Why Do Dogs Follow You to the Bathroom?

Dogs love to stay by your side, even when you’re doing something, well… private. But have you ever wondered why, exactly, your dog is so interested in you when you’re doing your business? For a lot of dogs, it’s simply because they’re pack animals, and they like to stick by your side. But other dogs might be following you for a different reason. Read this article to learn more about your canine companion and why they like to accompany you to the porcelain throne.

Things You Should Know

  • Dogs will often follow you to the bathroom because they like your company. They’re pack animals, and they’re used to sticking together.
  • Your dog might also want affection, or they could be waiting for a walk, food, or treats.
  • If your dog is a “Velcro dog,” they like to stay by your side. They’ll probably follow you anywhere in your home.
  • In rare cases, your dog might be following you around because they are afraid, are sick, or have separation anxiety.

1. They’re social animals.

  1. Dogs are pack animals, and they love hanging out with us. In fact, your dog would probably hang out with you 24/7 if possible! When they follow you to the bathroom and around the house, take it as a compliment: it means they really enjoy your company.[1]
    • Before dogs were domesticated, staying in a group (or a pack) was important for the safety and survival of the animals. This evolutionary trait has morphed into your dog being a social animal who just likes to hang out with you.

2. They want affection.

  1. Dogs love attention, so they might be following you to get it. If you haven’t pet your dog in a while or given them any love, they might just be heading to the bathroom with you to get it. If you don’t want to pet them right then, that’s okay—just be sure to find them when you’re done for some cuddles and kisses.[2]
    • Maybe you notice that your dog follows you to the bathroom more often when you’ve been busy with other things. If that’s the case, their need for affection is likely the reason.

They’re imprinted on you.

  1. Dogs tend to pick a favorite human to follow around. If you’ve had your dog since they were a puppy, it’s likely that they’ve imprinted on you or someone in your home. If so, they’ll probably follow you around everywhere you go, because you’re their leader.[3]
    • If your dog has imprinted on someone else in the home but they’re not around, your dog might be following you as their leader until the other person gets home.

4. You’ve been rewarding their behavior.

  1. Your dog might know they get pets or treats in the bathroom. It’s hard to notice at first, but you might be creating a pattern of behavior for your dog. Do you often pet them and talk sweetly to them while you’re on the toilet? Or, maybe you give them a treat whenever you’re done on the porcelain throne. If so, your dog is probably waiting for their reward.[4]
    • This behavior isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you don’t mind their company. However, if you’d like to break the cycle, you can gently redirect them to a different room while you’re using the facilities.

5. They’re a “Velcro dog.”

  1. Velcro dogs are clingier and need more attention than other breeds. Working dogs (like Dobermans, Great Danes, and boxers) and herding dogs (like collies, shepherds, and corgis) tend to stick to their humans a little closer than other breeds. It’s because they think that you two are working together: at any moment, you might give them a command that they need to follow.[5]
    • Velcro dogs aren’t experiencing anxiety; rather, they’re just ready for the next task or job that you decide to give them.
    • If you’d like to take a breather from your Velcro dog, try giving them a “job,” or a new command to complete. Try “sit,” “bed,” or “crate.”

6. They’re waiting on a walk or food.

  1. our dog might be waiting for you to complete their routine. Most dogs keep track of their routines, including what time they go on a walk and what time they get fed. If you notice that your dog is following you to the bathroom at certain times, they might just be waiting on you to complete their routine.[6]
    • For instance, does your dog only follow you to the bathroom in the morning? They might be waiting on you to feed them breakfast or let them outside.

7. They’re bored.

  1. Humans are exciting, so your dog might just want some entertainment. If you haven’t played with your dog or walked them in a while, they could just be following you to see if you do anything fun. Try throwing a toy or taking them outside to get some of their energy out.[7]
    • High energy breeds generally need more exercise than other breeds do. If your dog is high energy, plan on walking them 1 to 2 times per day, and playing with them often.

8. They have separation anxiety.

  1. Separation anxiety makes your dog feel uneasy when you aren’t around. If your dog has separation anxiety, they might bark or whine whenever you leave. They might also be destructive while you’re gone, doing things like chewing up pillows or tearing up toys. Fortunately, you can treat separation anxiety by exercising your dog regularly, leaving them toys and treats out to play with, and helping your dog bond with other people in your home.[8]
    • It may also be helpful to contact a professional dog trainer to help you out.

9. They’re afraid.

  1. Helpful?Dogs might be following you to the bathroom for protection. If there’s something weird happening, like a thunderstorm or a loud truck, your dog might follow you around. They want you to look after them and comfort them, so be sure to give them lots of love and pets.[9]
    • Many dogs are also scared of loud noises like fireworks. If your dog follows you to the bathroom on the 4th of July, they’re probably just nervous about the noises.

10. They aren’t feeling well.

  1. In rare cases, your dog may be clingy because they’re sick. If your dog didn’t used to follow you to the bathroom but now they do, they may be trying to tell you something. If you’re concerned about your dog, make an appointment with your vet to get them checked out.[10]
    • You might also notice that your dog is clingier in other parts of your home, too. Maybe they want to lay right next to you on the couch or be by your feet, when they usually don’t do that.
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