A Velcro dog normally means a clingy dog. Sometimes, dogs are simply clingy because we allow them to be, by giving them a little too much attention. A dog’s everlasting devotion is one of the best traits. However, it is possible for your dog to be too clingy – a Velcro dog that sticks to you everywhere you go. Junior is a classic example of the same.
You might not mind if your dog rests their head in your lap every time you sit to watch television, but it becomes a problem if they exhibit destructive behaviors due to separation anxiety. But that is not the case with Junior. Since years I have been leaving Junior alone at home for work and come back with everything at its place. No destructions and no accidents (unless he is unwell).
Junior is simply clingy. When I am at home, he will follow me from room to room, and even in the bathroom. He just wants to be around me, because I give him a lot of attention when I am around. The reason for this behaviour is because Junior had developed separation anxiety after Casper passed away.
In true honesty, I love it when Junior is clingy. It gives me a sense of being wanted. His warmth and love makes me feel comfortable and stress-free. A feeling of being unconditionally loved is something that no words can explain.
Anytime I leave Junior at boarding/lodging when I am going out of town, I feel empty. I feel like a major portion missing out of my life. I won’t be wrong if I say that I am actually clingy. I have got so used to Junior sleeping next to me, that I get sleepless nights when I am out of town. I don’t enjoy my evening Tea alone, that I enjoy when Junior is sleeping on my lap and I am sipping on my favourite Tea.
It’s a Velcro relationship. We both are clingy. We both cannot do without each other. I don’t know if this behaviour is bad for the long term, but for today; it’s the best I can ask for.
Dogs that have anxiety issues often develop clingy behaviours. Interestingly, dogs can also become clingy if they sense our stress or anxiety, and I suffer from self diagnosed anxiety. Surprisingly, my vet has recognized this behaviour and often recommends me to “be prepared” as my dog is turning old. But no matter how prepared you are, you can never be prepared.
Let me not get into the negative aspect of this. For now, Junior is my tail. Wherever I go, he follows. Today, for the first time I let Junior walk off leash. I have never tried this before. But he followed me so well, I was shocked. I had never done this before because I live in a crowded city; too many people and vehicles all year round. I always feared Junior running away or meeting with an accident. But today he surprised me. Like a tail attached to my body, he kept walking with me.
It’s bedtime for Junior right now. And he is sleeping right next to my chair instead of sleeping on the bed in another room. The unconditional love and companionship he offered to me is something I cannot get from anyone else. I have tried to give him his space in the past, but failed. Either he got frustrated and stuck around me or I couldn’t manage the distance and clinged onto Junior.
Having a clingy dog is not necessarily a bad thing. Many people wouldn’t have it any other way. I personally love having my dog by my side. The moment Casper died, I wanted to prove to Junior that he was loved and he was not alone. I wanted Junior to feel secured. And somewhere from within, I too wanted to fill up the void Casper had left. Fortunately, this did not create any behavioural issues with Junior as he sleeps in peace when I am not home. And also plays and stays well when he is at the boarding/lodging.
Clinginess is not all that bad unless your dog has some medical issues and displays it in his behaviour. If that’s the case, you should immediately jump into correcting the behaviour or show a vet. Otherwise, enjoy the love and affection from your dog; because such pure love can only be shared between a parent and a child.
The Unspoken Words between our dogs and us.
A pure bond where words are not required to communicate, but just eye contact is enough. The eyes are the windows to the soul – so so so true. It gives the opportunity to be completely present and available to whatever emotions are being conveyed.
Dogs understand both, the meaning of words, and the tone used to speak to them – to a point. Though they do not understand full sentences, but the words we used to train them is what they attach the meaning to it. For example, the word “sit” is followed by teaching them how to actually sit down with the help of treats. But let’s not get into logic here.
I am pointing out at the emotional and funny part. Let’s start with the emotional one. As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, there was a time when I wanted to end my life. I was all prepared and just sat one last time on the bed reflecting on all the life’s troubles and crying my eyes out. Somehow Casper understood what I was going through and immediately jumped on me and started licking my tears. He saved my life. He understood his Mumma was going through a bad time and his sloppy kisses would solve the problem. Indeed, it did – without me saying a word.
Even when I am unwell, and do not have the energy to play with Junior and keep attending to his demands of feeding him out of time food, he somehow understands and never bothers me. Somewhere he knows that Mumma is unwell and he should let me rest and recover. On other days, he doesn’t leave me alone even for a second. The moment I sit with my Tea, he feels that “how is she relaxing? She has to be on my duty at all times”. And he would keep tapping his paws on me till I give in.
