You have probably heard the expression many times - “Dogs are man’s best friend.” But if your dog follows you everywhere you go, you might have wondered why dogs exhibit this behavior.
To understand this, it is useful to look at the nature of dogs and then some reasons why your pet loves to be with you constantly.
Dogs Are Social Animals
Dogs’ ancestors were wild canines. They lived in family units in a co-operative manner. You and your family are your dog’s pack. You are your dog’s support and protection. Your dog feels safest when you are around.
Why My Dog Follows Me Everywhere
There are many possible reasons for this behavior::
Your dog may not have any other company, and so you become their primary focus. Dogs follow us seeking companionship. This can be traced back to when dogs were originally domesticated when dogs spent a lot of time with their human owners. As a result, bonding occurred with their owners. Your dog follows you around because he enjoys being with you.
When your dog follows you, it may be because he has imprinted on you. This means your dog sees you as their parent. Imprinting usually occurs first as a puppy, from one month to up to about six months. Your dog looks to you for guidance and comfort and wants to be with you all the time to ‘learn’ from you.
If your pet realizes that you are the source of things he likes, such as petting, treats, and exercise, your bond will be stronger. Your dog will often seek your company regularly in anticipation of the pleasant things you provide.
There are certain breeds of dogs that are more likely to be clingy and follow you regularly. These dogs do not like being alone. This is particularly true of breeds that are specifically bred to work with people. They are known as “velcro dogs.”
Having A Job To Do
Your pet may think that you are keeping a watchful eye on your house, as you move around it. Your dog wants to help you make sure your home is protected. Your dog feels this is his job. This is an instinctive behavior in many dogs.
Your pet may be curious about what you are doing when you leave him. Dogs are naturally inquisitive. He may feel that your activity might be more exciting or fun than what he is currently doing. So he follows you to find out. He is likely to repeat this behavior if he gets food or a treat after following you.
Dogs need regular exercise and stimulation. If they don’t get enough, they can follow you around to give themselves something to do. Try increasing the number of walks you take your dog on or give him something fun to play with.
Very young children follow their parents around, looking for attention, and dogs can do the same thing. Your pet might interrupt what you are doing so that you pay them attention, or whine when you leave them, or stick so close to you that you cannot help but give them attention.
Sometimes dogs can get anxious when they are not with their owners. To relieve their separation anxiety, they need to be with their human always. This can sometimes be made worse by making too much fuss of your pet when you leave or return home. This reinforces the concern your dog has at being apart from you. You may find your dog is particularly clingy when he knows you are about to leave. This is because dogs learn from your behavior patterns and know how to recognize the signs of your impending departure.
Your dog might be trying to tell you something if he is following you around more than usual. He might be unwell, need more exercise, or need to take a poop.
Or your dog may need more socialization. One person may not be enough for him. He might need the company of other dogs or humans.
If the odd behavior continues, see your vet.
If you got your pet from a shelter, he might follow you around to say, “thank you.” Some rescued dogs may have previously been badly treated, and therefore appreciate loving owners.
Does My Dog Benefit From Following Me Around?
The more time your dog spends with you, the more your pet learns about you. Your dog can then better understand you. He then becomes skilled at interpreting what you do and anticipating things like feeding time, exercise time, and bedtime.
If a dog is bonded with you, their brain produces “feel good” chemicals. The more your pet is around you, the better your dog feels.
How Do I Benefit From My Dog Following Me Around?
Having a dog can reduce loneliness in humans. If your dog wants your company, you are more likely to feel appreciated and loved. You are less likely to feel stressed or anxious.
Dogs bonding with their owners has helped in herding cattle and sheep and other farming tasks.
Your body may also feel better as a result of walking your dog. Exercise benefits both dog and owner. Circulation and heart health improve, and both animals and owners are less likely to be obese.
Some dogs can also detect cancers in humans.
When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog Following Me Around
If your dog is afraid of other people or is overly distressed when separated from you, this may not be healthy. Your dog might display certain behaviors that are not appropriate. You may need to seek professional help, such as dog training. Your vet could also give you advice.
Your dog might be aggressive towards other people or other animals. Your dog might growl or bark or try to bite.
Your pet may start damaging your house, usually where doors or windows to the outside are located. Sometimes they can injure themselves in the process, particularly if they try to get out of the house.
Relieving Themselves In The House
If your dog is overly anxious when you are not around, they can often poop or wee in your house, even when they are generally housebroken.
If your pet’s eating and sleeping habits change, or he doesn’t want to go for walks, or if you notice any other odd behavior, your pet could be depressed. While long-term depression is rare in dogs, they can still become depressed, mainly if something has changed that they have not adapted to well, such as a house move.
Can I Stop My Dog Following Me Around?
You may be able to achieve this by giving your pet something else to do. You could give him a new toy to play with, or teach him to remain in a certain place no matter where you are in the house. Reward him with a treat when he does well. Then you can introduce a distraction. If the training has gone well, your dog will remain in the same place no matter what. Continue to reward him.
You could also help your pet feel less separation anxiety while you are away by leaving the radio or television on when you are not there.