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Jack Russells are extremely loyal and attached to their owners. As a result, a lot of people ask me ‘Why does my Jack Russell follow me everywhere?’ Well, it seems that if this is the situation, you’ve got yourself what is know as a ‘velcro dog!’
Why does my Jack Russell Follow me Everywhere?
Maybe your Jack Russell is a Velcro Dog! But why? And what does that mean?
Jack Russells were bred as hunting dogs originally and as a result of spending a great deal of time with their owners, they developed the trait of being very loyal and attached. They follow you because they want the affection and also the mental stimulation that dogs get from their owners including playing and training. They are a very intelligent breed which means that they do need a lot of attention.
If you have a dog who follows you into every room and wants to sit on your lap as soon as you sit down, then you’ve got yourself a velcro dog! here are the signs….
- Follows you into every room (even the bathroom!)
- Sits with you or on you as soon as you sit down
- Cries if you go into a different room and shut the door
- Want to go with you every time you leave the house
My Jack Russell cross is like this, and it’s become even worse during lockdown, because I have not been going out as much and we have not been accepting visitors into the home. This seems to have ‘exacerbated’ the problem!
Why is it a Problem if my Jack Russell Follows me Everywhere?
Well of course, we all love our Jack Russells dearly, and the companionship and affection that you get from them is usually the best part of owning one. But it’s not 100% healthy for your Jack Russell to ALWAYS follow you everywhere. That’s because you want to encourage some independence in the dog and avoid him or her developing separation anxiety.
What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Separation anxiety in dogs develops when the lack of interaction from you or lack of being with you causes them severe mental stress. Separation anxiety makes being apart from your dog very difficult, it can be stressful for your dog when you do go to work or on holiday for example. Unfortunately breeds such as Patterdale terriers and Jack Russells are quite prone to it. And so we want to minimise their stress – separation anxiety in dogs is not a good thing. Here are the signs to look for…
- Crying when you go in a different room or leave the house
- Pacing and persistent barking or howling when left alone in the house
- Destructive behaviour when left alone in the house such as weeing and pooing indoors, chewing things up in the house
- Constant need to be by your side
To avoid separation anxiety in your Jack Russell, there are thing that you can do to promote independence in your dog and distract your dog during stressful times such as when you are apart.
Limiting Separation Anxiety – How to Promote Independence in your Dog
There are many ways to promote independence in your dog and therefore limit separation anxiety from developing. Here are my top tips:
- Don’t allow your dog to be CONSTANTLY by your side, sometimes give him the ‘in your bed’ command. When he goes in his own bed reward him with a chew and leave him there. If he stays and enjoys his chew and leaves you alone, that is a good thing!
- Don’t be afraid to sometimes close the door on your dog when you go into another room such as the bathroom or kitchen. If they find this stressful you can give them a licky mat to keep them distracted. This is teaching your dog that being apart is ok.
- Leave your dog treats and toys when you go out of the house to distract him from the fact that you are gone. we like the Dog Tornado by Nina Ottosson and KONGS which you can stuff with tasty meat or even dog yoghurt or dog peanut butter!
- If your dog displays signs of stress when you leave the house, build up the time slowly. Start with leaving for just 10 minutes to the corner shops, Then you can increase this to half an hour or an hour. Finally when your dog is used to it you should be able to leave him for up to 3 hours on his/her own.
- You can add a house rules that means your dog is only allowed to come and cuddle you or jump up on the sofa or bed when he is invited by you. If he is confused by this you may have to have a general ‘no dogs on beds or sofas’ rule, but he can sit by your feet for fuss.
I hope that I have answered your question on ‘Why does my Jack Russell Follow me Everywhere?’ and what you can do to minimise stress for your ‘velcro dog!’ If you have any of these issues or if you find anything else that works, please comment on my blog below. I’d love to hear how you are getting on.