Do you have a shadow that follows you everywhere, one with four legs, a furry face, and a wagging tail? Dogs are famous for following their humans from room to room. They’ll even take the trouble to relocate their napping spot. So why do dogs follow us everywhere? Here are a couple of possible reasons:
It’s in their DNA
Some believe dogs are attentive to us because of the canine pack mentality. It comes from the idea that dogs are loyal to their group and they’ll stick close by.
The more likely explanation is centuries of dog breeding. When you consider seven major dog groups — working, hunting, sporting, non-sporting, hound, terrier, and toy — they all had a job that served human needs for work and leisure, whether it was retrieving game, guarding a barn, or pure companionship. It’s canine nature for dogs to keep their humans on their radar and stick close by.
Puppies between the ages of seven weeks and six months will often imprint on the main human caretaker, choosing them as a parent figure. So if you’re the main source of food and interaction, they just want to make sure they don’t lose sight of you. As your pup gets older and gains confidence by handling unfamiliar situations with ease or recovering quickly from a scary situation, it’ll also become more independent.
Why does my dog follow me into the bathroom?
Some find it amusing, while others think it’s weird when their dog follows their human into the bathroom. But dogs think nothing of it because let’s face it, dogs have no sense of privacy. So if they already follow you everywhere, why not the bathroom?
The bigger question to ask is how does your dog respond if you herd them out of the bathroom and shut the door? Laying down patiently waiting for your return is an appropriate response. But if a brief bathroom separation sets off barking, whining, and crying, you may want to investigate whether your dog has separation anxiety and needs help with becoming more independent.
Do dogs pick a favorite person?
In nearly every family, there’s the one human the dog prefers above all others. Most will still be friendly and loving to other family members, but their main person is their default. They’ll choose the spot nearest their person to sit or lay down, and get up to follow them when their person leaves the room. When their person is out, they may even mope by the door. There are several possible reasons why dogs pick favorites.
Some breeds are known for their intense loyalty, sometimes bonding with just one person, such as German Shepherds, Afghan Hounds, Border Collies, and Chihuahuas. Socialization with other people will be critical with these pets, so they don’t become growly or aggressive around other family members or houseguests.
Though puppies grow out of imprinting on a main human, they may feel a special affinity toward that same human, particularly if the relationship is a positive one.
Sometimes, dogs choose a particular person simply because their personalities mesh. An active dog may gravitate to the runner in the family because they’re a reliable source of outings and positive experiences. A mellow dog might prefer the adults over the kids because their relaxed vibe is more up to his speed.
Does your dog follow you too much? Here’s why
What if your dog can’t seem to get enough of you? You can work on setting boundaries and train them to lie down or hang out in their kennel so you can work, complete chores, or spend time with other family members.
Seeking a reward
You might be the fun human who’s always ready with the pets, play, and treats. You may have reinforced your dog’s attention-seeking behavior without realizing it.
If your dog has trouble settling down when you need them to, they may need help burning off some energy. If you can, prepare for those times when you need your dog calm.
- Schedule a day of play at doggie daycare
- Take a long walk or run
- Play high-energy games like tug and fetch
- Serve meals in a food dispensing toy
- Provide tough but high-quality bones and chews
Separation anxiety is when your dog displays multiple signs of distress when you’re not home or out of the room:
- Excessive barking, whining, and howling
- Excessive panting or drooling
- Chewing and digging, particularly around door openings
- Escape attempts
Treating separation anxiety in dogs often requires a multifaceted approach of training, counter-conditioning, and confidence building.
Bringing out the best in your superstar
Bottom line, we love our dogs and they think we’re pretty terrific. Though we provide for their needs, they also enjoy our company and feel comforted and happy when we’re around. That’s what makes us worth a follow!
Behind every superstar dog is a committed, loving human;, one who’s determined to bring out their best! NutriSource’s SuperStar Soft & Chewy Training Treats are the perfect snack to have on hand during training sessions or to reinforce good behavior. They’re delicious, and won’t crumble in your pocket.
And best of all, every purchase spreads the goodness. We donate 100% of the proceeds to great causes that help kids, dogs, veterans and so many more. Pick up a bag today at your favorite pet retailer and learn more about the NutriSource SuperStar Giving Program.