Is it normal for dogs to be 'insecure'?

bisousx

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This is purely a curious thought. I don't have much experience with dogs other than my own, so I wanted to ask other dog owners if it's normal that my pug follows me around everywhere; she can't be more than a few feet away from me when I'm home, even if she's sniffing around the room and seemingly doing her own thing. She pretty much sleeps with one eye open, almost as if she's afraid I'm going to leave her. I travel a lot, so I do leave her with a babysitter quite often (for about one week out of every month). I'm not complaining about her neediness, just wondering if this is considered separation anxiety or normal dog behavior?
 

LisaG719

Living life...
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I prefer having my dogs follow me around. With a household of three there is almost always someone at my heel. I don't find it insecure. IMO they just think that what ever I am doing is more interesting than just laying on the bed. lol
 

bagnshoofetish

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dogs are not insecure in the way that human beings are insecure. they can be nervous and feel vulnerable though.
dogs are pack animals. in the wild, if they were without a pack, they would sleep with one eye open too. the smaller the dog, the more nervous they can appear and thats also why some smaller dogs can seem aggressive to us. they go into survival/protection mode when they feel threatened and that can be in the form of simple body language, benign to us.
if you have hand raised your dog and have doted on him constantly while hand-raising him/her you have become strongly imprinted on the animal. in other words, you ARE his/her pack. you are the leader. dogs don't make a move without their leader. they depend on you for survival. this is just how dogs are. the more independence you give your dog while raising him/her, the less they will behave in such a clingy way. and bringing another dog into the mix isn't necessarily a solution because now, the dog will have a competitor to be closest to the alpha dog (which is you). breaking a dog from a natural behavior like this is almost impossible. it is like asking it to change its eye color. the best you can probably do is help make it always feel safe and secure by NOT paying so much attention to it all the time. when you pay too much attention, a dog believes it is its duty to stay attentive to your every move. ignore him/her more while doing your chores and if he/she is just laying down by themselves somewhere while you are doing laundry, dishes or whatever, just say gently, "good doggie" while passing by. they want to please you.
also, observe dogs in a pack and how they communicate with each other when they feel they are being crowded by another dog. it looks harsh but it isn't. they will snap and growl at each other - they are saying "step back! give me space" and they will do it with people too. if you mimic the same behavior when you want your dog to chill and stop following you everywhere around the house, their feelings aren't going to be hurt, they will just understand you are the boss and they will go find a spot somewhere to sit/lay until further instruction. they won't hate you. they will actually gain more respect for you. the worst thing for a dog to believe is that you are only part of the pack and not the leader. we need to be a leader in dogs eyes for very important things like say calling your dog to come to you to keep him/her out of danger. if you are just part of the pack, they will ignore you.
Caesar Milan has a great website/magazine about dog behavior and how to live with dogs. He really teaches owners more about how to co-exist with them more than trying to change a dogs behavior (unless of course its a highly dangerous behavior for the person or animal). Its worth checking out.
 

bagnshoofetish

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here is a portion of an article from a behavioral website. touches on what I was talking about....

Time to start ignoring your velcro furry friend. Now I know what you are thinking, I hear it all the time. "That's so mean, I can't."
Believe me, you can and you will want to start right now or it will only get worse. I am not recommending cruel treatment, just some separation so that your dog can learn to deal on its own. Any attention seeking behaviours are to be ignored, completely. No giving your dog eye contact, touch or conversation. The only way they get attention is by going off and busying themselves with something other than you.
Ignoring a dog that is accustomed to getting attention for certain behaviours usually develops worse behaviours before they start to ease up. Up until now, seeking attention has worked. They may not think you see them or hear them so will up the volume or persistence. You must stand strong and not give in. The frantic behaviour will stop as they realise it is not working.
Put that dog down. That's right, out of your arms, off your lap and on the ground where they can learn to deal with things. Many small dog owners tend to scoop up their dogs far too often, leading to a dog that does not know how to deal with issues unless in your arms. Yes you have to protect a small dog more often than a large dog, but they will never be all the dog they can be in your arms.
Now, how do you get your dog away from you to start the separation? A solid "stay" is a must if you want to have any alone time away from your dog. Start by teaching a stay at close proximity and work at building distance. Once you have distance, start building the time away from your dog. You must enforce the stay by returning your dog to the original stay spot.
When you do return them, do not have a nice conversation with them, just bring them back and remind them to stay. Use yummy treats to reward solid stays - they really want to come with you so staying is very big. As well as treat rewards use praise. Praise them calmly when you are away from them and treat when you return.
A confident dog is a happy dog and we all want our dogs to be happy. Building a dog's confidence can take a lot of work, but it is well worth the effort. Let your dog be the great dog it was meant to be, by not coddling it.
 

