Friendliness and affection are two wonderful traits that Poodle owners would always want to see in their pets, but if they become too clingy, it may already become a cause of concern.
Poodles tend to be a clingy breed. In fact, studies show that 77% of Poodle owners have identified their dogs as overprotective and too attached. This may be due to multiple factors, such as lack of socialization, fear, anxiety, boredom, genetics, health issues, and wrong behavior reinforcement.
Is this over-devotion by the Poodle breed a good or bad thing? Let us look closely into this dog’s clingy behavior and discover ways as well on how to address this.
Are Poodles Naturally Clingy?
Though it can be said that the Poodles can get attached easily, they do not become too clingy without the help of certain factors or stimuli that drive them to be such.
In fact, if other breeds are subjected to some of the factors that make a Poodle too clingy, you may also see the same behavior in them. Hence, this is more driven by behavior rather than the breed.
However, in the Poodle’s cases, being clingy becomes more obvious or apparent due to their natural tendency to form bonds or attachments to their owner.
Brief Overview of Poodle Personality
The Poodle, regardless of its size, whether Standard, Mini, or Toy, is an intelligent and active breed of dog. In fact, the American Kennel Club (AKC) describes shyness and sharpness as major faults.
Due to this natural brightness and energy of the breed, they need a lot of physical and mental exercises to keep them from getting bored and resorting to any aggressive or destructive behavior.
On the other hand, this inherent intelligence also makes them easily trainable and adaptable to their environment. However, it also makes them a bit more sensitive. In fact, they do not appreciate any harsh approach.
Poodles are also naturally friendly and affectionate, especially at home. They love spending time with their humans and being cuddled. This puts them at risk of developing separation anxiety if left alone for too long.
Additionally, they are usually calm and quiet, but they can also be very wary of strangers despite them not being territorial. Hence, they can function as effective watchdogs but poor guard dogs.
Benefits of a Clingy Poodle
When the term clingy is used, it is often associated with a negative thought. However, the close attachment or bonds that Poodles have with their owners may have great benefits for some individuals.
If you acquired a Poodle for the purpose of companionship or emotional support, then having a clingy one would work well for you since it shares a common desire always to want to be near you when at all possible.
One of my kennel’s clients diagnosed with depression once contacted me, looking for a breed to provide emotional support and comfort. I quickly suggested the Poodle, and he got a three-month-old puppy from me.
After a couple of months, he reported that the puppy gave him the needed companionship and always followed him wherever he went, making him feel safe and giving him the comfort he needed.
Aside from the safety and emotional comfort that a clingy puppy can provide, having it follow you around is an effective way to keep it from getting bored.
This makes it very easy for them to get engaged in activities, too, whether indoors or outdoors.
Potential Downsides of a Clingy Poodle
Having a clingy dog might be beneficial for some, but it may also be a cause of concern for many, especially dog owners who also value their sense of space and independence.
Since clingy dogs are prone to separation anxiety, meaning that they can’t be left alone for long periods. This may be an issue whenever you need to leave for work or do errands.
This may cause them to resort to destructive behavior or even incessant barking, which may be troublesome for you and your neighbors.
Avoiding this can also be quite costly, as you might need to spend on doggie daycare or a dog sitter to ensure your Poodle behaves well while you are not beside it.
Further, Poodles that are too attached to their owners may also have issues with socialization with other animals since they are too focused on their humans.
Why Is Your Poodle So Clingy?
As mentioned, your Poodle being too clingy is not something that you will naturally expect from your dog, most especially if it is trained and handled properly right from its puppyhood.
Several factors driving this behavior in Poodles need to be understood and addressed to prevent them from developing this characteristic that can be bothersome for many owners.
Here are some aspects that trigger Poodles to be too clingy:
1. Initial Socialization
Some Poodle parents disregard the real value of socialization at a cost.
If your dog is not exposed to other animals, events, situations, and elements around it, especially at an early age, it will most likely cling to you since it will not know how to react when faced with these stimuli.
2. Previous Traumatic Situation
Difficult or traumatic experiences can cause fear and anxiety in your Poodle. This may include being bullied or mistreated in the past.
This can even be more tragic for a dog if a previous owner abandoned it and it has spent time in an animal shelter.
Some dogs may associate loud noises, humans fighting, and a bustling neighborhood with such experiences. Hence, when a dog encounters these, expect it to lean on you for support.
3. Accidental Reinforcement of the Behavior
Sometimes, the cause of a Poodle being clingy can be how we treat the behavior itself. If you use treats or constant reassurance whenever your Poodle goes to you for comfort, you are just making the condition worse.
