AdministratorDecember 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm10553
I would definitely say it sounds like an anxiety problem. The reason why I asked if he was on the furniture was mainly to see if he was used to a lot of physical contact with you when in the same room (which furniture dogs usually get). Some dogs get a type of separation anxiety that is worse when their owners are there but they can’t physically have access to them.
In my experience it can be worse with dogs that are used to getting affection often and especially when they solicit (especially if raised like that when they were puppies). They can get sort of addicted to it. I also believe genetics plays a factor and some dogs are just more prone to being more “clingy”.
Either way be sure to follow the “affection and petting rules” in the pack structure area. That isn’t going to fix anything at this point but it can help the problem from getting worse and possibly slowly make things better. In addition, I wouldn’t necessarily correct him for following you since following in general is a good thing – especially if he was off-leash outside. If it is at a point where it is annoying, the barriers do sound like a good idea to help break the habit. Also, doing a formal “place” command could help if one of you stays in the room while the other gets up. The “place” would be to give him a new habit while breaking the old one. Any behavior we want to change we have to remember to show the dog a more appropriate one – especially since the habit you are trying to break is a somewhat natural habit based on his instincts more than anything else.
I have seen a lot of German Shepherds act like this and assumed that some had to do with the herding instinct and wanting to keep everyone together. I had one extreme case, where even if he knew someone for only a few minutes, he would get stressed if they left the immediate area.
In a nutshell try to redirect him to a different behavior rather than let him think following in general is bad thing.