Dogs are social animals that enjoy living in a group and are less likely to do well all by themselves.
They may get bored or scared when alone and would always want their owners to keep them engaged and safe.
Like humans, our furry friends too love being with us. Many canines follow their owner around at least a part of the time.
Dogs will follow their owners because of their instinct for companionship or when their relationship is strengthened over time. They may also become clingy to combat fear, liking the person, food and treat, or playtime.
Research indicates that dogs are rare animals that exhibit jealousy like a human child.
We love it when our dog follows us around, but sometimes it may get too much and annoying.
Let us find out why the dog follows us around and whether it indicates any abnormal behavior.
Should You Worry If Your Dog Is Following You?
If your dog follows you around, it may not cause concern, but you should know something is off if it becomes excessive and unpleasant.
A probable reason is that your dog is accustomed to seeing you all the time, and when you are not around, they may come looking for you.
Anxiety and fear can be a determinant for something concerning.
7 Reasons Your Dog Follows You Everywhere
Dogs and humans share a special bond that promotes companionship and love for each other. However, that is not all why a dog would follow you around or become clingy.
Here are a few reasons why your dog follows you everywhere.
1. Natural Instinct
Being a social animal, it is natural for your dog to follow you around the house. They prefer to live in a group and treat everyone around them as their friends.
Following, watching, or running around you may help them feel happy, safe, and fulfilling.
It is the form of self-conservation to be with someone they trust, and replicating their activity is the way of learning.
It is natural because they are typically driven to be in our company as much as possible whenever available.
You can reward them for this behavior by spending a significant amount of time playing, cuddling, or exercising with them.
2. Human and Dogs Bonding
For decades, dogs have been known as "man's best friend," providing friendship and loyalty to their human companions.
It is scientifically proven that the oxytocin hormone is released when dogs and humans come close, strengthening and deepening the bond.
Moreover, A new study reveals when humans gaze into the dog's eyes, they form emotional bonds, regulating the hormone oxytocin.
Hence, your constant presence becomes necessary to maintain a strong relationship between you and your canine.
3. They are Scared of Something
Many things could frighten your dog, including loud noises, sudden movements or jerks, the presence of strangers, fire alarms, and sirens.
"It is a common problem for dogs to be fearful," says Dr. Klein with American Kennel Club.
Generally, most dogs fear thunder, fireworks, strangers, specific objects, being left alone, riding in the car, etc.
Hence, they tend to follow you whenever they feel scared of something.
When the dog is terrified, never push them away or punish them. It is merely a matter of pausing for a moment to be with them.
Read our blog about how to know and treat when your furry friend is scared.
4. Dogs are Attention-Seeker
Dogs naturally seek attention from their owners and may become clingy.
Many owners spend less time with their dogs due to their busy schedules, making them bored.
Your attention and engagement may become crucial to a dog to make them stop following around.
Here are some reasons why dog seeks attention.
- Some dog breeds naturally seek more attention. They appreciate being in the company of people.
- A little pup would seek your attention because they consider you their parent.
- The dog may become an attention seeker due to a lack of confidence and insecurity.
- They will seek your attention when you return home after leaving them for an extended time.
- Your actions may be causing the dog to become clingier, such as encouraging their attention-seeking behavior.
5. Trying to Tell Something
If your dog suddenly starts following you around, they could be attempting to draw your attention towards something.
Whenever your dog discovers something intriguing or finds something while digging, they will hurry to inform you.
When you do not follow up if they discover something, they may even whine or bark at you.
This tendency of dogs may signify something important. They usually behave clingy when they do not feel well.
Some breeds like Chihuahuas, Labrador Retrievers, and Border Collies may follow their owners. Velcro Dogs are exceptionally clingy and always want to be near their humans.
You might even trip over them when you walk as they will follow you everywhere.
They have a strong affinity to a single person and tend to follow in the footsteps of their human parents.
Herding dogs, on the other hand, are superb listeners. They wait for new information and prepare themselves to complete a task.
Therefore, be wary about acquiring a new dog that demands more time and effort.
7. Separation Anxiety
Dr. Gary Richter, veterinarian and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition, once said to CNN,
"When a dog is overly devoted to their guardian, they experience significant worry and stress when left alone."
When dogs are away from their owners, they experience separation anxiety. The dog becomes brittle due to stress, which may have a mental and physical impact.
Anxious behaviors may intensify when dogs are separated from their guardians or persons they are bonded to.
Some dogs with separation anxiety become anxious when their guardians prepare to leave. While some appear depressed before or after their guardians go or when they aren't around.
Similarly, abrupt changes in the family, household, residence, or regular habits might induce separation anxiety in a dog, leading them to follow you everywhere.
How Do You Get Your Dog to Stop Following You Around?
When your dog follows you, do not scold them. Instead, pay attention to what they want to say or do.
Here are some tips to stop your dog from following you are around.
- Spend time and play games with them.
- Take care of what they eat and give them the right amount at the right time.
- Going for a walk, running, or other activities helps them physically and mentally.
- Never punish your dog when they make a mistake or shows unusual behavior.
- Help them socialize and take them to parks where people bring their pets for a walk.
- Stay with them when they are scared.
- When they are sitting or start doing something else, try giving them less attention or stop encouraging them at that moment.
- Educate them on how to lie on a bed or mat comfortably.
What if Your Dog has Separation Anxiety?
- Train them to calm down by leaving the house for short periods and progressively increasing the time length.
- Give them a treat or something to indulge in every time you leave the house.
- Take your dog to the vet or trainer if necessary.
- Ensure your dog is familiar with your family and other people around.
- Bring another pet for your dog to hang out with whenever possible
- Ignore your dog momentarily when they follow you around.
Moreover, seek medical attention if necessary. A veterinarian will do a comprehensive physical examination and conduct lab tests to rule out a significant condition.
Your vet may refer you to an instructor or behavior consultant who may assist you in addressing or changing your dog's following behaviors.
Check out the following infographics for more information.
Most people like it when their canines follow them, wagging their tails.
However, if you are worried and find it uncomfortable, immediately contact your vet to diagnose any underlying problem.
Dogs need proper training and conditions to fend off unfortunate or strange circumstances from an early age.
It will help prepare to stay by themselves whenever you are busy or out, hence, solving the clinginess issues.
Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Des Moines, to learn more.