Anyone who has had a canine companion at some point would have found themselves asking a very crucial question; why on Earth does my dog follow me into the bathroom?! You’ve read all the best dog training books, but you still see a fur-shadow behind you when you start the walk to the restroom. Although this behavior can seem totally ridiculous, pet behaviorists actually say it's pretty easy to unpack – and that’s exactly what we’re going to do for you. We’ve found 5 possible reasons why your fur-friend needs to accompany you to the bathroom…every time.
1. Pack Behaviour
Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are pack animals with strong bonds to those around them, and in their domesticated state, the instinct to physically stick with members of their pack transfers to their humans. Part of the pack behaviour includes no concept of privacy. As packs usually work together – on everything – your dog may not view the bathroom as anything more than a place to join you, because why would you want to be alone and have privacy?
2. Personal Bodyguard
In nature, going to the bathroom can be risky business as you expose yourself to potential attacks in the most vulnerable of moments. But with your pup at your side, you'll have nothing to fear. To your dog, the bathroom is part of their territory and for them not to be able to patrol this ‘secret’ room can be stressful. – “What is hiding in the secret room? What could you possibly be doing in there multiple times a day with the door closed?” – Relating back to a pack mentality your pup feels the need to protect you, their leader, in ALL situations you find yourself in.
3. Separation Anxiety
If your dog seems truly distressed whenever you are apart, separation anxiety may be the culprit. Now this is not always the case, but some pups may experience anxiety when they watch you disappear into this mystery room – hence the whining and scratching at the door. If the anxiety is mild enough, try giving them a favorite shirt of yours, beloved toy or even a hidden-treat may work. However, if the distress is more severe, we suggest a trip to the local vet (or training school) to help relieve your pup of their worries.
Sometimes you fur-friend could be following you to the bathroom out of plan curiosity. Life can be a bit boring sometimes for a dog that mostly stays home and has a pretty steady routine, so naturally they want to be part of any activity that is going on, even if it’s a bathroom trip. Furthermore, your pup watches you go to this mysterious place more than once, every day, they just want to know why. You could be hoarding resources or making friends with other animals! Your dog will only know if they check it out for themselves.
5. Puppy Love
Lastly, it could just be that your pup misses you. Maybe you were gone all day at work or maybe you just came back from the grocery store, but either way it has been way to long since your dog has spent time with you – at least in their mind anyway. You are your dog’s whole world, so when you’re home they want to spend as much time with you as possible, including in the bathroom. It's pure puppy love!
Hopefully we’ve managed to answer some questions even the best dog training books couldn’t and help you pin point your dogs ‘stalking’ habits. Here's to your bathroom breaks returning to a peaceful venture!