Do you ever feel like your dog is glued to your side? A little shadow following you from room to room, watching you cooking in the kitchen or even having your eyes on you whilst you use the toilet? It's not just because they love you (although they do!) – dogs follow their humans because they are social animals and can't get enough of you. Here are the six most common reasons your pup sticks with you like glue.
One: Your dog loves you
If your dog follows you all the time and checks in on you, they love you and feel safe with you. Dogs have no concept of personal space. They want to be near you to feel comfortable and secure. Dogs are very social animals, and you are their whole world. When they interact with someone they love, the hormone Oxytocin is released. It's like a warm and fuzzy feeling that they seek out constantly.
Two: They get rewards
Reflect on our own behaviour. Does your dog get attention like a pat or a little nibble of food in the kitchen if your dog follows you? Dogs are pretty smart and have a memory for positive experiences. If they see that following their human gets them some attention and food, they will do it more. And really, who could blame them?
Three: They are bored
Think about it. If you're not providing your dog with enough stimulation, what will they do? They'll follow you around the house, looking for something to do and seeing what you're up to. Usually, if you're involved, something is exciting, and they want to be part of it. Unfortunately, some dog breeds are very nosey as they have been bred to work alongside humans, so they see you as their gateway to all the excitement. Give them puzzles and rope dog toys or longer walks to tire them out so they don't stick their noses in everything.
Four: They are waiting for their daily routine to continue
Did you know that they can also learn your routine very quickly? If you have a dog, keep this in mind – they may start anticipating your movements and behaviours and might start following you around when they know it's feeding time or time for walkies. By the way, puppies have zero concepts of time.
Five: Allelomimetic behaviour
It's natural and very pronounced in canines. It means doing the same things that others do. It's self-preservation as they copy your behaviour, and you two share a special bond. You sit, they sit. You get up, and they get up. It's very natural as it makes sense to pack animals. Once one animal starts running away, the others follow quickly to bring themselves to safety.
Six: They're afraid
Is your dog scared of loud noise? Thunderstorms and fireworks can be terrifying for some of our furry friends. They will then follow you to seek reassurance as they see you as their guardian and protector.
When is it separation anxiety?
If your fur buddy follows you from room to room when you are home or about to leave, the chances are your dog is dealing with separation anxiety. It will likely become a broader problem after the Covid-19 pandemic as dogs got used to people being around all the time.
Typical signs of a dog with separation anxiety are the following:
- Barking when left alone
- Chewing sofa and other furniture and being destructive
- Peeing in the house
If you feel your dog suffers from separation anxiety, please speak to your vet or animal behaviourist.
How to stop your dog from following you everywhere?
Having a constant four-legged companion can be pleasant and comforting. However, it is also essential to build up your dog's confidence so they can be alone without falling apart.
Here are some tips and hints of what to do when your dog follows you everywhere and how to alleviate the behaviour to feel happier in their own company.
Give them plenty of physical and mental stimulation: Toys they can nibble on are perfect. These rope dog toys are natural and made from hemp. The knot will keep your dog entertained for longer as they will try to loosen and unwind it. The rope toys are part of our eco-friendly pet product collection.
Teach them "stay" commands. Increase the distance with every "stay" until you end up in another room
Avoid silence. Leave the radio on when you go out, so the house is less quiet.
Ignore them and don't pay attention to them when they get up but give them lots of attention and positive encouragement when they settle or start doing alternative tasks
Build their confidence. Obedience and agility training are great ways to build up your dog's confidence and tire them out simultaneously.
Don't punish your dog for following you around. If they follow you because they're scared, rejection might increase stress.
Pet parent tip: If your furry companion usually is independent but suddenly becomes excessively clingy, it's time to speak to your vet. Older dogs might start following you around more, as they feel like they depend on you more when their senses start letting them down a bit.
Some dogs are more prone than others to following their humans around like lost lambs.
The behaviour is often breed-specific, with recent studies finding that working group dogs have been shown as being incredibly attentive followers of people's footsteps! Examples but not limited to below:
- Hungarian Vizslas
- Labrador Retrievers
- Border Collies
- Golden Retrievers
- Shetland Sheepdogs
They have been bred to work alongside humans, so they might be waiting for instructions from you.
German Shepherds and Dobermann are bred to be protective dogs, so they prefer to stay close by you.
Dogs are known as "man's best friend" for a reason. They are loyal and loving animals who will follow you wherever you go. Whether taking a walk in the park or just going to the grocery store, your dog is always happy to be by your side. Sometimes this clinginess can be annoying, but I think it's one thing that makes dogs so unique. They are always there to support and comfort us, no matter what life throws our way. So next time you feel down, remember that you have a furry friend who loves you unconditionally waiting at home just for you. Thanks, dogs! :)
How clingy is your dog? Comment on the post and let us know :)