Why Does My Dog Always Have to be Touching Me?

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Our dogs communicate with us through body language and behaviors. Because they are incapable of talking, one way they interact with us is by touching us.

Dogs touch us with their paws or nose to show affection, ask for attention, seek playtime, and more.

But why does my dog always have to be touching me? Many dog owners have the same concern.

There are several reasons why your dog is always touching you, and we’ll discuss all of them here. 

We also talk about how to know if it has gone too far and how to stop your dog from touching you if you need to.

why dogs love touching

Why Your Dog is Always Touching You

Dogs love to touch you for many different reasons.

Seeking Attention

Dogs often touch us for the simple reason that they want attention. This is perfectly normal.

Even humans do this when they want attention.

They want to get you to do something.

It can also be because they want to show that they love you, especially if they want some food or a belly rub.

This is especially true with puppies who need more attention. They need frequent bathroom breaks, playtime in small portions, and enough socialization.

Do not punish your dog for wanting attention. You can stop them from doing this when it becomes a nuisance by simply ignoring the behavior.

For example, if your dog touches you while you are sleeping, you don’t have to fulfill their wish.

But this usually only happens when you don’t give your dog much attention.

Protecting You

Dogs are very protective of their owners, especially those that are bred to be guard dogs. 

This means your dog could be touching to ensure you are safe and secure. This is more likely to happen while you are sleeping.

It is also usually accompanied by your dog staring at the door or surrounding areas as they are being cautious of potential predators. 

Sometimes, dogs do this to know if we’re emotionally or physically okay. This would be especially likely if they do it more when you are crying or feeling sick.

There is nothing wrong if your dog touches you as a result of their protective instincts. It’s in their nature!

Some of the best family protection dogs include Australian Cattle Dog, Shar-Pei, German Shepherd, and Great Dane.

Safety and Comfort

While dogs may touch you to make you feel safe, others do it to make themselves comfy and safe. 

Dogs are social animals, so they enjoy the company of fellow dogs and humans. 

If your dog sleeps on your lap or rests their head on you instead of sleeping in their bed, it’s likely because they feel more secure with you.

Separation Anxiety

Some dogs suffer worse than they should when you are away. Separation anxiety is a common issue among our furry friends.

They start behaving inappropriately when they notice you’re about to leave. For instance, they keep touching you and following you everywhere you go.

And when you are not around, they become stressed out and destructive. Then you come home to a hyperactive dog who acts like they never want to let you go.

Vision or Hearing Changes

If your dog keeps following you around and touching you even during the night, it could be because they are experiencing changes in themselves.

Vision and hearing changes, especially among senior dogs, are scary and stressful to them. This results in them sticking by your side as a coping mechanism.

Caring for a senior dog is different from caring for a puppy or an adult dog. Make sure to address problems like vision or hearing changes right away.

If your dog is showing signs of hearing and vision loss, take them to the vet immediately.

The Behavior was Encouraged

If your dog keeps touching you, it’s because you’ve been encouraging it for too long now that the behavior seems normal to them.

It may take a lot of training for the behavior to stop if you’ve never done anything to discourage it before. 

encouraged behavior

Velcro Dog Syndrome

A velcro dog is a dog that shows clingy behavior. They want to be beside their owner all the time even as you move from one place to another.

If your dog keeps touching and following you, they might be labeled as a velcro dog. 

But velcro dogs simply have a desire to be close to their owners. This is also common among breeds who have been bred for centuries to work with people.

These include:

  • Great Dane
  • French Bulldog
  • Basset Hound
  • Shar-Pei
  • Whippet
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Mastiff
  • Saint Bernard
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Border Collie
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Vizsla.

These dogs tend to be more dependent because they rely on their owners’ body language and directions. 

However, velcro dog syndrome may also occur because of our behaviors. 

We stop every time our dog stops. We talk to them when they bark. We give them affection when they lay down for a belly rub. 

Letting your dog sleep on your bed can be a reason why they become more dependent and clingier. 

Sudden Onset of Touching Behavior

If your dog has only become touchy recently, it could be a sign that they need something important from you.

