Helping Calm Your Dog from Excessive Owner Seeking

blonde young woman petting a small black dog on couch with bright windows in background

Because dogs are social animals, puppies may become very attached to you or someone in your family, following you around the house, and becoming increasingly upset if they can't be near you at all times. It's common for new puppies to seek out their new owner at home, as they continue their transition from the shelter or the breeder into becoming part of your family.

In addition to following you everywhere, your new puppy might:

  • Whine, bark, or cry
  • Have an "accident" inside the house
  • Chew shoes, handbags, or other items

Punishment doesn't work with these behaviors, and only will distress your puppy even further.

Here are some things you can try to do to calm your dog while he's still a puppy and help prevent stressful situations as he grows older:

  • Desensitize him to certain triggers. Go into your bedroom and close the door, then come right back out again. Pick up your car or house keys a few times, but don't leave.
  • Distract him with a new toy, special chewy treat, or other activity during the time you're leaving or going to be out of his line of vision.
  • Make sure he gets plenty of exercise. Lots of running, walking, and playing will tire him out and encourage him to sleep rather than seek you out for more stimulation.
  • Practice being gone for small amounts of time — five or ten minutes, building up to 30 minutes or longer — so the repetition of your being gone and always coming back helps him understand you'll always return home for him.
Category: Dog Stress/Anxiety