View Full Version : How needy is too needy?

15th August 2010, 11:16 PM
Hey everyone! I'm just wondering how needy and clingy your Cavaliers are? I know they are a breed that should have a lot of human interaction but how much is a lot? My little guy is glued to my side at all times. If I'm cooking dinner he is laying near my feet. If I'm watching tv he is laying on me. All of this is cute BUT when I go in the bathroom or to take a shower he whines and scratches at the door the whole time I am out of site. When I am not home (which is never more then a few hours a week) and at night he is kept in a kennel since I don't want to test just how potty trained he really is yet. At night he is perfect in his kennel but during the day if I try to kennel him, so I can shower, he will bark & whine the whole time! Also when we are home its not just attention he wants..... Its MY attention. He could careless if my boyfriend is home and will ignore him if at all possible. But when I'm out in public with him it is the total opposite. He wants everyone else to love on him and wont listen to me. Any input would be great! I am a little worried he may become or has become TOO clingy.

15th August 2010, 11:53 PM
See my post on Considering a Cavalier (http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/showthread.php?10890-CONSIDERING-A-CAVALIER) -- this is where I send people looking for my rescue cavaliers to get a proper pros and cons view of the breed, to help them decide if this is the right breed for them. :thmbsup:

Potential negatives:

'Clinginess': Cavaliers are specifically bred as COMPANIONS to people (this is their breed classification!) and have hundreds of years of breeding in them to make them want close human companionship all the time -- one original role for the dog was to keep people warm, and thus people bred a dog that wanted to always be physically close to (and preferably, on the lap of!) humans. A cavalier will want you in eyesight at all times and will follow you around the house throughout the day, often right at your heels. You absolutely cannot just put it out in the garden and shut the door -- a cavalier will love the opportunity to play in a garden if you have one, but by nature will find it very alarming and distressing to be left out on its own. Leaving them in this way can create serious anxiety and behaviour problems. Please remember that cavaliers are not following you around because they are overly needy, or spoiled, but because it is their very nature to do so. Some breeders say, own a cavalier and you will never go to the bathroom alone again! More seriously, if this level of constant, necessary closeness is a disconcerting thought, a breed more independent and aloof will probably suit you better. NB: cavaliers and other toy breeds generally are ALL bred as companions and these small breeds are not a good choice for those who do not want to offer as well as receive constant companionship.

Separation anxiety: Likewise, cavaliers aren't a great breed for people working long hours unless you are committed to making accommodations, such as having a dog walker come in midday, taking the dog to doggie daycare, and/or acquiring a second companion dog (but NOT two puppies at the same time, which is setting up major challenges especially if both are left alone together much of the day -- see the separate thread on 'one puppy or two?'). These things are of course true for any breed, but cavaliers can be particularly prone to separation anxiety because they are so closely attached to their family. ...

So this isn't neediness :) -- this is a mix of 1) the normal behaviour for this specific breed -- which may be a positive for some and a negative for others. Cavaliers are definitely the wrong breed for anyone who wants an independent dog happy to be in one part of the house while you are elsewhere. I have 5 dogs that follow me up and down the stairs and around the house all day long, like the pied piper. :lol: This is absolutely the norm for the breed, not a sign of neediness; and 2) normal separation anxiety that every puppy has as a survival mechanism and which the owner needs to gradually and gently train and shape or you end up with a problem adult.

If you have not yet downloaded Dr Ian Dunbar's After You Get Your Puppy, a FREE version of his top selling book, in the downloads section at www.dogstardaily.com -- I'd suggest doing so right away and then use his suggestions for training a pup to have more independence. Crate training for example takes time -- you need to work towards leaving a pup in a crate while you go take a shower. Also: it takes hours and hours of gentle and dedicated training to get a dog to respond to your cues and pay attention etc. A puppy is like a toddler -- you need expectations that match his ability at a given age and depending on how much time you have put specifically into training for the behaviours you want. IUntil a pup is 6 months or more they do not have the attention to do much more than groundwork fun learning and should never be expected to have strict recall, be able to stay for any length of time, etc. Most training classes can begin around 4 months for fun puppy training and more concentrated training after about 6-7 months. :)

16th August 2010, 01:50 AM
Now you know why they are called "Velcro dogs." :cool: As a puppy, Sophie barked & whined when I put her in her crate while I was home, but there were simply times I had to so I could get some things done. (clean the bathroom, take a shower, repair men in the house, etc.) It took a long time, but she finally learned to *not* bark and make a fuss. Nowadays, she takes it in stride.

She used to faithfully follow me into the bathroom, until one day I forgot she was behind me, and didn't realize it until I heard the yelp from her getting a door slammed in her face. She doesn't follow me into that bathroom any more. But she does follow and even my DH into the bathroom when we shower, etc. Velcro dogs is the perfect nickname. They're a rather co-dependent lot.

16th August 2010, 02:05 AM
Thanks for the info. I was expecting a dog that needed LOTS of attention but I just wanted to make sure we are on the right track. I am working on a solution to keep him from jumping and scratching on the shower door excessively. Today I tried giving him a chew toy and leaving the shower door cracked so he can poke his head in from time to time to check on me. It worked a little better. It was kind of funny to see him standing there with water splashing on his face. He could have cared less that the water was splashing on him. He was just happy to see that I had not left him. Any other solutions or ideas would be appreciated!

16th August 2010, 02:10 AM
I don't mind my dogs following me around at all, it's just the stairs that worries me. It's wood and seems a bit slippy if they run too fast. I'm always locking them into a room when I go up and down the stairs, but they don't mind and have learned that I'll be back sooner or later. Belle seems to enjoy her solitary time, she snuggles into her bed and forgets about everyone and all the comings and goings. Belle was very easy to train to be alone, she never minded. Bob, on the other hand, was more difficult to train. He raised a racket nearly every time we left him in his bed alone at night. We nicknamed him Axle Rose because he sounded like him! If I leave him alone in a room, he will still wait by the door until I come back, unless he knows we've left the house and he accepts it and is joyous upon our return. I wish I could be like Paris Hilton and carry them around in bags with me everywhere I go but society doesn't accept our furry friends in all places. Unfortunately, with dogs being pack animals and cavaliers being close companion dogs, they have to learn how to be alone just because that is the way it is, and it's good for them to know it's ok and you'll be back for them.
Separation anxiety is an awful thing in dogs. I took care of one once who had it badly and it stressed me out so much that I didn't want to leave the house. This poor creature was badly treated in her early years so that's why she had this condition. I am a firm believer in teaching your dog to be alone, it is a necessary evil, so to speak.

16th August 2010, 07:20 PM
I feel like Barney is attached to me by a short rope and I love it. I sit on the settee, he will sit on my lap or next to me, if I move he will move even if he was sound asleep. If I go to the computer he will sit at my feet. Follows me all over, I don't mind it a bit and the special cavi hugs that he gives me. He will also go and sleep in his cage as well though.