Can you imagine life without your Springer Spaniel by your side? I can’t. Mine enriches my life and makes me a better person. However, she never leaves my side. I can’t even walk from one room to the next without her following me. It leaves me wondering, ‘Why is my Springer Spaniel so clingy?’
The Springer Spaniel is naturally clingy because of its breeding history and temperament. However, various other medical, psychological, and environmental reasons might also cause clinginess.
I’m sure you’ll agree that having a clingy dog can sometimes be exhausting, but why are some dogs clingier than others, and what can you do to make your four-legged friend less clingy? Let’s find out:
Are All Springer Spaniels Clingy?
People initially bred Springer Spaniels to be hunting dogs, and because they have been created to work side-by-side with their owners, just like working dogs, they all have tendencies to become clingy. Some other breeds that are known to be clingy are the German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever.
The Springer Spaniel craves mostly two things: companionship and attention. They usually form intense bonds with only one family member. When that one family member can’t constantly play, entertain, or cuddle them, these furry friends tend to become even more clingy.
This clinginess is the reason why dogs like the Springer Spaniel have been dubbed Velcro Dogs. Velcro Dog Syndrome is not to be confused with Separation Anxiety, though, as they are two completely different things.
What is the difference between Velcro Dog Syndrome and Separation Anxiety?
All of the Spaniel breeds, including the Springer Spaniel, can be dubbed Velcro Dogs. They don’t like to be left alone for hours on end because they thrive on love, attention, and companionship.
Sometimes, they develop separation anxiety because of their persistent need for love and attention and their intense bonding with their favorite humans. The result is a neurotic Springer Spaniel that often leaves devastating destruction in its wake.
It’s essential to establish whether your Springer Spaniel’s clinginess has led to him suffering from separation anxiety as this condition needs urgent attention and sometimes even therapy.
Let’s have a look at the different symptoms between Velcro Dog Syndrome and Separation Anxiety:
|Velcro Dog Syndrome||Separation Anxiety|
|It follows its owner everywhere||Seems uneasy or nervous when you’re getting ready to leave|
|It wants to be with its owner all the time||Barks a lot|
|Watching its owner’s every single move||It seems out of breath, and pants often|
|Predicting what its owner will do and then reacting before they should||Drooling excessively|
|Demands attention||Urinates more than usual|
|It is constantly chewing on something.|
|Its behavior might be unpredictable.|
If your Springer Spaniel doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety, it’s good news. You can start looking at a specific reason for his clinginess and try to address the problem. Let’s look at possible reasons why your Springer Spaniel might be such a needy Velcro Dog:
5 Possible Reasons Why Your Springer Spaniel Suffers From Velcro Dog Syndrome
Apart from the obvious reasons of genetics and temperament, there are several other possible reasons for your Springer Spaniel’s clinginess:
You made him clingy
You might have created your clingy little monster because of the way you’ve brought up your dog. If you stopped every time you walked past your puppy to give him a kiss or a pat on the head, you’ve taught him to thrive on attention.
Furthermore, if your Spaniel sleeps with you on the bed, you’re creating a feeling of dependence in that he might feel that the only place he can feel safe is right by your side. My pup broke her leg when she was four months old. I had to watch her like a hawk for six weeks. We spent most of the time together on either the couch or the bed. Subsequently, after this period of complete and utter pampering, I’ve unconsciously created an even clingier dog than before.
Changes in hearing or vision
If your furry friend is a senior citizen, he might suffer from a decline in vision or hearing. Because Springer Spaniels are such sensitive creatures, these changes might leave them feeling stressed and scared. According to Dr. Simon Kornberg, a board-certified veterinary neurologist, loss in hearing often leads to anxiety. This anxiety can be the cause of your Spaniel’s clingy behavior.
Similarly, a vision change can also be the reason why your dog won’t leave your side. Dr. Gwen Sila, a vet from Michigan, told The Dodo that ‘It’s possible that a blind dog might act more “clingy.”’
Boredom and lack of stimulation
Springer Spaniels need at least 2 hours of exercise per day. Without enough exercise, he will get bored and constantly follow you around, hoping for a quick game or some mental stimulation.
Sometimes, your Springer Spaniel’s excessive clinginess can be a sign of an underlying illness. He might feel scared and confused and stick to your side more than usual as a type of coping mechanism.
According to The Daily Wag, your four-legged friend might display the following changes in behavior when he is feeling under the weather: lethargy, irritability, agitation, withdrawal, neediness, or clinginess.
Moving house can be extremely stressful for any dog. Sudden stressful environmental changes will lead to the release of stress hormones into your dog’s bloodstream. This release of stress hormones can lead to some dogs starting to shed excessively while others, like the Springer Spaniel, might become even more clingy.
Although the Springer Spaniel is by nature clingier than some of the other breeds, you might want to try some solutions to make him a bit more independent.
