Sometimes it can be endearing and other times it can get on your nerves. Either way, the age-old question of ‘“why does my dog follow me everywhere?” is a tricky one to answer. This article lists some of the possible reasons why your canine companions insist on following you around.
While plain animal instinct and pack-mentality are definite factors in the situation, it may not be the only reason your pooch parades behind you like a personal second shadow. Dogs are sensitive, intelligent creatures and their reasons for following you can range from separation anxiety to too many dog treats.
It’s important to keep in mind that one of the main reasons humans bred dogs in the first place was for companionship. Loving their owners is coded into your dogs’ DNA so it’s no surprise why these social animals want to stick by a dog owners side.
While some breeds are friendlier than others, even the most stand-offish of dogs will have moments of expressing affection for a loving owner. With all that being said, let’s take a look at a number of other reasons as to why dogs follow you around.
- 1 Why Does my Dog Follow Me Everywhere?
- 2 Should I Be Concerned When My Dog Follows Me Everywhere?
Why Does my Dog Follow Me Everywhere?
1. Leadership & Pack Mentality
Before they were first domesticated some 15 000 years ago, dogs were pack animals. While their new packs now consist of one or more two-legged humans, the animal instinct runs true.
Dogs will sometimes favoritize one specific individual over others. This person is usually the primary caregiver and handles the feeding process but it can be other family members. In your dog’s eyes, the one who brings the food and entertains exciting matches of tug-of-war is the pack leader and sole provider of the group.
So it’s no surprise that they would prioritize following this beacon of stability around from time to time.
While bonding with your dog in this way is healthy and natural, it’s important to ensure their social interactions with other people or dogs are not entirely limited because of this. It’s good to encourage your dog to learn to manage being away from you for short periods of time as well.
Dogs may stick to their ‘leader’ for protection and reassurance. This is an honorable role to bear, however, in it is not a good idea in case your pooch grows too codependent.
2. Separation Anxiety & Velcro Dogs
While the concept of Velcro dogs and separation anxiety can appear to be the same phenomenon on paper, there is a major difference in these two terms. While Velcro dogs have a strong preference for sticking to their owners’ side 24/7, this is not caused by extreme feelings of panic that come with separation anxiety.
While it’s true that velcro dogs can be more prone to developing separation anxiety, this is not the case for all dogs of this kind.
It’s important to keep a sharp eye out for behaviors alluding to separation anxiety as it can become very difficult for your canine companion to function without your presence once it becomes an anxious dog.
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Much like the name suggests, velcro dogs are canines that want to stick tightly to your side all the time. If you frequently find yourself wondering; “why is my dog so clingy?” chances are you have a velcro dog on your hands.
Certain dogs are bred to be more dependent on their human companions. These kinds of dogs include lap dogs and breeds intended to work alongside humans all day.
Some dogs will develop velcro dog syndrome due to your own behavior towards them. This includes praises, tickles, and treats that instill the idea that staying close brings rewards.
Separation anxiety, on the other hand, is a much more alarming condition to be found in canines. Some dogs will develop a hyper-fixation kind of attachment to their pet parent that can be incredibly dysfunctional and debilitating for your precious pooch.
Separation anxiety in dogs is usually triggered when they are separated from their guardians for long or short periods of time. This can make your dog’s behavior extremely disruptive when left on its own and can even lead to extreme escape attempts or injury in an attempt to come to find you.
Dogs with separation anxiety will become agitated when you’re preparing to leave your home and usually cause havoc once you’re gone. Thus questions like “why does my dog always follow me?” can be resolved by looking for signs of separation anxiety.
3. To Keep you Safe
If you find your dog tends to follow you all over the place you’ll probably also have encountered them escorting you to the bathroom. It can be pretty uncomfortable to go about your private business when your darling dog is sitting in front of you.
So what does it mean when your dog follows you everywhere, including to the lavatory?
While things like extreme separation anxiety and velcro dog syndrome can explain this invasive habit, there are other factors at play. Certain breeds will pursue you for the above reasons, but other working breeds like Boxers and Dobermans are there to keep you safe.
Bathroom activities are a delicate business and in a dog’s mind, this is when someone is most vulnerable. Some dogs will insist on escorting you through your lavatory endeavors in order to stand guard against possible threats.
This links back to the theory about the pack mentality and could explain why your dog hangs around you in the bathroom or scratches at the door.
The age at which you first brought your dog home is also a contributing factor as to why your dog follows you everywhere. Pups under 12 weeks will more than likely imprint on you, the caretaker, and view you as a kind of motherly/parental figure.
If you find yourself wondering “why does my puppy follow me everywhere?” odds are they’ve established you as their honorary two-legged parent.
Puppies are still learning and growing and will naturally want to stick close to their mothers for protection and comfort. Puppies that have imprinted on their caretaker will want to do the same.
