When I was young, my family had a Labrador named Max.
He was big, friendly, and incredibly affectionate.
In fact, he was so close to me that when we would go on walks together, I felt like a third wheel.
It wasn’t until many years later that I realized why Max was so attached to me.
When I finally figured out what my little buddy was doing, I began to realize how important the bond between a dog and its owner is — not just for the pet but also for the owner.
The Evolution of Dogs
Dogs have been around since the beginning of time.
They were domesticated by humans thousands of years ago as hunting companions and guard dogs.
Today, there are more than 400 million dogs in the world, and they live all over the globe.
The most popular breeds include German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and Dachshunds.
There are even some breeds that are considered “extinct,” such as the Irish Wolfhound and the Beagle.
And although these dogs were once widespread throughout the world, today, they are found primarily in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
So what exactly makes dogs different from other animals?
What makes them unique?
Why do they act differently than other pets?
How Dogs Become Attached to Their Owners
Dogs have been around for over 15,000 years.
They were first domesticated in Europe and Asia during the Bronze Age (1500-1200 BC), although they likely originated from wolves as far back as 100,000 years ago.
In order to understand how dogs became so closely tied to humans, it helps to look at their evolutionary history.
The modern dog can trace its lineage all the way back to wild wolves who lived in packs.
These wolves were most active during the night, hunting and scavenging for food.
However, as time passed, these wolves developed a stronger sense of smell and sight to help them find prey.
They learned to use tools and communicate with one another.
By the time we get to the early Neolithic period (around 6500 BC) the wolf has become much more humanized, with some even developing a rudimentary ability to speak.
As time went on, humans started to domesticate wolves.
This process took hundreds of thousands of years.
While wolves were able to adapt to living in smaller groups, the process of domestication meant that people needed to take care of them.
Over time, they taught the big predators to do things such as fetch, sit, stay, roll over, and shake hands.
Eventually, there were enough dogs to start forming colonies in specific areas where they could thrive.
Eventually they became completely dependent on humans for their survival.
This means that dogs must learn to trust humans in order to survive.
As a result, dogs quickly begin to develop a deep attachment to their owners.
It’s the same thing that happens to children.
Once a child becomes attached to his or her parents, they will often feel very protective of them.
That’s exactly what happened when Max got adopted by us as a puppy.
So if dogs have evolved to live in human societies, why does it seem like they still prefer to be near their owners?
What makes them so deeply committed to their humans?
The Science of a Dog’s Attachment
Dogs have an innate need to connect with people.
From a very early age, they develop a desire to establish a connection with humans, which can include sniffing, licking, or even biting a person.
This attachment behavior is called “allogrooming.”
Allogrooming allows dogs to learn about their environment and other animals around them.
It also helps them feel secure and comfortable in their surroundings.
While allogrooming is usually seen as a positive trait, it can also be a sign that a dog might exhibit aggressive behaviors towards others.
For example, if your dog starts allogrooming at strangers, that could indicate that your pet has a tendency to become territorial.
However, there is another type of attachment that occurs between a dog and its owner.
This type of attachment is known as “grooming attachment.” Grooming attachment involves a dog wanting to be groomed by its human companion.
The relationship between a dog and its owner is often compared to marriage.
Just as a married couple will spend time together without talking, grooming each other, and even sleep next to one another, a dog and its owner will do these things together as well.
Even though they both receive the same amount of affection, this does not mean that they have the same level of commitment.
A dog who exhibits high levels of grooming attachment with its owner is likely to be more loyal to him than a dog who is less attached to his owner.
There are three primary reasons for this.
First, a dog that is highly attached to its owner is likely to show signs of affection when it sees him or her.
In addition, dogs that exhibit higher levels of grooming attachment tend to be more eager to please their owners.
They are also more willing to tolerate being left alone with their owners.
Finally, dogs that display a lot of grooming attachment with their owners are more likely to follow commands given by their human companions.
So, if you want your dog to be more attached to you, make sure to pay extra attention to him or her.
Spend more time with your dog, give it lots of love, affection, and praise, and take care of any health problems that your pet might have.
The Benefits of Having a Dog Who is Attached to You
Dogs are social creatures that form strong bonds with their owners.
If your dog is particularly attached to you, it may be because you provide them with love, attention, and security — all things they need in order to form healthy relationships.
