When you have a dog, they tend to follow you around everywhere you go. Whether you are in your room, or the kitchen, or on your favorite Sofa trying to watch the TV. Presto, like an overused magic trick, your dog is right next to you. It’s almost as if they have gotten the legal right to stalk us.
This all seems fine till you want to go to the restroom and your dog is still following you into the restroom. This they do repeatedly and you may start to ask yourself the question
“Why does my dog follow me to the restroom?”.
Your dog is following you to the restroom because of the following reasons:
- The Pack Mentality
- For your own protection
- Pure love for you
- Separation Anxiety
- No concept of Privacy
- To Make themselves useful
- Breed Type
- 10.Being Social
Let’s discuss each of these concepts and how to deal with them so that you can get the best out of your dog.
The Pack Mentality.
Dogs just like their wolf ancestors tend to form strong bonds with people around them. This means that dogs want to do things together with other pack members and that includes following you to the restroom to achieve whatever it is you want to do we. Remember you are the pack leader and a very very valuable member of the pack, their very survival is dependent on your safety and so the Pack Mentality concept is kicked into high gear when you are involved, and even if you seem to be low in rank in the pack, your dog would still look out for you because you are still a member of the pack.
Our dogs want to understand what exactly is going on with you in the restroom. They have been following us around all day in the house and they know what we do in the kitchen, in the bedroom, on the sofa, and in the dining area. So why has this restroom area become restricted to them? From your dog’s perspective, something very important must be happening in this area and they are not involved in it. Worse still, you engage in this highly important activity without them by your side. That is a strong violation of the Pack Mentality protocol. This only ends up making them more and more curious any time you want to step into the restroom.
For Your Own Protection.
As we said earlier, dogs are pack animals and all pack animals look out for each other when necessary. This statement has never been truer when they need to eliminate waste. In this state, they are most vulnerable to any form of physical attack. They need someone to be on the lookout for them when they are in this state. This has been done for centuries by their fellow pack member.
Now fast forward to the modern-day, they have new pack members and they are all human. They look out for us and expect us to look out for them. You going into the restroom and closing the door behind you without letting him or her in is some form of indication that something is wrong and that you might be in danger, some when not well trained might get very agitated. If you have asked yourself the question “why does my dog bark at me when I’m on the toilet?” or “why does my dog wait outside the bathroom door for me” well that is your answer.
Pure love for you.
It is no secret that our dogs love us and they are always looking for an opportunity to show this to us. This is especially more so if we have been showing them lots of love and attention. They try to reciprocate the best way they can and that is by always being there for us. Sharing alone and quality time with us is something that our dogs look forward to especially if we have been away for some time on our daily job or routine. The restroom looks like the perfect place for your dog to have you alone to himself or herself, so guess what! He or she would definitely like to spend some alone time with you in this place.
Do you know that dogs use the sense of smell to identify individuals and things the same way we use names to identify people and stuff around us? Here is a fun fact, dogs tend to sniff each other’s behind as a way of identifying other dogs and not to forget them. To our dogs, each animal and individual smells differently and the strongest point for this smell comes from the anus.
Coming back to our point, our dogs would have already guessed that we are trying to eliminate waste in the restroom and hence would like to get a better whiff of that smell. In fact, the restroom is a dog’s paradise place if he or she is allowed. The share volume of the variety of scents and smell which they would be able to explore and experience in this place. From the dustbin to the used towels. The cleaning products, soaps, shaving cremes, shampoos, toilet rolls (both used and unused).
The place is a sniffer’s paradise hence their want to be there.
If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, he or she would likely want to follow you into the restroom. If you are asking yourself “why does my dog cry when I go to the bathroom or restroom”, or “why does my dog bark at me when I’m on the toilet” and act erratically at the same time, maybe even end up damaging somethings around, then it is likely that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety.
