What does it mean when a dog is near you?
Dogs are social animals and will often seek out human companionship. This can be seen in both domesticated and wild canines. When a dog is near a person, it is usually seen as a sign of trust and security. This is because dogs are pack animals and rely on their human companions to provide them with food, shelter, and protection from predators.
When a dog is near a person, it is usually seen as a sign of trust and security.
There are a few different things that can indicate that a dog is near a person. For example, a dog may sit or lie down near a person, or may approach the person on its own. Sometimes, a dog will simply follow the person around.
Generally, a dog will approach a person if it is feeling comfortable and safe around that person. If a dog is feeling threatened or uncomfortable, it may retreat or even attack the person. So it is important to be aware of your dog's behavior and react accordingly.
- Following Behavior in Dogs: Why it Happens
- Why does my dog follow me around?
- It's time to eat or go for a walk.
- They Want Attention
- They’re Afraid
- They’re Bored
- They're attempting to communicate with you.
- Separation Anxiety
- What Causes Dogs to Follow You to the Bathroom?
- Why does my elderly dog keep following me?
- Should You Be Worried If Your Dog Is Following You?
Most dog owners have encountered some variation of this scenario at some point, and it may even be a daily occurrence for some. But why do dogs follow you around everywhere, and is this normal behavior?.
Following Behavior in Dogs: Why it Happens
Domestication of dogs began at least 15,000 years ago (). They transitioned from being wolves in packs to dogs in packs with humans. One of the most important reasons humans bred dogs was for companionship.
As a result, it is easy to understand why dogs enjoy following our every move. Humans and dogs have a mutually beneficial relationship in which each provides companionship to the other. Humans also provide food, shelter, and safety for dogs.
Some dog breeds, such as terriers, are more independent and may be less likely to follow their owners. Other breeds are "velcro dogs," clinging to their owners like glue. Toy breeds, such as Chihuahuas, were primarily bred to be our companions. They have a strong attachment to one person and will most likely follow in their human parents' footsteps.
Herding dogs, such as Border Collies and Labrador Retrievers, were bred to obey human commands and perform specific tasks. As a result, they may closely follow their owner's every move.
If you brought your dog home before the age of about 12 weeks, he most likely imprinted on you as a parent figure. Puppies typically closely follow their two-legged parents and may do so less as they mature and gain confidence in various situations.
Why does my dog follow me around?
Aside from having tasty treats in your pockets, your dog may be following you around for the reasons listed below.:
It's time to eat or go for a walk.
Dogs remember their daily routines, so if you always feed your puppy at the same time of day or take him for a walk at seven a.m. every morning, he will become excited and will likely follow your every move in anticipation of his reward.
They Want Attention
Dogs frequently follow their owners because they receive attention or some other form of reward in exchange for this behavior. Dogs will remember and perform the behavior more frequently if following their pet parent around results in treats, play time, or pets.
The majority of people will find this behavior endearing. However, if your dog's shadowing becomes excessive, it can become annoying and even dangerous if it causes you to trip.
Many dogs are terrified of loud noises, such as fireworks or thunderstorms, and may cling to their owners during these times. Our dogs regard us as protectors, and staying close to us helps to calm and secure them.
If your dog spends the entire day laying around with nothing exciting to do, he may become more focused on you and tend to follow you around more—especially if that is the only activity going on around him.
They're attempting to communicate with you.
If your dog suddenly begins following you around, try following him back to see if he is attempting to lead you somewhere, such as outside to the bathroom or to an empty water bowl. He could be trying to get you to notice something.
Your dog may also start following you around to let you know he isn't feeling well or is sick.
Separation anxiety is a common behavioral disorder, with one study finding a 17 percent prevalence in a large population of dogs (2). Dogs with separation anxiety tend to overly follow their pet parents and become frantic or panic when left alone. When pet owners make a big deal about coming home and leaving the house, it can exacerbate anxiety behaviors.
What Causes Dogs to Follow You to the Bathroom?
Your dog may follow you into the bathroom for any of the reasons listed above. Dogs have a keen sense of smell and are often drawn to the odors emanating from restrooms. An unpleasant odor for us is most likely an appealing odor for our dogs.
Furthermore, bathrooms frequently have open garbage cans full of tissues and other waste products that dogs enjoy sniffing and tearing up. If you notice your dog going through the garbage in the bathroom, add a lid or keep the door shut!
Why does my elderly dog keep following me?
As dogs age or become geriatric, they are more likely to develop symptoms of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), also known as "doggie dementia."."CDS is caused by brain degeneration, and common symptoms include disorientation, changes in sleep-wake cycles, and anxiety-related behaviors.". This could be why your elderly dog has become more clingy.
Because elderly dogs are more likely to develop illnesses and chronic conditions, any new behavior could be a sign of a medical problem.
Should You Be Worried If Your Dog Is Following You?
Most of the time, your dog's shadowing behavior is harmless. However, if this behavior becomes excessive or bothersome to you, there are some home remedies you can try to help limit your dog's clingy behavior.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of daily exercise to help reduce how much he follows you around. A tired dog is a peaceful dog. Because they are bored, many dogs will follow their owners around. Providing food-filled toys, treat dispensers, and puzzle toys for your dog helps to stimulate his brain and relieve boredom. This will also divert his attention away from you.
Another thing pet parents should consider is whether they are reinforcing their puppy's behavior. When you stare at and pet your dog while he follows you around, you are reinforcing his behavior because you are rewarding the behavior with your attention.
Instead, ignore the undesirable behavior and reward your dog with a treat or scratches when he settles into his bed or diverts his attention away from you to play with a toy.
Do not scold your dog for following you around because this can cause fear and may reinforce the behavior because you give your dog attention when the behavior is performed.
If your dog is normally quite independent but suddenly becomes excessively clingy, it's time to see your veterinarian. While an increase in shadowing behavior could be the result of a behavioral or environmental issue, it could also be the result of an underlying medical condition.
A veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical exam as well as laboratory tests to rule out any serious issues. If no medical issues are discovered and you want to give your dog more independence, your veterinarian may be able to recommend a trainer or behavior specialist who can assist you in addressing or changing the following behaviors in your dog.