Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? Understanding Your Pup's Devotion

Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? Understanding Your Pup's Devotion

Are you a new dog parent struggling to not step on your velcro dog, or are you a veteran dog parent of months or years and know exactly how to maneuver your way around stepping on their tail? Either way, we're always left wondering, why does my dog follow me everywhere? Let's find out why and what we can do about it. 

You're Their Pack Leader

If your house is home to multiple people, your dog may follow you as it thinks you're their pack leader. You may be their primary source of food, games, and treats, so they fixate on you. This is especially true if your dog is a rescue.

Having a not-so-good life and then finally being rescued by you means, they are living their best life with you. This can impact them in various ways. They follow you everywhere because they have trust issues, they fear being abandoned or just want assurance that they will never go back to their previous life.

They are Social Animals

One of the reasons humans domesticated dogs is because they were looking for companionship. And so, after eons of having them by our side, we may have just trained them to follow us everywhere we go. Dogs are highly sociable animals and are not used to being alone. It's only natural to find them waiting for us to get home from work or never leave us when we're home.

They Need Your Attention

Doggos love our attention. They thrive on social interaction and mental stimulation, a few of the things they get from us. Most of the time, following you will mean a quick snack, an unexpected treat, or something to pass away their time. This can be an endearing behavior, but if done excessively, you may want to rethink and go back to the training board.

You're Bonded

Dogs are known to form strong bonds with their human parents. If you got your pup at a young age, it's highly likely that they have "imprinted" on you and thus follow you everywhere. Also, during positive social interactions, oxytocin (the love chemical) is released in their brains, strengthening their bonds with you. 

They are Bored

Physical activities and exercise will use up a dog's energy. But if they don't get it, they will tend to become bored and restless. This can result in them following you around to burn off the pent-up energy. They also do this in hopes of finding something interesting to do.

They Have Separation Anxiety

If you don't know it yet, dogs feel fear, nervousness, and anxiety as much as humans. Separation anxiety, in particular, is common in dogs who follow their furparents everywhere. They may seem frantic when you leave them alone. They rely on our presence because they fear us leaving them behind. When this happens, avoid making a big deal of coming home or leaving the house as this can reinforce the behavior and worsen their anxiety.

They're Scared

As their pack leader, your dog will see you as their protector and guardian, who keeps them safe and secure. In situations that are terrifying to dogs, such as during fireworks or thunderstorms, your dog will go to you for comfort. If you notice them panting, ears flat, and eyes wide, they are scared and would appreciate having you near them. 

How to Stop Your Dog from Following You

While your dog following you everywhere is not too much of a concern, it's always good to teach them to be more independent. Here's how you can stop your dog from following you everywhere:

  1. Keep them busy: If your dog follows you everywhere because they're bored, keep them engaged. Distract them with toys, food, or games. You can give them a few of their toys at a time and replace them with a new set once they get bored with them.
  2. Shower them with attention: Encourage positive behavior by giving them lots of attention when they stop following you. When they do this or start doing something else, encourage them and let them know they're doing exactly what you want them to.
  3. Don't be angry or punish them for following you around: If the reason they are following you is anxiety, never punish them or show anger. This will only make them more anxious, stressed, or afraid.
  4. Rethink your behavior: Think hard about what you are showing your dog. You may unintentionally be teaching them to follow you everywhere by praising them when they do. Instead, encourage them when they stop following and give less of your attention.
  5. Consider setting baby gates: Setting boundaries may help your dog learn to be more independent and stop following you. Make sure the gates allow them to see you to avoid stressing them or thinking you have abandoned them.
  6. Teach them to stay: When you stand up to go somewhere, and they do the same, encourage your dog to stay. Start with a few steps then say "stay," until you progress into more steps and longer distances. Take your time and be patient when teaching them this.
  7. Don't make a fuss about leaving the house: As mentioned earlier, try not to give your dog attention when leaving or returning. This lets them know that you leaving does not mean abandoning them.
  8. Make time to exercise your dog: Set aside time to walk or exercise them. Physical activities that tire them out are healthy for them while preventing boredom from sinking in.
  9. Be consistent with your rules: When you set rules for your dog's shadowing behavior, make sure to be firm and consistent with them. Doing so will reinforce the behavior you want them to have and will show that you mean business.

When to Visit the Vet

If your dog is independent and starts to follow you everywhere suddenly, you may want to bring him in for a vet visit. Anything excessive may indicate an underlying condition and there's no better person to consult than your vet.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

You may also like