If your dog has been following you upstairs, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog follow me upstairs? Possible reasons why your dog follows you upstairs are that it has some separation anxiety, it is bored, it is fearful of something or that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main reason, it should become easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog follows you upstairs
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been following you upstairs and what would make each of them more likely.
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 upstairs more at times when you are likely to go upstairs for a long time such as at bedtime. It would also be more likely if it starts showing signs of being anxious when you are leaving by doing things such as pace or cry.
The cause could be that it is bored and waiting for you to give it something such as exercise. This would be more likely if it tends to follow you upstairs when it has not gotten exercise yet. It would also be more likely if it tends to stop doing it after getting exercise. It would help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
The cause could be that something has been causing it to be fearful and it does not want to be left alone. This would be more likely if it tends to do it at times where it is more likely to be fearful such as when there are construction works outside.
It wants something from you
The cause might also be that it is waiting to get something from you such as food. This would be more likely if it tends to follow you upstairs more at certain times such as when you have not given it food yet.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause might also be that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it rewards when it does it. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it follows you upstairs, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What is different when your dog does not follow you upstairs
If your dog does not always follow you upstairs, it would help to consider what is different when it does not do it.
For example, if it does not do it when it has been fed and gotten exercise, it might be the case that it follows you upstairs when it is waiting for food or exercise.
Whereas, if it does it more at times when you are likely to be upstairs for a while, it would be more likely to be due separation anxiety.
If it always follows you upstairs, it would be more likely to be due to either separation anxiety or learning that it gets rewards for following you upstairs.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always follow you upstairs, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since an event might have caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as something causing it to become fearful, suddenly being left alone for longer time periods or learning that it gets rewards for following you upstairs.
What to do about your dog following you upstairs
Below are a number of options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
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 upstairs, you would reward it when it does not follow you but it normally would and stop rewarding it when it starts following you.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for following you upstairs. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not follow you and to avoid rewarding it when it does.
If it seems to be following you upstairs 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.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to try to get it to focus on something else when it starts following you upstairs. 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.
If you can’t figure out why your dog has been following you upstairs or you can’t get it to stop, 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.