A common behavior seen in dalmatians is to follow their owners everywhere. And it doesn’t take long for behavior like this to go from flattering, to annoying.
This article will run through why your Dalmatian is being so clingy, and what to do about it.
4 Reasons Your Dalmatian Follows You Everywhere (clingy behavior)
- Your Dalmatian is seeking your attention
- You are accidentally encouraging this behavior
- Dalmatians are pack orientated and want to stick by their leader
- Separation anxiety
Let’s explain each one in better detail and what you can do about it.
Why Your Dalmatian Follows You Everywhere
You may consider this behavior to be annoying, or even comforting! Either way, it’s good to know why it’s happening and what you can do about it.
1. Your Dalmatian Is Seeking Attention
Dalmatians are a high-maintenance breed, and that means many things. Receiving attention being just one of them.
Some breeds don’t mind their own company and are quite happy to lay around not doing much. Dalmatians are completely different. They want action and they want entertainment, which we as owners as responsible for…
This means everything from giving them exercise, playtime, training, general interaction, and quality time. If your Dalmatian feels like she hasn’t received enough of it, she may be inclined to follow you around until she gets it. It’s simple in her eyes.
What To Do:
Take a look at what your current daily schedule looks like and ask yourself a few important questions; Are you giving her adequate exercise every day? (1-2 hours), are you training her on a daily basis? and do you have time set aside for general playtime or interaction?
Are any of those areas lacking?
If you realize that she could do with a little more basic training, that will be a fantastic addition to her day.
Even if she’s trained already, there’s nothing stopping you from running through some “sit and stay” commands with tasty treats for a reward. You can make these games more interesting by tweaking them slightly. If she’s very good at the easy version, then try making it more challenging. This is all part of the fun.
It sounds very simple, but it has so many benefits for her; mental stimulation, feeling valuable by carrying out your commands, increasing obedience, and receiving your attention. Increase your quality time with her in a way like this and she may actually start following you around less!
2. Your Are Accidently Encouraging This Behavior
Surprisingly, this is going to be the case for most owners out there. It’s easy to encourage the behavior you don’t want by rewarding it (accidentally).
Your Dalmatian may have learned that when she’s near you, good things happen! Good things mean anything from random treats, new toys, your attention, and table scraps!
The clear issue here is that you may be thinking, “but I’m just being nice?” well, although that is true, you’re actually reinforcing the behavior without realizing it.
When your Dalmatian is attentively sticking by your side, she’s waiting for you to give her something (because you did last time), and when you do, you’re affirming to her once again that’s she’s done the right thing by sticking by your side. Guess where she’s going to be for the rest of the day!
So how do you get around this tricky one?
The fix is simple but will require consistency on your part. Now’s the time to only reward her when she has earned it. This means using treats only for training sessions compared to just handing them out randomly.
Your dalmatian will soon start realizing she needs to work for the rewards, they don’t just appear by following you.
The same goes for your praise and attention. Try not to show your Dal a lot of attention if she’s following you around as this could also be seen as a reward for that behavior. Try to reserve your attention for dedicated times throughout training or playtime.
With time, your dalmatian will be less inclined to get up and follow you the next time you walk out of the room. She will remember that being next to you, doesn’t equal treats.
3. It’s In Her Genes To Follow Her Leader
Dalmatians are pack orientated and their leaders play an important part in their life. As your Dalmatian looks up to you as her leader, she’s going to want to stick by you most of the time.
This is a common behavior trait seen in dogs with strong pack instincts, (huskies are exactly the same) they are constantly looking for guidance and for you to give them a role or job.
What To Do:
Although this will be hard to identify as the cause, you can try the following tips regardless, to see if it improves the situation. Use treats and rewards with an increased level of training. This will help to fulfill your dalmatian’s need to be “put to work” and will be great for mental stimulation.
Having a role is very important for dogs and carrying out command training is one of the easiest ways to help them with that. Running through some basic sit-and-stay games will contribute to a happier, more satisfied dalmatian.
4. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is when a dog can’t handle being away from a particular person for any given amount of time. This is a serious condition and can affect many breeds.
Unfortunately, one of the initial signs of separation anxiety starts with dogs following their owners from room to room. It may not be the case with your dalmatian, but it’s certainly something to be thinking about.
If your dalmatian is suffering from separation anxiety then you’ll likely witness other behaviors such as:
- Erratic behavior when you are getting ready to leave the house
- Destructive behavior when you are gone, chewing furniture, or causing damage
- Panting, drooling, and whining when you go to the bathroom or leave the house
- Frequent potty accidents while you are gone (even after being potty trained)
- General nervousness and not being able to relax
If you suspect your Dalmatian has separation anxiety then you must start addressing it as soon as possible. As this is a complex topic I will link you to a full article about how to deal with it. This article is in relation to Siberian Huskies, but the principles and training tips are exactly the same. Dealing with separation anxiety in dogs.
The Best Way To Stop Your Dalmatian Following You Around
Although I’ve given specific tips above, I wanted to go over the importance of one thing. That’s to stop reinforcing behavior that you don’t want.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s very easy to start positively reinforcing the behavior that we don’t want. And I’ve certainly done it before many times over. It’s as simple as making a fuss out of our furry friend when she jumps up on the sofa (when in reality, you don’t want her up on the sofa…)
One time is enough to confuse your Dalmatian and blur the line between what you do and don’t want from her.
I’m sure you’ve heard of “positive reinforcement” a million times already, and there’s a reason for it, it’s a very powerful training technique! But the issue is that you can easily use it in the wrong way.
Try to be conscious of only rewarding her in moments she demonstrates behavior that you want to encourage.
Assuming that separation anxiety isn’t the cause of her following you around, then practicing the above tips will certainly help.
Why This Behavior Should Be Prevented
If you don’t mind your dalmatian following you around then you may be inclined to let her continue doing it. But this isn’t advised…
The problem with this behavior is that it could develop into separation anxiety, even if it’s not the cause right now. Your Dalmatian may become too attached to your physical presence and when you leave the house, she could start panicking.
This isn’t guaranteed to be the case, but considering just how bad separation anxiety can affect your dog and even your life, it’s not worth the risk.
Are Dalmatians a Clingy Breed Anyway?
Dalmatians are somewhat known for being clingy and attention-seeking. However, this doesn’t mean all Dalmatians will have clingy behavioral issues.
Your dalmatian’s routine, along with how they have been raised likely has the biggest impact on clingy/attention-seeking behavior.
This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag | www.thepuppymag.com
So there you have it, you now know why your Dalmatian follows you around everywhere, what may be causing it, and how you can stop it. If you have any extra tips or suggestions be sure to contact us and we’ll update our post!
Thank you for reading!