We all know it; our canines’ loyalty is unrivaled and each time, they live up to their other name; “man’s best friend”. You can almost always count on them to be by your side whenever you need them to be and even when you don’t. Yes, even when we don’t, our canines want to be by our side at all times and this includes most bathroom trips.
So, why are canines so attached? Why do dogs follow you into the bathroom? In this article, I’ll discuss some reasons our canines follow us everywhere, including the bathroom. I’ll also discuss some things you can do to curb the behavior if you’re uncomfortable with it.
Why Does My Dog Follow Me to The Bathroom?
To start with, while many canines have no problem going with you to the bathroom, not all dogs will do the same. There are several reasons for this behavior, with the most common of these reasons being their pack mentality and animal instinct.
To your canine, you’re a member of the pack and as such, it is only normal for him to want to be everywhere with you and even freak out (separation anxiety) when he has to be separated from you even for a small amount of time.
Other reasons your dog follow you to the bathroom or anywhere else;
Canines Don’t Understand Privacy/”Alone Time”
Now, this is a pack behavior and it can be traced back to their ancestors, the wolves. The latter are known to work together and holding back from others in the pack has never been part of their relationship.
Remember your dog views you as a member of his pack and this is possibly why following you to the bathroom and staring at you without flinching means little or nothing to him. The bathroom to him is just like any other place in your home, hence the reason he doesn’t understand why you would need alone time in it.
Canines Love Smells
Our dogs are always sniffing or in search of something to sniff so it comes as no surprise that they enjoy and most likely look forward to bathroom visits. And there is always a lot to sniff in the bathroom; lotions, soaps, housecleaning products and even shaving creams.
The Dog Is Trying to Be Helpful
Even though our canines cannot speak, they are some of the most sensitive animals. Your dog may suspect that something is wrong from your body language and will try to comfort and be around you. If your dog seems to follow you around on your “not-so-good days”, it is probably because he knows something is wrong and being around you is one way he tries to brighten your mood.
Your Dog Is Being Protective
While a bathroom visit might not be that big of a deal to you, it can be to your dog. Your dog is looking out for you at all times, and this may explain why he feels the need to be by your side and protect you from potential attacks.
He Just Wants Help
Like their wolf ancestors, our canines place immense value on resources to ensure survival. A territory is one of such resources hence the reason your pooch feels obligated to assist the pack leader (you) on your patrols around your territory with the bathroom being included in this “territory”.
Canines Are Curious
Our dogs just like little children and even adults can be very curious. While this behavior has been linked to the pack mentality, it is also one that can be said to have stemmed completely from the animal’s sheer curiosity.
This is especially true with dogs that have to stay home and repeat the same routine every time. The dog naturally begins to look forward to any opportunity to take part in activities in the home, including your bathroom visits.
Left alone for a long time, our canines can develop separation anxiety. If your dog displays any erratic behavior or becomes stressed and destructive when being kept out of the bathroom when you are in it, then he may be suffering from separation anxiety.
If you suspect that this might be the problem with your dog, you should consult your vet for proper diagnosis and recommendations.
It’s His Breed
While canines generally love to go everywhere with their humans, some breeds are more naturally more inclined to do so.
Unlike many other breeds, these types were originally bred for herding and so are often trying to herd or round up their family or pack members. These breeds include Shepards, Border Collies, Doberman Pinschers and Boxers (the last two are known to be fiercely loyal and would naturally try to keep you protected from dangers)
Other breeds such as the Retrievers and Pointers will hang around simply because they enjoy being with you.
Could Be a Sign of Ill Health
If your dog suddenly starts following you everywhere, it could be because he is unwell. Like other animals, our canines do not understand ill health as we do hence may rely on us to care for and comfort them when they feel unwell. If your dog suddenly becomes more clingy than usual, it could sign of an ailment. This should be reported to your vet immediately for quick diagnosis and treatment.
Boredom or Excess Energy
Our pooches can get bored and when this happens, you’ll notice that they will go almost everywhere with you including following you to as far as the toilet.
Dogs require lots of physical and mental stimulation as, without it, they could grow stressed, frustrated and even destructive. Therefore, try as much as possible to take him for walks and engage him in as many mentally stimulating activities as possible.
Also, if you have to leave him alone for longer than he is used to, ensure that he is provided with toys to play with to prevent boredom.
He Misses You
We are usually our canines’ best friends and so it comes as no surprise that they will follow us everywhere if we have previously been away, even briefly, because they miss us.
While the duration you were away may seem short to you, it could be just too long for your dog. Our dogs enjoy being around us and would find every opportunity to do so even if it means staying with us in the bathroom.
For Positive Reinforcement
Dogs know that when they go places with you, there’s almost always a reward waiting. These rewards can include tummy rubs, praises (good boy!), treats and even some good old run around the neighborhood.
If your dog is certain that he is getting something good from following you around, he will continue associating being with you with getting extra attention. This means that he would try to follow you every chance he gets to receive that care and attention.
If this is a behavior you want to stop, you can do so by reinforcing the opposite behavior. Start by training him to wait out your toilet trips downstairs and reinforce that behavior however you want (treats, rubs, praises or a fun activity).
Now you know some possible reasons as to why do dogs follow you into the bathroom. More often than not, this behavior is totally natural and innocent. It is not unhealthy or abnormal for him to want to be around you, receiving your love and affection and even trying to protect you.
However, if he seems to cry when you have him wait outside the bathroom or just get destructive and stressed when separated briefly, then he is likely dealing with separation anxiety. And if you think separation anxiety could be the reason your dog goes with you everywhere, you should consult your vet for help immediately. You don’t want him to be in that condition for long without getting proper help.
Other than that, always remember that this behavior, as said before, is harmless. However, if it’s one you need to stop, you can simply do so by teaching him to stop following you to the bathroom with the right reinforcements.
But go at it gradually; the behavior likely began long ago and so it would naturally take a while for him to get used to not being with you in the bathroom. Eventually, he’ll come to understand that while his presence is always enjoyable, you’ll be fine alone in the bathroom and he can always have you to himself once you finish. And sure enough, as he learns, you won’t have to remind him to stay back in future visits to the bathroom.
Do you currently have to deal with a dog that follows you everywhere? If you do and you are not very comfortable with this behavior, I hope some of the tips mentioned here help you stop this behavior.
And if you’ve had to deal with a “follower” in the past, how did you stop this behavior? Share in the comment section below and don’t forget to check out our other articles on canine behavior.