The funny part is; I talk to my dogs in 2 languages – Gujarati and English. And they understand both of them (not in the literal sense). When I am in public and talking to Junior, it amazes people that my dog understands what I am saying.
But these are words that I speak. However, dogs do understand the emotions and we understand theirs. The unspoken words where we know that our dog is unwell or something is wrong, or when they need extra care and love, and vice versa. The eyes and the emotions behind it don’t require words to be spoken. And this can happen only if the bond is strong and pure.
Are the eyes soft, loving, compassionate? Is there hardness, anger, unspoken yet felt? What about fear, or frustration? Seen in the eyes, it’s so tangible in the air as well. Be willing to look deeply into those eyes, and take this wonderful opportunity to hold this dog with whatever intensities are expressed. It is an amazingly intimate opportunity for deeper relationship.
You dance; your dog dances with you. You are sad; your dog offers you kisses. You are angry; you dog sits in the corner of the room waiting for you to calm down. You are happy; your dog joins in to share the happiness. Same way, your dog is unwell; you get anxious. Your dog doesn’t eat; you skip a meal. Your dog is enjoying the walk; you are also happy.
In all this, no words spoken; just understood. The funny thing is, when we tell guests or non-dog owners that “my dog is hunger, or needs to pee or poop, or my dog is just playing”, and look at you with shock in their eyes, as if “how do you know?” We just know J
We can understand the silence and the emotions screaming loudly behind those eyes. Our bond is special, and it requires no words. Our unspoken words SPEAK THE LOUDEST.
Have you ever tried to reason out what your dog thinks about you? No right! Neither have I. But one day as I was trying to meditate, and Junior came and slept on my lap, a thought just came flashing into my mind – does my dog think I am toxic?
Ever since, I just laugh to myself thinking about the funny scenarios that pop-up into my mind, just like how we sometimes think about our romantic partners from time to time. Let me explain.
I have a fix routine which Junior is very well aware of. So, as soon as I wake up, I have a glass of warm water with lemon juice, and then go to the washroom. Till the time I am drinking my water, Junior is in the bed just staring at me. But the moment I go to the washroom, he follows me and I have to close the door behind him. So I just wondered, does he think I like pictures of other dogs while I am attending nature’s call? HAHAHAHAHA!
Every time I come home, Junior is super excited and smells me from top to bottom, and then gets back to what he was doing. Most of the time, go back to his spot and give me dead stares. So one day when I came home and Junior did the usual stuff and walked away, I pondered on the thought; does he think I met another dog behind his back? LOL!
Just as I had mentioned before, I was meditating. I was already 10 minutes through when Junior decided to hop on my lap. And after a few seconds I laughed, because I thought that Junior must have taken 10 minutes to sleep on my lap because he must be thinking that I am probably indulged in another dog’s thoughts and he should remind me that he is the only one for me. ROFL!
One time, I had taken Junior to a dog’s party at a restaurant. In the beginning he was so happy and hearty, running around, eating treats, meeting new people and other dogs, etc. After a few minutes, I started petting another dog. Junior got so jealous and started barking at me. Now I know this is a natural trait of dogs to get jealous, I turned it into a funny thought. Does my dog think I am cheating on him with another dog? HEHEHEHE!
Erstwhile, I had a friend come over with his dog. I started playing with my friend’s dog, and happened to look at Junior. He had a big question mark on his face. Once again, I giggled thinking, does my dog think I am going to adopt this other dog and Junior will get less love? ROFLMAO!
Just like that, I have been thinking of funny stuff anytime I see Junior wondering what his Mumma is upto. You can be a toxic parent to your dog if you are aggressive to them, neglect them, don’t feed them proper meals, chain them all the time, don’t give them hygienic care, beat them, mishandle them just to get a friendly picture for Instagram to increase your followers, etc.
It is very important to make your pets feel at home and safe. What we see on social media is not always true. Many pets go through hell by their owners to get that perfect click. Let’s just be good humans, spread some joy and laughs, and be kind to everyone.
Dogs can experience both positive and negative emotions. They can experience pleasure, comfort, fear, and anxiety. Dog’s ability to communicate with humans is unlike any other species in the animal kingdom. Having said that; dogs can catch our (humans) emotions very well. They seem to possess a special skill for knowing exactly how we’re feeling.