On the other hand, shouting or punishing the dog for the behavior will also not work since you are pushing the dog away, making it more anxious in the process.
4. Separation Anxiety
Dogs, including Poodles, who suffer from separation anxiety become too stressed when they are left alone for long periods of time.
Aside from being destructive or noisy, they may also resort to being overly clingy the moment you show up again. This is going to be an avenue for them to feel secure and relieve themselves of stress.
With the inherent intelligence, playful, and energetic nature of the Poodle, they need to be given an adequate amount of physical activities and mental stimulation exercises they need to keep them from getting bored.
Without these avenues, expect them to look for diversions to convert these unreleased energies; one of these is to follow you wherever you go.
Some Poodles may attribute their needy behaviors to their lineage. If your puppy is observed to come from a family of worriers that are too attached to their owners, there is a good chance your puppy could be one too.
This is where the importance of research matters. Asking questions about the parents of the Poodle puppy before acquiring it will make you more confident, not just with its appearance and health but also its behavior.
7. Health Issues
Just like how it is for humans, sick Poodles will tend to become clingy due to their want to stay safe by their owner’s side.
On the other hand, if your dog is not naturally clingy and you quickly notice the sudden switch in behavior, it can indicate an underlying health condition.
They may possibly be experiencing chronic pain, canine dementia, increased hunger or thirst, the effect of medication, and hearing or vision loss, just to name a few.
This is an understandable situation for a Poodle to be clingy, and it is best to consult with your vet immediately in such instances.
How to Make Your Poodle Less Clingy
Do not worry too much if you find yourself having a Poodle that is too clingy. The good news is that there are ways to manage this behavior in your dog effectively.
Here are some steps you can follow to make your Poodle less clingy and more independent:
- Identify the root cause of the behavior: To address your dog’s tendency to be clingy, you must first identify its root cause. With the awareness of the factors driving this behavior, you can check which of those applies to your Poodle and tailor fit the correct type of treatment.
- Provide the right level of physical and mental exercises: Poodles are not meant to just lounge around at home. Their high intelligence and energetic nature require plenty of activities to keep them physically fit and mentally healthy.
- Train using positive reinforcement techniques: Especially for Poodles with past traumatic experiences, training using positive reinforcement methods effectively makes them more confident and trusting. This should also eventually help them be more independent.
- Gradually reduce the time spent with your Poodle: Gradually decreasing your time spent with your Poodle will help your dog become more self-sufficient without your dog noticing it. Along with proper setting of boundaries, crate training will also help relieve separation anxiety by giving it a safe haven at home.
- Seek professional help: If you have applied the strategies above but are not making any progress, you can consult with professionals, such as trainers, dog behaviorists, and veterinarians, for proper diagnosis and treatment of your dog’s condition.
Watch this video to understand separation anxiety in Poodles better and how to manage it:
Do Poodles Attach to One Person Only?
Although Poodles are great family dogs and can get along well with all members of the household, they tend to get too attached to just one person.
They pick their favorite family member, who is usually the one who takes care of them the most and who they have established a trusting relationship with prior to interacting with the rest of the family members.
Hence, the same person is also the best candidate to practice the strategies to help the Poodle from becoming too clingy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Poodles Have Separation Anxiety?
Yes, Poodles tend to create a special bond with their owners, making them prone to suffering from separation anxiety when left alone for too long.
Crate training will help in managing this, along with a gradual reduction of time spent with them. Alternatively, you can also avail of doggy daycare or dog-sitting services to have someone look after them when you are away.
Do Poodles Need Lots of Attention?
Poodles are attention seekers. They may even resort to negative behavior such as destruction, aggression, or barking if ignored. Hence, early socialization and obedience training is recommended for the breed.
On the other hand, if you lead a very busy lifestyle, you may need to reconsider if the Poodle is the right breed for you.
Do Poodles Love to Cuddle?
Poodles are at their happiest when they are cuddling with their favorite people. However, it will also make them more attached and may cause them to be too clingy. So it is best to manage the cuddle time with your Poodle.
Do Poodles Pick a Favorite Person?
Yes, Poodles tend to pick their favorite person in the household. This person is usually the one they bond mostly with and who takes care of them the most. They get too devoted to this person and will follow them everywhere.
Do not be discouraged if you want a Poodle, but value your space and independence as well. Remember that a dog’s clingy behavior is a product of its experiences and handling, regardless of the breed,
If you get your Poodle early on as a puppy, ensure you can treat it well. It will naturally form a bond with you that will give you companionship, emotional support, and a sense of safety and security. Just set your boundaries well.
Have you experienced handling a clingy Poodle? How did you manage it? Please share your best practices with us through the comments field below!