Ever been to the park and watched dogs run after their owners? Do you wonder why at all your dog always lingers around? Has it been an annoying journey trying to get your dog to stop following you?
Being a dog owner, I noticed how eager my dogs are around me and how tireless they look when following me around. They show up in front of me at unexpected times and I always can’t help but get carried away by their cute behavior. These types of dogs are known as Velcro dogs due to their nature of being clingy around their owners.
Many times when we are exercising, going for a stroll or even when we are just sitting on the couch watching TV, they are always around. Their ability to follow you around shows, to some extent their level of intelligence and dependence on you (they are some of the most loyal pets one can have).
If you have a pet dog that can’t seem to get enough of you and is constantly around you, it’s probably great for you. Your dogs prove their allegiance and closeness to you by such traits. Yes it could be tiresome, but trust me things can only get better.
Why Exactly Does My Dog Follow Me Around?
So you can’t comprehend why your dog keeps following you. Sometimes they may even follow you to the bathroom! It’s in their genes to be with you, even in the most embarrassing times. Whilst it might bother you, they don’t seem to care at all. Sometimes your dog follows you out of companionship. At other times, it could be that your dog has something else going on.
Here are some reasons your dog follows you around:
- Closeness and bonding
If you are close to your dog and share a bond with it, there’s no way it would let you be. Pups know what it means to be a part of a family. Once they get attached it is impossible for them to leave.
- Food and treats
Have you ever walked around the house with a bowl of cereal or food and had your dog follow you? Or even walked towards the fridge to get some water and your dog still follows you there? Well, it could be that your dog may want some food. The sure way to communicate that emotion to you is, to follow you around. They expect you to understand what it means. I must say that giving them some food doesn’t guarantee they’ll let you be, but it solves their initial problem of hunger at that point.
- Dogs also follow owners around as a routine
If you’re one that takes your dog out for walks or to the park for some exercises, they’ll get used to it. They start following you around when it’s time for a walk or stroll since it has become a part of their daily routine.
Most of us are quite familiar with dogs who are territorial and very protective of their masters. They would follow you everywhere to make sure you are safe, especially around strangers. Dogs have great foresight to be able to spot danger and tend to follow you around if they want to ensure your safety. Cute right? It could also be the other way round, seeing you as the safest place to be and feeling unsafe anywhere else. They tend to follow you around to feel safe.
What Does Science Have To Say?
If you are a part of the group of people who want to have scientific facts about your dog, well we’ve got the answers. There are several studies into the behavioral pattern of dogs which prove why they follow owners around and can’t seem to leave them. Some of the proven facts about your dogs are explained further in this article.
Dogs are intelligent species and get to recognize and acknowledge your presence in their lives over time. Ethologist Konrad Lorenz’s research proved how baby geese imprinted or came to recognize him as a trustworthy figure to them. Dogs are the same and due to the fact that they see you as someone close and trustworthy they would follow you around. Puppies recognize their owners from 3-12 weeks old and get attached to them.
- Breed traits
Dogs have for centuries being raised and treated as part of a family/pack. Breeds especially the Velcro dogs are raised to stick to their owners and nothing else. They have the tendencies of going nowhere but being by the side of their owner and at all times. This explains why they get very clingy.
Dogs are social animals and thrive on friendship and companionship. They become bonded and as close to us as family relatives over a period of time. Dr. Laurie Santos of the Canine Cognition Center – Yale University, pointed to the fact that, domestication has aided dogs to become closely knitted to humans. Research proved further that, dogs now are quite good at comprehending humans than most other animals as discovered by Oscar E Chavez – Cal Poly Pomona University.
Dogs are able to form positive reinforcement around their owners when a bond is formed from the pair. Mary Burch, PhD, (Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist) reiterated the fact that dogs are likely to follow the person they pick certain activity trait from such as food treats, petting, playful activities and so on.
Benefits To The Dog And Humans/Owners
How Does Following Me Help My Dog?
My friend has a dog called Chief. He follows her as early as 4am when she’s getting ready to go to work. Chief doesn’t stop tagging along until she is off to work on the bus. Sometimes he has to make sure the bus is out of sight before going home alone. She asked me one time, ‘What at all does Chief get from following me all day, he sure gets tired doesn’t he?’ Well like her, most of us wonder what at all our dogs get from following us. There are actually some benefits to that and here, we’ll let you in on it.