While most dogs will outgrow this attachment slightly as they mature, depending on how you react to this shadowing act will determine how often they do it in the future.
5. They’re Getting Older and more vulnerable
Elderly dogs are also prone to following you around for similar reasons as mentioned above. As a dog ages, it’s more prone to dwindling eyesight and a number of other complications depending on the breed. Older dogs can also develop cognitive dysfunction syndrome which is essentially dementia for dogs.
Cognitive dysfunction syndrome or CDS can cause disorientation and anxious behavior as well as a shift in sleeping patterns. This leaves dogs feeling more vulnerable and in need of guidance, resulting in them following you around more than they would have in their youth.
It’s important to keep an eye out for any changes in behaviors of older dogs as this can be a sign of CDS or other illnesses.
So why do dogs follow you around? If you have an older dog that suddenly appears more clingy than usual, it’s best to be patient and consider the complications that come with age.
Aside from age, varying breeds, and natural instinct, there are a few other reasons as to why your dog will follow you everywhere.
6. Dinner Time
One of the most obvious and common examples of dogs following their owners all over the house is the revered ‘Dinner Time’. If you’ve had your dog for a while and you’re the one who fills their bowl up, your dog probably knows its feeding hours.
Similar to hungry children crowding the kitchen when dinner is about to commence, dogs will hang around you around the time of day when they know they’re going to be fed. Ever the intelligent creature, a dog will remember its daily routines, sometimes better than its owner.
If you have a set time of day when you usually feed your pooch, chances are they’re going to grow more boisterous and clingy around this time at the prospect of dinner.
While this can be managed with a little bit of training, there’s usually no harm in your dog following you around in anticipation of a good meal. You might just have to be a little careful to not drop the food bowl while your dog bounds around you in excitement.
If you’re pondering why your dog follows you around the house, check the time of day when this occurs. If it’s mostly during the dinner hours, there’s your answer.
Thunderstorms and fireworks could also send your dog cowering around your ankles from time to time. Most dogs are frightened by both of these loud noises and will often look to their owner for protection.
While it can get a little frustrating to try and go about your business with your dog perpetually under your feet, it’s important to be considerate and kind on these occasions.
You are your dogs’ protector just as they are yours and a little love and extra attention during these scary moments can go a long way.
Anxiety caused by thunderstorms and fireworks can be combated with certain medications and even CBD drops for pets. These can be high-stress situations for certain breeds of dogs as well as dogs with a history of abuse.
The unpredictability of these loud noises can cause your dog to perceive this as a threat. The fact that they can’t tell exactly where the threat is coming from can heighten their anxiety and adrenaline even more.
These noises can also trigger your dog’s flight response and it might cause itself injury in an attempt to escape the danger. Staying calm during these episodes is mandatory and providing a safe space for your dog will help it stay a little calmer, if still very clingy.
8. Boredom & Attention Seeking
Another common reason as to why this happens could purely be that your dog is bored and understimulated. If left without anything to chew, chase, or just lacking space to do anything other than laze about, your dog might turn the full force of its attention towards you.
While some dog breeds are more docile and can get by without a lot of exercise or attention, other dogs crave these things. If there isn’t a lot for your dog to entertain itself with, you can’t really get too upset when they turn to hounding you for playtime and affection.
Dogs need stimulation and attention and without it, they can get incredibly boisterous and overbearing anytime you’re in the same room.
While some dogs will follow you around regardless of how much attention you give them, others will be satisfied with regular exercise and a good dose of head pats as positive reinforcement occasionally.
9. Conveying Information
Lastly, if you’re wondering “why is my dog following me everywhere all of a sudden?” take into account the fact that they could be trying to tell you something. As intelligent as they are, dogs can’t talk and it’s up to you as the owner to decipher what they could be trying to convey.
If your dog suddenly starts following you around or acting as a general pest when it usually doesn’t behave this way, it’s best to not brush this off.
Your dog could be trying to show you something and it might do some good in unraveling the mystery to follow it to wherever it might want to take you.
It could be anything from an empty water bowl to a snake in the garden. Either way, it’s best to take these behaviors seriously if it seems out of character for your dog.
Your hound could also be trying to tell you that it’s sick or injured and might require close inspection if the shadowing doesn’t stop.
Should I Be Concerned When My Dog Follows Me Everywhere?
Help, my dog follows me everywhere. Having four legs shadow you throughout your day can become hard when you’re cleaning, cooking, or looking for privacy. But there is a good chance that your dog is simply acting in love.
So why does a dog follow you around? Hopefully, this article has been insightful and helpful in understanding just why your dog might be trailing after you wherever you tread.
At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing your pooch and being able to pick up behavioral patterns that may be out of the ordinary. Earning their title as man’s best friend time and time again, dogs deserve our love and care as well as a little bit of patience. This clingy behavior can indicate you are your dog’s favorite person. So, of course, they want to do is convey their love for you.
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