Do you ever wake up at 6 am to go to the bathroom only to find your dog suddenly following you?
Some dogs have a habit of following their owners to the bathroom because they are curious about what’s inside and what we do there. But it’s not just that.
We explain why your dog may be shadowing and when to encourage it. If you don’t want your dog following you around, we cover how to stop it.
Why Does My Dog Follow Me to the Bathroom?
Dogs usually follow us to the bathroom to be near us. They enjoy our company and will follow us anywhere we go.
But shadowing doesn’t always mean they like us. They don’t always want to be alone, which can be a sign of separation anxiety.
There are scientific explanations for why dogs follow us into the bathroom. Here are some of them.
We all know that dogs are pack animals by nature. Whether they are sleeping, hunting, eating, or playing, they like doing activities in close-knit groups.
Your dog may be following you to the bathroom because they simply want to be by your side. They do not understand that bathrooms are for private human activities.
They inherited this trait from their wolf ancestors. Upon domestication, their human family members became the new pack.
And as humans saw the potential of dogs for work, dogs have evolved to be friendlier and more loyal to humans. They treat us like the “alpha” of the pack.
So even though domesticated dogs do not run in the wild in packs anymore, they are still hardwired to find comfort in companionship.
While this may sound good, your dog can also develop anxiety or distress when they are away from their pack.
Your dog must be trained to enjoy your company while also being self-sufficient enough to leave you alone during bathroom breaks.
Your Dog is Guarding You
Dogs also want to be useful, so they think their presence in your bathroom requires their support and love.
They know that you’ll be there for a few minutes, so they want to make sure you’re safe.
They understand that you might not see if an intruder comes, so they think it’s their job to protect you from any threats.
This is common among guard dogs for families, apartment guard dogs, and guard dogs for the elderly.
This may escalate into separation anxiety or aggression when a harmless visitor or unusual activity comes.
Have you ever noticed your dog sniffing the bottom of another dog that they just met? Dogs’ bottoms hold a lot of information, and sniffing is how they get to know them.
They do the same with humans. Because they enjoy your companionship and are very inquisitive about you, they will try to sniff your bottom.
They will even try to sniff you when you sit on the toilet because they see you as a member of the pack.
Your bathroom break is an excellent chance for them to get to know you and connect with you. While they mean well, you should not tolerate this behavior.
Your Dog is Seeking Attention
Dogs may simply be following you to the bathroom or anywhere else because they want your attention.
Because they feel rewarded every time you notice them, you might have unintentionally encouraged them when they have followed you in the past.
You can train your dog to be happy by themselves whenever you are not around.
When they learn to be occupied without you, you can go to the bathroom without them tagging along behind you.
They are Trying to Tell Something
Your dog might be following you to the bathroom because there is something important they need to tell you.
This is likely to be the reason for their shadowing behavior if they didn’t do it before but suddenly start to do it.
You may also notice that your dog is trying to lead you somewhere, like their empty water bowl or outside because they want to pee.
Try following your dog back to see what they are trying to tell you.
Your Dog Does Not Understand Alone Time
Another possible reason why your dog follows you to the bathroom is that they do not understand your need for alone time.
At first, this is normal because dogs are social animals who like to be in packs. They are used to hunting, eating, and playing in groups.
Alone time is a concept they cannot grasp. But it is your job to train them that it’s not always like this at home.
While they have to see you as the pack leader, they must also understand boundaries and independence.
Your dog thinks they are doing a great job keeping you company in the bathroom, but you can train them to believe there are other ways to be a good dog.
They Like the Smell of Your Bathroom
Dogs might adore the scent of the bathroom because it’s a mix of soaps, shampoos, their human, and everything else.
As major sniffers, this mix of smells fuels their curiosity. Some soaps and perfumes also remind them of you, so they always try to join you when going to the bathroom.
Dogs gather a lot of information with their nose, so it’s normal for them to adore the scent of your shower room.
Dog Breeds that Follow You Around
Dogs are extremely faithful, but some breeds are clingier than others. The breed is another factor that influences shadowing behavior or the “Velcro dog syndrome”.
Breed personalities are mere generalizations and not absolute facts, so you also have to consider the context your dog is in to understand why they keep following you.
Here are some dog breeds that like to follow you around:
- Great Dane
- Italian Greyhound
- Labrador Retriever
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Doberman Pinscher
- French Bulldog
- Great Dane
- Golden Retriever.
No matter the breed, you should train your dog to stop following you everywhere to avoid inconveniences, danger, and the development of behavioral issues.
Questions to Answer When Your Dog Follows You
If your pup starts following you around the bathroom, consider the following:
- Is there anything they need in the bathroom, such as a cooler temperature, water, or a toy they hid there?
- Have you been giving your dog enough attention, exercise, and mental stimulation?
- Are they showing signs of pain, like whimpering, grooming themselves, depression, and loss of appetite?
- Are they showing other signs of behavioral issues?
- What are the major changes in their routine and environment? Have you moved to a new house or is there a new baby that makes them feel jealous?
When to Encourage Your Dog’s Shadowing Behavior
You may encourage or tolerate your dog’s shadowing behavior if it’s not causing danger to both of you and if it’s not causing any inconvenience.