5 Solutions To Make Your Springer Spaniel Less Clingy
The fact that the Springer Spaniel is a Velcro Dog might very well be the reason why you adopted him in the first place. However, our four-legged companions do need to learn some form of independence. Let’s see what you can do to try making your dog less clingy:
Desensitize your dog
Since I’ve started writing this article this morning, I’ve been to the kitchen three times and the bathroom twice (it’s cold over here, and I need my coffee). Every single time, my dog has jumped up from her bed and followed behind. She knows that I’m coming back because we’ve been doing this for months. Why is she still getting up? Probably because I haven’t adequately desensitized her, but how does that even work?
Practice getting up and doing something boring like simply walking to the next room and coming back. Please don’t make any eye contact with your dog or give him any attention during this exercise. Now, do that over and over again. At some stage, your dog will catch on that nothing is going to happen, that you are coming back, and that he’s not missing out on anything exciting. Be patient, as success won’t happen overnight, but eventually, your dog will get tired of following you around for nothing. At the same time, he has learned some form of independence by staying somewhere on his own without jumping up following you.
Teach your dog the ‘Stay’ and ‘Place’ commands
If you quickly want to go to the kitchen or the bathroom, for example, the ‘Stay’ command will work wonders in preventing your dog from immediately jumping up and following you whenever you get up.
Alternatively, you can also teach your dog to go to his special place where you’ve placed some chew toys or special, healthy treats. It will not only keep him busy, but he will also subconsciously feel safe without you by his side.
Here are two super helpful YouTube videos about teaching your dog the Stay and Place commands.
Increase your dog’s physical activities
As mentioned earlier, a Springer Spaniels needs to be kept active. If you ensure that he gets at least 2 hours of exercise per day, he might not have the energy to follow you around everywhere. He will simply be too tired.
Increase your dog’s mental stimulation
It’s not only physical activity that will tire out your pooch. Mental activity will have the same effect, and it’s a great way to bond with and entertain your dog. You can work on teaching him new tricks, playing interactive games, or running errands with your dog. You can even create an indoor agility course or start a scavenger hunt in your backyard.
According to the American Kennel Club, ‘Mental fatigue makes dogs (and humans) feel more physically tired than a physical effort alone.’ Consequently, this mental fatigue will make your Spaniel less clingy.
Help your dog to form a bond with other humans
Because Springer Spaniels tend to form such intense bonds with specific individuals, it is a good idea to allow your dog to spend more time with someone other than you.
Ask your life partner, friend, or child to take your Spaniel for daily walks. Alternatively, they can even try to teach the dog new tricks.
It goes without saying that no trick or activity will make your dog less clingy if he is suffering from an underlying illness or condition. So, if you have the slightest suspicion that there might be something wrong, you need to get your Spaniel checked out by a veterinarian sooner rather than later.
Is The Springer Spaniel The Most Clingy Breed?
Have you ever wondered whether your furry bestie is one of a kind when it comes to clinginess? It turns out that the Springer Spaniel is not even in the Top 10. You’ll be surprised to hear those big, intelligent, and robust breeds like the Labrador Retriever and the Vizsla are even higher up on the Top Clingy Dog Breed list. Here is a list of the Top 10 most Clingy Dog Breeds:
|1||Hungarian Vizsla||The Vizsla is known as the ultimate Velcro Dog that NEVER leaves its owner’s side. They are loyal, sensitive, and love being part of their owners’ healthy and energetic lifestyles.|
|2||Labrador Retriever||The Labrador Retriever has been voted the number one dog in America for many years. They love to be pampered and make excellent therapy and service dogs.|
|3||Border Collie||The Border Collie is a highly energetic people pleaser and is wholly focused on its most prized possession: its owner.|
|4||Maltese||The Maltese were initially bred to be lap dogs. These furballs constantly need to be with their humans.|
|5||Golden Retriever||Goldies are the second most popular breed of all time. They are gentle, sweet, and extremely loyal.|
|6||German Shepherd||The German Shepherd makes for an excellent guard dog. Because they love their humans so much, they want to guard them and be by their sides constantly.|
|7||Pug||The Pug is another great lap dog. No game or dog park will be enough to persuade them to get off their owners’ laps.|
|8||Shetland Sheepdog||The Sheltie is a herding dog and often tries to herd objects and even children. They form intense bonds with their families.|
|9||Italian Greyhound||Greyhounds are incredibly dependent on their owners and hate being left behind.|
|10||Doberman Pinscher||The Doberman Pinscher loves to stay indoors to snuggle, play, and watch its owner.|
Springer Spaniels are Velcro Dogs. However, there might be underlying reasons for them being so clingy, and we can try many solutions to make them less so. Well, I guess my work is cut out for me; my Spaniel needs to become less dependent and clingy. I need to try, at least.