Why Does My Dog Follow Me to the Bathroom? Is it Loyalty or Curiosity?

Why Does My Dog Follow Me to the Bathroom? Is it Loyalty or Curiosity?

Our dog is the furry companion you can always count on to be by your side, even when you don’t need it … like when you’re using the bathroom! While it’s true we often attend their potty breaks, do they really have to attend ours? If you’ve been wondering, “Why does my dog follow me?” we’ve got answers.

Animal Instinct

If your dog follows you into the bathroom, it’s likely a result of their animal instinct and pack mentality. Canines who do this are referred to as “Velcro dogs,” due to their desire to be attached to your side. They may follow you around, even to the bathroom, to protect a part of their pack. Without you in sight while you’re home, they may feel a sense of vulnerability. Learn the secrets to dog bathing success!

Positive Reinforcement

It could also be related to positive reinforcement. “If every time you are with your dog, he gets affection or treats, he’s likely to [follow you around] more often,” says Dr. Rachel Barrack, a licensed veterinarian certified in both veterinary acupuncture and Chinese herbology with Animal Acupuncture in New York City.

Why Does My Dog Follow Me to the Bathroom? Is it Loyalty or Curiosity?


Following you to the bathroom could even simply be your dog’s curiosity. “Look at it from the dog’s point of view,” says Erin Kramer, a professional certified dog trainer and owner of Tug Dogs in Northern California. “You might think you’re the cool one, but the person your dog is attached to is the road to everything wonderful and magical. The focus is on that person because of what they give access to.”

They Think They Are Protecting You

Dogs are not little creeps that just want to watch you poop. They’re often there with you because they are trying to protect you. The dog may interpret the fact that you go to the bathroom daily to mean that it’s your territory and needs to be protected. So if you ever get attacked in your bathroom, you can be confident your pooch will swoop in to protect you.

Why Does My Dog Follow Me to the Bathroom? Is it Loyalty or Curiosity?

They Worry About You

You enter a room and spend several minutes sitting in a spot, making weird faces, or even making occasional grunts and sounds. Of course, your dog will be worried. He doesn’t know what’s going on, so he’ll stand close to you and stare at you the whole time.

Dogs Don’t Understand The Concept Of Privacy

The reason you can’t go when someone is watching you or you think having your pet with you in the loo is weird is that you’re human, and you understand what privacy is. Dogs have no understanding of that concept. They are natural pack animals which means they’re programmed to live in groups. To them, there’s nothing private about going to the bathroom, so they’ll follow you there.

Why Does My Dog Follow Me to the Bathroom? Is it Loyalty or Curiosity?

Should I be worried at all?

Overall, your dog being a stage-five clinger as you go number two is nothing you should be concerned with. It may get a little annoying, sure, but for the most part, it’s totally normal. However, if your pup seems genuinely distressed each time you decide to take a long bath, you may need to get them checked out by a vet or behaviorist. “Following you to the bathroom is not an indication of a serious condition all on its own,” says Dr. Coppola. 

“If your dog displays distress behaviors when separated from you, even for short periods of time like a bathroom break, this could be an indication of separation anxiety or separation distress.” Signs and symptoms of separation anxiety or distress include incessant whining, vocalizations, pacing, excessive licking, urination or defecation during your absence.
How do I get my dog to stop?

When there’s no underlying medical condition, you can simply train your dog to stay put when you want to dash to the bathroom. Dr. Coppola recommends implementing some differential reinforcement, where you provide your pup with reinforcement for staying and engaging with an item instead of accompanying you to the bathroom. 

Basically, give your dog something fun to engage with while you’re in the bathroom—a lick mat, for example—and pick it up when you get back. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s an activity or item that’ll last for the duration of your absence and it’s not something they won't just bring to the bathroom with them.

Honestly, though, it’s much easier to just let Lassie curl up by your feet as you pee. No harm, no foul.

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