In addition to providing comfort for your dog, having an emotionally stable attachment can help reduce anxiety in both of you.
This makes sense since dogs who experience less stress are more likely to behave well around other people and animals.
The following are some key reasons why you should foster a healthy attachment between you and your dog.
- Your dog will be happier and healthier.
- You won’t be as anxious or stressed.
- Your dog will be more secure in his environment.
- You’ll have a better relationship with your dog.
- Your vet will be able to detect health issues earlier.
- You’ll be more confident and outgoing.
How to Foster a Healthy Attachment Between You and Your Dog
If you want to foster a healthy attachment between yourself and your dog, there are some things you can do to make sure they feel safe and secure.
The most important thing is to treat both of you as equals, and not to try to play favorites.
Dogs have a hard time understanding that humans don’t always get instant gratification.
They expect us to give them everything right away without any effort.
It takes time for them to learn that sometimes, a few extra treats aren’t going to magically turn into an immediate obedience award.
Respond to Their Needs
Just as dogs need to know that people respond to their needs, they should also understand that they need to work to earn our attention and affection.
This doesn’t mean that they should be spoiled or pampered, but it does mean that they should be treated fairly and respectfully.
If you let your dog know that you’re grateful for their efforts, they will respond by working harder to earn your praise and approval.
Give Them Space
In order to foster a healthy relationship, you need to respect their space.
While this might seem like common sense, many people forget that dogs are still animals.
They need to be free to move around and explore the world around them.
Give them enough room to roam and they won’t feel stressed.
If you’ve ever seen a dog who has been left in a kennel all day, you know that they become extremely anxious and nervous.
Don’t Be Too Rough With Them
While you might think that roughhousing with your dog is great fun, it’s actually really stressful for them.
Not only is it painful, but it makes them afraid of you and other people.
Don’t take part in any activities where you could accidentally hurt your dog.
Instead, find ways to strengthen your bond with them through different activities.
Signs that Your Dog is Attached to You
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and they often have different personalities.
Some dogs are more independent than others while some require more of an owner’s time and attention because they’re more needy or sensitive.
Some dogs are extremely loving and want nothing more than to be around their humans 24/7.
Others are more reserved and shy and prefer to do things alone.
Still other dogs are high-energy and need constant stimulation from their human companions.
And then there are those who don’t really care for anyone or anything outside of themselves — they’re aloof and indifferent.
But regardless of personality, every dog wants to feel loved by his or her owner.
That’s why you can tell if your dog is too clingy or too aloof, even if you never formally assessed his or her attachment style.
If your dog has a particular interest in you or follows you everywhere, it could mean he or she feels secure and safe in your presence.
But if your dog doesn’t seem interested in much at all, it might indicate that he or she isn’t getting enough attention and affection from you.
Troubleshooting Your Dog’s Attachment Issues
If you find yourself worried about whether or not your dog is too clingy with you, then there are some things you can do to make sure they don’t become too attached to you.
Here are some tips to help you figure out if your dog is acting too attached to you:
- Are you spending more time at home than usual?
- Is your dog barking at you, following you around, or begging for food when you come home from work?
- Does your dog sleep in bed with you?
- Do you spend more time cuddling or playing with your dog than interacting with other people?
- Is your dog constantly trying to get into places where they shouldn’t be, such as under couches or behind doors?
- Is your dog always wanting to be near you?
- Is your dog always seeking reassurance from you?
- Is your dog showing signs of stress whenever you leave the house or return home?
- Is your dog overly protective of your possessions?
- Are you feeling anxious whenever you leave your dog alone at home?
- Does your dog try to follow you everywhere?
- Do you feel uncomfortable leaving your dog alone for long periods of time?
- Is your dog trying to control your behavior?
- Has your dog been diagnosed with separation anxiety disorder?
- Do you ever wonder if your dog feels neglected since you have another child now?
- Is your dog showing signs of depression or loneliness?
Your dog’s attachment issues might seem harmless at first, but they could potentially cause problems down the road if left untreated.
The most common reason dogs develop attachment disorders is due to abuse or neglect.
However, sometimes dogs develop these issues after being rescued and adopted by loving families.
If your dog has a history of being abused or neglected, it’s best to seek professional guidance before making any changes to your relationship.
A qualified vet can perform tests to determine if your dog is suffering from an attachment disorder.