Dogs that have been left in shelters for a long period without adequate care are prone to this problem notwithstanding the breed. There are also a set of dogs known as Velcro dogs. These dogs are likely to develop separation anxiety even when they are cared for from birth. Some examples are Airedales, Springer Spaniels, Weimaraners, and German Shepherds.
The best thing that can be done for these dogs is to give them proper obedience training and love. But the decision of whether you want them in the restroom when you are doing your business is up to you. Either way, the aim is to make them feel secure in such a situation.
No concept of Privacy.
Dogs have been doing things together for a long time, hunting, traveling, feeding, etc. So the concept of you the modern day pack member doing something on your own and in secret looks very strange to them. In the doggy world, the idea of privacy is almost equivalent to anti-survival. Everything must be done together and that includes restroom, toilet, and bathroom times.
Of course, they can be trained to stay out of these places or even distracted but that doesn’t mean that the concept of you spending alone time in the restroom is acceptable.
To Make themselves useful.
Apart from watching your back, your dog believes that he can be of help to you by being in the same space with you in the restroom. Maybe you need extra support while doing your thing, or you need something brought to you like the toilet rolls. Whatever it is that you need, your dogs should be able to assist you in doing those things while you remain in a very vulnerable position.
As we mentioned earlier, certain dog breeds tend to be more attached to their dog parents than others. These dogs are called Velcro Dogs and are described as wanting to be by their owner’s side all the time. They are very clingy and always want to be by their owner’s side all the time. Some examples of these breeds are Vizsla, Labrador Retriever, Border Collie, Maltese, Golden Retriever, German Shepard, Pugs, etc.
They tend to develop separation anxiety easily and should be handled a bit differently from other breeds. Training and rewarding them for keeping their distance from you is essential for their well being as they will end up being more comfortable in their environment and less attached to you.
This is supposed to be the best answer, simply put they just want to hang around you. More so if they have been with you since they were puppies, they would have developed some sort of emotional attachment to you. This attachment is supposedly the healthy type because they trust that you are in control of your environment. They have seen your routine and how you have been managing things when they are not able to contribute much. This includes your visits to the restroom and your shower routine.
They have become accustomed to these activities as kids and have bonded with you in that pattern, even though they are hardwired not to understand the concept of privacy and would love to look out for you in all things.
So in this scenario, they just want to hang out with you and wouldn’t mind waiting for you outside the restroom while you do your business.
Now we have dealt with all possible answers to the question “why does my dog follow me to the restroom?” The next question that comes up is “how do you intend to handle the situation?” In terms of your dog’s health and well being, he will be safe in the restroom with you as he would be in any other part of the house.
If you want to train him or her properly to stay out of the restroom, you may start with well known verbal commands. “Sit” or “Stay” should suffice enough to keep them in place till you finish your business. You can also try giving them a favorite toy or treat meant only for the period when you go to the restroom. This will keep them busy for a while.
If the problem with your dog is separation anxiety, then you may need to turn things up a notch. Having him or her wear a cloth of yours that is heavily scented can help ease their calm, but for a situation where your dog is really distressed, a more radical approach should be taken.
Doing some form of counter conditioning for them in this extreme case is necessary for example you can pretend to want to leave the room constantly for no reason and returning to your sit. Or walking around the rooms consistently and sitting back. The aim is to pass a mixed-signal back to your dog and let them be more relaxed with your movement. Depending on your dog’s health status, you may need to consult your vet doctor before starting such training.
In the end, your dog just wants the best for you and is doing it in the way he or she understands. The prerogative of whether you want them to continue with this habit is left to you. In whatever approach you choose, do so with love and care. At the end of the day, that is what matters to you and your dog.
Hi, I am Charles Nwankwo Editor-in-Chief, Mydoggything.com. Gleaning from Professional Dog Trainers, behaviorist, Registered Veterinarians, and Breeders. We are passionate about making dog care easy for you. My job is to make sure that you get the best-updated dog care information to understand and take care of your dog or dogs.