Great Dane So Clingy? 5 Reasons For The Behavior

Great Danes are affectionate dogs that love human company. However, there are times when they can become too needy.

So, why is your Great Dane so clingy?

This article will look at the potential reasons why your Great Dane is so clingy and some things you can do to reduce your Great Dane’s clinginess.

Why Is My Great Dane So Clingy?

Possible reasons behind a Great Dane being so clingy include separation anxiety, underlying illness, old age, stress and trauma, insufficient enrichment, attention-seeking and learned behavior.

great dane so clingy

Signs Of Clinginess In Great Danes

It can be sometimes difficult to differentiate between typical affectionate Great Dane behavior and clinginess. The common signs of an overly clingy Great Dane include:

  • Following you everywhere
  • Crying or whining constantly to get attention
  • Wanting to constantly sit with you 
  • Refusing to eat when you’re not around 
  • Destructive behavior when you are away
  • Overexcitement when you return home 
  • Demanding affection when you are doing something

5 Reasons Why Your Great Dane Is So Clingy

Separation anxiety

A Great Dane with separation anxiety becomes clingy or attached to its owner by remaining close to them.

They become very anxious when they sense a separation or departure by their owners and are usually overly excited when the owner returns home.

Great Danes are very susceptible to separation anxiety because they are people-oriented dogs that thrive on human companionship. This means that they love being close to their human owners and family.

When separated from their owners, they tend to suffer from separation anxiety by feeling insecure. 

So, why is your Great Dane so clingy? This can be the reason why.

This is also accompanied by other behaviors that include pacing, whining, and destructive behavior such as digging, or defecation in the house.

Recommended reading: How to stop separation anxiety in Great Danes

Underlying illness

Illness can cause a Great Dane to become clingy by becoming close to you to seek safety, comfort, and help.

In some cases, a Great Dane can be aggressive due to the discomfort and pain felt by avoiding being touched.

Read more: Why is my Great Dane aggressive?

If your Great Dane is clingy due to illness, you may also notice other signs of sickness such as loss of appetite, weakness, or pain.  

Look out for these symptoms and more unusual behavior changes which can be indicative that your Great Dane is unwell.

Old Age

Old age affects the cognitive ability of a Great Dane, which means they slowly lose mental processes such as attention, perception, memory, and other functions.

An old Great Dane will become clingy because of this cognitive dysfunction. They become attached to you for guidance due to the loss of these functions as they age.

Stress and trauma

A stressed dog will try to find comfort in you by being unusually attached to you. Stress can come from environmental triggers such as loud noises, changes in their routine, or home environment.

You can identify stress as the cause of the attachment by taking note of when the clinginess occurs, that is, if it is triggered by events or situations in the home or your dog’s environment.

Trauma experienced by a Great Dane can also cause them to become clingy. Trauma can cause stress which can stem from mistreatment from previous owners or early separation from their littermates.

Insufficient enrichment

Great Danes require mental and physical stimulation to be healthy and well-rounded. If they do not have these, they get bored and have nothing to do and instead will tend to get attached to their owner.

Boredom also encourages a Great Dane to engage in destructive behavior such as digging, chewing, or garbage raiding.

Attention seeking

A Great Dane can be so clingy when seeking attention from you. Dogs try to get our attention when they need something from us or our undivided attention.

An attention-seeking Great Dane will cry, bark, paw, or follow you everywhere to get your attention so that you might focus on them.

Learned behavior

Clinginess can also be due to learned behavior whereby a Great Dane got used to being quite close to you all the time. 

This means that there is a chance you inadvertently encouraged their behavior by having them be with you all the time and did not train them on being separated or having alone time. 

This also includes constant kissing, cuddling, praising, and having no boundaries for when they can be with you such as on your bed or in every room in your home.

Therefore your dog got used to being clingy and attached.

How To Deal With A Clingy Great Dane

Identify the cause

Assess your Great Dane’s current situation and environment to identify why they might be very clingy, for example, if it stems from separation anxiety, old age, or stress.

You can do this by assessing when the behavior started if they have not been so clingy and also when and where the behavior starts, to be able to pinpoint the possible causes of the clinginess.

By knowing the possible cause behind your Great Dane’s clinginess you can implement the corrective action. 

Don’t worry if you can not identify the cause on your own, the next step is to talk with your veterinarian to help in the determination of the underlying cause.

Consult with your veterinarian

Talk to your veterinarian about the surrounding circumstances making your Great  Dane so clingy and the need for attachment.

The veterinarian will determine if the problem is due to an underlying illness or if it is a behavioral issue that needs to be corrected with an animal behaviorist.

From this assessment, the veterinarian will either recommend treatment or a certified animal behaviorist to help train your Great Dane.


Behavioral training is essential in teaching a Great Dane the desired behaviors to stop clinginess. This includes training for the management of separation anxiety, or trauma.

Related: Why is my Great Dane so annoying?

Avoid encouraging the behavior

Great Dane clinginess may also come from learned behavior where you inadvertently contributed to the behavior by encouraging them to be very attached to you. 

 You can stop encouraging this behavior by teaching them the command words such as “ stay” to discourage them from following you everywhere in your home and also your dog learning how to be separated from you.

Consistent training on the desired behaviors with positive reinforcement helps to stop clinginess.

Spend time with them

Clinginess can be a simple need for your dog to spend time with you. This is normal because Great Danes are naturally people-oriented and love people’s company. 

So if they sense that they need attention from you, your Great Dane might cry, or become clingy to get your attention.

Schedule time to spend with your Great Dane and also if clinginess is due to a need such as needing your help to get out of the house, or time for walks, offer the help needed.

Exercise and activities

A bored Great Dane tends to be clingy therefore provide exercises and activities to mentally and physically engage your dog.

This includes the provision of puzzle toys, chew toys, daily walks, and exercises appropriate for your Great Dane’s age.  

Related: What do Great Danes like to do

Research has shown that early life experiences and daily exercises have an impact on your dog’s welfare, which also reduces their stress.

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Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams is a writer, mum, and animal lover with extensive experience with dogs. She loves talking about animal advocacy and care. She lives with 4 German Shepherds and 1 cat.