We and our canine companions share closeness almost every day. So much so that Molly ends up trailing behind you around the house persistently. You may end up wondering: Why does my dog follow me everywhere? Here are the 7 most likely reasons for this behavior.
Reason #1: Unfulfilled Needs
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? Your dog’s clingy behavior can be prompted by the lack of attention to his needs. Some pooches kept shadowing their owners due to boredom. Others may want to go out and take a toilet break or require food.
If your furry pal starts following you around, think back if you have met his daily needs. Always have a proper schedule in place so that you have ample amounts of time to address his necessities.
Reason #2: Imprinting on You
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? There is a scientific explanation behind this behavior. It is called imprinting, which is a learning process that occurs during puppyhood. This is a time where puppies learn from their mother and littermates.
According to experts, at around two to three months old, puppies start to imprint on their dog owners and see them are their mother. Bear in mind that this is a very important part of your dog’s life. Proper imprinting will ensure that your puppy grows up to be a happy and well-rounded dog.
So, do not scold or shout at your puppy if he follows you around. A negative experience can lead him to be fearful or aggressive as he matures. Make sure to be patient and gently address this behavior instead.
This is a good time to get your puppy properly socialised and let him explore the world around him.
Reason #3: Seeking Companionship
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? Due to domestication and natural selection, dogs have evolved to become human companions. This led pooches to stay close and bond with their human owners, doing all sorts of activities together.
Aside from that, our furry companions are social animals. They crave human interaction, and a lack of it would make them feel lonely and in worst cases, depressed.
In some cases, dogs may have preferred the company of people than their own kind. Another reason is we might be the only company our dog has, which makes us the centre of his world.
Reason #4: Bound by Curiosity
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? Dogs are lively and curious creatures. They want to be having fun and not miss out on anything! That’s why they love to poke their noses in their human’s personal space.
So, if your dog is keeping you from getting work done or trying to squeeze into the loo with you, take a deep breath and avoid snapping at him. Be patient with him and direct him to the desired behavior. Repetition always wins.
Reason #5: Loving the Attention
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? The affection you give and the food you serve to him counts as positive reinforcement. This urges him to continue his behavior because he is unknowingly rewarded by you. In a household composed of several family members, it is not unusual for a dog to be attached to one person.
The family member who spends the most time with him or gives him food and water becomes the person greatly favoured by the pooch. Dogs learn that if they stick with their favourite human, they provide him with what he needs.
Reason #6: It’s in the Breed
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? Some dog breeds love sticking to their pawrents almost all the time. These breeds are dubbed as ‘Velcro dogs.’ Lapdogs such as Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Chihuahua, pug, and papillon are considered Velcro dogs.
On another note, working and herding dog breeds are usually clingier to their humans than other pooches. Breeds like the Dobermann pinscher, German shepherd, golden retriever, Australian shepherd, and Shetland sheepdog are good examples. These dogs are primarily created to work together with humans. They are trained to rely on our guidance and commands and read our body language to do their jobs, which makes them reliant on us.
Reason #7: Separation Anxiety
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? Separation anxiety can affect any dog. Anxious dogs do not want to be left alone. They will feel distressed and go into a panicked state if their owners are out of their sight. If they are left to their own devices, they are highly likely to bark relentlessly, destroy furniture, and eliminate and urinate around the house.
How to Stop Your Dog from Following You Everywhere
If your dog tags along with you way too much, there are some things you can do to stop his clingy behavior. Here are a few useful tips that you can try:
Think about crate training your dog.
Doing so will give him his own safe space where he can settle down and feel comfortable, even without you around. This encourages him to be more independent.
Provide him with distractions.
Allow him to enjoy things by himself by giving him interactive toys such as doggy puzzles. Just like physical exercise, mental stimulation also helps in expending his energy. Once your pooch is worn out, he would prefer some downtime rather than following you around.
Instal baby gates.
This will prevent your dog from shadowing you every time. Before you leave the room, leave a delicious treat behind, so that he associates positive things with you leaving and to reduce anxiety. However, using baby gates to keep your pet from following you around the house is only a temporary solution. The dog will eventually need to be trained to correct undesirable behavior. The next tip may be the solution.
Teach your dog the “stay command“.
This command will make your pooch learn that it’s fine to be left alone for a short period of time. The following steps will show you how to teach your dog the ‘stay’ command.
- You will need to teach the dog first with the ‘release word’ or command. Basic words to be used could be ‘OK’ or ‘free.’ First, stand with your dog in a sit or stand position, toss a treat on the floor to reward your dog, and say the chosen ‘release word’ as he steps forward to get the treat. Repeat this process a couple of times until you say the ‘release word’ first and then toss the treat after he steps forward. This lets the dog understand that the ‘release word’ or command means move your feet.
- Before doing the second step, the dog will need to master the ‘sit’ command first. Command your dog to sit, turn and face him, and give him a treat. Pause for a few seconds, then toss him a treat for staying in a sitting position, and then say the ‘release word.’ Do this process a couple of times and gradually increasing the time between the pause and the ‘release’ command.
- Once your dog can stay in a sitting position for several seconds, you can begin adding distance. Put him in a sit position and say ‘stay,’ step back, toss a treat, and then the release word. Step back a little farther every time you repeat this process. Practise both facing him and walking away with your back turned.
It is important not overwork the dog with the command training, so you can only train one command or activity a few times in a day and in short periods of time. Repetition is the key, and your dog will eventually master the ‘stay’ command.