If your German Shepherd is very attached to you you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might do it and how you can get it to stop.
So, why is my German Shepherd so attached to me? Possible reasons can include wanting attention, wanting something such as food from you, nature, separation anxiety or you might have been inadvertently rewarding the behavior.
There are actually a number of things that could be causing it and there are a number of things that you can do to stop it.
Why your German Shepherd is so attached to you
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd is attached to you will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your German Shepherd could be attached to you and the signs to look for with them.
It wants attention
The reason that your German Shepherd is so attached could be that it wants attention from you. This would be more likely if you tend to leave it alone for long periods such as when going to work. It would also be more likely if it becomes more attached when you have left it alone for long periods.
German Shepherds were bred to work alongside their owners. With that being the case, it is to be expected that your German Shepherd will look to you for direction and that it will cause it to seem to be attached to you.
It could be the case that your German Shepherd has some separation anxiety. This is where being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it starts to show signs of being anxious when you are about to leave.
In this case, it would help to avoid leaving it alone for long periods and to periodically check up on it if you can.
You can watch this video for some more tips on how you can deal with its separation anxiety if it has it.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd so anxious?
Reinforcing the behavior
It could be that you have been inadvertently reinforcing it being attached to you. This would be more likely if your method of getting it to stop being attached to you is to give it something that it wants such as a toy, attention or a treat.
If that is the case, then you could try positive reinforcement training which will be discussed below.
Mistreatment when it was younger
It might be the case that your German Shepherd was mistreated before and now it does not like being left alone. This would be more likely if it was adopted from a shelter.
In this case, it might start to become less attached as it gets older and you can still do the training tips below. If the over-attachment is bothering you then you could also consider getting help from a dog behaviorist.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
Things to consider
When trying to understand why your German Shepherd has been so attached to you there are a number of things that you can consider. Below, I will mention a couple more important things to think about.
When it started to do it
It would help to consider when your German Shepherd first became attached.
If it was not always so attached to you then it would help to think about what else happened at around the time that it started to do it.
Things that may have happened could include:
- Moving home
- Someone left home
- Another pet died
- Someone was aggressive towards it
If it has always been very attached then it would be more likely to be due to its nature or wanting attention.
When and where it does it
It would also help to consider when and where it becomes attached. If it only seems to become attached in certain situations then it would be likely that it would have something to do with it.
If it becomes attached when you are about to leave then it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety. If it does it when you have not been around it for a while then it would be more likely to be because it wants something from you such as food, attention or exercise.
How to stop your German Shepherd from being so attached to you
There are a number of ways that you can get your German Shepherd to be less attached to you that I will mention below.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward your German Shepherd for acting the way that you want it to.
To use it to get your German Shepherd to be less attached you would stop giving it attention when it is too attached and then reward it when it shows signs of being less attached.
You can watch the video below for more on positive reinforcement training:
Avoid reinforcing the behavior
It could be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged it to behave that way by giving it things it wants when it does it.
If you tend to give your German Shepherd things that it wants when it is attached, try to reward it when it is being less attached and to avoid rewarding the attachment until it shows signs of not being attached.
Give it attention throughout the day
Since your German Shepherd could be attached because it wants more attention it would help to give it attention spread out throughout the day.
Ways that you could give it attention would be to train it to do things such as to sit, to play games such as tug of war with it or to give it more exercise.
Avoid leaving it for extended periods
Since it could also be attached due to separation anxiety it would also help if you can avoid leaving it alone for extended periods and to periodically check up on it.
Give it lots of exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that are meant to get a lot of exercise. When they do not get a lot of exercise it can cause behavioral issues such as over-attachment. Generally, it is recommended that a German Shepherd get at least an hour of exercise per day.
If your German Shepherd does not get much exercise, at the moment, then it would likely help a lot if it were to. You can give it exercise by walking it for an hour, teaching it to play fetch or having a dog walker do it for you.
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