As a therapy dog organization in the United States, the Alliance of Therapy Dogs is often asked by dog owners why they are being stalked by their dog. As anyone with a dog already knows, dogs are often inclined to follow their owners everywhere they go and to watch their every move, but there is actually more to this behavior than meets the eye. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why your dog follows you, its human benefit, recognizing when the following has gone too far, and indications of separation anxiety.
In addition, dogs uncanny ability to display the understanding of our cues is the catalyst for our bonding to them, and may even be why we have evolved to where we are today. By far the most dangerous symptom of dog anxiety is aggression and it can be targeted directly or indirectly, depending on the situation.
The damage is usually located around entry and exit points, like doorways and windows, but dogs in a state of heightened anxiety are also at risk of harming themselves. Attempts to break out of dog crates, windows, and even doors can result in painful injuries and expensive veterinary treatments.
Why won't my dog leave me alone all of a sudden?
If your dog doesn’t want to leave your side when you come home from work, it might mean that your pooch has separation anxiety. Separation anxiety in dogs usually develops when the dog bonds too closely with their owner. … Besides clinginess, dogs with separation anxiety tend to act destructively when left alone.
Whats it mean when your dog won't leave your side?
Separation Anxiety Can Cause Your Dog to Not Leave Your Side. Some dogs even try to prevent you from leaving. Dogs with separation anxiety will sometimes start barking, pacing or exhibiting other distressing behaviors after a short time after being left alone.
Weve all had the experienceyou walk to the kitchen to refill your drink, and your little shadow is underfoot. Or you head into the bathroom, only to find a curious nose pushing the door open behind you.
Occasionally, dogs will stick close to your side if they are nervous, frightened , uncertain of strangers, or not feeling well. And the very occasional dog gets so anxious if they are separated from their pet parent that they panicthis is not a good situation for either party.
There are all kinds of things in the bathroom that smell intensely like their family members, and its great fun to explore these! Young dogs rely on their mother to show them the ways of the world, and when they are removed from her and their siblings, their new family becomes their imprinted parents. They are often less confident than older dogs and havent learned the proper social skills.
If you notice that your senior dog has suddenly started to follow you around, or you see any other changes in their behavior, schedule a veterinary visit to look for the underlying problem. Often, this may mean something is wrongthat they arent feeling well or something in their body has changed and is making them less confident, like a loss of sight or hearing. In most instances, newly adopted dogs wont feel confident right away since they are in a new situation with new people, and they dont know the routines and what to expect.
This puts them almost back in puppy mode, as their new people become mom and take on the role of showing them the environment and teaching them the expectations for the household. It will help to consult your veterinarian for advice, particularly if your dog becomes overly anxious when separated from you. Teaching your dog commands like stay and place will show them its okay to be left in an area that you consider safe.
It is also helpful to have other people walk your dog regularly and provide meals and treats.
We love spending quality time with our pups. But there may be days when we wonder, Why does my dog follow me everywhere? The answer has to do with your dogs animal instinct, pack mentality, and a few other variables.
Young puppies (anywhere from birth to 6 months of age) can often imprint on their owners and look to them as they would their mother, says Dr. Barrack. Sometimes its the primary caregiver who provides food and walks or the fun-time human who plays tug-of-war, a game of catch, or hands out endless amounts of treats.
If your dog is overly attached, its important to figure out whether this velcro behavior is part of his personality and breeding, or if something more serious is going on. A dog that suddenly becomes very clingy may be suffering from a physical ailment and keeping you in reach for comfort. A checkup by the veterinarian is a good idea if this happens, says Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC chief veterinary officer.
In the past, my dog wouldve been what you called an independent soul. Entire afternoons could be spent by itself, rolling around on the carpet, or playing with its (a hundred) toys.
There are many worrisome reasons as to why dogs will follow their owners suddenly out of nowhere, such as stress, fear, anxiety, insecurity, and illnesses. At the same time, it can also be the case that your dog simply feels closer to you these days, or knows that if it stays near you it is more likely to receive food and treats.
