Why Does My Dog Follow Me Into The Bathroom?

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Why does my dog follow me into the bathroom? From wanting to protect you from trying to keep the family pack together to just simple curiosity, there are tons of reasons your dog may follow you into the bathroom (link) (link) (link). 

 

Busy? Get Your Hands Paws On The Answers Quickly…

 

8 Reasons Your Dog Follows You Into Your Bathroom

1. Pack Mentality 

Dogs are pack animals, meaning they live with other animals for their survival. You make up your dog's "pack." Your dog may want to follow you everywhere, including into the bathroom, to keep the pack together. Dogs feel better and more secure when they are with their pack, and they want to make sure that you stay safe and keep an eye on you wherever you go. 
Even though most domestic dogs do not run around in packs like their wolf ancestors, centuries of domestication have led to dogs becoming very closely bonded to their human companions, making them want to be at your side at all times. 
Also, dogs don't understand the concept of "alone time." Their ancestors did everything in a pack- eating, hunting, playing, and patrolling. So when you leave the room to go to another part of the house, the dog figures that you would just love their company!
How to solve this:
Invest in a doggy gate or dog playpen, which will allow you to keep your dog in a specific area of the house while you are in the bathroom.

 

2. Imprinting

If you got your dog when they were very young, they might have imprinted on you. If your dog imprints on you, which usually happens during the first few months of their lives, your dog will recognize you as someone they can always trust and count on. 
Also, if your young puppy got used to you being with them all the time when they were tiny, they may be expecting that you will always be side by side with each other. They want to be with the people they love, even if that means following you to the bathroom! 
How to solve this:
Secure your dog in a safe room with a doggy gate or a pen and give them something to distract them, like a puzzle game or a yummy treat.

 

3. Separation Anxiety

It is relatively common for a dog to experience anxiety being alone. Signs that your dog might be suffering include:
  • Bathroom accidents
  • Barking or howling
  • Chewing or digging
  • Escape attempts
  • Pacing
While we may not see going to the bathroom alone as "separation" from our dogs, for some dogs, just being alone for the few minutes when you are in the bathroom can cause them to experience anxiety. When your dog does not have you in their sight, they may be feeling vulnerable. They follow you to get reassurance that you are still there and they are safe.
How to solve this:
Try to work on conditioning them to associate being alone with good things. You can do this by giving your dog a treat when you go to the bathroom or provide them with a puzzle game or puzzle toy to entertain them when you go to the bathroom.

 

4. "Velcro Dogs"

Some types of dogs are known as "Velcro dogs." Velcro dogs are dogs that want to be at their owner's side at all times. These breeds can be seen as clingy, but some dogs are just wired this way because they have been bred to be more dependent on their owners. While any dog can become a Velcro dog, here are some breeds that are more prone to being Velcro dogs because of their instincts:
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Papillons
  • French bulldogs
  • Chihuahuas
  • Golden retrievers
  • Border collies
  • Sheepdogs
  • Pugs
  • Shepherds
  • Greyhounds
  • Doberman pinschers 
How to solve this:
Look into getting a dog pen or doggy gates to put in your house. You can secure your dog in a pen or a specific area of the house with the doggy gates, which will allow you to go to the bathroom privately. 

 

5. Guard Dog

Dogs love to protect their family, and when you go to the bathroom, they may follow you to offer you protection. If you ever notice your dog looking straight into your eyes while they are doing their business, that is because they feel vulnerable while in their pooping position and are looking for you to protect them. When the tables are turned, and your dog knows you are going to the bathroom (from their sense of smell), they are just returning the favor and making sure you know you are safe and protected as you go. 
Dogs also tend to "patrol" the house. Your home is your dog's home. And they feel very protective of their home. You probably see this when the mailmen deliver a package on your door and your dog barks, alarming you that someone is in their "territory." The bathroom is also part of your dog's view of their territory, and your dog may feel the need to "patrol" the area and make sure it is safe. And when you go into the bathroom, your dog may be there to provide backup. 
How to solve this:
Reassure your dog that you are okay when you go into the bathroom. If you want, you can secure them in another part of your house so that they can't follow you everywhere.

 

6. Reinforcement

You might have been reinforcing your dog following you into the bathroom without even realizing it. If you pet them, talk to them, or give them any bit of attention while they come into the bathroom with you, then you are reinforcing their behavior of following you into the bathroom.
How to solve this:
If you are okay with your dog being in the bathroom with you, that's fine. But if you would rather have some privacy, you can work on redirecting the positive reinforcement you have been giving them. Tell them to wait outside the door, and when you leave the bathroom if they didn't come in, reward them with a treat. 

 

7. Curiosity

Dogs are naturally curious, and when you get up to leave the room, your dog naturally wonders where you are going. If they follow you into your bathroom, they may want to know what you are doing in there or what the funny flushing sound is!
Dogs are also experts at experiencing FOMO- if you get up without them, you may be doing something fun or getting a treat, and they do not want to miss out on anything like that!
How to solve this:
Let your dog explore the bathroom, showing them the flushing sound or the sound of running water so that they know what the bathroom is all about. Dogs love being nosy!

 

8. Letting You Know They Love You

It may sound silly, but when your dog follows you everywhere you go, even to the bathroom, it is one way to show you that they love you. Veterinarians say that this is because of their instinct to do everything with their family. By following you into the bathroom, they are just showing you how much they love you and that they wish to do everything together- they want to be with you at all times. When your dog is with you, they feel happier, safer, and more content, so they wish to tag along with you wherever you go. 
How to solve this:
This is an excellent opportunity to practice the "stay" command with your dog. Tell your dog to stay outside of the bathroom door while you are in there. If they stay there and don't come in the bathroom, give them a treat!

 

FAQs

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Why does my dog follow me and not my husband?
A lot of times, dogs have one person in their family who they are closest to. This can be from who was with the dog the most during the socialization stage (up to four months old), who gives the dog the most attention, and whose personality the dog's personality matches the most. 

 

Why does my dog wait outside the bathroom door for me?
Dogs are known to be in a pack, and a lot of times, they want to keep the "pack" together and stay by your side.

 

Why does my dog sniff the toilet after I pee?
Your dog has a powerful sense of smell that allows them to be able to determine what you've eaten, drank, and the number of hormones in your pee.

 

Why does my dog sit outside the shower?
Since dogs are usually in a pack, they want to stay in their "pack." Naturally, they want to be around you, where they feel part of the pack and protected.

 

Why does my dog keep laying in the bathroom?
Dogs have a den instinct, and the bathroom is often the smallest room in the house, making it almost like a den. A bathroom is a quiet place where your dog may like to rest to feel safe and secure.

 

Why does my dog hide in the bathroom?
Dogs hide when they feel stressed or anxious, and the bathroom is the most "den-like" area in the house due to its small size. If your dog is hiding in the bathroom, try crate training them so that they know they have their crate to go to as a safe place to den in.

 

Why does my dog bark at me when I'm on the toilet?
If your dog barks at you while you are going to the bathroom, it may be because they are worried that you are in danger or experience some anxiety being alone. For both of these, try to try positive reinforcement training. 

 

 

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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.

 

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