Why does my dog follow me everywhere?

Dogs are famously devoted to their humans – so much so that they'll follow them around wherever they go. So why exactly does your canine companion stick to you like fly paper and is there anything you can do about this need if it gets too extreme?

Dogs love to follow you around, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Dogs love to follow you around, and there's nothing wrong with that.  © Unsplash/Alvan Nee

There are few animals that'll be more devoted and loving towards their owner than man's best friend.

Cats are famously aloof, often preferring to be close to their humans, but with plenty of space of their own.

It's not like that with most dogs, who would love nothing more than to be physically attached to their beloved owners.

Lost dog's story of abandonment breaks hearts on social media!
Dogs Lost dog's story of abandonment breaks hearts on social media!

But that desire can get a little bit too extreme sometimes, and can end up being inconvenient.

So why does your dog follow you everywhere? Should you be worried about separation anxiety?

Here's everything you need to know!

Why does my dog follow me everywhere?

There are many reasons why your dog feels the need to follow you around the house or stick extra close to your side when you're in a park, even if it's off the leash. In the end, your dog likely has more faith in you, and more trust, than any human you know, so it's unlikely that its apparent obsession is anything to truly worry about.

Your dog likely follows you around, even as a way to protect you, communicate with you, or simply to fix a feeling of boredom or stress. It's nothing to really worry about, to be honest, but something you should be aware of.

Note: If your dog doesn't usually follow you around and give you excessive amounts of attention, but has suddenly started doing so, it might be necessary to investigate. Try to determine why it is behaving this way, and then take it to the veterinarian to get it checked out. You're not a vet, so don't try to be one.

When a dog is bored, it'll likely follow you around for entertainment and attention.
When a dog is bored, it'll likely follow you around for entertainment and attention.  © Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez

Boredom

Boredom is a very common cause of excessive attention from your dog, and isn't anything to worry about. We all get bored from time to time and seek out company to make us feel better about our day or just simply get at least a little bit of entertainment. It does no damage, and should never be treated as a serious problem. Just make sure that it is walked properly and has plenty of toys to play with and activities to keep it busy.

Expectation

Do you usually feed your dog at a certain time, or are you in the habit of giving it a treat when it follows you around? If either option is true, your dog could be following you around simply because it wants to get something out of you. It doesn't even have to be food-related – dogs will follow humans around for cuddles, affection, walks, play time, and all sorts of things.

Communication

Dogs are desperate to communicate with you, despite being unable to talk.
Dogs are desperate to communicate with you, despite being unable to talk.  © Unsplash/Fabian Gieske

If something is wrong, or your dog wants to communicate with you, it will follow you around until you understand.

This is ultimately about expectations again, but can also indicate a problem. Your dog might be in pain, might have done something wrong, might be uncomfortable or scared, and might be seeking some attention and reassurance that everything is going to be alright.

Keep in mind: if you suspect that your dog's behavior might be due to pain, discomfort, or illness, you need to take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Don't try to self-diagnose.

Protection

Dogs are very territorial creatures, and desperately want to keep you safe. After all, you are the head of your dog's pack, and the member of its family that it cares about the most in the world. It wants to make sure that, no matter what, you will be there to keep it company and look after it. As a result, dogs can get very protective of their humans and may follow them around, looking to defend them against imaginary threats.

Separation anxiety

Your dog likely gets very lonely, anxious, and sad when you are not around.
Your dog likely gets very lonely, anxious, and sad when you are not around.  © Unsplash/Hai Nguyen

Separation anxiety is a very serious affliction in dogs, and something that should be treated with care and dignity. People who often have to leave their dog home alone will likely have to deal with separation anxiety at some point.

One of the most common symptoms is a need to stick with you as close as it can whenever you are around. It's also likely to get lethargic and depressed, and will bark excessively when you're gone.

Curiosity

Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and may just follow you around to investigate what you're up to. This is a perfectly okay behavior, and one that certainly doesn't require any action from you. Instead, appreciate your dog and its evident love for you, and take some time to give your curious cutie a good long pet, a tummy rub, and a boop on the nose.

You have nothing to worry about if your friend's dog is following you around.
You have nothing to worry about if your friend's dog is following you around.  © Unsplash/Jonathan Daniels

Why does my friend's dog follow me everywhere?

The most common reason why a friend's dog might follow you around is out of curiosity, as it wants to make sure that you are safe, friendly, and an overall good human. You are new and an unusual entrant into its domain and into the attentions of its master. As a result, you deserve to be investigated and checked out, just to make sure that you are worthy of its master's attention.

Of course, this is not the only reason why your friend's dog might obsessively follow you around when you come to visit - after all, once you have visited a few times and are well-known to the doggo, you hardly need to be investigated. Instead, there are a variety of reasons which may explain the dog's interest.

Here are a few reasons why your friend's dog follows you around:

  • Curiosity: The dog is curious, as we have discussed, and wants to investigate you and discover whatever it can.
  • Fear, caution, and protection: The dog is uncertain about you and wants to make sure that its master is kept safe.
  • Desire: The dog might be that the dog simply wants something from you, be it food, or just some simple old-fashioned attention.

Whatever the reason for the dog's curiosity might be, it is unlikely that you need to be worried. Simply ask your friend about it, and your friend will be able to calm your dog down and make you feel a little more comfortable.

Dogs will follow humans – it's natural!

If your dog follows you around when you're home, always looking to have your attention and look after you, there's ultimately nothing to worry about. You don't need to go to the vet (unless other symptoms are present), you don't need to stop the dog's wandering, you just need to relax and enjoy the love and affection you so rightly deserve.

Enjoy your dog's love and don't reject it!

Cover photo: Unsplash/Alvan Nee

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