Experienced dog owners know that once your new canine companion comes into your life it can often feel like you will never have a moment of privacy again. It doesn’t matter if you’re heading into the bedroom, living room, kitchen, or even the bathroom – your pooch will likely try to join you.
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere?
There are many reasons why your dog follows you from place to place. Here are a few of the most common reasons why man’s best friend chooses to stay as close as possible throughout the day:
Your Dog Has Imprinted On You
You may have heard of imprinting in the past – this form of learning is commonly associated with baby birds but the reality is that all baby animals do it. This learning process helps puppies identify who they should socialize with, teaches body language, and how to act. Once your puppy has identified you as a family, it will want to spend as much time with you as possible.
This process takes place during a dog’s first few months and can impact how they react in certain situations for the rest of their lives. This is why it’s important to properly socialize your puppy!
Many owners use positive reinforcement to train their dogs – which is a wonderful way to train! However, this may mean that your dog is following you because they are looking for an opportunity to receive that reinforcement – a treat or high praise.
Or perhaps you have butterfingers and drop food on the floor regularly! This is certainly why your dog may anticipate a reward coming their way (and also explains why dogs often follow the children in their lives)!
It’s no secret that dogs are descended from wolves and that wolves are pack animals. Although there are dogs (and wolves) that prefer to live alone, the vast majority are made for pack life and feel more comfortable in a group setting. Dogs that have been bred for certain jobs may also be following additional instincts – like those whose instinct is to herd.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures and following you from room to room may simply be a sign that they want to know what’s going on.
After all, if they don’t follow you they might miss out on some amazing opportunity!
Your dog may be naturally nervous or could be experiencing fear of a certain place, thing, or sound. For example, many dogs have a natural fear of thunderstorms and are much more likely to be glued to their owner’s side during one. Being near you helps them to feel safe.
Separation anxiety is exactly what it sounds like – when a dog is anxious because they are separated from their owners. This behavior is commonly encouraged by owners, although unknowingly.
In addition to obsessively following their owner around, signs that a dog may have separation anxiety might include:
● Inappropriate urination or defecation;
● Destructive behavior;
Can A Dog Be Too Obsessed With Following Their Owner?
Yes, there are times when a dog is unable to stop following their owner and is hyperfocused on their owner. This is frequently a sign of an improperly socialized dog or one that’s suffering from separation anxiety.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from a behavioral issue you may want to consult with your veterinarian. After ruling out underlying health disorders, behavioral issues can be treated through training and medications.
Spending Time Together Can Benefit You And Your Dog
Overall, both humans and dogs can benefit from spending time together. In addition to creating a deeper bond, training can advance quickly due to continued reinforcement, and communication through the learning of each other’s body language can improve.
In fact, studies have shown that owning a dog can improve cardiovascular health by decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Canines can also help owners suffering from depression and anxiety and some study results have suggested that children who grow up in homes with dogs suffer from fewer allergies.
Make The Most Of Your One On One Time With Your Dog
Sometimes it’s just fun to shake things up! Consider surprising your pup with one of the following while you’re at home together:
1. Play Some Hall Ball: Yep, this is exactly what it sounds like, fetch in a hallway!
2. Teach Some New Tricks: Even if your dog already knows all of the “regular” tricks, such as sit, stay, lay down, and rollover but there are so many other tricks to learn! Consider tricks like touch, which trains a dog to touch the owner’s hand or an inanimate object. Or perhaps you and your pooch will be the next contestants on one of the Got Talent Shows, showing off obstacle course skills or a dance routine. The sky is the limit!
3. Hide And Treat: Instead of hide and seek, hide a bunch of treats throughout the house and let your best friend seek them out.
4. Make An Obstacle Course: You can have a simply indoor agility course with items you have at home! Use broomsticks to make jumps, boxes instead of weave poles, and a hula hoop for a jump through hoop. Or you can purchase a fairly inexpensive agility set and set it up in your basement or back yard!
5. Make Your Dog Earn Their Meal: Dogs do need mental stimulation. At mealtimes, consider putting the dog food into a puzzle feeding toy.
6. Learn All About Doggy Massage: Even if you aren’t very good at doggy massage to start, your pup won’t mind. Massage can help your dog by increasing circulation, releasing tension in the muscles, and increasing mobility.
7. Have A Grooming Session: Grooming is always beneficial. Pamper your pooch by brushing out their coat, trimming their nails, and cleaning their ears (and skin folds for those with a wrinkly face).
8. Make New Treats: You don’t have always have to buy your treats – there are many different recipes that can be found on the web. Experiment with various ingredients to determine which are your dog’s favorites!
9. Snuggle Up And Watch A Movie: After a long day, snuggle up on the couch with your pup and enjoy a good movie or show together. Cherish every moment you get to spend with your furry companion!