If your dog suddenly wont leave your side, separation anxiety is no doubt one of the most common possibilities. Besides the clingy behavior, dogs battling separation anxiety tend to be very destructive when left alone by themselves. They will exhibit behaviors such as whining and barking excessively, showing aggression, pacing restlessly, digging, and destroying any objects that they find.
For example, one of the best methods of minimizing separation anxiety in a dog is by very gradually increasing the time that it spends by itself. Other ways of dealing with separation anxiety in dogs include not giving them too much attention all the time, introducing them to other family members, and distracting them with suitable puzzle or chew toys while you are away. This can be a reason for your dog to start following you all of a sudden, as it feels like you are their greatest source of comfort and support.
If your dog seems unwell, or is showing other signs such as burying its head into you , it may be time to take it to the vet for a thorough checkup. It may be that once a medical issue is discovered and resolved, your dog will be back to its normal, happy, independent self! Senior dogs experiencing these age-related health problems become clingy because they often become lost, confused or disoriented .
When old dogs experience the world in a way that they are not accustomed to due to deteriorating senses, they can become very anxious. If your dog is likely acting clingy out of boredom: Play with him and do fun activities, take him outside for a walk, and give it all the attention you can muster . Being creatures of habit, dogs really find a lot of comfort in a set, regular routine.
Since they rely on us so much for their lives and wellbeing, big changes in daily patterns can really throw off and upset their balance. Much like the previous section, a dog that is feeling stressed out or fearful for whatever reason is more likely to want to follow you around all the time. Also, abrupt behavioral change when certain people are around could mean your pet feels insecure or fearful in their presence.
What Ive found is a good clue of a dog feeling stressed is if they have a hunched posture, lowered tail , and tries to maintain constant (sorrowful) eye contact . Therefore, if you have recently welcomed a new animal, baby, or even significant other to your home, you may start to see your dog behind you every time you turn around. Whenever you introduce a new special someone into their lives, your dog will likely show excessive affection or act out aggressively because it is worried about losing you.
Keep in mind that your dog experiences some physical pain and discomfort during this period, and so likely needs to be comforted more than usual. If spaying is not an option currently ( perhaps due to the cost ), make sure you give her more attention and care when she is in heat. For this reason, your dog will want to stay close to a person she loves and trusts to feel comfortable during this time.
Feeding it the right foods in the correct amount at regular times will go a long way in solving this problem. It is common for these breeds to subsequently show obsessive and clingy behavior towards their owner if they dont have an outlet for this energy. If you think that this is the case, you need to ignore your dog instead until it gets the message and stops following you around in hope of a reward.
Its important to get to the root of it as soon as you notice clinginess in your dog in order to prevent it from causing bigger issues down the road. Excessive barking- mostly when left alone Whining and drooling Panicked behavior A loss of appetite or refusal to eat Nervous body language Signs of stress or insecurity, e.g. cowering or darting eyes Destructive behavior Urination/defecation in the home Some dogs can experience vomiting or diarrhea solely as a result of separation anxiety.
A few of the potential factors that can result in an older dog following you everywhere all of a sudden include u nderlying medical issues and age-related complications such as loss of vision, diminished hearing, and acute pain . Therefore, if you notice abrupt changes in your old friends behavior, make sure to visit your vet so that he can tell what exactly the problem is. Helping your senior dog with separation anxiety and providing a stable environment can make them more comfortable.
If your senior pet shows you its problems, make sure to deal with them accordingly so that it can live well into its golden years. If your dog keeps following you everywhere while panting, the chances are that your furry friend is feeling stressed or anxious. If your dog has not just been exercising or playing, panting can also mean that it could potentially be battling a hidden disease or illness.
There are a large number of possible reasons as to why your dog will suddenly refuse to stray from your side.
What are the Reasons Why My Dog
If your dog follows you around constantly, you will likely either find it incredibly endearing or you will be tired of almost tripping over him all the time. Either way, it helps to understand some of the science behind why your dog certification might be constantly at your side.
