If your dog has been following you everywhere you might want to know why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog follow me everywhere? Possible reasons your dog follows you everywhere are that it is looking for attention, it wants something like food, separation anxiety or you might have been rewarding the behavior.
There are actually a number of reasons why your dog might be doing it and it could be a combination of factors. However, there are a number of things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact cause.
Possible reasons why your dog follows you everywhere
The different reasons why your dog does it will likely come with a number of clues.
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
Looking for Attention
The reason why it has been following you everywhere could be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it tends to do it 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 want it to stop, it would help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. However, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it follows you unless necessary.
It wants something
The reason why it does it could also be that it wants something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you would normally give it something such as food or a walk.
It might be the case that it does it due to separation anxiety where being without you causes it to become anxious. 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
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
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to follow you around by giving it things that it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it follows you everywhere it might have learned to do it more in order to get 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 follows you.
How to stop your dog from following you everywhere
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop following you everywhere.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward your dog for behaving the way you want it to or when it shows signs of behaving the way you want and avoid rewarding it when it does not.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop following you everywhere 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 redirect its attention onto something else when it seems like it is about to start following you. By doing this you should be able to get it out of the habit of constantly following you. Things that you could redirect its attention onto would be laying down somewhere or playing with a toy.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
Negative reinforcement training is where you reward your dog for behaving in a way that you do not want it to causing it to do it more. It would help to avoid rewarding your dog when it follows you around and to try to reward it when it does not.
Try ignoring it
If it seems like it might be following you around in order to get attention it would also help to give it attention throughout the day by walking it, playing with it and training it but to avoid rewarding it with attention when it follows you.
If you can’t figure out why it has been following you or you cannot get it to stop then another option would be to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist in your area. By doing so you should be able to get expert advice tailored to your particular dog and to see how to get it to stop.
Things to consider
When your dog first started following you everywhere
If your dog has not always followed you everywhere it would help to consider what else happened 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 when it does it or a sudden change in its daily routine. It would help to consider what else changed when it started doing it.
When your dog follows you most
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it seems to do it more. If there is then it would make it more likely to be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to follow you when you would normally walk it then it would be more likely that it is doing it because it wants to go for a walk.