Why Does my Dog Follow me Everywhere
We love spending time with our dogs, but sometimes, we might stop and wonder why does my dog follow me everywhere? Sure, it is amazing having a dog that loves you so much, but the lack of privacy can become an issue for dog owners. To fully understand this issue, we need to dig inside the pack mentality, animal instincts, and other things that might touch this subject.
There are several reasons dogs can be following their human. Other than love, your dog might become a “velcro” dog, and they will want to spend every second close to you. It can seem cute, but it can indicate serious behavioral problems.
Younger dogs, especially puppies, can imprint on humans. In the wild, they would do so with their mothers, and because their owner takes care of them, they start thinking of their owners as their parent.
Another possible reason for your dog following you everywhere is positive reinforcement. As their primary caregiver, you are probably the person giving them treats and praises. Dogs feed on energy. If you are continually showering them with positive energy, they will want to spend more time with you. Plus, some dogs will do anything for food, and if you are an endless source of treats, your dog will follow you everywhere.
Some owners reinforce the dog’s dependency by giving them treats all the time or allowing them to sleep in the owner’s bed. Most of us don’t have a problem with that, but enforcing dependency is not a good idea. When you give your dog treats after they follow you everywhere, they think you are rewarding their dependent behavior.
You must reevaluate your relationship with your dog and make sure you are not reinforcing bad behavior.
If a dog comes into the family, they will most likely choose a single person to develop the strongest bond. In most cases, that is the dog’s primary caregiver. That person is taking them for walks, grooming them, playing, and most importantly - feeding them. If you look at it from the dog’s POV, the answer to the question “Why does my dog follow me everywhere?” becomes a lot clearer.
The person a dog chooses to follow is the provider of everything necessary and fun. That person gives them food, takes them out, plays with them. The better question is, why wouldn’t the dog follow me around everywhere? It is vital to train them and teach them to be alone. Dogs need to be able to stay at home alone for a couple of hours. Dog owners would love to take their dogs with them all the time, but different situations don’t allow us to.
Some dog breeds have following or clinginess in their genes. It is a part of their DNA. These breeds were bred to work close to humans, so it isn’t a huge surprise they want to follow you around. It is just their instinct. Most of these breeds are from the working and herding group, and some of them are;
- Australian Shepherd
- German Shepherd
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Belgian Malinois
- Border Collie
As a dog owner, you should know the source and the answer to the question, “Why does my dog follow me everywhere?” If it is not a part of the breed’s characteristics, it can be a sign of something bad.
The answer to the question of why does my dog follow me everywhere can be - health. Senior dogs that are losing their hearing or are having trouble seeing might want to stick close to their owners for guidance. They could use you as their eyes and ears. They will react to things you respond to, and they feel safest when they are close to the person they trust.
The second reason might be - pain. Your dog can suffer from some hidden medical issue, and they want to keep their owner close for comfort. When a dog is in pain, they will want to be close to you. They know you can help, and it is up to you to understand what is happening. The easiest way to spot that is if your dog wasn’t that clingy before. If they suddenly become clingy, they might be in pain.
Another possible reason why my dog follows me everywhere could be - separation anxiety. There are a few differences between separation anxiety and “velcro dog” behavior. If you know what signs to look for, you will be able to solve the problem.
The most significant difference between the two is panicking. Dogs with separation anxiety will panic when their owner is not around. They cannot function if their owner is not close to them. If that is the answer to the question “Why does my dog follow me everywhere?” you should really start solving that issue. Velcro dogs prefer to be close to their owners, but they will not panic if the owner leaves their side. Velcro dogs are perfectly capable of staying alone, but they prefer not to if it’s up to them.
If you want to know more about this behavioral issue, check out this article - Separation anxiety in dogs.
All dog owners should find that perfect balance. It is fantastic to have a dog that loves being in your company. On the other hand, having a dog that cannot stay alone can become very problematic. Dogs that develop separation anxiety will often destroy furniture and other things inside their homes. Plus, their anxiety can get the best of them, and they can run away or hurt themselves. Here are some general advice American Kennel Club gives to dog owners about achieving the perfect balance;
- Do not limit your dog’s social interactions with other people and dogs.
- Physical and mental exercise is essential. A tired dog is a happy dog and less likely to develop behavioral issues.
- Use treats to get them to go to their bed. Teach them basic commands like “stay” and “place.”
- If there are other responsible members of the family, have them walk the dog regularly.
- Dogs, like humans, can lack confidence sometimes. Work with them, and help them get over their insecurities about being left alone.
- Be consistent. Make sure you have a healthy set of rules your dog needs to abide by. It is vital you stay consistent and not send the dog some mixed signals.
If any behavioral issue continues, you can always call your vet or consult a professional behaviorist.
World Dog Finder team