“My Labrador Retriever is an absolute gem. However, he is constantly trying to sit on my lap, follows me all the time, and always stares at me. I am sort of a loner, and I am finding the attention increasingly hard to cope with. Why are Labradors so needy? Will he get less clingy with age?”
Labradors are one of the most affectionate breeds out there. In fact, most of the time, affection is exactly what we want from our beloved canines.
But, what do you do when your Lab’s level of neediness makes you want to bang your head against the wall in search of answers to “why are Labradors so needy?”
In this article, we talk about the reasons why are Labradors so needy sometimes and what you can do about it.
Why would you not want your Labrador to be so needy?
First off, affection in itself is a great thing. It means that your Labrador loves you and wants to spend time with you.
To an extent, even neediness is an endearing characteristic when limited to normal levels and when it’s not too overbearing.
But, when the neediness reaches the point that your Labrador starts to continuously beg for your attention, it can become a behavior that concerns you.
Excessive neediness can negatively affect your relationship with your Lab, so you will want to deal with it as effectively as you can.
This is especially true when you are the type of person who enjoys their alone time with some peace and quiet.
You also want your Labrador to have a semblance of independence and to be able to do things on your own while you are not there for them.
For many dogs, their human family is a huge part of their world, and it can be easy to overlook that. But, while that’s true, you will not always be around to give them the attention that they need.
Thus, taking care of their needy behavior is essentially a part of caring for their overall well-being.
Reasons why are Labradors so needy
Below are a number of potential reasons why are Labs so needy:
1) It’s part of their personality.
Sometimes, a Labrador’s neediness is not because of some life event or external factor. Sometimes, it is simply just because of the way they are.
Each Labrador is born with their own temperament and attitude, and while Labs do share a similar penchant for wanting attention, some like it more than others.
However, that does not mean that you can’t do something about their needy behavior. On the contrary, you totally can.
We’ll get to those fixes in the next section.
2) They feel bored.
Much like people, dogs get bored as well. This is especially true for active dogs like Labrador Retrievers, which need a lot of physical and mental stimulation to release all of their pent-up energy.
Boredom is one of the most possible reasons that your Lab is suddenly becoming so needy.
They could be getting enough fun for the day and want to hang out with you or compel you to play with them.
Seeing as you are one of the most important things in your Labrador’s life, it makes sense that they would automatically be drawn to you when they are bored.
3) They want extra attention.
Wanting extra attention is another possible reason as well why are Labradors so clingy.
Your Lab may feel like they have not been getting enough attention lately and try to drag it out of you.
This could happen if you have been extra busy with work or your other engagements and stray off of your routine for a little while.
This typically does not happen without provocation unless it has been your Labrador’s habit ever since you got them.
Fortunately, you can easily try to fix this by giving them more attention during the day and playing with them a little bit more. But, take caution as this will not always work in your favor.
There is a more in-depth discussion on what to do about Labs who want extra attention provided below.
4) They experienced a traumatic event in the past.
With Labradors being a very popular breed, it is an unfortunate reality that many Labradors end up being mistreated and abandoned by their owners and end up in shelters.
If you adopted your Labrador from a shelter, there is a likelihood that they have gone through a traumatic event in their past that makes them the way they are.
Their past incidents could have been the reason why they need extra attention and become quite clingy.
They may be afraid of being left behind, and as a result, they follow you around and beg for your attention.
5) They feel separation anxiety.
It could also be the case that your Labrador has separation anxiety and does not want to be left alone.
According to this study done on canine anxiety, separation anxiety occupies a significant portion of canine behavioral problems.
That means that it is a very real problem that you need to take care of, not only because it bothers you, but because your dog is most likely uncomfortable with it as well.
What to do when your Labrador is being needy
Here are some suggestions on how you can address your Labrador Retriever’s neediness:
1) Do not reinforce their behavior.
Before anything else, you have to absolutely make sure that you are not reinforcing their needy behavior.
What this means is that you do not give them any attention when they start to whine or ask for it.
They may try to pounce on you or overwhelm you just to get your attention, but do not give them any attention whatsoever.
It may be a little difficult when they are using their size to get your attention, but not giving them what they want is crucial.
Even just telling them what they are doing is wrong is not a good thing as it could lead them to think that they are still getting your attention.
What you need to do is completely ignore them until they stop begging for your attention.
Once they do that, then you can attend to them or give them a treat that they really like.
It is important that your dog understands that they will not get your attention by begging for it; instead, they will get it by behaving.
Of course, when what they need is immediate and necessary, you will have to attend to them.
For instance, if your Lab wants to go outside to relieve themselves, then you have to attend to them.
That said, consistency is key when it comes to not reinforcing their behavior.
Get them to understand that you stand firm in your practices and that you will not be swayed by them begging for your attention.
It will take some time and getting used to, but eventually, you will have a Labrador that is not too overbearing with their need for attention and clinginess.
2) Give them more exercise and mental stimulation.
Boredom in Labradors can lead them to negative behaviors, such as chewing on your furniture or begging for your attention.
In these cases, you can try to let them out for exercise more often than you usually do and see how that works out.
A good dose of healthy physical activity is really helpful in keeping a Labrador sharp and will help them stray away from bad habits.
Using a couple of mental stimulation toys will help as well. In addition, mentally stimulating them through a couple of minutes of training during the day will also do wonders.
3) Pay more attention to them during the day.
There are also situations where your Labrador is needy because you have not been paying attention to them lately.
While you should not give them attention immediately when they are begging for it, it is a good idea to start paying more attention to them during the day just to give them an extra boost of excitement.
Don’t overdo it as you could make their needy behavior worse. However, do try to assess the situation and see whether your Lab warrants more attention.
4) Take them to the vet.
When all else fails, and you can’t figure out why your Labrador is suddenly becoming so needy, then a trip to the vet may be in order.
Your Lab may have underlying conditions that make them feel uncomfortable.
In any case, it is just to take a precaution especially if your Labrador’s needy behavior is sudden.
Things to consider when it comes to why are Labradors so needy
Before you try to address your Labrador Retriever’s being clingy, make sure to take the following into consideration:
1) When your Lab began to feel needy
If your Labrador wasn’t the type to always feel clingy, you have to consider what happened at the time they started being clingy.
This is vital since there could have been an event that resulted in their neediness in the first place.
For example, you may have moved into another house, someone in your household died, or their close friend (i.e., another pet) passed on.
On the other hand, if your canine has always been the needy type, then it may just be in their nature to be clingy.
2) When your Labrador Retriever usually becomes needy
Another factor that you have to think about is whether there is a specific time that your Lab acts needy around you.
If, for instance, your dog tends to be more affectionate around the time you normally leave for work, they may be experiencing separation anxiety.
So, why are Labradors so needy?
All in all, there are a variety of potential causes that may have you wondering why are Labradors so needy.
We have enumerated them, as well as some suggestions that you may find worth looking into, above.