Hyper attachment: a symptom of separation anxiety in dogs

Hyper attachment in dogs is the most common problem among puppies and older dogs. This article describes the causes, symptoms, and solutions for hyper-attached dogs.

What Causes Hyper Attachment in Dogs??

Dogs can develop hyper attachment problems for a number of reasons. Dogs that have deficits in their sensory perception, such as sight and hearing, are likely to develop hyper attachment. Attachment problems are also common in puppies that have been adopted from a shelter. These dogs become overly attached to their owner if they have been abandoned or traumatized prior to adoption. Therefore, they often require increased care and sensitivity.

What are the symptoms of hyper attachment?

Dogs that suffer from attachment problems are often called Velcro dogs, because they are always glued to their owners’ sides. Hyper-attached dogs show signs of nervousness and anxiety when they cannot be around their owners. Dogs are often too attached to one member of the household. You can test this by having all the family members in one room, then observing the behavior of the dogs when each person leaves. If the dog gets up to follow you, or is restless while a person is away, it is probably too attached to that person. Hyper-attached dogs often suffer from dog separation anxiety as well. This behavior is a reliable indicator of separation anxiety because it can be seen while you are at home, while something like barking while you are away is more difficult to detect.

What can I do with Hyper Attachment?

Hyper attachment in dogs can be treated with some specific training exercises. These drills may include desensitization and counter-conditioning. One exercise is “Steps”. It is useful for puppies and older dogs. Start by making your dog sit. So, take a step away. Reward the dog for staying and being calm. As you repeat the exercise, keep walking away until you are out of sight. Stay out of sight for a few seconds, then go back and treat your dog. If your dog is nervous, wait for him to calm down before giving him a treat. Never reward anxious behavior. Gradually increase the time and distance so that you can put your dog in another room away from you without any change in his behavior.

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