As a pet parent, we also have to keep in mind how our mood and behaviour affects our pet’s behaviour and overall well-being. We are their primary care-givers. To keep them in good health is our priority. If we are angry, throwing a tantrum, screaming, etc. Our dogs are most likely lurked below or behind a couch out of fright, afraid to make eye contact; for fear that he or she might intensify our rage.
Conversely, if we are feeling sad, our dogs are drawn towards us trying their best to make us feel better. And if we are happy, they are happy. Laugh out loud and watch that tail wagging. I can say this with guarantee as I am a living proof to this. As mentioned in my earlier posts, I wouldn’t have been living if it wasn’t for Casper who understood my sadness and immediately came towards me and started licking my tears.
Thankfully, those bad days and weak attitude is gone. Dogs adapt to figuring out their humans’ emotions. It is very important for us to stay hale and hearty at most times. But what if we’re not acting out? What about those times we put on a brave face for the world when we’re fearful — or when we keep a stiff upper lip even though our world is falling apart? During these dark times, it sometimes feels like your dog senses your emotions, even those you thought you were hiding.
Living among people with consistently negative emotions can create negative behaviors in dogs. On the other hand, cultivating an environment in your home that fosters mostly positive feelings in your human family will help contribute to well-adjusted, content dogs with fewer behavioral issues. It’s not always easy, but doing your best to sustain a positive, happy household is beneficial to everyone — you, your kids, your dogs, and other pets, too!
When Casper passed away, I was consistently reminded by the vet, family and friends to keep a positive attitude; as it would affect Junior. But I was in a very fragile state and would break out crying often. I started noticing that Junior became a little distant from me. This was because, every time he came towards me to lay his head on my lap or bought his favourite toy, I would push him away (not physically push of course). He caught up on my behaviour and became distant, and also stopped eating.
Mercifully, I collected myself for the sake of Junior and made a full recovery. Had I continued with being depressed, Junior could have developed a full blown anxiety. Once again, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. For and because of Junior, I became strong.
Dogs are intuitive, and also sensitive to human moods and behaviours. You must have noticed that dogs are playful with some humans, and distant from some. This is because they can sense human vibes. If your dog doesn’t like someone or is hesitant to be close to some humans, then it is an indication that you too should maintain a healthy distance from that person.
Dogs can make you happy and improve the quality of your life. They also keep us physically and mentally active. Looking after them is not a burden, but indeed beneficial for our own health and well-being. I used to purposely stay in a good mood around Junior, and now it has become a habit. We are humans, we have our days. But having my dogs around have helped me go through the bad days by staying calm and positive deliberately so that I don’t remove my anger on my dogs. This in turn, became a lifestyle. I never display my negative or bad mood in front of Junior. Infact, I start playing with him and my mood automatically changes.
So, next time you want to wipe your tears on your little fur baby, remember to think of his feelings, too…
Remember, your behavior has a significant impact on his peace of mind and quality of life.
Being a mother doesn’t mean being related to someone by blood. It means LOVING someone UNCONDITIONALLY and with your WHOLE HEART. Being a dog mom isn’t an easy job, but it is definitely the best job anyone can do. And I am blessed that in this lifetime I got an opportunity to be a Mom to two wonderful dogs – Casper and Junior.
Being a dog mom is the best gift of my life. My dogs gave me a reason to live and smile every day. I am in love with my children (fur babies) who were not born from me, but FOR ME. Yes, this is absolutely true. Casper and Junior literally gave me a reason to keep living, and not just living; but thriving. Had it not been for my dogs, then I would have been in deep depression or probably wouldn’t be alive.
Everything I know about my life, I learnt from my dogs. Predominantly; living in the present. Just like them. There are many people who try to correct me by saying that I am a pet owner and not a pet parent. For me, I emotionally see myself as a Dog Mom to my fur babies. My life revolves around them. I spend most of my free time with my dogs.
I own many things, such as furniture, car, house, clothes, jewellery, etc., but I don’t have this type of emotional attachment to those objects as I have for my dogs. Though Casper is no more, but I still consider him my baby even in the present, and will do so in the future. I don’t have human children, and probably would not even in the future. I chose my dogs as my family and children.
My dogs are my responsibility, and a large part of my life. Much of my time and energy is spent in caring for, nourishing, and engaging my kids. They sleep in my bed and eat off my plate. I believe I know what’s best for my dogs. No one knows their needs and desire better than me. It is just not my duty and responsibility to care for them, but as a mother, my utmost priority.
