Does your dog follow you everywhere you go? It may start off as cute if you head into your office with your four-legged friend following closely behind. But, after a while, it may begin to signal behavioral issues that need to be addressed.
Yes, it’s endearing when your dog haunts you like a shadow throughout your home. As owners, we become extremely attached to our furry friends. But what is it that makes a dog so interested in following their human companion everywhere they go?
Let’s discuss the eight most common reasons why your pup follows you everywhere. You’ll learn about why the behavior happens and some tips to prevent it from happening in the future if you choose. Let’s jump in!
Reasons Why Your Dog Follows You
In the list below, we discuss the most common reasons your dog is following you around. However, it’s important to note that if it’s accompanied by other behavior, it may be time to see a vet. If your canine companion is following you around and also pacing around the house, that can be a sign of distress. Similarly, if they are experiencing nausea or appear off-balance, it’s time to call your veterinarian.
While the most common reasons dogs follow their owners tend to be behavioral, you want to make sure you’ve ruled out any potential medical issues. Let’s take a look at the most common reason your canine companion may be following you everywhere, even into the bathroom.
They Want To Be Near You
Though our dogs may only be part of our world, we are their entire world. A dog’s day revolves around our presence and what we are doing, and it wants to be involved each step of the way. Because of this, your pup may follow you around at every chance it gets.
Our dogs are happiest when they are glued to our hips, and this only means you will always have a faithful friend at your side. If your dog follows you from room to room, it may love to be near its favorite person.
You Are The Pack Leader
Our pups may be domesticated now, but they are still attached to their wild roots. Being descendants of wolves, our canine friends have a few ingrained qualities that affect their relationships with others.
One of these ingrained traits involved the need to be in a pack, and this brings with it the admiration of their pack leader. With being the center of their lives, our dogs often look to us for just that.
Not only do our dogs consider us their pack leader in many cases, but they can also imprint on us if we bring them into our home at a young age. These furry friends may look up to us as parental figures, further amplifying their need to be around you at all times. If your pup seems to follow you everywhere, it may only see you as their pack leader.
They Think They Are Protecting You
When looking into the dynamics of a wild dog pack, each canine had a specific role. Our dog’s wild ancestors would spend their time roaming the forest, often relying on their pack members to look out for any incoming predators.
Because our dogs may see us as their pack leader, they may feel a need to fall into the “protector” role. Following you around your home may be their way to keep an eye on you and prevent any predators from stepping in when you are vulnerable.
This instinct may be more common in dogs that are extremely protective of their owners or breeds known to guard their owners and homes.
Your Pup Has Separation Anxiety
Is your furry friend attached to your hip at any moment? Does it struggle when you leave your home, howling the moment you step out of the door? If so, your pup may struggle with separation anxiety.
A dog with separation anxiety experiences more stress than usual when it is away from its owners. It may howl when left unattended, turn to destructive behavior, or refuse to calm down until you are back.
If you are seeing evidence of anxiety in your canine companion when it is forced to be on its own, it may be suffering from separation anxiety.
They Are Being Nosey
Our dogs love to be a part of everything! Dogs are curious critters, especially when it comes to the lives of those they love. Similar to a child not wanting to go to sleep when a guest is over, our dogs don’t want to miss out on a single thing that happens in their home.
Because of this FOMO (fear of missing out), our pups will follow us around everywhere we go. If you have an inquisitive pup that is always in the middle of everything, it may only be nosey!
They Are Scared To Be Alone
Some dogs struggle with the fear of being alone. Unlike dogs with separation anxiety, these pups have a fear of being insecure in themselves or their environment.
Their insecurity is not tied to being attached to a specific person in their home but rather being afraid of their surroundings in general. If a dog is afraid of being left alone, you may see evidence of this fear in different ways.
Dogs that are afraid of being alone may follow their owners around at all times. They may also appear on edge or aggressive and are unable to settle down. They may also pace around their home and engage in other bad behaviors. Some examples may be a newly adopted dog, one that moved into a new home, or one that is simply insecure in their skin.
If you think you have a fearful dog in your home, this may be its reason to follow you everywhere.
They Were Bred For That (Velcro Dogs)
If you have a canine companion that needs to be surrounded by others at all times, it may be a velcro dog! Velcro dogs are simply pups that are needier than others and require human companionship more often than others.
Some even believe that certain breeds of dogs are more prone to being velcro dogs than others, ranking toy breeds at the top of the list. If your canine companion follows you around all the time, it may be considered a velcro dog.
You’ve Reinforced The Behavior
If your furry friend follows you around your home, you may be reinforcing the behavior without being aware of it. Our dogs thrive on attention of any kind and repeat behavior they think brings the positive reinforcement they crave.
For example, talking to your dog while they follow you from room to room may be enough to encourage them to repeat this behavior. This is even more true if treats are involved, as our furry friends are often food motivated. The next time they follow you around your home, examine your behavior for any possible encouragement.
Should You Stop This Behavior?
Overall, this is not a harmful behavior for our furry friends to participate in. Most dogs simply love being in their owner’s company and choose to be at our side as often as possible. However, if your dog’s constant presence is getting in the way, there are a few ways to limit this behavior.
Tips To Curb Your Dog’s Following Behavior
Provide your pup with a variety of dog toys
Give your dog its favorite toy when you are about to leave the room. This may encourage it to remain where it is and enjoy some time spent on its own. Oftentimes, dogs just want something to chew on or run around after. Providing your pup with some tougher dog toys to have some fun with will help encourage them to keep busy independently.
Install a baby gate to keep your pup secure
If you need your dogs to stay in one area for any reason, you can always install a baby gate that holds them in one area. This gives them more freedom than they would have in a crate, while still allowing them to see what you are doing.
Work on basic training commands
If your dog understands basic obedience, you can begin to implement the “stay” command. This will come in handy when you need to roam your house without your pup at your feet.
Examine any potential behavioral triggers
If you think your dog may be experiencing separation anxiety, it’s important to examine your life for any potential triggers for this behavior. Are you spending enough time with your dog? Are you home enough? Have there been any changes in its routine?
Build your dog’s confidence levels
If you think your dog is fearful about being on its own, it may be time to help build its confidence. You can do this by teaching basic commands, offering interactive food puzzles, bringing it to new (controlled) environments, and participating in other relationship-building opportunities.
Ultimately, Our dogs follow us around our homes for multiple reasons. First, make sure that this behavior isn’t something medically related. Once that’s been ruled out by a call to your vet, then it’s on to behavioral modification. Some people may just opt to deal with the behavior.
While some dog owners think that their pup following them everywhere is a nuisance, others will gladly welcome the company. This behavior can be learned, or unlearned in most cases unless it’s an inherited breed trait. If you don’t want a clingy dog, make sure to consider a breed that’s independent.
By picking the right breed and encouraging the right behavior, you will have a pup that either follows you around or doesn’t, based on what you, the owner, decide.