If your dog has been following you around the house you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of possible reasons why your dog follows you around the house and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog follow me around the house? Possible reasons your dog follows you around the house are that it is looking for attention, it wants food, it has separation anxiety or that you have been reinforcing the behavior.
There are actually a number of reasons why your dog might be following you around the house and it could be a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can consider that will help you in figuring out the exact reason.
Possible reasons why your dog follows you around the house
Each of the different reasons why your dog follows you around the house will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog might be doing it and what would make them more likely.
Looking for Attention
The reason why it does it could be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it tends to follow you more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
If you don’t want it to follow you around the house, it would help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. But, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it starts following you around unless necessary.
It wants something
The reason why it does it could be that it wants something from you. This would be more likely if it starts following you around at the same time that you would normally do something with it such as feed it or take it for a walk.
Related: Why does my dog sit so close to me?
The reason why it does it could be that it has some separation anxiety and it becomes anxious when it is not around you. This would be more likely if it tends to follow you more when you would normally leave home.
In this case, you could try to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving and when you are away.
To do this you could do as follows:
- Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your dog
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
It was bred to work with humans
Another thing to consider is that dogs were bred to work alongside humans. Due to this, it is to be expected that your dog will look to you for direction and that it will cause it to follow you around at times. This is why it would help to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that it learns what you expect from it.
You reinforce the behavior
The reason why it does it could be that it has learned that it gets rewards when it does it. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats, food or extra attention when it starts following you around the house then it will likely do it more in order to get more of those rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not behave the way you want.
How to stop your dog from following you around
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop following you around the house.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding your dog for showing signs of behaving in a way that you want it to.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop following you around the house you would reward it when it does not follow you but it normally would and stop rewarding it when it starts following you.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to try to get it to focus on something else when it starts following you around the house. By doing this you should be able to break it out of the habit of following you. Things that you could get it to focus on would be laying down in a certain spot or you could give it a toy it likes.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
Negative reinforcement training is where you inadvertently train your dog to behave in an undesirable way by giving it things it wants when it behaves that way. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to be careful not to reward it when it does not.
Try ignoring it
If it seems to be following you around in order to get attention from you it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it does it. By doing so, it should learn that following you will not result in it getting attention from you.
If you can’t figure out why your dog has been following you around the house or you can’t get it to stop then you could try getting the help of a dog behaviorist in your area. By doing so you will be able to see how to get it to stop and why it is doing it.
Things to consider
When your dog first started following you around
If your dog has not always followed you around the house it would help to consider when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it did start doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards or a sudden change in its daily schedule. It would help to consider what else changed when it started doing it.
When your dog follows you around most
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to follow you around more. If there is then the timing could have something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to follow you around more at the same time that you would normally feed it then it would be more likely that it is waiting for you to feed it.
If you don’t want your dog to follow you around then it might be tempting for you to punish it for following you. But, you should avoid doing this since it can lead to other problems such as anxiety, stress, destruction, a lack of trust in you and it will be less willing to listen to your command in the future.
It’s not unusual
It might seem weird to you that your dog has a habit of following you around the house but it’s not unusual for dogs to do so.
When training your dog it is important to be patient. It is unlikely that you will be able to achieve drastic results with just one training session but you will be able to achieve much more noticeable results over the course of weeks or months.