Why is My Boykin Spaniel So Clingy?

When it comes to pet ownership, there are few things more rewarding than the love and companionship that a dog can provide. But sometimes, some dog breeds can exhibit behaviours that leave us puzzled or frustrated. 

One such behaviour is clinginess, often shown by what some refer to as ‘Velcro dogs’.

If you’re dealing with this issue, you may be wondering what’s causing it and how to address it. In this post, we’ll explore the reasons why your Boykin Spaniel may be so clingy and what you can do to help them feel more secure.

Reasons Behind Clingy Dog Behavior

Boykin Spaniels are loving and loyal dogs that often crave attention and affection from their owners. However, sometimes this desire for closeness can manifest as clingy behaviour, which can be frustrating for owners. Below are several reasons why Boykin Spaniels may exhibit clingy behaviour:

Breed Characteristics

Boykin Spaniels were originally bred to work closely with their owners during hunting trips, resulting in a breed that craves human interaction. They are known for being affectionate and loyal, and may become overly attached to their owners. Furthermore, all hunting dogs at their core are pack animals.


Dogs can experience anxiety for various reasons, such as separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, or a change in routine. When a dog is anxious, they may seek comfort and security from their owner. Clingy behaviour may be a sign that your Boykin Spaniel is experiencing anxiety.

Medical Issues

If your Boykin Spaniel is exhibiting clingy behaviour suddenly or more frequently than usual, it could be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Dogs that are in pain or discomfort may seek comfort from their owners, and clingy behaviour may be a way for your Boykin Spaniel to communicate that something is wrong.

Lack of Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Dogs that don’t receive enough exercise or mental stimulation may become bored and restless, leading to clingy behaviour. Boykin Spaniels are an active breed that require daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

Lack of Socialization

Boykin Spaniels that have not been socialised properly may exhibit clingy behaviour as a way to cope with unfamiliar situations and people. Socialisation is important for all dogs, but especially for breeds that are known to become anxious or clingy.

Separation Anxiety 

Separation anxiety is a common issue among dogs, and Boykin Spaniels are no exception. If your dog becomes anxious or distressed when left alone, they may exhibit clingy behaviour when you are around. Separation anxiety can be treated with proper training and management.


As Boykin Spaniels age, they may become more dependent on their owners and exhibit clingy behaviour as a result. Older dogs may also experience health issues that lead to clingy behaviour, so it’s important to monitor your dog’s behaviour and health as they age.

How to Help Your Pet in This Situation

If you’ve noticed your Boykin Spaniel exhibiting clingy behaviour, there are several steps you can take to help your pet feel more secure and comfortable.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

One way to help reduce anxiety in your Boykin Spaniel is to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. A tired dog is a happy dog, and a Boykin Spaniel that has had plenty of physical and mental activity is less likely to become anxious or clingy. Consider taking your dog on longer walks or runs, or engaging in activities such as fetch or agility training.

Vet Examination

If you suspect that your Boykin Spaniel’s clingy behaviour is due to a medical issue, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for an examination. Once you have ruled out medical issues, it’s important to address any behaviour issues that may be contributing to your Boykin Spaniel’s clinginess. 

For example, if you have been inadvertently reinforcing clingy behaviour by providing attention and affection whenever your dog demands it, you may need to adjust your approach. Instead of responding to every demand for attention, try to reinforce positive behaviour such as sitting quietly or playing with toys.

Establishing Clear Boundaries

It’s also important to establish clear boundaries and routines for your Boykin Spaniel. Dogs thrive on routine, and having a predictable schedule can help them feel more secure and less anxious. Try to establish a consistent routine for feeding, exercise, and playtime. You may also want to create a designated space for your Boykin Spaniel, such as a crate or a bed, where they can feel safe and secure.

Positive Reinforcement 

In addition to establishing routines and boundaries, it’s important to provide your Boykin Spaniel with plenty of positive reinforcement for good behaviour. This can include treats, toys, and praise for obeying commands or exhibiting calm behaviour. By rewarding positive behaviour, you can help your Boykin Spaniel learn that good behaviour is more rewarding than clingy behaviour.

Taking Professional Help

If you’re still struggling with a clingy Boykin Spaniel, it may be helpful to enlist the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. A qualified professional can help you identify the underlying causes of your dog’s clinginess and provide you with the tools and techniques you need to address the issue.

Other Unusual Behaviours of Boykin Spaniels 

Boykin Spaniel dogs are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, but like all dogs, they can exhibit some unusual behaviours that may surprise or concern their owners. Here are some other behaviours you may notice in Boykin Spaniels:

Obsessive digging 

Boykin Spaniels have a strong instinct to hunt and retrieve, and this can sometimes manifest as obsessive digging behaviour. If your Boykin Spaniel is constantly digging holes in the yard or trying to dig through floors or furniture, it may be a sign that they need more mental and physical stimulation.

Chasing shadows or lights

Some Boykin Spaniels may become fixated on shadows or lights, chasing them around the room or outside. This behaviour may be harmless, but it can become obsessive and may indicate that your dog needs more exercise and mental stimulation.

Resource guarding

Some Boykin Spaniels may become possessive over their food, toys, or other resources, and may display aggressive behaviour when others try to approach. 

Tail chasing

Like many dogs, Boykin Spaniels may occasionally chase their tails as a form of play or self-stimulation. However, if the behaviour becomes obsessive or starts to cause injury to the dog’s tail or hindquarters, it may be a sign of a deeper issue.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are some common questions and answers related to why Boykin Spaniels exhibit clingy behaviour, providing helpful insights and tips for concerned dog owners

How long does it take to train a Boykin Spaniel not to be clingy?

The time it takes to train a Boykin Spaniel not to be clingy will vary depending on the severity of the behaviour and the individual dog’s temperament. It’s important to be patient and consistent in your training, and to seek the guidance of a qualified dog trainer or behaviourist if necessary.

Can punishment help reduce clingy behaviour in Boykin Spaniels?

Punishment is not an effective way to reduce clingy behaviour in Boykin Spaniels, and can actually make the behaviour worse. Positive reinforcement and consistent training are the most effective ways to address clingy behaviour in dogs.

Can overprotective behaviour from owners cause clingy behaviour in Boykin Spaniels?

Yes, overprotective behaviour from owners can reinforce clingy behaviour in Boykin Spaniels, as the dog may feel the need to protect or be constantly by their owner’s side. It’s important to strike a balance between providing security and independence for your pet.

Can getting another pet help reduce clingy behaviour in Boykin Spaniels?

In some cases, getting another pet may help reduce clingy behaviour in Boykin Spaniels, as they may feel less lonely and anxious when they have a companion. However, introducing a new pet should be done carefully and gradually, as some dogs may not get along with other animals.


In conclusion, if you have a Boykin Spaniel who exhibits clingy behaviour, remember that you are not alone. There are many possible reasons for this behaviour, from genetics and early life experiences to changes in routine or environment. By understanding the underlying causes of your dog’s clinginess and taking steps to address them, you can help your furry friend feel more secure, relaxed, and happy.

Whether you choose to work with a qualified dog trainer or behaviourist, provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation, or simply practise positive reinforcement for good behaviour, the key is to be patient, consistent, and compassionate. With time and effort, you can help your Boykin Spaniel overcome their clingy behaviour and become a well-adjusted, happy companion for years to come.

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