Hyperattachment in dogs: what is it?

The dog’s hyperattachment to its master is one of the most frequent reasons for consultation with behavioral veterinarians. This is a serious problem which must be taken care of as soon as possible because the dog which suffers from what is also called theseparation anxiety is unhappy and that his master can live a real hell. Here is everything you need to know about dog hyperattachment, its causes, its manifestations and the behavior to adopt when faced with this type of dog.

Hyperattachment or separation anxiety: the causes

When the dog is separated from his mother, brothers and sisters to live with his adopted family, he quickly seeks to bond with one person in particular. This phenomenon is specific to pack animals that need a dominant. If the separation takes place when he is still very young, his mother has not had time to break the attachment that binds them closely, her and her little one. As a rule, this process is completed at puberty, between 5 and 8 months depending on the dog breed.

When one adopts a puppy, one should proceed exactly like the mother, namely to ensure that the rupture is done imperceptibly. However, the animal being anxious, it is ultra cajoled and it becomes the major element of the life of its masters who try to reassure it by making it sleep with them or with effusions which do not end each morning before the leaving for work. It is quite disturbing for the dog who is caressed, kissed, reassured, then suddenly separated from his master, all the more so if he perceives in the latter a certain anguish at leaving him alone at home.

Sometimes, hyper attachment develops in dogs whose masters try to fill an emotional void by weaving an exclusive relationship with their little companion. It is therefore always necessary to be very careful about the behavior to adopt with your animal.

Whatever the cause, separation anxiety plunges the dog into great discomfort. Note that there are two types:

  • L’primary hyperattachment : it occurs after weaning and is, after all, natural. The dog becomes attached exclusively to one person.
  • L’secondary hyperattachment : it occurs in dogs who have been abused or abandoned and who, in general, attach themselves not exclusively to their new master but to several people.

Many events in the life of a dog can cause this separation anxiety such as the arrival of a baby in the family, the adoption of a second animal, a move that leads to a change of environment. Even if he is not as routine as the cat, the dog still suffers disturbances if his habits are changed too suddenly.

Hyperattachment of the dog: the signs that should alert

A dog that suffers from hyper attachment to his master only feels safe with him. As soon as this person disappears for 10 minutes, 2 hours or a whole day, the animal is very anxious, and this can take on surprising proportions. The following behaviors are quite significant and may raise suspicion of a hyper-attachment problem.

  • The dog behaves like a pot of glue, never leaving his master,
  • He shows himself to be submissive to his breeder,
  • He seems to be suffering from depression,
  • The dog is very anxious when he is alone,
  • He constantly “cries” or barks in the absence of his master,
  • He is restless,
  • He destroys everything that carries his master’s scent as soon as he is away, such as the remote control, clothes, shoes, sheets, sofa, armchair and others, and can scratch at the door for hours. time,
  • He relieves himself anywhere in the house,
  • He licks himself frequently, bites himself, even self-mutilates,
  • He becomes aggressive
  • He can try to run away as soon as his master leaves his perimeter…

These are so manyproblematic attitudes which disrupt the master’s life and can wreak havoc in the family. It should be well known that a dog which suffers from the hyperattachment syndrome can represent a real danger because he’s very jealous and this promotes aggression.

Separation anxiety or hyperattachment: behavior to adopt in front of your dog

The master who observes this type of situation must adopt a specific behavior so that his dog learns to manage his emotions and becomes independent. This is unfortunately far from the case, many people do not even suspect that it is a real problem, and are as flattered as they are tender to see their dog sticking to them 24 hours a day, totally addicted to their master.

It’s necessary react quickly for the good of all, humans and animals, the goal being to correct this problem. For example, you need:

  • Never let a dog sleep in the bedroom.
  • Prohibit access to certain rooms (in addition to the bedroom) to the animal and do not stall. It can be the living room, the kitchen, the office, the children’s playroom…
  • During the absence of the family, limit the perimeter to which the animal is entitled because it is not at all desirable that it can have the entirety of the house. The smaller the space, the safer he feels. We install a basket or a crate to his size, and we do not forget to put a large bowl of water next to it.
  • Be the only one to decide when a game session should start but also end.
  • Be totally indifferent when the dog is looking for caresses: the master must neither speak to him nor even look at him. On the other hand, it is he who calls his animal when he wants to cuddle it. After some time, this change of attitude must allow the dog to understand that only his master is at the initiative of these rapprochements.
  • Go out and come back at different times of the day and remain completely indifferent to the animal’s reactions so that it gradually gets used to seeing its master leave.
  • Take the animal out for 15 or 20 minutes before going away and then returning from a walk, completely ignoring it and leaving the house.
  • Put an end to the farewell sessions that do not end every morning before leaving for work. And in the evening on your return, wait to be taken off and installed to say a brief hello to your dog, accompanying the word with a little caress, without further demonstration.
  • Provide the animal with a specific toy when it has to stay home alone, and put it away the rest of the time.
  • Do not punish your dog if he “forgot” himself in the accommodation when he was alone. Reprimanding him when he has not been caught in the act will have no effect because the dog cannot understand why he is being punished. It can even create confusion.

All these attitudes may seem harsh to some people, yet it is not so. On the contrary, they are part of theeducation and allow a dog to be better about yourself because less dependent on his master. It is fundamental to show a certain detachment with regard to a puppy or an adult dog who suffers from hyper attachment, but more generally with regard to all dogs since this detachment is also a course of action as a preventive measure. Showing yourself too exclusive with your faithful companion greatly favors this disorder, even reinforcing it if the animal already suffers from it.

Finally, note that it is very important to consult a behavioral veterinarian to receive valuable advice on what to do with this type of dog. The specialist can also prescribe a treatment to the animal if he deems it necessary which will have the effect of calming the anxieties and anxiety at the time of a separation.

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