Dog Won’t Leave My Side : (9 Interesting Reasons)

Initially, having a dog that won’t leave your side can be fun. But at some point, it may become a source of concern. You may find yourself wondering why the dog won’t leave your side, if it is a sign of something wrong with him (or you) and what you can do about it.

What does it mean when dog won’t leave my side? Well, it could just be a normal sign of affection. But it could also be an indication that the dog is suffering from separation anxiety. There are also situations where a dog not leaving your side indicates that he fears something or he wants something from you.

Dog won't leave my side
dog won’t leave my side

Read on, for answers to all those and other questions related to dog not leaving your side.

 

Dog Won’t Leave My Side

There are cases where a dog not wanting to leave your side may be normal. There are also other cases where a dog not wanting to leave your side is abnormal/ source of concern. For instance, if your dog has previously been independent, then suddenly he won’t leave your side, then that can be a source of concern.

Similarly, if you have a situation where your dog disregards all other people in your household, and only wants to be by your side, then it can be a source of concern.

Still, it is important to understand that dogs are by nature social animals. And when they come under your care, they eventually come to view you as their ‘pack leader’. Consequently, they are inclined to constantly affirm their loyalty to you. And this may at times entail always endeavoring to remain by your side.

The dog understands that if he remains by your side, he is likely to get rewards. Those are rewards such as food, affection, exercise and various treats.

Ultimately if, for instance, I have a situation where my dog will not leave my side all of a sudden (yet he was previously independent), that may be cause for concern. Similarly, if I have a situation where my sick dog won’t leave my side, it may be a worrisome sign.

But if it is just a situation where the dog prefers to be by your side when you are relaxing inside the house, and doesn’t show distress when you leave, then it may just be a normal dog display of affection.

 

Why Won’t My Dog Leave My Side?

There are several possible reasons for your dog not wanting to leave your side.

Firstly, your dog not wanting to leave your side may be just a sign of his affection for you. There are many ways in which dogs show affection to their human masters. One way is by wanting to always be by their side. This is why the dog has come to be referred to as “man’s best friend”.

In human societies that live in the ‘wild’, spotting a dog usually means that there is a human close by. This is how close they stick by. So it is quite normal for a dog to want to be by his owner’s side.

Secondly, your dog not being keen on leaving your side may be an indication that he wants something from you. It could be a scenario where the dog wants food. Or it may be a scenario where the dog wants exercise or something else along those lines. This is certainly what I would think in terms of, if I have a situation where my dog follows me everywhere and stares at me.

Thirdly, your dog not wanting to leave your side may be an indication that he fears something. This is what I would suspect if, for instance, my dog won’t leave me alone at night. Yet during the day he is comfortable being all alone.

Fourthly, your dog not being able to leave your side may be an indication of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a condition where the dog is constantly under the impression that you are about to abandon him.

 

What Does It Mean When A Dog Stays By Your Side?

When a dog stays by your side, it could mean that he loves you (so it is a sign of affection or loyalty). Further, when a dog won’t leave my side, it could mean that the dog wants you to give him something. Or that he fears something will harm him if he leaves your side.

The dog may also have sensed that you are under distress, and wants to stay by your side to offer you comfort and protection. This may be the case, for instance, if my dog won’t leave my side pregnant. So the dog senses the physiological distress that comes with pregnancy, and opts to stay by your side to comfort you.

If I have a situation where my dog won’t leave my side early pregnancy (that is, in the distressful early pregnancy stages), this is what I would suspect.

A dog is even capable of sensing when you are sick, and staying by your side to comfort you. Once you learn about this, it may at times lead you to wonder, my dog won’t leave my side am I sick? Or, more worryingly, my dog won’t leave me alone am I dying?

But the best way to interpret it is that the dog has sensed you are under some sort of distress. And he is only staying by your side to offer comfort. So don’t overthink it.

 

Why Is My Dog Being So Clingy All Of A Sudden?

If I have a situation where my dog won’t let me out of his sight all of a sudden (yet he was previously independent), I may be inclined to wonder why he has suddenly become clingy. In most cases, it turns out there has been a change in the local environment, which has made the dog fearful.

This may be the introduction of other pets into the home. Or it may be the entry of other people into the household. Or new noises that were not there previously.

The dog may also have sensed that you are about to abandon him. So he develops separation anxiety, which makes him clingy all of a sudden. This is what I would be inclined to suspect if my dog won’t leave me alone, and starts throwing tantrums when he senses I am about to leave the home.

Sometimes, you (as the dog owner) may actually not be the one on the receiving end of the clinginess. It may be a situation where dog won’t leave other dog alone. Or it may even be a scenario where dog won’t leave baby alone (if you have a young baby in the household).

Recent changes may also have led to a situation where your dog’s needs are not being met. So he develops clingy tendencies in order to attract attention: which will hopefully lead to better fulfillment of his needs. This is definitely one of the possibilities I will consider, if my dog won’t leave my side all of a sudden (yet previously he has been quite independent).

