I thought for a while that my Rottweiler was obsessed with me and my partner… and you know what?
Sometimes we simply worry too much and what we experience as obsession turns out to be nothing more than innocent affection.
That said, once the fine line from affection to obsession is crossed, you will usually notice serious behavioral problems.
While some articles discuss the superficial reasons for your dog’s obsession, I will try to shed more light on the science side (all studies below) and how you can avoid these behavioral problems.
You may be tempted to put off training your dog so he can enjoy some time alone, but sooner or later that will come at a price.
Serious behavior problems are not only uncomfortable for your dog, but can also cost you a lot of money to get rid of them.
Furthermore, obsession problems have serious consequences for you and your dog’s social life.
Let’s take a look at what it means if your dog is obsessed with you, how to recognize the specific signs, and how to eliminate the cause.
What does it mean if your dog is obsessed with you?
Your dog is obsessed with you due to a lack of exercise or food, behavioral problems such as separation anxiety, external changes (new home, pregnancy, menstruation), or simply positive reinforcement if you have a Velcro dog.
Of course, your first point should be to check that your dog has the right amount of food, an overall healthy diet and feeding schedule.
Just because you feed your dog doesn’t necessarily mean the diet is balanced.
Personally, I feed a raw diet. Food can also be the reason why your dog becomes more clingy at certain times.
My Rottweiler expects her food in the morning and sometimes in the evening and then the stalking and intense staring can begin.
Lack of exercise is also a common problem, so make sure you train your dog properly. Boredom can cause your dog to become obsessed with you because he has nothing else to do.
Tired dogs are good dogs, remember that.
Practice also extends to our next topic, which is separation anxiety.
I have a complete and easy to follow guide to separation anxiety if you are concerned that your dog may suffer from it.
Address this problem as soon as possible, as it could lead to destructive behavior in the future (we’ll discuss other signs your dog may be showing below).
Another very likely possibility is regular positive reinforcement.
If your dog is obsessed with you through positive reinforcement, that just means that you have rewarded your dog in the past for being close to you and following you.
A healthy bond where your dog wants to be with you is completely okay and we actually want to implant this in our dogs’ minds when we train them to be off-leash.
However, as soon as your dog can no longer be alone or experiences any of the symptoms below, you need to take action.
Last but not least, there are some surprising reasons for your dog’s obsession, especially if the behavior change happened suddenly.
Why is my dog suddenly so obsessed with me?
If your dog is suddenly obsessed with you, it is likely due to external changes such as a move, pregnancy or menstruation, or changes in the household such as a sick pet or family member or a newly added pet.
Yes, all these reasons can cause your dog to suddenly behave very affectionately and never leave your side.
However, it’s important to keep medical issues in mind and have your dog checked by a vet if you’re unsure about an out-of-the-blue behavior change.
So let’s look at all the possible causes.
Moving can be very stressful for some dogs and it is certainly possible that your dog will try to bond more with you in a completely new environment.
Why would your dog be obsessed with you because of pregnancy or menstruation, you ask?
Although science has not yet discovered everything related to dogs’ sense of smell (such as how they detect certain diseases), it is clear that dogs can smell these changes.
The same as in an unknown environment.
Your dog may be obsessed with you because he recently lost his furry best friend or because someone has left or been newly added to your household.
If you have a rescue dog at home, there is a good chance that your dog will claim the number one spot and will have to slowly get used to the new situation.
Keep in mind that the same applies in reverse: rescue dogs often go through different stages of anxiety.
Signs My Dog Is Obsessed With Me
Signs that your dog is obsessed with you include never leaving your side, generally being alert to where you go, and often barking, whining, or exhibiting destructive behavior when you leave for short periods of time.
If you’ve noticed a change in your dog’s behavior recently, it’s a sign that something has changed that has caused your dog to become obsessed with you.
However, not every form of affection is necessarily an obsession.
My Rottweiler follows me through all the rooms of the house, is always relatively close when I’m on the road, and yet she has absolutely no problems with separation anxiety.
If your dog stays near you all the time, but can also be left alone without any problems or stress, then that is a good sign.
There is a term for people who are easily affectionate: Velcro dogs.
Dog breeds certainly have this predisposition and the way you raise them as a puppy can determine whether or not their independence will increase or decrease.
How can I stop my dog from being so obsessed with me?
To prevent your dog from becoming so obsessed with you, it is crucial that you let him enjoy his free time through positive reinforcement, avoid following you everywhere and don’t reward clingy behavior.
Separation anxiety is a big element when it comes to a dog’s obsession with people, as many of them have difficulty being left alone.
Before you leave, give your dog exercise, make sure he gets a break and isn’t hungry, and give him toys to get you off to a good start.
Over time, you’ll want to increase the time you spend alone, but only take small steps.
A few 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 just as important not to reward clingy behavior.
Rewarding obsessive behavior involves letting them follow you everywhere, immediately running to them because they whine when left alone, or letting them lie on your lap or in your face all the time.
Why is my dog obsessed with my hands?
Dogs are often obsessed with your hands or face as these are the main points of interaction and your hands provide food, play and pets and can be seen as the equivalent of a dog’s paws.
My Rottweiler is definitely in human hands.
While some dogs jump up and generally try to lick your face, I always found it interesting that my dog prefers hands so strongly.
She will literally chase your hands if you pet her and ask for more.
A good way to solve this is to simply remove your hands and reward your dog for calm behavior.
Don’t turn it into a chase game or reward your dog for chasing 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 may be because you play with him or her, because you have positive feelings, or because he or she loves your scent.
Yes, dogs learn by association.
Every time you are at your friend’s house and interact with the dog, talk to him in a cheerful voice, or the owner is genuinely happy to see you, that can create a positive association.
The dog will remember that you have a good time there.
Sometimes it’s very simple and the dog just likes you to play with him, or he just likes your scent.
Having your own pets can practically act as a dog magnet.
My dog is obsessed with being petted
If your dog is obsessed with being petted, it’s a sign of a strong bond and we all need to spend part of the day just with our dogs.
If you think the need to be petted is a bit excessive, try letting them play, mind games or whatever you have on hand.
As long as it isn’t neurotic behavior, an obsession with pets shouldn’t hurt anyone.
If your dog is boisterous around strangers with a fervent need for pets, you can try to calm that excitement through training and plenty of exercise.
Some dogs even growl when they are petted and that is not necessarily a bad sign.
Disclaimer: This blog post does not and does not intend to replace veterinary attention. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows signs of illness, call your vet.