As mentioned, your dog might be clingier because they are starting to lose their vision or hearing. So, they turn to you for assistance.

Other times, your dog can be experiencing pain which leads to their touching behavior. This can be due to an injury or internal health issue. 

Any sign of behavioral change can indicate sickness in dogs. Making an appointment with your vet is necessary to rule out any medical issues. 

Sudden touching can also be due to sudden changes in their environment. It’s normal for them to feel overwhelmed when you move into a new house.

Make sure to help them relax by being there for them all the time and creating a predictable routine for them.

How to Find Out Why Your Dog is Always Touching You

It can be difficult to tell exactly why your dog is always touching you. Ask yourself these questions to help you determine the cause.

When Does Your Dog Touch You?

Is there a specific time that your dog wants to touch you a lot? Time tells you a lot about the reason for your dog’s behavior.

If they won’t stop following you and holding you while you’re getting ready for work, it’s likely because they know you’re about to leave and they don’t want you to.

If they touch you a lot while you’re asleep, it could be because they want to go out of the room to pee or eat. 

Conversely, if your dog touches you when they are sleeping, separation anxiety could be the reason again. 

Take note of when your dog is touching you to look for patterns in their behavior.

How Does Your Dog Touch You?

You also want to examine how your dog touches you. 

For instance, if they touch you in a way that lets you move, stand up, or do something else, it’s probably because they want to get something from you or want you to do something.

On the other hand, if they don’t try to get you to move when they touch you, it can be because they are trying to be affectionate, or it makes them feel safer.

When Did the Behavior Start?

When did your dog start touching you more than usual? If they weren’t always like this it helps to consider when they started doing it.

If this was accompanied by other changes in their environment, then that even may have caused distress to your dog. 

It can also be because they have learned that touching you gets them rewards.

Which Part of the Body Did They Touch You With?

Dogs do not always touch you with their paws. But when they do, it’s likely because they want something from you.

Exercise, food, and attention are some of the things that your dog might want from you when they touch you with their paws.

Meanwhile, if your dog touches you with their nose, they are simply gathering information about you and where you’ve been. 

Nosing people occurs when dogs put their nose on you and smell you. If they do this, they love you and they’re curious about you!

Should You Encourage or Discourage Your Dog from Touching You?

If you don’t know whether to just let them touch you or stop them, here are some things you should consider.

Why You Should Encourage Dog Touching

When you should tolerate the touches and cuddles.

  • Dogs choose who they want to touch and whose attention they want. You’re lucky if they choose you!
  • Your brain releases hormones called oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine when your dog shows affection to you.
  • In return, your dog also feels happy when they touch you as their brain releases oxytocin. 
  • If your dog touches you, it means they trust you. And you have a responsibility to understand if something’s wrong.
  • Both of you feel safe around each other.

Why You Should Discourage Your Dog from Touching You

On the other hand, here are some reasons to limit the Velcro Dog Syndrome.

  • If your dog has parasites in their body, ensure they stay away from you and make sure they get treated as soon as possible.
  • If you are allergic to dogs, then don’t keep going near them as the allergens on their fur can cause watery eyes, sneezing, and other symptoms of allergic reaction.
  • Your dog may have unclean paws.
  • Your dog might be touching you too much because they do not see you as the pack leader, and therefore do not respect your boundaries. 
  • Some dogs may get overprotective or aggressive when they touch their owners, especially during bedtime. 

Weigh the pros and cons of your dog’s touching behavior. After all, you know them best!

discourage dogs from touching

How to Tell if Your Dog is too Clingy

It’s good for dogs to stay close to you. An affectionate dog reduces loneliness because they make us feel loved and happy.

Dogs make great companions because they know how to communicate with us. 

However, clingy behavior can be concerning if it happens too much. 

It may also become a problem once they start doing this to you alone. If they interact a lot with you, but they are fearful and avoids other people and animals, this can indicate a potential issue.

This could mean improper socialization or over-bonding with you. Your dog may also be at risk of developing social and separation anxiety, as well as aggressive behavior.