olialm1

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Dec 12, 2008
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My dog has severe separation anxiety. He will not be in a room alone and when he is put in his crate he shrieks/cries/gnaws on the cage. He also destroys things and will pee if he is isolated in a room. He is 1 1/2 years old and should be allowed to roam throughout the house but because of his behavior/separation anxiety he cannot be.
 

bisousx

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A confident dog is a happy dog and we all want our dogs to be happy. Building a dog's confidence can take a lot of work, but it is well worth the effort. Let your dog be the great dog it was meant to be, by not coddling it.
So true, I've been coddling my dog since I got her. That didn't do her any favors, as I should've been more educated in training her. She is almost 4 years old now and is always scared when other dogs come up to her at the dog beach. Her tail uncurls, she tries to hide behind me... it's kinda sad.
 

bisousx

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My dog has severe separation anxiety. He will not be in a room alone and when he is put in his crate he shrieks/cries/gnaws on the cage. He also destroys things and will pee if he is isolated in a room. He is 1 1/2 years old and should be allowed to roam throughout the house but because of his behavior/separation anxiety he cannot be.
My dog used to hate her crate, too, but over time she started going in there on her own. What kind of dog do you have?
 

bagnshoofetish

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So true, I've been coddling my dog since I got her. ..I should've been more educated in training her. She is almost 4 years old now ....
its not too late. just remember dogs are not humans with fur. they are very adaptable and with lots of love and patience, you can help him be a dog. just treat him like one. :smile:
 

BomberGal

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What you're describing, by itself, is just velcro-dog behavior. Many dogs will attach themselves to a specific handler. Some breeds are highly noted for it (and its desired) like Dobermans, Schnauzers, Pit bull, GSD, ect. It is not unusual for a dog to follow their owner during their daily activities and stay in the same room with them. Plus, you have to imagine how bored a dog can get, people watching is something to do. This is not indicative of insecurity. And just because a dog has "velcro" tendencies is not a bad thing to discourage. These are handler oriented dogs.

Now, if the dog was freaking out and wrecking things when you leave them, And howling or panicking if you just leave them in a different room... then the concern would be separation anxiety. And THAT would need to be worked on. But a dog who adjusts fine to separation but follows you around the house all day while you are home? Not at all.

Do not compare dogs to wild canids. Dogs are very, very removed in behavior and instinct to animals like wolves and coyotes. And while they do have a pack mentality, it is not similar to wolves. A pack of wild domestic dogs, for example, will function nothing like wolves.

And personally, I'd avoid ceasar milan. He is not a canine behaviorist, he does not have a strong background in dogs and many of his methods are detrimental to the psychological and physical well-being of the dogs or can escalate problems with aggressive dogs or make a dog aggressive. He uses methods like flooding, rolling, aggression and choking out... None of which is good advice.

Having a velcro dog in no way means the dog is insecure or lacks confidence. Nor does it mean its something that needs to be "fixed". If the dog is being annoying and getting in your way, work on obedience and just tell them to go to another room and stay. Or leave them in a different part of the house. There is nothing "wrong" with a velcro-dog.
 

Becca4277

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My dog follows me around everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. My theory is that because I am home during the day and I am the only one that ever feeds and walks her. Don't get me wrong; my family loves her. It is just that I am the one that gives her the most attention.

Your pup is adorable!
 

bagnshoofetish

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Do not compare dogs to wild canids.
sorry, have to disagree here. while they do not have to have the same survival skills, basic things like pack mentality is very much hard-wired into all dogs. so comparisons are fine when the comparisons apply.

And personally, I'd avoid ceasar milan. He is not a canine behaviorist, he does not have a strong background in dogs and many of his methods are detrimental to the psychological and physical well-being of the dogs or can escalate problems with aggressive dogs or make a dog aggressive. He uses methods like flooding, rolling, aggression and choking out... None of which is good advice.
I may not agree with all of his methods but I do agree with 90% of what he says. So, we both have opposing opinions on him. OP needs to research and decide for herself.

If the dog is being annoying and getting in your way, work on obedience and just tell them to go to another room and stay. Or leave them in a different part of the house..
a dog is not a child you can scold and send to his room. this is why learning about dog behavior is so important. they do not understand abstract ideas like a human being needing time alone. they need to understand where their place is in their human pack at all times and to respect it. you don't just tell them to go to another room. you have to use methods dogs understand. its about love and respect for the species known behavior.