It usually starts off endearing and sweet. Your dog loves you so much that they would rather follow you from room to room instead of doing anything else. But when you feel them start to get under your feet and breathe down your neck when you just want some time for yourself, it can quickly turn into an annoyance.
As nice as it is to be the center of your dog’s universe, it’s just as nice to see them satisfied with spending some time by themselves. They should be snoozing away on the couch instead of constantly worrying where you are and where you might be going.
There are lots of reasons why your dog is following you around. Luckily most of these reasons can be solved with training and lifestyle changes that you can easily apply as soon as you click off of this article.
Table of Contents
- Reasons Why Your Dog Is Following You
- Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? – A Summary
Reasons Why Your Dog Is Following You
A lot of dogs bond to one person more than the rest of the family which is usually the person who provides the food walks, training, and playtime most often.
Dogs have been our companions since at least 15,000 years ago when we earned their trust by feeding them and offering affection and shelter. This turned into a relationship that was mutually beneficial.
As the name suggests, companion dogs were bred to accompany their owner wherever they went. They’d often sit on their laps, so it only makes sense that they would do what their genetics were telling them to do which is to follow you around.
Other breeds such as border collies were bred to herd sheep by watching their owners closely for hand signals and verbal cues. Which is why they also tend to follow their owners around.
However, this is not to say that because the dog happens to be of a certain breed, they will all behave the same. It fully depends on the dog, but the breed can still play a big part in how they behave.
A puppy will naturally want to follow you around for the first few months of their life. They see you as a parental figure that will help them navigate the scary new world.
When they reach around six months of age though, the puppy – who is now like a teenager – will want to explore things by themselves more and push the boundaries.
So, if you have a puppy that likes to keep tabs on you, don’t worry too much as this is just what they do until they build a bit of confidence.
Sadly, no matter the breed some dogs suffer from separation anxiety. In fact, around 40% of dogs suffer from it even some of them don’t show physical signs.
It’s a psychological condition that makes dogs experience a lot of anxiety when they are left alone or when their favorite person who they have attached themselves to leaves.
The dog panics with the experience of being alone. They think that they are vulnerable or have been abandoned, which may sound silly to us. But it’s a very real fear that they face every time you walk out of the door.
It can take as little as five seconds for dogs with severe separation anxiety to show symptoms such as howling, barking, going to the toilet, and being destructive.
Your dog doesn’t have to have a severe case in order to feel the need to follow you around.
Separation anxiety can be caused by multiple things, such as never being left alone when they were growing up. They don’t know how to handle it when it does happen. Other reasons may also be being surrendered and rehomed, and moving house, just to name a few.
Luckily, you can treat this condition. But depending on the severity, it can take a long time and must be built up little by little. Your dog will not suddenly get over their anxiety overnight, so have patience with them. And whatever you do, do not berate them for having a meltdown as this will only make things worse.
If your dog has a mild case of it then you can start by leaving them alone for a couple of minutes before coming back in. But every time you re-enter do not give them any fuss. Simply ignore them until they have fully calmed down. Then you can gently give them a stroke.
Make sure to set them up for success. Only leave them alone for intervals that you know they can cope with, to begin with.
Only come back when they stop barking. If you don’t, they will think that you came back because they barked. Therefore they will rely on it every time, which can result in a lot of noise complaints.
If you have a dog that has a severe case of it, it is best to get the help of a professional dog trainer. They will be able to adapt the training to meet your dog’s individual needs.
They will also help you stay motivated in training. A lot of owners of dogs who have this condition give up because the dog isn’t progressing fast enough.
Another reason is that your dog is bored and the only thing that is of vague interest is following you from room to room, waiting for you to do something exciting.
Your dog can be bored because they aren’t getting enough physical exercise or mental stimulation. Luckily, this has a very easy fix if you have the time and energy.
To prevent your dog from getting bored, start off by making sure that you are meeting their recommended daily exercise needs. This can range from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the breed and energy levels.
Instead of doing one big walk, you can break it down into two smaller ones that still make up the same time. But it breaks it up and makes your dog’s day more exciting.
Also, try to alternate the walks that you go on to keep it exciting. If there are good smells around and bushes to rummage in, it is also mentally stimulating as well as physical for your dog. This kills two birds with one stone.
Other ways to mentally stimulate your dog is to keep on top of its training and teach them tricks regularly. You can also get them puzzle toys and play games such as hide and seek to wear them out.
Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog!
They Want Something From You
Dogs look to us for a lot of things such as food, walks, and attention just to name a few.
You may be accidentally reinforcing this behavior by providing them with what they want when they follow you. Even if it’s just saying something to them or patting them on the head. It may not seem like much to you but it’s a big reward to them.
You can try reducing this behavior by ignoring them until they settle. But this will likely take a while for a lot of dogs.
Despite this, if it’s nearing dinner time and your dog has started to follow you, it’s just because they’re looking for dinner. They will usually leave you alone once you’ve fed them. This can also be applied to walk time.
They’re Trying To Tell You Something
Obviously, dogs can’t speak our language. So we have to meet them halfway and try and read their body language (such as deciphering their sitting positions).
They might be trying to tell you something, especially when they suddenly start to follow you. This can be an indication that they aren’t feeling well and are looking to you for help.
They may also be trying to tell you something about yourself. It has been shown that some dogs can pick up on changes in your body that can be signs of medical issues you aren’t yet aware of.
As well as this, it might just be that they’re trying to tell you that they need to go outside. Or that they accidentally knocked over their water bowl. It’s best not to jump to conclusions.
To see if it is something environmental, try following them and see if they lead you anywhere. It is not just something that dogs do in movies. They have been known to lead people to wrecks and lost children!
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? – A Summary
As you can see, it can be down to numerous things that are making your dog follow you. But if you whittle down the above causes, you will be able to identify what it is and what you can do to stop it.
If your dog is following you simply because they like to be around you and are otherwise happy and you like it too, then there should be no hurry to put an end to it. You two can continue to experience the world side by side.
Your dog may follow you because they feel a strong bond with you and enjoy being near you. They may follow you to stay close and feel secure, like they would in a pack. Dogs often follow their owners to seek attention, petting, playtime, or treats. They might follow you around to explore new areas of the house, smell interesting scents, or investigate any changes in their environment. If they’ve learned that certain activities like feeding, walks, or playtime are associated with your movements, they might follow you in anticipation of those activities. Dogs with separation anxiety or general anxiety might follow their owners closely. If your dog isn’t getting enough mental or physical stimulation, they might follow you out of boredom and the hope of finding something interesting to do.
While following you around is generally a normal behavior, there could be underlying reasons for excessive or sudden changes in this behavior. If your dog’s behavior becomes unusual, distressing, or if they’re showing other signs of health or behavior problems, it’s a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to address any potential issues.