Zach, my Pomeranian, is driving me crazy! He constantly wants to snuggle with me. I’m pre-menopausal, and he makes me hot and irritated. Sometimes I just have to shove him away. I feel bad, but what can I do? He is so needy!
—Mean to My Dog
Dear Mean to My Dog,
I know a lot of people who have this same problem, and the way you deal with it is very simple. You have to tell Zach that you would like some distance, and then claim your space. My mom (Laura) taught me this by pushing and holding me for a moment at the distance she wanted me away. She would repeat this until I understood. She would also say “off.” The other thing is to tell Zach that you are hot, sweaty, and cranky and that when he lies on you, you get irritated. He will understand if you are clear enough. Try not to say too much to Zach. It is possible that your emotions make you too wordy.
If he is “needy,” as you say, then you are not doing a good job making him feel confident. Confident dogs are not needy. The way you make a dog confident is by praising him for good behavior and start having commands for everything. Teach Zach wait, leave it, come, down, sit, stay, off, and more. You can teach him tricks. The more tricks and fun things you do with him, the less he will feel like he needs to be wrapped up in you. Training and exercising will make him tired and give him something other than you to think about.
When people get cranky, I think it is good for them to have alone time. Maybe take a cool bath, or take up swimming. One of the wonders of being human is that you can go exploring or learn something new when ever you feel like it. Maybe you, too, need to find something that makes you feel confident and good about yourself. You and Zach should go hiking. The fresh air and nature will be good for your relationship.
I hope this all works for you.
Stormy, aka Storm King, is a 14½-year-old Australian shepherd. His person is Laura Stinchfield, the pet psychic of ThePetPsychic.com.
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