 

Dog Won’t Leave My Side At Night

If your dog won’t leave your side at night, it is likely that there is something he is scared of. So he prefers to be by your side, so that you can protect him from ‘it’.

Therefore if I am confronted with a situation where my dog won’t leave me alone at night, I would start by investigating to find out what may be scaring him. It could be another pet you are keeping. Or it could be some sort of noise (heavy trucks passing nearby, fireworks and so on).

To understand the situation properly, you may need to check the dog’s behavior during the daytime. If during the daytime he acts normally, yet the dog won’t leave my side at night, then I will tend to attribute it to fear.

The solution is to identify what is causing the dog to fear. Then deal with it, as best as you can. For instance, if it is another pet, consider moving it to a space where the dog won’t see it/be scared of it. If it is noise from outside, you may consider soundproofing your house. Or just comfort the dog and train him not to fear the noise too much.

 

Dog Won’t Leave My Side After Surgery

Here, you have to be more specific: is it a situation where the dog won’t leave your side after surgery that was performed on him? Or is it a scenario where the dog won’t leave your side after surgery that was performed on you?

If my dog won’t leave my side after surgery that was performed on him, I would attribute it to the desire for comfort on his part. The dog is probably in pain, following the surgery. So he figures that you can comfort him: hence his wanting to be by your side all the while.

Dog won't leave my side
dog won’t leave my side

He may also be under fear that another pain will be inflicted on him. (Remember, the dog doesn’t understand why the surgery was performed on him). So he stays by your side so that you can protect him from that.

Conversely, if the dog won’t leave my side after surgery that was performed on me, I would attribute it to his endeavor to comfort me. So the dog senses that you are in distress following the surgery (yes, dogs are able to sense these things). Therefore he decides to stay by your side, to comfort you as well as he can.

 

Older Dog Won’t Leave My Side

If you have an older dog that won’t leave your side, there are several possible reasons. He could be sick, and therefore stays by your side under the impression that you will offer him comfort. Or he could be fearful of something.

Further, he may just be showing you affection. Or he may have somehow gotten the impression that you are about to abandon him, and consequently developed separation anxiety.

There may also be a situation where the older dog is from one of the so-called Velcro dog breeds – which prefer to always stick by their owners’ sides. Or you may be looking at a scenario where the dog’s needs are no longer being properly met. So he decides to stay by your side so as to increase chances of his needs being better met.

 

How Do I Get My Dog To Leave My Side?

The first step is to figure out why the dog won’t leave your side. Then come up with strategies to deal with the situation.

Where it is due to separation anxiety, you need to get the dog to banish the idea that you are abandoning him. Desensitization can be useful here. Give the dog cues that you are leaving. Then indeed leave for a short duration of time. After that, come back.

Repeat this, while increasing the ‘away periods’. The dog eventually learns that you are capable of coming back. And that your going away doesn’t mean abandoning him.

Where it is due to his needs not being met, figure out ways of meeting them better. For instance, ensure that the dog gets adequate food, that he gets adequate exercise, and that he has toys to play with/chew on… and so on.

If you live with other people in the household, you may consider having them care for the dog at times as well. The objective here is to get the dog to understand that it is not only you who can care for him. This may eventually get him to leave your side: once he understands that other humans are also capable of giving him the things he needs.

If the dog won’t leave your side because of fear, you need to figure out what exactly he fears. Then remove it (or train the dog to live with it).

 

How To Train My Dog To Be Independent

One highly effective strategy is that of ensuring that you don’t constantly give your dog attention. Yes, give him the attention he needs, but ensure that you are not constantly doing it.

If you are constantly giving your dog attention, he will keep on clinging on you. He will therefore not be able to become independent. So this is a tough love thing. And it is important because if you don’t do it, the dog will experience great distress when you happen to be away.

Another good strategy is that of seeing to it that you don’t reward clingy behaviors. If the dog is not rewarded for clingy behaviors, he will eventually abandon them.

Yet another effective strategy is that of designing activities that the dog can undertake and enjoy by himself. For instance, ensure that he has plenty of toys to play with.

 

Separation Anxiety Therapy For Dogs

If my dog won’t leave my side, and it seems to be due to anxiety separation, yet the best efforts to retrain the dog are failing, it may be time to consider taking him for separation anxiety therapy.

Dog separation anxiety therapy is offered by professionals called dog behaviorists, who are typically specialized vets. It may entail dog training, as well as certain types of dog separation anxiety medication in the most severe cases.

Going by most dog separation anxiety Reddit thread comments, it seems to be quite effective, if done right.

 

Final Verdict – Dog Won’t Leave My Side

As we have seen, if a dog won’t leave your side, it may simply be a manifestation of affection for you. But it could also be a sign of separation anxiety. Further, it could be a sign of fear, or the desire for some need to be met.

Dog won't leave my side
dog won’t leave my side

There are strategies you can use to train your dog to be more independent. Where you have a case of very severe clinginess in a dog, and where your best efforts at mitigating it are not bearing fruit, it may be worthwhile to have him reviewed by a dog behaviorist.

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