You will know your dog and their behavior best. If you notice a change in the way they touch you then you should investigate further.

How to Stop Your Dog from Touching You

If you want to correct this behavior, here are a few things you can do. 

Redirect Their Focus

When does your dog like to touch you? Once they start doing this, redirect their focus somewhere else.

For example, try giving your dog a toy instead of letting them touch you and play with you. 

While it is important to give them adequate playtime each day, you also need to teach them how to stay productive on their own. 

Puzzle games and dog bones can also help them stay distracted so that they will be less likely to seek attention from you.

Use Positive Reinforcement

The best way for your dog to stop touching you is by using positive reinforcement techniques when training them. 

This is done by encouraging your dog toward positive behavior with rewards. In short, you reward them for good behavior, but you don’t punish bad behavior. 

Ignore undesirable behavior by not giving them attention each time they touch you. 

Remember that this may only be effective if your dog touches you for no reason. If the cause of them being touchy is pain or separation anxiety, try addressing the root cause of the problem instead. 

Reduce Separation Anxiety

Bad behavior is often a result of mental health issues in dogs, such as separation anxiety. Aside from touching you a lot, dogs may also show destructive actions.

Anxious dogs pee or poop in the house even if they are housebroken. They also like causing damage to the entry and exit points of your house to escape.

If your dog is afraid to be without you, you need to consider techniques and medications for dog separation anxiety by talking it over with your vet. 

Teach Your Dog to Touch

If your dog’s touching behavior is not caused by any serious medical or behavioral issue, it’s fine to appreciate and encourage it. 

You can also use positive reinforcement techniques every time your dog touches you. Offer them dog treats every time they paw or nose you during appropriate times. 

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If you want to train your dog to touch, this video provides a step-by-step guide for you!

It shows us that our dog’s natural curiosity should persuade them to nudge your palm. 

FAQ Clingy Dog Behavior

Do Dogs Touch You When They Feel Sick?

Yes.

This is another possible reason why your dog keeps touching you, especially if they were never clingy or touchy before.

Dogs cannot directly tell us when they are in pain. But pawing or nosing you can be their way of telling you that they do not feel well.

It’s also their way of trying to feel better. They want to be around you for comfort and safety in hopes of reducing their pain.

Look for other signs of dog pain to understand if your dog’s touching behavior is caused by a physical condition. 

How Do Dogs Show Affection?

Touching is one of the most common ways our furry friends show affection. Dogs take advantage of body language to show you how they care.

Even though our pups can’t put their love into words, they can do so in simple and subtle ways like being excited when they hear you call them.

Other times, they can be over-the-top with dog licking!

Check out what it means when your dog licks your face!

Does Dog Touching Indicate Lack of Mental Stimulation?

Possibly.

Your dog might be touching you because they are bored. It’s easy to forget that our dogs also need an outlet for their curious and adventurous minds because we’re too busy.

This leads to them approaching you and touching you. They could be asking for attention or playtime. 

Aside from touching you, other signs that your dog needs more mental stimulation include agitated behavior, chasing tails, destructive behavior, and more. 

Mentally stimulate your dog through puzzle toys and play dates so that your furry friend can put their mental ability and potential to good use. 

How Much Attention Do Puppies Need?

As a fur parent, you need to know the right way to care for your puppy and how much time you should allow for them.

Otherwise, they might seek your attention even more by touching you or licking you. 

There is no exact way to tell how much attention your dog needs, but it’s important to give them attention in terms of socializing, feeding, sleeping, and bathroom breaks.

Find Out Why Your Dog Touches You

We’ve provided you with a lot of possible reasons why your dog could be touching you a lot. 

Look for other clues like destructive behavior for separation anxiety, whimpering for pain, or tail-wagging for showing affection.

You’re the one who will decide how your dog should behave. If there is no underlying issue with their behavior, you can encourage them to keep doing it!

But if you don’t find their touching behavior undesirable, train them to stop being overly clingy. 

You can also consider giving your dog less attention and giving your dog just the right amount of playtime!

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