Dogs often like to follow their owners everywhere they go and to watch their every move, but this behaviour has a purpose. There are several different reasons why dogs follow their owners. It depends on the dog and the individual situation.
There are several common reasons for your dog to follow you around:
If the bond between the dog and the owner is paired over time with a great deal of reinforcement, this might be the reason why he follows you. For example, if a dog learns that nice things, such as treats, walks, pats, and fun activities come from you, they might be more likely to follow you.
Dogs are naturally curious about everything and are constantly learning about the world around them. For them, you are the most interesting thing to learn about. Through the training sessions that you give them, they get used to always paying attention to you, so when you move around, they think that it's just another exercise, so they naturally follow to practice. Your dog may also follow you to find out what is going on, because he doesn’t want to miss out on anything.
Some dogs are nervous about being alone, so they rely on our social presence. This can be a symptom of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is the emotional disorder in which a dog gets stressed whenever you leave home or just leave the room. An anxious dog may display pinned ears, wide eyes, grimaced panting, or increased tension as you get ready to leave. They might not be able to eat or play with a toy when you leave the room.
Our dogs crave our companionship and our attention, because they are social creatures, and have such a close relationship with us. While we may have many different friendships and interactions with people at work, school or in social activities, our dogs see us as the centre of their world. And they just really love being around us.
It’s possible that your dog didn’t get enough physical and mental exercise. Because of that, he will start following you around out of boredom, looking for something to do.
Benefits for your dog
With all the time that your pets spend following you around, they are building a bond with you. When a dog spends time with a person, they are likely to come in contact with reinforcement - things that dogs like, like food rewards, petting, fun activities, and companionship. The time that your dog spends studying your every move also helps them to understand you better, which can help them to better interpret the meaning behind your actions. That way they could predict that it’s time for a walk or see that you are getting ready to leave.
Benefits for you
Humans also benefit from being close to a dog, because they prevent loneliness, make us feel loved and when a dog wants to do things such as play and go on a walk, you can benefit from the activity. Dogs can also improve our health by keeping us exercising more regularly. Several studies have now shown that even brief interactions with dogs reduce anxiety and improve mood.
How to Tell if Your Dog’s Following Has Gone Too Far
Usually, the fact that your dog follows you around isn’t a big deal. But it could be unhealthy when a dog cannot stop following. This is especially concerning if the dog has chosen only one person to interact with and is fearful or avoids all other humans. In these cases, the dog may be improperly socialized with people, or might be overly attached to one person. These dogs are at risk for developing social or separation anxiety, fear aggression, or other behavioral problems.
If you think your dog may be suffering from anxiety when you aren’t around, try leaving a dog interactive toys to help divert your dog’s attention from your absence, or leaving a radio or television playing when you’re out of the house. If those distractions don’t work, you could try desensitization, a behavioral solution to separation problems. For extreme cases of separation anxiety, consult your veterinarian.
How to Stop Your Dog From Following You Everywhere
It is lovely when someone enjoys your companionship and loves to be around you. However, sometimes you need privacy for yourself. Try teaching him how to lie calmly on a bed, towel, or mat. In this method, take a new bed or mat and ask your dog to lie down on it. Each time he successfully does so, reward him with a treat. After he masters this command, begin incorporating distractions like setting treats down nearby or having a family member stand a few feet from his mat. Eventually, he will learn to lie down and stay on his designated mat for extended periods of time. Another method is distracting your dog with his favourite toy or some tasty treats. By doing this, you can keep them away for a while enough for you to finish your stuff.