It is often said, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friends”. But my best friends are dogs. My dogs have given me the best days of my life. And also one of the worst day; when Casper died. I laughed with him for all his life. And now I cry in his memories for all my life. However, I was proud back then, and I am proud even today that I was a Mom to such a beautiful soul. On the other hand, I still have Junior who has kept me going after Casper. He makes me laugh with his funny tactics, he gives the sloppy kisses, he is the warmest blanket for me in winters, and he is my anti-depressant.
My life feels so fulfilled and satisfying. People think I am stuck with a dog to take care of, and I cannot enjoy my life. According to them, the meaning of enjoying life is going out clubbing, partying, socializing, etc. What they do not understand is, I am already living a cheerful and adventurous life with my dogs. I also socialise with the right people who understand the importance of dogs in our lives. And trust me, there are many. I have made more friends who are dog lovers than what I had made when I didn’t have any dogs.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They know no evil or jealousy or discontent. Living in a metropolitan city, I have a dream to sit with Junior on a mountain top, enjoy the view, and just live in the moment. To experience the time what my dog experiences everyday – live in the present.
My life with my dogs has been a blissful journey. A journey which started unexpectedly and made me explore those parts of me which I didn’t even know that existed. The Accidental Dog Mom who is now a Proud Dog Mom. A girl who is recognized by her dogs, a girl who’s loved ones knows her dogs are her priority, and a girl whose life was saved by her dogs. My dogs are my babies. I cannot find the words to explain how much having my dogs in my life means to me, but I do know that without my dogs my world would be empty and dark.
There are a lot of different beliefs about how to raise a dog. Just like every human, no dog is the same. And while there is no right way to raise a dog, there are certainly some bad practises out there. Raising a dog is a lot like raising a child. Just like how you want your child to be healthy, happy and mannered, the same way what you do greatly affects your dog’s wellbeing as well. Let me share my personal experience about the mistakes I made while raising my dogs:
- Scolding them:
Casper was my first dog. I had no experience or knowledge about raising a dog back then. And as we all know, puppies are very adorable; but at the same time naughty and destructive. Whenever Casper would destroy something or wouldn’t listen to me, I would scold him sometimes. This was an absolute ridiculous behaviour from my side. Being illiterate in dog behaviour, I was dumb as well to listen to others who would suggest me stupid ideas on how to make a dog methodologically mannered. The right way was to train him early, and even though if he misbehaved post training, I should have been patient with him.
- Keeping their food bowl full:
Casper was a picky eater. After he recovered from Tick Fever, he became all the more choosy about his food. I would leave his food bowl filled for hours thinking that whenever he would be hungry, he will eat it. But that doesn’t work for dogs. The best way was to mix wet food with dry food and feed him. And leave it in front of him maximum for 30 minutes. Eventually, Casper started eating his meals like a normal pup and I never faced any other issues regarding his eating habits.
- Feeding them low grade treats and food:
Often times we have to consider our income in many things. Casper was always on a good brand food. However, I had to switch Junior’s food for sometime to a cheaper kibble as I was going through a hard time in life. But that turned out to me more expansive. How? Junior fell majorly ill. I had to spend a lot of money on his tests, medicines, check-ups, etc. Fortunately, Junior was in good hands and the vet never let him slip into a critical stage. Let me tell you, the vet always scolded me and asked me to switch Junior’s food to a better and know company. But my hands were tight, and I thought, that “kibble is a kibble, be it any company”. I was so wrong. The same applies for treats and bones. Always use a good quality product for your dogs.
- Not giving them time:
I was an animal activist for some years. Besides that, I was even working. The only time I had for my dogs was their walk time. Casper passed away at an early age. And till this day I regret not giving him more time. It is said, “Make sure your cup if full before you pour into others cups”. My own dog was feeling lonely and I was busy saving others. I quit the animal activist work, started spending a lot of time with Junior, and now I take care of only those stray cats and dogs where I can reach without compromising on Junior’s time.
- Neglecting symptoms:
Casper always vomited once a month. Each time I would think different reasons like the weather is bad, or he must have eaten some crap, etc. Had I got him checked earlier, maybe, just maybe I could have saved him. Please do not ignore even the slightest sign which appears to be different than their normal behaviour.