- Getting to understand you better
Research has proved that modern dogs understand humans better now. By tagging along, your dog actually picks up signals and studies you more to get to know your moods and emotions better. This is to be able to provide a support system for you when you need it.
- Coming into contact with reinforcement
Tagging along is beneficial for your dog as it is likely to be given what it wants. You are likely to provide some treats, take the dog out for a walk and pet it and a whole lot when they follow you around.
How Does It Benefit Humans?
Humans also benefit a lot from having their dogs follow them around. There are numerous health, social and psychological benefits of not just having a dog, but having a dog that follows you around.
- It prevents loneliness
Dogs as already mentioned are social animals and very amiable. They tend to reciprocate their attention to their owners to make them feel loved and with support in trying times. As you play with them, go out for strolls and so on, you tend to have the feeling of closeness to someone and not feel lonely. You are likely not to feel depressed with your dog around because they keep you company.
- Improves cardiovascular health
Studies have proven that owners of dog have healthy hearts and are likely to recover from a heart attack with their dogs around. You get to exercise with your dog and this is healthily beneficial and good for your health. Male owners of dogs generally have lesser risks of heart attacks by research.
- Makes you feel secure
Dogs generally are noted for their protective nature and will make owners feel safe. Your dog actually provides security for you against attackers and strangers and would always jump in to fight off anything that poses a risk or danger to you. Isn’t that great?
- Helps in your journey of weight loss and stress relief
You want to exercise but can’t get enough motivation to go? Your dog is your best companion to give you some motivation. You can do your daily exercises and go for a run with your dog, as you shed off some few pounds. You are also sure of a stress-free living with your dog tagging along.
When Does It Become Too Much?
It’s cute to have your dog follow you around but it can be bothersome at times. There are benefits of course but we can’t ignore the fact that your dog needs to be independent sometimes. Some dogs by their traits such as working and herding dogs (Velcro dogs such as Italian Greyhounds, Labrador retriever, French bulldog and a whole lot more) are naturally clingy but some dogs get too clingy. This is mainly due to separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety in your dog can be from a lot of factors. This includes how the dog was rescued or how its previous condition was until it came into a new environment. This anxiety makes them socially imbalanced and incapable of getting along with others and they feel very anxious when you’re away.
Dogs with separation anxiety tend to be depressed, aggressive towards other people and animals, aloof and even sometimes can pose damaging risks to themselves.
How Can I Get My Dog To Be Independent?
So you love your dogs and its lovely to have them but they sometimes get too clingy and you want to do something about it? Trust me it may not be easy but it will go a long way to make your dog a little if not at all, independent.
Get toys for your dog. Your pup should have something to while the time away when you’re not around and even whilst you are around. This gives them something to look forward to playing with when you can’t give them the necessary attention.
Try giving them some exercises and treats for being able to do certain individual activities like sitting when you tell it to. This actually helps your dog to understand how important it is for you to have personal time as well as a time for it. Their minds are stimulated to be independent even when you’re away.
It is well-known that some of us dog-owners like to make a big deal of saying goodbyes to our dogs when we’re going away. That’s great but not so great. You should try not to make a big deal out of it. It might make your dog depressed and follow you even when you’re driving away.
Should your Velcro dog exhibit traits of being too clingy, one of the best options is to see your Vet. The Veterinarian would be able to see to the right prognosis for your dog and help to minimize the clinginess.
Your dog loves you much more than you realize – especially if you care for it the right way. They become very attached to you and form a bond with you that is for their lifetime; thus they follow you wherever. It is important to see this as a way your dog expresses itself in response to your care and attention. They make you feel secure, happy, sociable and healthy and are there for you no matter the circumstance.
In as much as it is cute to follow you everywhere, you should also keep an eye out for when they become too clingy. Make sure you seek expert advice on the best way to handle your dog when they become overly clingy and take it out on others via aggressiveness.
You are your dog’s companion as much as it is yours. Be ready to pay attention to its needs and give it some space to also attend to its needs by itself. Don’t keep your dog away from having quality time by itself and with other animals as well.