why does my dog always follow me

Does this sound familiar? You re watching the game on television, you get up for some more ridiculously expensive guacamole, and you get the feeling someone is following you. Someone is. Your dog. For those of us with dogs, it sometimes can be difficult to take a step without finding your best friend following along beside you. So, why do they do that? The answer, like most things involving human and pet relationships, is not a simple one. There could be a few reasons. The most common is that your dog loves you. In fact, you re his whole world. He loves being near you, loves listening to your voice and even loves the smell of your stinky socks. When you move around, he goes with you. Dogs are very social and they enjoy the companionship of their humans. They re also studying us. Whether or not that s so they can eventually overthrow us and inherit the world, they spend a great deal of time trying to figure out what we re thinking. To do that, they need to observe us in different environments. They learn to take their cues from our body language and the tenor of our voices. They learn to read our moods and detect our needs. We learn from them, too, as they give us subtle and not-so subtle clues to what they re thinking and wanting. Another reason your dog might be following you has to do with food and other pleasures. If they follow you, it might be in the hopes that you re headed toward the pantry where the treat jar is stored.


Or maybe you ll walk over to the hook where the leash is hanging and take him out for a walk and some play time. Your dog also might tend to follow you when they know it s time for a meal or a walk. You usually can spot those instances when you stand up and your dog is immediately at your side, expecting you to head toward the kitchen. If you don t, the dog usually heads back to the spot he was in before. Some dogs can overdo the stalking. A Velcro dog one that sticks by your side constantly could be suffering from separation anxiety. For the sake of the dog s well-being, you should work on that, giving the dog reassurances that you re not going away, and that if you do, you ll be back. Sometimes ignoring the attachment works best. If you re constantly rewarding that behavior with attention, the dog comes to expect it and to crave it. Try greeting the dog when you come in the door, then ignore him for periods of time. You also can work on sit and stay commands, rewarding the dog for those instead of for clinging to you. There s nothing wrong with your dog dogging you, as long as it doesn t go to extremes. Just think of it as an entourage. This is a new, weekly column on why our pets do the things they do. If you have a question about your pet s odd or interesting behavior and wonder why he or she does that, email Joan Morris.
It s a picture that we all know: you stand up and so does your dog.


You head to the bathroom and so does your dog. You move toward the door and there is your dog, right with you every step. Does your dog watch you constantly and follow you everywhere you go? Have you ever wondered why? You probably already know that dogs are very social animals. They are made to live in groups. Descended from other wild canines that live in cooperative family groups, it is natural for your dog to fit easily into your own family. Your family is your dog s pack. She feels most at ease when she is with her pack. When you are present and calm, it makes her feel that there is nothing to be afraid of. By the same token, she might feel vulnerable in your absence, like she has no support. Your presence causes her brain to release feel good chemicals. Pi If she is with you wherever you go, she continues to feel peaceful and safe. Curiosity killed the cat err dog? Dogs are naturally inquisitive. When you move away, you attract his attention and then he wonders what you are doing. He is an opportunist. Your wandering might reveal an opportunity that he does not want to miss. You might be searching for food like you would in the wild, or more appropriately in this day and age, you might be headed to the kitchen for a snack you will share. He cannot miss an opportunity to see and do whatever you do.


When you move about your home, your dog might feel that you are patrolling the area and feel obligated to be a part of it. Dogs naturally place value on resources in order to survive. High-value resources are ones that are a priority and these are things like food, water, and territory. They must keep an eye on their resources to defend them from competition. Think about how your dog reacts when you pet your cat or when someone rings the doorbell! Patrolling and defending your home is a part of the job that your dog instinctively does. It is flattering to be the object of your dog s rapt attention. Although there are biological reasons that she might follow you everywhere, there is also scientific support that your dog loves you and feels happiest when she is with you. Pb Don t question her devotion, just enjoy it. Do you want to know more about DOGSPand other animals? Follow me on Facebook by clicking. Oxytocin and the neural mechanisms regulating social cognition and affiliative behavior. Front. Neuroendocrinology, 30 (4), 535-547. Ross, H. E. , and Young, L. J. (2009) The Neurobiology of social attachment: a comparative approach to behavioral, neuroanatomical, and neurochemical studies. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C, Toxicology and Pharmacology, 148 (4), 401-410, Young, K. A. , Liu, Y. ,and Wang, Z. (2008)

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