We all love to hang around our dogs. Still, sometimes it can feel a bit weird having them follow us around all the time, especially when they follow us to our private place - the bathroom. If your dog is following you around everywhere, you probably either find it very endearing and cute or somewhat annoying.
The answer to why your dog follows you everywhere doesn’t have one explanation, though. Here are the most probable causes for this behavior:
If you got your dog as a puppy between 0-6 months old, there is a good chance he had imprinted on you, especially if you are the only person he had been around.
In the imprinting stage, your dog will look up to his mother figure to learn how to behave like a proper canine. However, when the puppy’s mother is not around during this stage, he will probably look up to you, as his human owner, to be his role model.
Are you showering your puppy with attention and treats? While this promotes a stronger bond, it can also play a role in shaping your dog’s behavior in unexpected ways. For example, suppose you rewarded your dog with treats, pets, or play, a short while after he had followed you. In this case, you had essentially reinforced the following behavior.
When you reward your dog, he builds a positive association with you, and your bond together strengthens. By staying near you a lot, the dog learns that he is more likely to receive a reward, making you his favorite person. This positive association can help you with training and socialization for your dog. However, at the same time, it can also lead to your dog following you a lot more.
Your dog may be bored. Without anything fun to do, your dog may follow you around because following you is more likely to lead to the fun stuff.
Sometimes dogs will follow you around to try and grab your attention to tell you something. It could be that they need to go potty, eat, or feel unwell. Try to see if your dog wants to lead you somewhere.
Because dogs love schedules, it is also possible that your dog lingers around more in anticipation of his meal or potty time.
Your dog is more likely to follow you around if he has a disability like deafness, blindness, or other mobility restrictions.
Domesticated dogs have been evolved and bred by humans to be great companions over the years, which means they like our human presence.
Certain breeds are more likely than others to follow you around:
These breeds are also more prone to have separation anxiety.
Your dog could be naturally more clingy than usual. However, if you had previously adopted your dog, his previous experiences could be part of the reason for his clinginess.
Clingy dogs that follow you around are also called Velcro dogs.
Although it doesn’t necessarily mean they will, Velcro dogs are more likely to develop separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety can show destructive and harmful behaviors, usually only when left alone.
If your dog is showing the following behaviors when you are not around, he could potentially have separation anxiety:
If you suspect your dog has separation anxiety, I recommend addressing it as soon as possible.
You should only consider this a problem if your dog’s following behavior suddenly turns obsessive, or he is acting up when you are not there with him.
Please keep in mind that there is a difference between your dog wanting to be near you at all times and him getting anxious when you are not around. The former being okay while the latter is not.
To reduce the behavior, do any of the following:
You and your dog being nearby can strengthen your bond, which can positively affect both of you. With that in mind, you want to strive for a dog that loves being near you and yet doesn’t get anxious when you are not around.
If all the solutions above fail, I recommend getting in touch with a professional dog trainer. A good dog trainer can take a more in-depth look at your dog’s particular situation and suggest other, more specific solutions.