Why Do Dogs Always Want To Touch You



Dogs can often be so attached to their human companion that they freak out if they are not literally touching them. This is a psychological condition known as imprinting. Imprinting is more common than you might expect and although the term may sound foreign, you have certainly seen that behavior before. It is often exhibited in geese and ducks. Baby geese will follow their mother just inches away and will refuse to leave. It is the biological function designed to give them protection in an unfamiliar world that they are not equipped to handle. The original imprinting for geese happens at birth, upon first sight.

The Root of the Behavior

Canines are not that different from those ducks and geese and imprinting often happens in the same way. If you have a puppy from birth or near birth and facilitate a lot of direct care during the puppy's early life, they can become imprinted on you and become incredibly needy. This is because you helped to perform some of the functions they could not do when they were young and they understood and grew accustomed to that reliance on you. This can stick around later in life when they no longer need direct assistance, and your canine will exhibit a needy and unrelenting behavior. Often, dogs who exhibit imprinting will suffer from severe separation anxiety without your presence. They will follow you constantly and try to maintain physical contact as much as possible. These are clear signs your dog has imprinted on you.

These imprinting behaviors are common, however, it is not necessarily the only cause of this needy behavior. A canine may maintain physical contact for other reasons. They may be trained to maintain contact from protection or attack style training, they may maintain physical contact because you often pet them or give them a bone to distract them when they become so aggressively needy, or they may try and maintain a direct physical contact because they suffer from a severe separation anxiety. Regardless of the cause of the cause of the behavior, it can become increasingly important to correct as the burden of their constant need for attention can impact your daily life or routine. Fortunately, there are things you can do to correct this behavior. Depending on what is causing it, these can either be pretty quick and easy fixes or something that may take some additional time and structure. If you cannot identify the cause of the behavior, it may be wise to contact a professional trainer or behavioral specialist.

Encouraging the Behavior

If you can identify the behavior, then it typically becomes fairly simple to correct. Imprinting would be the most challenging cause of this behavior to correct as it is something they have become accustomed to over many years. If they are still within 12 weeks of their birth, then it is best to let it go. After twelve weeks, your dog should no longer desire that constant and direct contact. If it persists then it can be a difficult thing to correct and it is possible that a professional may be required.

That being said, start with supplying your dog some fun things to do that do not require your assistance. Some dog toys and what not might do wonders. If they have something better to do then they may start to leave you alone more and more over time. As this happens, they will understand that they do not need you constantly and begin to detach themselves from you. A friend can also help with this issue. A neighbor dog or a new puppy in the house will give them a friend and a way to use their time other then sitting up against your leg the entire time you are home.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Dogs may be extra needy due to physical disablement. Canines who suffer blindness, deafness, or a loss of other senses will typically develop some kind of physical attachments. That is perfectly normal and fairly unavoidable. They become reliant on you for things they did not require assistance for in the past. This degradation of capability makes them fearful, which in turn makes them want to be by your side whenever possible. Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do about this behavior in cases like these. Some marginal increases will occur as they become more comfortable with the disablement but the bottom line is that they simply do need you more.


Regardless of what is causing the attachment your canine has for you, with the proper behaviors in the house you can typically correct it. Knowing that this kind of attachment can represent underlying medical concerns can help you adjust to the needs your canine may have. Typically if this has no underlying health concern, then it is usually a quick and easy fix.