Why does my dog follow me to the bathroom? If you have a dog in your life, you know how annoying it can be when he follows you around the house, including to the bathroom! But why do dogs behave in this manner? Is there a common reason why dogs like to follow their owners everywhere, even to the bathroom? Experts haven’t reached a consensus on why dogs imitate this behavior, but there are a few possible explanations for why your canine companion follows you around everywhere.
Is this a normal behavior?
The short answer is yes. While this behavior seems strange to us, it is actually quite common among our furry friends. Dogs love to be in the presence of their owners at all times, even when they are going to the bathroom. So, it should come at no surprise if your dog wants to be at your side at all times. There are many different things that may be causing this common behavior; these reasons range from breed characteristics, separation anxiety, and curiosity. Below, we will examine some of these reasons, allowing you to understand why your dog may be following you to the bathroom.
Dog breed characteristics – Pack mentality
There are some dog breeds that are more prone to sticking close to your side, even when you need to go to the bathroom. These clingy dogs are typically referred to as velcro dogs and are known for following their owners everywhere. The common dog breeds that fall in the category of velcro dogs are the Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Labrador Retriever, and the Cattle Dog. If your dog is one of these common breeds, you can expect them to stick close by your side.
In addition, there are other dogs breeds that stick by your side for other reasons. Working dog breeds and herding breeds such as the Boxer and the Doberman Pinscher stick by their owner’s side to keep them safe from any possible danger. Toy breeds are also known for sticking close to their owners’ side due to their small size. If your dog likes to follow you around the house at all times, they are likely considered a velcro dog. However, this behavior can also have ties to separation anxiety, their view of you as the pack leader, or other behavior issues.
Dogs have no sense of privacy
Dogs commonly have no sense of privacy as they are pack animals. Your dog hasn’t considered the possibility that you do not like to be watched as you go to the bathroom. Your furry friend has no concept of privacy or intimacy. After all, you keep an eye on him while he goes about his business. Have you ever seen a dog become embarrassed and unable to perform his duties until you look away from him?
Your dog does not think that there is anything that you may be doing in the bathroom that should be kept from him. Since you are a member of his “pack” he should be able to take part in all of your activities throughout the day. Your dog’s ancestors were able to survive and thrive in the wild by doing everything together. This means that they never spent any time alone. So, if your dog is following you to the bathroom, it may be due to this basic ingrained behavior passed down from his ancestors. Many times their human family is their canine pack and they feel the need to protect them.
Dogs have a strong protective instinct
Some dogs are more protective in nature than other dogs. Your dog wants to protect you from any danger that may come your way, even when you are going to the bathroom. To your dog, any room could potentially be hiding a dangerous predator. So, if you are asking, “Why does my dog follow me to the bathroom?” your dog believes that he needs to protect you from any danger that may be waiting for you. The ancestors of dogs relied on this protection in the wild, especially while going to the bathroom. Going to the bathroom was an incredibly vulnerable time as the dog would have to let its guard down. A predator could easily attack a dog in this vulnerable state. So, dogs would stand guard and take turns going to the bathroom. This kept them safe and ensured their survival.
Your dog considers you to be a member of his pack and believes he needs to protect you from danger hiding in the bathroom. Dogs are very smart creatures and know that when you are in the bathroom, you are distracted making you more prone to an attack. While you know that there is no threat waiting for you when you let your guard down, your dog does not know that. Therefore, when you sit down to do your business, your dog’s first priority is to protect you and keep guard. So, think of it as a display of your dogs deep love for you; he doesn’t want you to get killed, even while going to the bathroom.
Dogs love smells and are always curious
Dogs are very curious creatures and are always wondering what you are up to. Our canine companions are always looking to explore their surroundings and scope out any new things that may be hiding around the corner. This includes understanding what you are up to at all times.
Most people shut the door behind them when they go to the bathroom. This makes going to the bathroom an even bigger mystery in the eyes of your dog. This peaks their natural curiosity and makes your dog want to follow you to the bathroom even more. Your dog may also think that something fun is happening in the bathroom and they do not want to miss out on it. Again, this behavior is closely linked to the pack mentality that is deeply ingrained within your dogs psyche.
Sometimes the best explanation for your dogs behavior is the most simplest one. These social animals love to experience new smells; including any scent that comes from you. The bathroom contains lots of different smells including soaps, perfumes, shampoos, bathroom garbage, and human waste. These are all smells that peak your dog’s simple curiosity and provide them with information within their environment. Dogs have a excellent sense of smell that they use to navigate the world around them, so this clingy behavior is not surprising; it is simply part of your dogs natural behavior and tendencies. These many different smells are what make bathroom time so exciting to your dog.
Dogs can suffer from separation anxiety when they are alone
As we have discussed, dogs are pack creatures and hate to be alone. If you notice that your dog struggles with being alone and displays attention getting behaviors such as howling, barking, or whining in your absence he may be suffering from separation anxiety. In addition, your dog may be displaying destructive behaviors. Dogs with separation anxiety have a difficult time being away from their owners for even a short period of time; meaning that they feel the need to follow you to the bathroom.
Dogs are very social creatures and love to have your full attention at all times. If your dog is left alone too often or for long periods of time, he may develop symptoms of separation anxiety. In addition to your dog following you to the bathroom, you may notice that he also waits for you at the door every time you leave the house. It is important to not reward this behavior with positive reinforcement.
You should begin to work on training exercises to decrease the level of separation anxiety within your dog. Begin by leaving your dog alone in small increments of no more than five minutes. Everytime you come back into the house, ignore your dog until he settles down. After your dog has settled down, you can reward him with a treat and praise. Repeat this exercise several times, increasing the time increment every time.
As you can see, there are many answers to the questions, “Why does my dog follow me to the bathroom?” Sometimes, the best explanation is the simplest, it may just be due to your dog’s natural instincts and pack mentality.