Isn't it adorable when your cute pet dog spends all day walking around by your side, looking lovingly at you as you perform the most mundane of household tasks? After a while, though, you might start wondering - why does my dog follow me everywhere I go?
Most of the time, it is 'love'. Or at least your dog is looking for a few tasty treats or a little affection. However, if your dog is constantly following you around the home and is exhibiting what could clearly be described as clingy behavior, then you could have a case of separation anxiety on the leash.
There can be other underlying reasons why your dog follows you everywhere, too, with some reasons being of more concern than others. In this article, we answer the question 'why does my dog follow me around everywhere?' and explain when clingy behavior can be a problem.
Why is my dog always by my side?
Dogs are clingy. It's just one reason why we love them so much as pets. Having a dog close to me or a dog around me is one of the major reasons for bringing puppies into my home and raising them!
- Dogs follow their owners, and it's only natural because they’re obeying their primary doggie instincts.
- If you've raised a puppy or rescued a small dog, you’ll know that they become overly-attached to you, the owner.
- Your dog becomes accustomed to you and, more than likely, begins to see you as a parent-figure in their life - you become the provider, the sanctuary, the place of safety and warmth and food!
- Dogs are naturally inclined to rove around in packs too, and this also accounts for their desire to follow you around - even if you're at home, trying to get the laundry done after a hard day at work!
- Most of the time, the reason why your dog follows you around is totally normal. But there are times when it could be a problem.
Here are the primary reasons why your pet dog could be chasing you around the house:
- Your dog is showing affection
- Your dog is curious as to why you're home
- Your dog is hungry or wants a treat
- Your dog is attention seeking
- Your dog is bored or wants to go for a walk
- Your dog is experiencing separation anxiety
- Your dog has an illness, medical condition, or injury and is trying to let you know
When is your dog's clingy behavior a problem?
Most of these reasons for clingy behavior are normal enough. Your dog is following you because they’re seeking affection or warmth.
- If they follow you around the kitchen while you're cooking, they are probably hungry.
- If they are energetic, they might want attention or need to go for a walk. If you're not often around the home during the day, they could simply be curious about what you're up to or why you're there.
- If they are constantly following you around in search of treats, this could be because you feed them too many treats! Rather than becoming a force for positive reinforcement, your dog has come to expect that if they follow you, they'll be rewarded. The simple solution is to stop being so liberal with your treat-giving.
However, if your dog's behavior is unusual, they could be trying to let you know that something's up. As the owner, you're going to know your dog better than anyone, and if they are being too clingy or are excessively trying to brush up against you when they follow you, there could be a problem.
Do some investigation
Check your dog over and see if they have any visible cuts or wounds, as they may well have injured themselves. If the behavior persists, it's worth getting in contact with your vet. There could be an underlying medical condition that a professional can diagnose.
More commonly, the problem is likely to be separation anxiety. A staggering 17 percent of all dogs suffer from this. Separation anxiety occurs because your dog is too scared or apprehensive to be on its own. This can be because they are too reliant on you, their owner.
Separation anxiety can be difficult for owners and dogs to deal with. Owners can use toys or chews to distract and comfort their pets and try not to make a big deal or fuss when they come and go out of the house. In extreme cases, behavioral therapy may be needed.
Why do dogs follow you to the bathroom?
Okay, so your dog following you around the home while you go about your daily chores is kind of cute if it's for good reasons. But if the clinginess still hasn't got on your nerves, it sure will when you're trying to go to the bathroom!
The answer is the same. Your dog follows you to the bathroom for the same reason they might follow you around the kitchen while you're making dinner.
Dogs don't have the same boundaries that we humans do, and so you may find yourself exasperated when your pet pooch starts trying to paw at the door of your bathroom. Follow the same advice we outlined before, and if their behavior is clearly too clingy, you will want to start rethinking the way you treat your pet.
Unfortunately, your dog will have a hard time understanding why they can use this product to get onto your bed, but they can't follow you into the bathroom. This is where you need to decide where you are going to draw boundaries. Try to treat your dog the same, regardless. Otherwise, you will have a very confused and anxious pet.
The final say
Dogs are naturally clingy, and for the most part, there really is nothing wrong with that.
Does my dog love me? In many ways, dogs do love their human owners, or at least, they show what we like to think of as affection and love. Dogs rely on their owners for food and shelter and also for warmth and kindness.
It's no surprise then that your dog should want to follow you around the home. Even if it seems unusual that your dog would want to follow you into the bathroom or watch as you hang clothes out to dry, for the dog, it's all a part of their pack mentality.
If the behavior is too clingy or seems unusual or out of character, then you need to take heed of these warning signs. Your dog could also be experiencing separation anxiety or be trying to let you know that something's wrong.
Why not bookmark our guide to doggie clinginess, so you know if your dog following you is normal or not?