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Why does my dog follow me everywhere?
Posted on 18th February 2022
We have been talking in our facebook group recently about all things love. Looking at what makes us love dogs so much and exploring things we can do to increase the amazing bond we have with our pets.
One of the questions I get asked alot is "why does my dog follow me everywhere?" Here are my thoughts:
Dogs are social beings
Dogs are one of the only creatures on earth who have a social bond with humans in their DNA.
They want to be with us, we have bred them to hunt with us, protect us and enjoy being with us.
They form intense attachment bonds with their owners, so much so that they grieve like we do when a person is lost to them.
As a result, it is easy to see how they may follow us around. But there also be some other things going on.....
History of reinforcement
History of reinforcement is a term banded around by us dog trainers to simly mean that learning has taken place which involves good stuff happening.
If your dog follows you and gets access to things they want, then the behaviour of following you gets reinforced (made stronger) and is more likely to happen again.
Things they want may include : access to outside, food, treats, a comfy place to rest, attention, play or bodily needs being met such as toiletting opportunities.
Notice how often you reward your dog when they come with you.
Something is interesting
Dogs are inquistive. They need to be. Just like us, they need to notice changes in their environment.
They naturally investigate sounds, food stuffs, new and novel objects, other animals and people.
Often, you getting up and moving makes them curious as they think you are off to investigate something. So why not go with you? ..................
They know your routine
Similar to history of reinforcement, your dog is able to pick up on what we call subtle clues in your routine. Yes! They can tell the time!
So you may see them following you if it's meal time or time for a walk. Makes sense if following you leads to a mega exciting event.
You have a velcro breed
Certain breeds were designed to work more closely with us than others.
We also created breeds to literally be lap dogs and keep our laps and hands warm.
Gundog breeds and toy breeds will be more likely to follow you when you move.
They don't feel safe
We have seen an increase in the number of dogs who find it hard to be isolated from their owners.
Fear of you leaving can create dogs who have a panic response when you start to move around as they anticipate being alone.
If you think your dog is anxious when you leave, exhibited by
- destructive behaviours
- toiletting when left
- digging around doorways
then please seek help, initially through your vet to find a separation anxiety specialist who can work with you and your dog.
So next time you try to go to the loo and that cute, furry face comes with you, see if you can see why this may be and smile.