Furtropolis by Outward Hound

Why Do Dogs Follow You to the Bathroom?

There’s an adorable meme that goes like this: “Having a dog means never having to go to the bathroom alone.” Dog owners the world over know that when they get a dog, they give up the right to bathroom privacy.  

If you’re looking for a little alone time in the john, you can pretty much forget about it, but what’s behind this quirky dog behavior? Is it pack mentality, separation anxiety, or do they just miss you? 

There are actually several reasons why your best friend doesn’t give you your private bathroom time. Let’s look at each of these. 

1. Velcro Dogs

dog next to bathtub. why do dogs follow you to the bathroom?

Your furry friend might be following you everywhere because it’s part of his breed traits. Some dog breeds are well-known for following their owners everywhere. They view them as the pack leader and they don’t want to let them out of their sight. Border collies, shepherds, and other herding dogs are prone to follow their owners everywhere. 

Other working breeds of dogs like the boxer and Doberman pinscher will want to follow you to make sure you stay safe wherever you go. Other kinds of velcro dogs are dogs like Labrador retrievers and pointers who just love being with you. These dogs are very social and extremely attached to their beloved person!

2. Dogs are Pack Animals

why do dogs follow you to the bathroom

Dogs have a pack mentality, and because of this, they like to stick to your side. They are pack members and, as mentioned, view you as the pack leader. As such, they will follow you anywhere. 

These dog behaviors have been hard-wired into your dog’s genes over millennia of evolutionary history. That means it’s not a habit your pooch is likely to break anytime soon. 

3. It’s All About Socialization

Dogs are social animals, and they learn to follow the pack leader from a very young age. When you establish dominance, your dog falls in line like a good pack member and starts following your lead…everywhere! This is evident by the fact that even a dog you adopt will practice this social behavior after he knows he can trust you. 

Your little social doggy will even lie by the bathroom door waiting for you to come out if you somehow manage to duck inside before he can follow. You might take it as a compliment — he just loves your company! 

4. Your Dog’s Protecting You

dog on hammock with human

Another reason your furry friend goes everywhere you go is that he wants to make sure you’re protected no matter where you are. This is a typical breed trait for some dogs, but even those that don’t usually work as protection dogs — like Chihuahuas — will often want to make sure they’re by your side in case you need protection. 

Your dog knows that a predator might be lurking anywhere, even in the bathroom.

He feels like it’s his duty to protect his best friend from those dangerous bathroom boogeymen. Just like his pack mentality, your dog’s protective behavior is hard-wired into his genes.

So, while you’re doing your business during your bathroom time, he’ll be doing his duty keeping you safe. 

5. Your Furry Friend Is Curious

When your dog sees his favorite person spending time in one particular place every single day, he gets a little curious about what you’re doing in there. From his point of view, if it’s something that important, you’ll likely need his help. 

Perhaps he also notices you seem to have taken a particular interest in his poop, and so, he feels he should do the same for yours. He wants to be a supportive best friend, after all. 

6. Why do dogs follow you to the bathroom? Because it smells…good?

Well, maybe not good, but dogs love smells. It’s how they learn about the world around them, and they love you, so by following you into the bathroom where you spend lots of time, they can learn more about you. It’s not just the smell of your, uh, poop that attracts him, but most people keep other scented items in their bathroom too. 

Your soaps and shampoos are all in there, and most of them have a fragrance. It’s a fragrance that reminds your dog of you, so they are learning more about their favorite person when they follow you into the bathroom. 

7. Your Doggy’s in Love With You!

The truth is your dog loves you, and he likes spending time with you. He likes eye contact with you because it makes him feel safe and secure. It’s also an opportunity for your pooch to get to know you better. Let’s face it, you’re producing some interesting smells in the bathroom, and as your best friend, your dog feels it’s his duty to investigate.

Most dog owners have noticed that their furry friend has a tendency to sniff them while they’re sitting on the family throne. From your dog’s point of view, you’re just sitting there, and it’s an excellent chance for him to get some more information about his beloved!

