ground and say, “Wait.” After a few seconds, invite him up next to you and praise him for waiting. If he attempts to climb into your lap, place him next to you at a comfortable distance and do not allow him to climb on you. Soon, he will get the message that he is welcome on your terms.

   Next, keep him on a short leash for a few days. When he clings to you as you are walking (indoors), take the leash and guide him a safe distance, away. Praise him for maintaining that distance.

   If your dog is a ‘bed-hog’ because he needs to be snuggled against you, set clear boundaries. It may take a few nights of wrestling but gently easing him away from you and perhaps, onto the foot of the bed, will alleviate your feelings of suffocation and his feelings of abandonment.

   As always, positive reinforcement is the key to compliance. Never hit your pet or jerk on the leash; this is disrespectful, harmful, and downright cruel behavior.

   If you have questions on this topic or any other dog-related issue, please call or text me at 856.981.8957 or email me at I am here to help.


Wado udohiyu (thank you very much in the Cherokee language)

Dawn Watson

Owner and Lead Trainer,

Brother of the Wolf, LLC

Located in beautiful Gloucester City, NJ

Pictured: Bonnie was born with a crippling leg condition. An unscrupulous breeder bred her many times. When those puppies reproduce, most of them will have this birth defect. It is very likely that those dogs will be killed at birth.

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