- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Have you ever wondered why your faithful canine companion sticks to your side like glue? You’re not alone if your dog follows you everywhere you go, even into the bathroom. This behavior is one many pet parents relate to, but what exactly motivates this constant companionship?
If your dog follows you, they often want to be around you or are curious, says Meaghan Thomas, DVM, an East Ridge Animal Hospital veterinarian. However, she adds that this velcro-like behavior sometimes signals separation anxiety or stress. So if you’re noticing other signs of anxiety or stress, this may warrant a conversation with your vet.
Below, we’ll explore the reasons behind your dog’s unwavering loyalty and whether this behavior should be encouraged.
5 Reasons Your Dog Is By Your Side
Dogs have a knack for sticking by our side wherever we go. Their unwavering loyalty and constant companionship make us wonder why they follow us everywhere. There are several reasons behind this behavior—ranging from the strong bond they share with us and seeking stimulation to security and potential health concerns.
They love you
Dogs are known for forming strong bonds with their human caregivers. If your dog sees you as their favorite person, they will naturally want to be by your side as much as possible. This behavior is a testament to their deep emotional connection and attachment toward you.
They’re bored and want attention
Dogs are social creatures that thrive on interaction and mental stimulation. Dr. Thomas says if your dog is bored or lacking entertainment, they may follow you, hoping to find something interesting to do or engage with. She also explains that pet parents might accidentally reinforce this behavior, saying, “If you talk to your dog as he or she follows you, give them treats as you walk by the kitchen with them, etc., you are actually enforcing this behavior to be normal.”
They want comfort
Dogs are pack animals by nature, and being near their pack members gives them comfort and security. By following you everywhere, your dog may seek reassurance and safety from being near their trusted leader.
They’re sick or in pain
In some cases, dogs might be clingy when they’re unwell. They may stick to your side for comfort or to communicate their distress. If your dog’s following behavior is sudden or accompanied by other signs of illness or pain, see a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues. Do not treat your dog’s pain at home without prior approval.
They’re a particular breed
Have you ever heard Border Collies referred to as “Velcro dogs?” Some breeds are more inclined to follow humans than others. Herding breeds like Border Collies, Shepherds, and Cattle Dogs may want to keep the whole family rounded up. Additionally, working dogs like Doberman Pinschers and Boxers may want to stick close to keep an eye out for danger. Lastly, sporting breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Pointers might enjoy sticking close to their favorite person.
Why Does My Dog Follow Me to the Bathroom?
Have you ever wondered why your dog insists on joining you in the bathroom, making it nearly impossible to have any privacy? While it may seem odd, there are specific reasons why your dog follows you to the bathroom, including the following:
- They’re curious
- They smell or see something interesting
- They want to protect you
- You built the habit when they were a puppy, so now it’s comforting
- The bathroom is cooler and more comfortable to be in
Does This Mean My Dog Is Too Clingy?
While it is generally normal for dogs to follow their pet parents, there are cases where this behavior can become problematic and indicate underlying issues. Pet parents should know certain warning signs suggesting troublesome clingy behavior problems in dogs. These signs include excessive anxiety or distress when separated, aggressive or possessive behavior, and behaviors beyond typical protective instincts.
If your dog becomes very anxious or distressed when separated from you, they might have separation anxiety. Symptoms can include excessive barking, destructive behavior, or even self-harm. In some cases, dogs may exhibit aggression or possessiveness beyond normal protective instincts.
See a veterinarian, professional dog behaviorist, or trainer to address these issues.
Rest assured, Dr. Thomas says that most of the time, when your dog follows you around, it’s nothing to worry about; it’s generally a sign of love, loyalty, and a desire for companionship. Understanding the reasons behind your dog’s behavior can help strengthen your bond and ensure their well-being and happiness.