As human’s best friend, dogs are often noted for following their pet parents around. Dogs like to follow us around and be near us—but why? Does your fur baby seem Velcro-ed to your side all the time? Do you feel as if he’s with you all the time? Then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at this behavior and its possible causes.
Multiple Reasons Why Your Dog’s Following You Around
My dog following me around the house…this is sometimes a little bit freaky and annoying, especially if you have no privacy. There are many reasons your dog follows you around and seems to be stuck like glue to your presence.
1). Companionship: this one’s easy to understand because dogs have been bred to be our companions. Perhaps your fur baby just wants to be near you for love. Domesticated dogs are almost unable to live on their own without humans. The bond between you and your dog has been evolving for thousands of years. It’s in his genes.
2). Separation anxiety: some dogs suffer from separation anxiety when their pet parents are away.
3). Positive attachment: dogs stay close to the humans who give them the most positive reinforcement. This may be in the form of treats, attention, feeding, etc.
4). Illness: sometimes your dog may follow you because he’s just not feeling good. You may notice this if your dog doesn’t normally stick to you like glue. He may be scared, weak or even depressed and your presence is a comfort.
5). Territorial behavior: dogs are territorial, so your pup may see you as a part of his territory to protect and guard.
6). The breed: certain breeds that work closely with humans tend to stick like glue to their pet parents. These breeds include German shepherds, retrievers and shelties.
7). Love: your fur baby loves you and simply wants to be near you.
8). Imprinting: if your dog’s been following you around since he was a puppy, it could be that he imprinted on you. Baby animals usually imprint on their mothers, but if she’s not near, then the baby imprints on the closest proximation of their mother, which could be you!
9). Pack mentality: dogs are pack animals; you are the leader and pet parent, so your dog will follow you because you’re a part of his pack. Devotion and pack mentality will have your dog stuck to you like Velcro and glue.
My Dog Follows Me into the Bathroom
Why do our canine fur babies follow us into the bathroom? Again, it could be part of the pack mentality, but there are some other reasons, too. Your canine companion may follow you into the bathroom because he’s curious. He may be curious about what you do in there, he may enjoy playing with the toilet paper, or maybe he wants to get a drink (ewwwwh!). Well, it happens! In addition, dogs don’t understand that we would like privacy when visiting the bathroom. A dog pack will do everything together, including potty time. Not only that, but he could think he’s keeping you company while you’re in there. Perhaps your pup is guarding and protecting you while you’re putting on makeup, showering, etc. He only wants to make sure you’re safe and be there if you have a problem. These are a few of the reasons your pup may be following you into the bathroom.
Can you close the door? Yes, but you may have one upset pup on the other side!
My Dog Follows Me Everywhere and Stares at Me
You may be OK with your dog following you everywhere; however, another behavior can be somewhat unsettling. Dogs sometimes stare into our eyes and it can be a little disconcerting. You may tell friends that “my dog stares at me creepy.” So, why do dogs stare into our eyes? Dogs can’t speak to us in our own language, so they use what they have—their very expressive eyes. Let’s take a look what may be making your fur baby stare into your eyes:
1). Wants dinner: your dog could be staring because he wants to be bed. You may feel as if your dog has an inner clock when he stares you down at meal time every day.
2). Needs to go potty: your dog may be letting you know it’s potty time. Again, your fur baby may have an interior clock saying its time to go potty. Don’t ignore him, instead take him for a walk or let him out in your fenced backyard. You may just avoid the need to clean up an accident.
3). Attention: dogs will also stare if they want your attention. Perhaps he wants a belly rub or to be scratched on that special spot at the base of his tail. Maybe he just wants you to smile at him! He just wants your undivided attention for a bit.
4). Wants to play: he may also be staring because he wants to play his favorite game of fetch. In reality, this is another way to gain your attention and have some fun.
5). Reading your face: researchers have found that dogs can read human faces. Dogs can recognized faces and love to find familiar members in their pack. Your dog could also be gauging your mood or emotions. He may even be able to predict your behavior—all based on your face.
6). Vision or hearing problems: some dogs, especially those that are older, develop hearing and vision problems. These dogs may stay close in order to better hear and see you.
7). Boredom: this is another cause of Velcro puppies—they lack attention and mental stimulation because they’re bored. If your pup’s following you around, he may be looking for something to do or waiting for you to pay him some attention.
8). Move to a new home: a change of environment and/or home can be stressful for some dogs. If you’ve recently moved, your dog may be more clingy than usual until he feels more comfortable in the new home.
Whatever the reason, dogs are able to interpret our emotions/moods and are able to communicate their needs to us—all by just staring into our eyes.
Don’t forget that he may be staring out of complete and utter devotion, too. That’s called love.
Why Does my Dog Sit Outside the Shower
Again, your dog is probably guarding you if he sits outside the bathtub while you shower. Or he could be waiting for you on the other side of the door. Either way, he’s trying to protect and guard you. He may also be waiting to be in your loving presence again. It’s OK—he loves you and wants to be near you.
When Being Clingy is a Problem
If your dog’s following you is becoming a nuisance, it may be time to think about getting advice from your vet to find the cause of your dog’s behavior. Two conditions can be at the root of your pup’s following habits: Velcro dog syndrome and separation anxiety. Let’s take a look at how these conditions are different.
Velcro Dog Syndrome
If your dog sticks to you like plastic wrap, he may have Velcro dog syndrome. Some people consider this to be a precursor to separation anxiety. This condition is also considered to be a form of hyper attachment to their pet parents. Symptoms can include:
- Constantly wanting your attention, needing/wanting to be with you
- Keeping an eye on your whereabouts at all times
- Anticipating when you’ll move (getting up from a chair, getting out of bed, etc.)
- Always wanting to be the center of attention
- Following you everywhere, including the bathroom
There is a greater tendency in Velcro syndrome dogs to eventually develop separation anxiety, but it doesn’t mean your hyper vigilant dog will go on to develop this condition.
Dog Separation Anxiety
Your dog may have separation anxiety if he becomes anxious when he can’t see you. Here are some of the most common behaviors dogs exhibit with this condition:
Destructive behavior (chewing up anything and everything—shoes, furniture, plants, etc.)
- Attempts to escape
- Barking/howling when you’re away
- Panting or drooling
- Going potty when you’re away
- Becomes anxious when you’re preparing to leave
Dogs with separation anxiety are acting out because of feeling anxious and scared. They’re not being naughty to get revenge or to make you upset. They are truly anxious and need a way to relieve this anxiety. You can relieve mild separation anxiety by providing a distraction when you leave. Give him a fun toy stuffed with his favorite treats. That will keep him busy while you’re away! Do this on a regular basis, and your pup might just begin looking forward to this new routine when you need to leave. For moderate to severe separation anxiety, you may need to seek the help of a professional dog trainer and/or a vet. A dog trainer will work with you and your dog to ease separation anxiety with positive reinforcement training. A vet can check for underlying medical conditions that could be causing the problem. Depending on the cause, separation anxiety can be treated with medication to help ease the anxiety your fur baby may be experiencing.
Most cases of Velcro dog are easily treated, but you may need to seek out professional help if your dog has separation anxiety. And keep in mind that your dog may not have either of these conditions. Instead, he could just love you and want to protect/guard you. This absolutely normal behavior. If your dog’s clingy behavior seems to be excessive or comes on all of a sudden, be sure to see out the advice of a vet—the reason could be an underlying medical issue that needs treatment. We wish you and your fur baby all of the best!