Australian Shepherds are high-energy herding dogs, but why do they follow their owners everywhere they go?
Australian Shepherds are known for their clinginess. They are very active and love to be near their family.
So, naturally, they join you in everything that you do. They don’t want to miss out on all of the fun!
Read on to find out why your Australian Shepherd is so clingy to help you better understand them.
Australian Shepherds: The ‘Velcro Dogs’
Does your Australian Shepherd cry at the door when you are in the restroom? Do they follow you to the dining room even though they can see you from their spot in the kitchen?
Australian Shepherds are known to be clingy and to follow their owners around. They didn’t get the nickname ‘Velcro dogs’ for nothing! They are practically stuck to your ankles, and let’s talk about why.
8 Reasons Why Your Australian Shepherd Follows You Everywhere
If you got your Australian Shepherd as a puppy, especially if it was before they turned 12 weeks old, they are likely very clingy. The first 12 weeks of a puppy’s life are crucial because it is when they learn to be confident and belong in a pack.
If you got your dog before they reached that stage, they likely imprinted on you, which means they now think of you as their mom or dad. While this bond is already strong, you can reinforce this bond by training and working with them.
Attention and Companionship
As with many dogs, Australian Shepherds love to make their people proud. They seek to satisfy their owners, so they seek attention from the people around them to reinforce that satisfaction.
If you trace the dogs’ roots back to the wolf, wolves were instinctual and followed their pack wherever they went. Now that we have tamed the wolves into domesticated dogs, they still have that wolf instinct to follow their pack. Now, instead of their pack being other dogs, the humans are their pack, so they want to follow them wherever they go.
If you allow your Australian Shepherd to sleep with you, this makes them much more clingy. Sleeping with an Aussie creates an even stronger reinforced bond that is nearly unbreakable. On top of that, Australian Shepherds love to cuddle, so sleeping with you is something they love.
Australian Shepherds require a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation. They are brilliant and also very energetic.
With this combination, if they do not get their active needs and mental stimulation met, they will follow you around to get that stimulation. Also, because Australian Shepherds were bred to herd cattle if they cannot do that, they will act out their instincts by herding their owners around.
When a dog is feeling stressed or anxious, it will become even more clingy than usual. Since Australian Shepherds suffer from separation anxiety, they don’t like to be away from their owners. If they cannot see their owner, they will panic and get very anxious. Because of this, they try to keep you in their line of sight at all times.
Dogs get used to routines just as humans do. When you got your puppy, they fell into the routine you set for them. If you were with them all day, every day, that is a routine for them now. They will stick to that routine and if they can’t, they can get very destructive and anxious.
As stated previously, Australian Shepherds require a lot of mental stimulation as well as physical activity. If these needs are not met, they will find other ways to express their energy, like following you around.
Are Australian Shepherds Clingy?
Every breed of dog is different, so every breed shows its love and affection differently. For Australian Shepherds, although they don’t understand the words ‘I love you’, they show love and affection by following you everywhere you go and doing everything you do.
So, are Australian Shepherds Clingy? The answer is absolutely, without a doubt, yes.
Australian Shepherds have a lot of energy. They were bred to be herding dogs, so their DNA tells them to move, run, and be active.
Sometimes, this energy manifests itself into being their owner’s shadow. Once an Australian Shepherd attaches itself to you, you will not be able to get them to go away. They will follow you to the shower, to the kitchen, and even sit on your feet under the table as you eat dinner.
If you are not a fan of clingy behavior but you love your Australian Shepherd, there are a few strategies you can use to minimize the amount of clinginess, though it is difficult. It is hard to undo once a behavior is learned in a dog, or more specifically, a breed.
Here are a few ways to get your Australian Shepherd to give you a little bit more space (if that is something you want to do).
Give them More Stimulation
One way that you can get your dog away from being so needy is to meet their needs. Dogs get excited to go for walks, so take them on runs, play with them, and give them that mental stimulation that they crave.
Don’t Reinforce Needy Behavior
As stated in the previous sections, Australian Shepherds fall into routines. They will follow whatever routines and guidelines you set for them, so if you reinforce needy behavior, they will continue to be needy. They won’t follow you as much if you give them norms and routines that don’t require clinginess.
Do Australian Shepherds Have a Favorite Person?
As stated, Australian Shepherds are very affectionate dogs. If you want an Australian Shepherd, that is great, but just know that they will not show every person in your family the same affection.
While some will learn to be attached to multiple people, most Australian Shepherds will choose one person in their household as ‘their person’. They will follow this person, sit on this person, protect this person, and never leave this person’s side.
However, even if you are not your Australian Shepherd’s ‘chosen person’, they will still show you that they love and appreciate you in other ways. Australian Shepherds are unique, just as most breeds are, so they have their own quirks.
Some ways that your Australian Shepherd will show you that they love you whether or not you are their ‘favorite person’ is through:
- protecting you
- being nosey
- sitting on you
- showing vulnerability on their backs
- bringing you toys
- following you around
- wanting to play with you, and more
Yes, Australian Shepherds do have a favorite person that they attach to. This does not mean that they don’t love other people less. It just means they will protect that person to all ends and will choose them first any day.
Why Does My Australian Shepherd Sit on Me?
Now that we have established that Australian Shepherds are, in fact, clingy, you may be asking, “Why does my Australian Shepherd sit on me?” Australian Shepherds are known to sit on their owners, whether it be their foot or their head. They have no boundaries, and they cannot be told what to do when it comes to cuddling.
Australian Shepherds are not only highly intelligent, but they are also very hard-headed. This means that they will cuddle on their own terms, and when they want to sit on your head, they will sit on your head. However, this is only when they want to, not when you want them to.
If your Australian Shepherd sits on you, you should take it as a compliment because it means that they love you and trust you. When an Aussie feels a strong bond with someone, they will show them that they care by sitting on them or cuddling near them.
Sometimes, they will sit on your feet as you sit to eat dinner. They may sit above your head as you are lying in bed. They may even sit on your laptop as you are trying to work. There is never a moment that the Australian Shepherd does not take as an opportunity to show their person some love.
Overall, all dog breeds are special and unique; each breed comes with its own quirks and personality. For the Australian Shepherd, that personality is clinginess, and they just want to be with you all day, every day.
Your Australian Shepherd may follow you everywhere you go, but that is not a bad sign. This is the Australian Shepherd’s way of telling you that they love you and want to be near you. They are especially clingy because of their energy levels.
All in all, the Australian Shepherd may not be the perfect dog for everyone, but if you love cuddling and feeling loved, the Australian Shepherd is just right for you. You will never feel neglected if you have an Aussie in your life.