Understanding Why Your Dog Follows You
Does your dog follow your every move – going so far as joining you in the restroom? You’re not alone. Many dog parents report having “Velcro dogs” that act as their shadows, particularly around the home. It may seem like your dog just can’t get enough of your company, but there are several reasons why this may be happening.
In an attempt to better understand your dog and his needs, let’s look at the possible reasons your dog follows you.
They love you
This is the answer all pet owners want to believe, and the chances are pretty high that your dog follows you because he loves you. Being pack animals, dogs are more comfortable in this pack set which includes you. For some it becomes a habit of keeping the family or pack together, recognizing that there is safety in numbers. At the end of the day, your dog most likely enjoys being in your company – enjoy every moment!
Anxiety or fear
There is no shortage of ways in which dogs display anxiety and fear. One of the ways those can manifest is in following you around, potentially even herding you (most common among herding breeds like Corgis, Border Collies, etc.). When you are not around, they experience an increase in anxiety or insecurity, prompting them to solve this by joining you wherever you are.
If you are noticing this behavior during storms or high-stress events, consider meeting your veterinarian to explore options to treat fear-based anxiety.
Do you ever find yourself wandering around when you’re bored at home? Opening and closing the refrigerator door a million times? Well, our dogs get bored too. Try to offer your dog a puzzle toy or work through a short training session to get their brain working. If all else fails, go for a walk! Walking is a great way to bust boredom while mentally and physically stimulating your dog.
Sometimes your dog follows you around simply because it’s bred into its characteristics. Again this comes into play most commonly with herding dogs but can pop up in other breeds. Essentially, these dogs are bred to work alongside humans and pay attention to commands. Naturally, this means that they are more likely to be by your side, awaiting their next task.
What to do when your dog follows you
The good news is that having stage-five clinger as a dog is usually harmless. However, setting boundaries within your home is a great start in developing independence between yourself and your dog. This can be done by training a firm “place, stay” command or using physical barriers like gates to prevent your dog from following you. If it’s a problem with boredom, invest in some brain-teasing dog puzzles or start including a walk into your daily routine.
If you suspect the reason your dog may be following you is due to anxiety or discomfort, always consult your vet.