If you’ve owned a dog for some time, you’re probably used to a lack of privacy. But if you’re a new doggy parent, you might be shocked that your pup wants to keep you company in the bathroom. If your pooch is suddenly a little too close, you may wonder why does my dog follows me everywhere?
There are many reasons dogs like to follow their owners. In most cases, this type of behavior is a sign that your dog loves you and that you make it feel safe. Other reasons your dog likes to follow you are curiosity, positive reinforcement, fear, separation anxiety, boredom, or health problems.
Having your dog close by constantly might seem cute and endearing, but it can also be a sign that something bigger is going on. Keep reading to discover why your dog follows you everywhere and what you can do to stop it.
Reasons Why Your Dog Follows You
Whether you find your dog’s velcro behavior endearing, annoying, or concerning, you surely want to learn why your dog follows you in the first place. There are many reasons dogs like to follow their owners, including:
Dogs are naturally curious and want to know what’s going on. Your dog might be following you around because, to them, you’re the person in the know. Fear of missing out and endless curiosity can make your dog follow your every move.
Wants To Be Rewarded
How do you react when your dog follows you around? Are you simply ignoring your dog or do you pause to give them a cuddle, pat on the head, or maybe even treats?
Positive reinforcement is a common reason dogs like to stay close to their owners. Giving your dog attention treats, or reassurance every time it follows you motivates it to keep doing it.
Is your dog getting enough exercise and mental stimulation? Your dog might follow you around because it has nothing better to do. If your dog is bored, it may be more interesting to see what you’re up to, especially if there’s a chance it’ll get a tasty treat.
Separation anxiety is an extremely common behavioral condition in dogs. Dogs with separation anxiety are overly attached or dependent on their owners and panic when left at home alone.
Velcro dogs are at higher risk of developing separation anxiety, but it doesn’t mean they will. However, if your dog follows you everywhere and is very attached to you, take steps to address this behavior.
Your Dog Loves You
Following your every move might be your dog’s way of saying they love and adore you. Dogs are social creatures, and they like to spend time and be close to their owners.
You’re a big part of your dog’s life, and being close to you makes your dog feel secure and happy. Take the fact that your pup wants to be close to you at all times as a compliment, and don’t forget that dogs aren’t familiar with the concept of personal space.
Many dogs suffer from noise phobias and are afraid of thunderstorms, fireworks, vacuum cleaners, and other loud noises. If your pooch is scared of loud noises, it may feel safer being close to you during storms or fireworks.
Dogs see their owners as their guardians and protectors. Staying close to you or following you around may calm your dog and make it feel safer.
Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You Something
If your dog suddenly starts to cling close to you and is whining, barking, or pacing, try following it to see where it leads you. In this case, your dog might want to get you to notice something.
It’s possible your dog is thirsty and needs more water, or it might need to go potty outside.
Is your dog clingier than usual and is following your every move? This could mean your dog is sick or feeling unwell and may need comfort and attention. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, call your vet and have them examine your pooch.
How To Stop Your Dog from Following You Everywhere
You can do many things to stop your dog from following you around the house. Build your dog’s confidence and find ways to help it cope with being home alone.
Here are a few ways you can stop your dog from following your every move:
Keep Your Dog Busy
A bored dog will follow you because it has nothing better to do. Give your dog puzzle toys or chew toys to keep it occupied.
If your dog has many different toys, try rotating them to keep play sessions interesting. Put some toys away and take them out periodically to keep your dog mentally stimulated and interested in playing.
Give Your Dog Attention
Give your dog plenty of attention and affection when it settles down or starts doing something else instead of following you. Let your dog play with its favorite toy to encourage this type of behavior. This will show your dog that it doesn’t have to stay close to you to get rewards and praise.
Teach Your Dog to “Stay”
Teach your dog the “stay” and “place” commands using positive reinforcement training and treats. When your dog learns the “stay” command, encourage it to stay in place while you slowly increase the distance between you.
Start the training by being just one step away from your dog and work your way to being in a different room. Be patient and use treats and praise to reward your dog every step of the way.
When To Seek Professional Help?
Consult your veterinarian if your typically independent dog suddenly becomes clingy and starts to follow you around. While there are many reasons why dogs shadow their owners, this type of behavior can signify an underlying health problem.
A veterinarian will examine your dog and perform laboratory tests to rule out serious health issues. If there are no medical issues, your veterinarian may recommend a certified trainer or behavior specialist who can work with your dog to curb unwanted behaviors.
Although it may become annoying, your dog wanting to follow you everywhere is usually nothing to worry about. However, if your dog is obsessively staying close to you, this might be a sign of illness, so schedule an appointment with your vet.