How Does Following Me Benefit My Dog?
With all the time that your pet spends following you around, you might wonder if she’s actually getting anything good out of it. The human/animal bond works both ways. When a dog spends time with a person, the dog is likely to come in contact with reinforcement — things the dogs like, such as food rewards, petting, fun activities, and companionship.The time that your dog spends studying your every move also helps her to understand you better, which can help her better interpret the meaning behind your actions. Given all the research to support a unique adaption to understand human gestures, language, and tone, it is no wonder that dogs often look like they are studying our movements. They are watching our every move to see if we give them clues as to our intentions, or to catch us communicating with them. In this way, they could anticipate that it is time for a walk, or see that you are getting ready to leave, or perhaps that it is dinnertime. They have become the animal kingdom’s human language experts — both physical and spoken language.
Reasons Dogs Follow You Everywhere
There are many reasons dogs choose to follow us. Probably the most consistent one is that it’s in their genes—throughout history, dogs have been pack animals. When we remove dogs from their canine pack, they simply adopt their human pack instead. The same instincts that kick in with wild dogs are present in our canine companions.But genetics aren’t the only reason dogs like to follow people.Dogs are social animals. Just as we enjoy their companionship, they often like ours as well. And what better way to show it than to stick close to your buddy? Further, if your dog was adopted as a young puppy, she may be “imprinted” on you, truly feeling like you are their “dog mother.”In other cases, some dogs just get bored, so they figure that if you’re doing something, why not tag along? These dogs will often greatly benefit from more exercise.Lots of pets learn to clue in on daily routines, like the fact that they are fed or walked at certain times. What better way to make sure you don’t forget than to be right there and waiting? We often unconsciously reward this cute behavior, too, by providing food or treats.Just beware that this can be a double-edged sword, as it makes your dog more likely to repeat the behavior, which might not be something you want.Occasionally, dogs will stick close to your side if they are nervous, frightened, uncertain of strangers, or not feeling well. This is especially common during thunderstorms and fireworks; dogs see us as their protectors in these events. And the very occasional dog gets so anxious if they are separated from their pet parent that they panic—this is not a good situation for either party.
Why Do Puppies Follow You Everywhere?
Puppies are a bit of a special case when it comes to following people around. Young dogs rely on their mother to show them the ways of the world, and when they are removed from her and their siblings, their new family becomes their “imprinted” parents. As a result, they will follow you, often closely, to learn what they need to know about their environment.They are often less confident than older dogs and haven’t learned the proper social skills. These behaviors tend to lessen a bit as they mature and become more confident.
Why Do Older Dogs Follow You Everywhere?
Older dogs may follow their owners purely out of familiarity and habit. However, if this is a new behavior, it may also indicate that things are changing for your dog, making them less confident.Perhaps your dog is starting to lose their hearing or vision. Or they have started to have joint problems, so they are less independent than they were. Other dogs experience a mental decline—much like Alzheimer’s in people—that makes them become clingy.If you notice that your senior dog has suddenly started to follow you around, or you see any other changes in their behavior, schedule a veterinary visit to look for the underlying problem.
Following the Leader
In households consisting of multiple people, there’s a good chance your dog will become fixated on one person in particular. Sometimes it’s the primary caregiver who provides food and walks or the fun-time human who plays tug-of-war, a game of catch, or hands out endless amounts of treats.“Look at it from the dog’s point of view,” says Erin Kramer, a professional certified dog trainer and owner of Tug Dogs in Northern California. “You might think you’re the cool one, but the person your dog is attached to is the road to everything wonderful and magical. The focus is on that person because of what they give access to.”A dog’s life experience before entering your home can play a big part when it comes to being fixated on one person, especially for dogs who have been rescued. What was their life like before they came to live with you? “Those previous experiences have an impact on a dog and can contribute to the lingering fear of abandonment,” says Dr. Barrack.It’s not uncommon for certain breeds to over-attach to their owners, particularly dogs in the working or herding groups that are bred to work side-by-side with their humans. “It’s a trait that’s prized and bred into their genetic history,” says Kramer.If your dog is overly attached, it’s important to figure out whether this velcro behavior is part of his personality and breeding, or if something more serious is going on. For example, an older dog may be losing his sight or hearing, becoming more fearful of the environment and dependent on having you near.“A dog that suddenly becomes very clingy may be suffering from a physical ailment and keeping you in reach for comfort. A checkup by the veterinarian is a good idea if this happens,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC chief veterinary officer.