We can’t take away a dog’s pack mentality, although we can correct some unacceptable pack behavior. You are your dog’s pack, and the whole house is your territory.
Dogs are interested in you and the bathroom which is why they stare at you when you are inside the bathroom. They just want to be around you and that’s okay.
They will consider following you to the bathroom because they believe it’s what a good dog should do.
To them, it’s the same thing as following you to the kitchen, bedroom, or living room. They do not understand the importance of privacy and personal space in the bathroom.
Your dog’s sense of smell is very powerful. They know you are defecating or urinating in the bathroom.
In doggy language, urinating and pooping at a certain place is how one marks their spot or territory. They think the bathroom is important because you spend a lot of time there.
You can let them follow you if they are not obsessed with doing it and if you know that it is not rooted in anxiety or other behavioral issues.
Be understanding. Dogs are naturally curious, clingy, and sociable.
Sometimes, they are also trying to lead you to their empty water bowl or trying to communicate that they are sick. There is no need to scold them in these situations.
You need to stop your dog from following you to the bathroom if they have an unsolved behavioral problem.
If your dog is trying to protect you from a non-existent threat, then you need to start training them to stop following you because it’s only reinforcing their anxiety.
Most importantly, you should not encourage this behavior if it’s making you uncomfortable.
You don’t have to tolerate it even if your dog is well-behaved when following you, especially if you can’t concentrate on doing your thing in the bathroom because of them.
How to Stop Your Dog from Following You to the Bathroom
If you have decided that you want your dog to stop following you here are some solutions for you.
Close the Door
The most straightforward way to stop your dog from following you to the bathroom is to close the door. It will prevent them from sniffing you or bothering you while you are in there.
However, this will not fix any behavioral issues because closing the door will not solve the root cause of them following you.
You are also not guaranteed that they won’t just wait for you outside and make noise.
This band-aid solution is effective, but your dog may still require further training.
Give Your Dog Attention
Your dog may be seeking your attention because you haven’t been giving them love lately. Set a specific time to give your dog attention.
It’s also the perfect time to exercise them and determine if they are experiencing any medical condition.
Many dogs want to follow their owners everywhere because they don’t have any other outlet for their energy. Give them a long walk so they can be healthier and more stimulated.
You can also use this time to check if they have a high or low body temperature if they are excessively grooming, crying, or showing other signs of discomfort.
Give your dog around one hour of playtime and cuddles. You should also ignore them once it’s over so that they understand boundaries.
Your dog needs to realize that you get to decide when attention will be given to them.
If your dog still seeks attention when playtime is over, you can give them food puzzles or other kinds of toys that will keep them mentally stimulated and occupied.
We recommend CLHNNA Intelligent Dog Puzzle Toy if you have a beginner dog who needs to have their mind challenged.
This colorful and interactive toy can be a slow feeder to improve their digestion or a treat dispenser that requires your dog to flip the balls to get their reward.
Teach Them the “Stay” Command
Basic commands are an essential part of your dog’s training. They keep them safe, well-behaved, and mentally stimulated as they grow.
The stay command helps keep your dog in one place. This isn’t just useful for when they are following you to the bathroom, but also when at the park and in the car.
It’s also helpful in group settings when you want to keep your dog near you or away from some people or animals.
We have a guide on how to train your dog to stay and other basic commands for training.
Give Them a Regular Potty Schedule
Your dog may be following you to the bathroom because they also want to poop.
A regular potty schedule outside that corresponds with their needs is necessary. You should not just take them outside to use the bathroom.
Be proactive by knowing your dog’s needs and responding accordingly. When is your pooch ready to poop and pee?
Understanding this will prevent accidents in your bathroom.
FAQ Velcro Dog Behavior
Why Does My Dog Suddenly Want to Sleep with Me?
Your dog does this because they may want your affection or attention. Domesticated dogs are more likely to be attached to their human dog owners because they are the pack leader.
Your dog is probably also cold, which is why they want to sleep with you.
There are many other possible reasons for this, like wanting to protect you or attention-seeking.
Aside from following you everywhere, another sign of Velcro dog syndrome is your dog wanting to sleep with you in bed.
How Do I Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Following you to the bathroom can be a sign that your dog hates being alone. If you keep tolerating this, they might develop separation anxiety.
To stop them, you need to teach your dog basic commands like “sit”, “lie down”, “wait”, “stop”.
Treat separation anxiety in your dog to stop them from showing signs of Velcro dog syndrome.
How Can I Mentally Stimulate my Velcro Dog?
Doggy play dates, exercise, puzzle toys, teaching new tricks, and introducing to new environments are just some ways to mentally stimulate your Velcro dog.
But the most effective way to curb their bad behavior is to train them during your free time. It will help them to be independent and well-behaved while you are not around.
Always keep your dog mentally stimulated to avoid destructive behavior and excessive noises.
Good Friends Follow You Everywhere
It’s okay for your dog to follow you everywhere, even when you’re heading to the bathroom. If you think it’s harmless and innocent behavior, there’s no need to stop your dog.
If it’s causing danger, the development of behavioral issues, or inconvenience to you, then it’s okay to stop your dog from following you to the bathroom.
Understand why your dog is following you everywhere so you can respond to their needs. Sometimes, they are trying to tell you that they are in pain, or they just miss your attention.