I have a four-year-old pitbull. He seems to be very needy. He always seeks my attention and I have to take him everywhere I go, even when I brush my teeth or step out to throw garbage. What can I do?
When a dog gets deeply attached to one person, they begin to exhibit a clingy behaviour and tend to follow the person around all the time. This is not necessarily true always, for there are dogs that are just as much attached to their pet parent but are more relaxed and not bothered about what the family member is up to.
This is just a personality trait and depends on how secure and confident your dog feels. Observe him carefully to understand if he is just needy or if he actually panics in your absence. If latter, then he probably has separation anxiety issues that need to be addressed. Consult with a professional behaviourist if this is the case.
If he is sick and is confused by his illness, he may try to cope up by sticking close to you as he is unsure of what to do. If this is a sudden behaviour that you are observing, get him checked by a vet. Senior dogs who tend to have impaired hearing or vision also stick close to their owners. Talk to your vet and understand how you can make him comfortable if this is the case.
Environmental changes also trigger this behaviour. If you have moved houses or recently adopted him after abandonment, the new surroundings might be intimidating for him and he probably feels safe around you. Work with him on setting a routine that he can ease into and get comfortable in the new home. One other underestimated reason is boredom. If he is bored and is looking for something to do, he will eagerly follow you around wherever you go. You become the main source of his entertainment.
If that’s the case, make sure that he gets sufficient physical exercises and mentally stimulating games that keep him occupied. Spend quality time with him so that he gets abundance of ‘you’ time. This will also build his overall confidence. Do not smother him with attention when he is needy. You will unknowingly encourage his insecurity and neediness. Appreciate and encourage his independence. Persistence and patience will help you help him.