Velcro Vs. Separation Anxiety
Could a dog who is attached to you at the hip be showing signs of separation anxiety? While they’re both associated with not wanting to be away from an owner, there are some distinct yet subtle differences between these two forms of behavior.The big difference between separation anxiety and being a velcro dog is anxiety itself. While velcro dogs prefer to be glued to their owners, dogs with true separation anxiety actually panic when they’re away from their owners.Velcro dogs may be more susceptible to developing separation anxiety, but it doesn’t automatically mean they will. However, it should serve as a wake-up call to address the behavior before it reaches the point where your dog can’t function without you in the picture.
Was your dog once an independent, confident canine that pleasantly seemed to not require as much human coddling as others?It can be confounding to see a previously individualistic pet become a Velcro dog for no apparent reason.However, it can happen, and does so for various reasons such as:I will now go through each of these reasons (and more), and briefly detail how each has the ability to make your dog follow you around endlessly!
Undiagnosed Medical Issues
If your dog is sick or in pain, chances are that it will do one of two things: become super clingy, or keep strongly to itself.Feeling unwell is a scary feeling for dogs, and someIf your dog seems unwell, or is showing other signs such as burying its head into you, it may be time to take it to the vet for a thorough checkup.It may be that once a medical issue is discovered and resolved, your dog will be back to its normal, happy, independent self!
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CCDS)
Unfortunately, dogs age just like everyone else. As they do, their health deteriorates- both physically and neurologically.Senior dogs are susceptible to functional changes such as cognitive dysfunction.According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, aging dogs gradually lose theirSenior dogs experiencing these age-related health problems become clingy because they oftenWhen old dogs experience the world in a way that they are not accustomed to due to deteriorating senses, they can become very anxious.
If your dog is anything like mine, it loves to cuddle and play.If you, again like me, have to leave your corgi at home by itself for hours at a time, it is very likely that theAnd the moment you do-If your dog is likely acting clingy out of boredom:
Changes In Daily Routine
Being creatures of habit,Other routines can include the morning walk, or the hourly toilet breaks. TNow imagine that routine suddenly changes- the reason for which is of course unknown to your pet. Since they rely on us so much for their lives and wellbeing,More often than not, this results in a pet becoming panicked. And when a dog becomes worried,Therefore, the advice here is that once you have found a routine that works for both you and your pal: Stick with it! Doing so will result in a happier, more confident pooch.
Stress, Fear, And Anxiety
Much like the previous section, a dog that is feeling stressed out or fearful for whatever reason is more likely to want to follow you around all the time.For all you know, the pet might have been bullied by other pets, or mistreated by the neighborhood raccoon. Also, abrupt behavioral change when certain people are around could mean your pet feels insecure or fearful in their presence.What I’ve found is a good clue of a dog feeling stressed is if they have aAt least, that’s how my big dog Max looks every time the thunder rolls around, or the burglar alarm goes off. During times that he’s feeling scared or stressed, there’s nothing I can do to get him away from my side (
Being In Heat
This is brought on by hormonal changes in the body, and can lead to subsequent behavioral changes as well during the period.If your female pooch is in its estrus cycle, it will likely becomeKeep in mind that your dog experiences some physical pain and discomfort during this period, and so likely needs to be comforted more than usual. If spaying is not an option currently (perhaps due to the cost),
Your Dog Is About To Give Birth
This one should be the most noticeable possibility out of this entire list.Dogs tend to become super clingy when they are about to give birth.Giving birth is stressful and exhausting-Even a normally independent dog will become clingy when she is about to deliver, and who can blame her?