8. Dogs Don’t Like to Be Alone

dog staring out door

You might be looking for a little alone time, but your dog doesn’t like it at all. It’s part of the socialization process and pack mentality. From his point of view, spending time together is more fun than being alone. 

Additionally, your dog has no concept of privacy. That’s not something that exists in the pack. Everyone’s always up in everyone else’s business in the pack, and since you’re the pack leader, that includes you. 

What’s more, since your dog considers you to be his best friend, he can’t imagine why you’d ever want to be without him, even in the bathroom.

How does that old saying go — “the pack that poops together…?” 

9. Your Dog Always Wants Your Attention

Your pooch may also just be trying to get some attention from you. You might have been gone all day at work, and it’s time for them to get some time together with you. When you’re in the bathroom doing your business, it’s the perfect opportunity to quiet time together. At least, that’s how your dog sees it. 

10. Your Dog Might Be Insecure

On the flip side of all the positive or funny reasons why your dog might follow you into the bathroom is that your dog might be insecure. Extreme insecurity can result in your dog actually insisting on spending every second of the day with you. 

When it gets extreme like that, it’s not healthy dog behavior, and you need to address it before it becomes more serious. It can even develop into what is known as ‘resource guarding.‘ This is when your dog becomes aggressive in his efforts to protect you when aggression is not called for. This kind of aggression can become dangerous and has to be addressed appropriately. 

You might need to consider dog training or even seeing a behaviorist to help your dog. This is good advice in any case, but particularly important if your dog begins displaying aggressive behavior. 

11. It Could Be Separation Anxiety

When your dog becomes so attached to you that being apart for any reason creates significant amounts of stress for him, this is known as separation anxiety. It can get so bad that your dog will constantly whine and may display disruptive behaviors like tearing up your furniture or clothes. 

If your dog has separation anxiety, you’re likely going to need to initiate some specific dog training protocols to help reduce the problem. The signs of separation anxiety include constant whining, increased stress when your dog sees you preparing to leave, and of course, sticking by your side everywhere you go in the house. 

Your dog might also engage in destructive behaviors while you’re away, and he likely has difficulty calming down when you return. These are some other signs: restlessness, shaking, excessive salivation, refusing to eat, or becoming quiet and withdrawn. 

What Can I Do to Reduce My Dog’s Separation Anxiety?

dog on a cozy dog bed

To combat separation anxiety, you will definitely want to set up a predictable routine for your pooch so he knows when you leave and when you will be back. You’ll also want to enrich his environment with puzzle toys, dog training, and plenty of time with his favorite person — you. 

You’ll want to use dog training that’s specific for calming down on cue since that will help him when you’re gone. It will also help to reduce anxiety-producing behaviors prior to leaving. It can help to play with him and then give him the command to calm down. If you’ve set up a predictable routine, he’ll know it’s time to rest and relax. You can also set up a specific place for him to lie down, and you might consider a calming bed to help reduce his anxiety. 

Right before you leave — the last 15 to 30 minutes before leaving — you’ll need to ignore your dog. Turn on a TV or radio for your dog to listen to and go someplace in the house where your pooch can’t see you while you prepare to leave. This way your dog won’t see you making those preparations which can heighten his anxiety. 

When you return home, avoid excited greetings. Wait until your furry friend settles down before you give him attention. That way, he learns he must calm down to get your attention. If you find he has done something bad like soiling the floor or chewing something up, don’t punish him. He doesn’t connect the punishment to what he did and it will heighten his anxiety for the next time you leave. 

Final Thoughts

It’s nice to be loved, isn’t it? That’s the most likely reason your dog is following you even into the bathroom. He just loves you, wants your attention and is curious about everything you do. These are dog behaviors that are hard-wired into your dog’s genes after millennia of living in a pack. 

It is possible, however, that your dog could be insecure or even have separation anxiety. If that’s the case, it likely will require you to take action to reduce your pup’s anxiety and give him something to do to calm himself while you’re gone. In that case, he’s just too into you!

If that’s not the case, then it might be best summed up in another cute meme: “Behind every strong, independent woman (or man) is her dog following her to the bathroom!”