These were the major mistakes I made. As you must have realised, most of them were with Casper, because by the time I got Junior, I had gained good knowledge about raising a dog. Don’t take me wrong, though I have made mistakes in raising Casper, but I have loved him immensely as well. He had a very lavish and happy upbringing. He was the most mannered and loving dog. And now, I make sure I don’t repeat my mistakes with Junior, spend a lot of time with him, give him enough exercise, feed him the best food, and love him a lot.
Whether you are a new pet parent or already a pet parent to many dogs in the past and present, mistakes are inevitable. But pet parenting mistakes are worth reviewing and avoiding whenever possible. Socialise them, exercise them, feed them good food (don’t over feed), don’t leave them alone for long hours, get their check-ups done regularly, train them, NEVER punish, scold or beat them, keep them clean, don’t neglect their personal hygiene, and most of all – LOVE THEM.
Is there such a thing as too much freedom? In case of dogs, I don’t think that such a thing exists! Atleast in my house. What I believe is, dogs are already confined to in one house, if you have a backyard, then one house and a backyard. In that, if you restrict them to not enter the kitchen or bedroom or on the bed, then it is not fair. But this is entirely my perspective. And far more easier for me as I live alone.
Casper and Junior had no restrictions in the house. They were and are allowed on the couch, bed, kitchen, practically everywhere. They had full access to the house. But before we achieved this freedom, I have paid a little price for it. That is, I had to train both my dogs so that there were no accidents or damage. The price I paid was, eaten walls, eaten wires, damaged shoes, a little fall here and there, peeing anywhere, broken crockery, eating scraps in the kitchen, and some more little accidents.
But this freedom still comes with a price. There is dog hair everywhere. On the couch, bed, kitchen platform, wardrobes, bathrooms, etc. As I mentioned earlier, it is easier for me as I live alone and I pretty much now cannot live without coming across dog hair from anything I use.
However, there are some dogs that cannot be left loose in the whole house. If that’s the case with your dog, do not get disappointed. You can always crate train them. Crates are great to keep the dog safe and out of trouble. Since I was always of the opinion that dogs should be left loose in the house, I never found the need to get a crate and trained them accordingly. I had also trained my dogs to stay alone at home when I was not there. Again, initially I paid a price for it, because when I came home, I would find poop at random places or torn mattress or chewed bottles, etc. I never left them alone for long hours and they always had access to fresh drinking water. Also, they were always fed before I left the house as I have also managed my time according to their feeding schedule.
So, if you are thinking about giving your dog full freedom and if your dog is still having accidents or if he’s chewing off-limit items, it may be too challenging for him to be left loose while home alone at this point. Just keep working on the basics and use a crate for now. There is no magic age that says dogs can suddenly be given more freedom. It all depends on your unique dog’s behavior, so just be patient.
Don’t think about giving your dog too much freedom too quickly. You have to build a solid behavioral foundation for him first. I would like to bring one important point to your notice, i.e. never force your dog into the crate and never use it as a punishment. Always create a positive atmosphere by using treats and extra goodies like stuffed toys or durable toys while you are away.
Besides crates, there are also pet gates. They are fold-able and portable. Let’s say, you do not want your dog in the kitchen. You can put the gate at your kitchen entrance and restrict your dogs from entering the kitchen. Or you can use these gates anywhere in the house where you do not want your dog to have access to.
Now, let me make one thing clear. If your dog is trained and goes hours without any trouble in house, doesn’t mean he can be let off leash or let roam free outside your house and in your locality. No matter how well trained and well behaved your dog is, it is neither safe nor appropriate to allow your dog to roam free or off leash outside, even with supervision.
Every dog is unique. With time, you will understand your dog’s behavior and will be able to take a call if your dog can be allowed in the whole house or restricted to a particular area. None of the decisions will be wrong. Start by leaving your dog alone for 30 minutes, and then gradually increase the time. Accordingly adjust the time as per their meal schedules and your work schedules. If you do not want them on the bed, get them their own bed. I would also like to suggest to not leaving your dogs in the crate all day long. Besides their walks, let them play or roam a little in the house or your backyard.
Although everyone wants to give their puppy plenty of space to play and explore, allowing it free run of the house too early on is a sure recipe for disaster. Keep setting your puppy up for success by making sure it has toys to play with, has had plenty of exercise beforehand, and has already gone to the toilet.
Eventually, once he is able to go a full month without making any mistakes, he will be truly ready to roam the house on his own. Don’t expect a completely smooth process- but do expect a rewarding one as you develop an unspoken bond with your dog.