An overly affectionate dog can become a problem if he or she is too clingy, otherwise most owners do not mind. Ironically, experts warn against reciprocating when this behavior is displayed because it does not mean the same in “dog speak” as it does in “human speak”. In fact, an excessive show of affection in dogs should be met with a firm but calm demeanor because we could be relinquishing leadership or feeding fear and anxiety. This is what Purebred Breeders found on the matter:
Identifying the Cause
A dog that suddenly becomes overly affectionate has an underlying cause and this is often a change that results in anxiety. A new baby, a new house, or even a new house member can appear to be some kind of instability that causes the dog to react this way. Even a change in routine; for example a work from home owner getting an outside job can cause this which is why Purebred Breeders recommends that your dog be eased into changes by being included as well as by being introduced slowly to the change (if that is the reason).
Based on what Purebred Breeders has learned the reason is simple; firstly, if the attitude came after a sudden move or you spending more time outside of the home the dog is simply not sure if you will always come back. Secondly, a new member such as a baby, roommate, or spouse could lead the dog to think that less attention will be given to him or her. Dogs who suffer abuse can be exceptionally clingy as well. Chances are the pooch will cling to one person more, and this is usually the person he or she deems to be the safest.
Signs that a dog is afraid of abandonment include greeting you emphatically even if you step out for a few minutes, crying whenever he or she thinks you are about to leave, trailing you, as well as waiting outside a room when you go in. A pooch who fears loss of attention will try to be the focus at all times and may even resort to wedging between persons, lying on your feet, working his or her head into your lap no matter how much effort it takes, or following you around.
Addressing the Problem
The affection should not be returned, at least not in the way you normally would because you do not want to reinforce the habit. Surprisingly, being as affectionate or petting the dog when in this stage can lead to a validation of your four-legged friend’s anxiety so it is best to wait until he or she calms down to acknowledge the dog. Purebred Breeders also recommends that you try to reinforce training commands such as sit or stay, and seek professional advice if the dog becomes aggressive or violent when denied.