Why your dog follows you

Possible reasons your dog might follow you around at home.

Chereka a white Poodle is standing in the kitchen watching a man and woman washing plates by the sink.

Ever feel like you’ve got a pooch-shaped shadow? There are many reasons why your dog might follow you around, and it’s usually nothing to worry about.  

It’s important, however, to be aware of any irregular behaviour that could be a sign of an underlying problem. Read on to find out why your dog might follow you, and what you can do about it.

Why your dog follows you around the house and even to the toilet

Dogs are social animals. It’s normal for them to want to be with you; even in those places you’d rather have a bit of privacy.  

It’s important for them to learn how to enjoy themselves on their own, without relying on your attention. That way, they’ll be able to cope better when you leave the house and they’re left alone.  

Your dog following you is likely a sign that they feel confident with you, their human, or it might be part of them building a habit as a way of getting attention.  

However, following can indicate your dog is worried or anxious about being left alone. Other possible reasons for following include:  

  • a change in routine  
  • a change in environment (like a new house)  
  • they want something that you’re carrying  
  • they don’t have an alternative behaviour to do  
  • they’re trying to tell you what they want, e.g. food, water, or the toilet  
  • they’re new to the home and are unsure where to settle.  

Speak to your vet if your dog’s following habits are new or unusual, or if you’re concerned.  

They could have a medical condition that’s affecting them or causing them pain. Or your vet might want to refer them to an accredited behaviourist. So, it’s good to get an expert opinion.

Why your dog might suddenly start following you more

If your dog starts following you out of the blue, it could be down to any number of the reasons above. They could be experiencing pain, for example.  

If you’re concerned about their behaviour or notice a sudden change, speak to your vet. They may refer you for a more in-depth chat with a trainer or behaviourist.  

You can also get in touch with our behaviour support line for a chat with one of our dedicated experts.

How to stop your dog following you everywhere

Your dog following you, their favourite human, isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. It’s important to understand the reasons why they’re doing it. If you’re concerned, or notice a change in behaviour, it’s always best to consult your vet.  

If you do want to unglue your clingy canine from your side, try to do it in a positive way. Focus on what you want them to do, rather than telling them off when they’re following you.  

Top tip: Having a cue, like ‘go to bed’, is helpful in situations where it isn’t safe for your pup to follow. Having a cue like this will make it easier to encourage them to do what you want.  

Encouraging your dog to do something else instead is a good way of reducing how much they follow you. There are lots of enriching activities you can provide to keep your pooch occupied.  

Giving them something enjoyable to do, in an area where they are relaxed, will build their independence. This will give them more confidence spending time on their own.

The bottom line

Your pooch loves you. So, it’s no wonder they enjoy being around you. Keep an eye out for any changing patterns in their behaviour, and speak to your vet if you’re concerned. Otherwise, enjoy your four-legged shadow. 

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