What it means when your dog follows you to the bathroom

There are certain things that our dogs do that leave us questioning why exactly it happens.

An example of this would be a dog that loves following you everywhere even to the bathroom. Your dog does not follow you to the bathroom by accident as you are going to see in this article.

The main reason your dog follows you everywhere even to the toilet is because of their instincts. Dogs always want to be around the people they love and commonly get attached to their caretakers more than the rest of the family. This strong attachment and desire to be around the ones they love is the main reason some dogs may follow you around everywhere. 

However, it is worth noting that some breeds are more prone to this more than others. These breeds are known as Velcro dogs.

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What are Velcro dogs?

Velcro dogs are clingy dogs that always want to be around their owner for most of their time. These dogs will most likely to panic or even suffer from separation anxiety if left alone.

Lapdogs and certain breeds are more likely to be Velcro dogs. Some of the common velcro breeds include;

  • Chihuahuas
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Pugs
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • French Bulldogs
  • Papillon dogs
  • Maltese Terriers
  • Doberman Pinschers

These are some of the most clingy breeds but it is also common to see other dog breeds such as the German Shepherd displaying similar clingy behaviors.

The problem with velcro dogs

One of the biggest problems with clingy dogs is that they are prone to suffering from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety occurs when your dog panics or shows signs of extreme distress when he is left alone, especially for extended periods.

There are common signs and symptoms of a dog that suffers from separation anxiety that include;

  • Excessive barking and howling that goes on persistently.
  • Soiling in the house when you leave- This is when your dog defecates or urinates in the house.
  • Destructive behaviors such as chewing on objects and digging in your garden.
  • Escaping from the house and the home in general.
  • Moving in circular motions or a certain specific pattern but others may move back and forth continuously.

Separation anxiety is a big issue and can get to extreme levels which can be devastating.

Now, let us look at other reasons why your dog may be following you around even to the toilet apart from being a velcro dog. 

Why your dog follows you to the bathroom

1. Out of curiosity

Dogs are naturally curious animals and will do certain things such as licking, sniffing, and touching objects with their paws.

Following you to the toilet is also a way for a dog to satisfy his curiosity. He or she wants to know what you are about to do.

Some dogs may think that you are about to do something interesting while others may even be following a certain smell.

2. Lack of enough stimulation

With a lack of enough mental and physical stimulation, a dog will become bored.

A bored dog will follow you around as he tries to self-entertain also hoping that you are about to do something interesting together.

Dogs see us as their main source of entertainment and exercise is a great way to entertain a dog.

Here are some great indoor exercises.

3. Companionship and affection

Dogs are man’s best friend and the vice versa is true. They thrive on human attention and affection.

This strong desire for companionship is believed to be a result of how human beings and dogs evolved together. Because of this, your dog is more likely to follow you around everywhere.

4. Reinforcement

Your dog is most likely going to follow you to the bathroom if you give him a tasty treat or any kind of reward when he around you.

How to handle a dog that follows you everywhere

1. Meet your dog’s exercise needs

Exercise is important as it not only prevents your dog from getting overweight but also helps tire and keep your dog calm.

You can determine how much exercise your dog needs depending on how active he is and size but here are general guidelines;

  • Toy breeds– 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day.
  • Medium-sized breeds– 45 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.
  • Large-sized breeds– Upwards of 60 minutes a day.

You can meet your dog’s daily mental and physical stimulation by taking the dog for daily walks, hiking, agility training, jogging, playing fetch, swimming, and even playing mind games such as puzzles or shell games.

Interactive and chewable toys can also keep your dog from getting bored and reduce his urge to follow you around.

2. Desensitize this clingy behavior

Desensitization will involve exposing your dog to an undesirable and very uncomfortable stimulus that reduces his urge to do certain things.

This is also known as counter-conditioning and can be mild to extreme depending on how deep the clinginess is.

A great way to counter-condition your dog from following you around all the time is to do something uninteresting every time you get up and move to a different place.

This can be getting up, moving towards a certain direction then after your dog takes notice and is about to follow you, turn around and move back to your seat.

Doing this repeatedly over time will eventually reduce your dog’s interest in following you.

3. Enroll your dog in training classes

Enrolling your dog or puppy to obedience and basic training classes is a great way to separate you from him from time to time and reduce his urge to want to be around you.

These classes will offer your dog basic training, obedience training, and other undesirable behaviors such humping or jumping at people.

The pooch also gets proper socialization and will eventually learn that you will come back for him every time you leave.

However, your a clingy dog may not always tolerate you leaving him with individuals and other dogs that he considers strangers. To deal with this you can start with shorter classes and ensure you encourage and reassure him every time you are about to leave.

As the dog gets used to other dogs and the trainers, he will get more comfortable and before you know it, he will be going for full-day classes without a problem.

Price can also be a deterrent to taking your dog for these classes as a whole week of these group classes coat around $250 to $600 on average. Some training classes can also cost upwards of $1000.

4. Teach the sit and stay command

Training your dog the sit and stay command is a great way to keep some distance between you and your dog when you do not want him to get involved in what you are doing.

You can train your dog to do this using the steps that am about to lay out to you.

The sit command: 

  • With your dog in front of you, take out a treat and allow the dog to see.
  • Hold the treat in a clenched fist close to the dog’s nose over his head. This will leave him with no other option but to sit as he follows the treat.
  • Once he is in the sitting position say “SIT” then reward him with the treat.
  • Repeat this several times over a couple of days.

The stay command:

  • Ask your dog to stay like you taught him above.
  • Hold a treat in your hand but not close to the dog’s nose this time and ask him to “STAY.”
  • Back up a few steps back away from the dog and reward him every time he stays in the sitted position.
  • After several repititions, increase the number of steps that you take while moving away from the dog gradually. Reward if he stays but don’t reward if he doesn’t stay.
  • Repeat this over a several days before you are comfortable enough to take the treat out of the picture.

In conclusion

Your dog following you around is mainly a show of love and affection but it may not always be the best of you and the dog.

But with the right mitigation steps you can prevent this behavior from going to far and becoming uncontrollable.

You will also need to keep in mind that a dog’s instincts to follow you are natural as you try to manage it and keep it a level that you are comfortable with.

There you go, WOOF!



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