Probably every dog owner knows this: you go to the toilet, and the dog comes along as a matter of course. He sneaks up while you do your business, only to discover why you leave his side. While this is endearing behavior, it can also be exhausting.
Your dog follows you to the bathroom because he sees you as the pack leader and dislikes leaving your side. He may also want to protect you, suffer from separation anxiety, or be curious. Also, dogs don’t have a sense of privacy like humans do, so there’s no reason for them not to come along.
So there are different reasons for your dog to follow you to the bathroom, where you would probably like a little more privacy. The dog breed can play a role, but it can also be learned behavior.
This article will discuss why your dog follows you to the bathroom. We’ll also give you tips to stop this behavior if that’s what you want.
Why Does Your Dog Follow You to the Toilet?
The following list of reasons is not exhaustive. There may be other reasons why your dog always follows you to the bathroom. However, in most cases, it is learned behavior or a fearful dog.
However, if your dog behaves unusually, we recommend you consult your veterinarian.
There could also be health problems that cause him to behave this way. This is especially possible if he suddenly starts doing it.
Let’s now discuss the most common reasons why your dog follows you to the bathroom.
The Dog Sees You As the Pack Leader
No matter what kind of dog you have, they are all descendants of wolves. With their wild roots comes a deep-rooted pack behavior that makes your dog not want to leave your side if possible.
Not only do dogs need companionship, but they may even imprint on you. This is especially true with dogs you bring in when they are just a few months old, as they often see you as a parental caregiver.
If you are a member of the dog pack, your dog will feel obligated to follow you around your house.
Even though we consider our toileting private, our dogs do not understand this. For this reason, your dog may push through the bathroom door and sit next to you.
So, if your dog always follows you to the bathroom, you are probably just a vital pack member or even his pack leader.
The Dog Does Not Like to Be Separated from You
For dogs, their humans are the center of their world. While we may have many distractions and other tasks, our dogs have only us.
For this reason, they want to spend as much time as possible by our side. This is especially true if you work and your dog may not see you as often as he would like.
No matter where you go at home, your dog will likely follow you to spend time with their favorite human. If your dog is constantly glued to you, he loves being around you.
The Dog Wants to Protect You
When our dogs’ ancestors roamed the woods, they relied on the other pack members to have their backs. These wild dogs offered protection to their pack members at all times.
This was especially important when they went to the bathroom. This activity is considered a vulnerable and unprotected moment for dogs.
This is because when a dog goes to the toilet, it is in an unprotected position and is also distracted.
A predator can easily sneak up on a dog when it is vulnerable or unprotected.
This danger is ingrained in the minds of dogs. That’s why you can often see your dog making eye contact with you while it’s doing its business.
The dog then ensures you can warn him of an impending danger. And he wants to run the same for you.
So, your dog is possibly following you only to protect you in your vulnerable state. If your dog is constantly on guard, he is probably trying to protect you.
The Dog is Curious
Dogs are curious creatures. They want to explore their surroundings, including where their humans go.
We usually close the door behind us when we go into the bathroom. This makes that space even more mysterious to dogs.
So when the dog tries to follow you into the bathroom, he may want to explore the space that seems so unfamiliar to him.
Another possibility is that dogs are always curious about what we are doing. Much like a toddler doesn’t want to fall asleep when company is there, dogs have a hard time not always hearing everything.
Your dog may fear that something fun or exciting will happen when you enter the restroom. He doesn’t want to miss anything exciting.
The Dog Suffers from Separation Anxiety
Some dogs have problems with being alone. They howl as soon as their humans leave the house, scrape their paws when they go, or scratch at the door they’ve closed in front of them.
If this applies to your dog, he may struggle with separation anxiety. A dog suffering from separation anxiety may have difficulty being on his own.
This may also cause him to follow you when you enter the bathroom. If you notice signs of stress in your dog when he is forced to be alone, this may be why he follows you.
The Dog Receives Positive Reinforcement
Dogs are intelligent and learn quickly how to behave to get your attention.
If your dog stands next to you while using the toilet, this may prompt you to pet his head or treat him later.
If this happens frequently, your dog will likely remember that he is getting a reward for this behavior.
If your dog often follows you into the bathroom, consider doing anything that might provide positive reinforcement. Often, as a dog owner, it is because you are rewarding the wrong behavior.
If he craves a treat or extra attention, give him a treat or pet him before entering the bathroom. Or give him the treat after you return, and the dog has been quite good.
The Dog is an Affectionate Dog
Some dogs are just more needy than others. Some dog breeds are known to be more affectionate than other canine friends.
Many toy dogs, for example, stick to their owner’s side and follow him around the house.
Herding dogs tend to be more independent and can go longer without their owner.
This is often because some dogs have a more profound need for human companionship or even because of the environment in which they were raised.
If your dog constantly follows you around the house, he may be a burr dog.
This may also be related to separation anxiety, the habit of imprinting on its owners, or other behaviors that cause a dog to cling to the people in its home.
The Dog Does Not Know the Concept of Privacy
For you and me, going to the bathroom is where one likes privacy. Dogs, however, have no understanding of personal boundaries. They don’t understand why we prefer to go to the bathroom alone.
The ancestors of dogs always worked together to achieve their goals. They never spent time alone. If your dog is always following behind you, it may be acting out that deeply ingrained behavior.
The Dog is Afraid to Be Alone
Some dogs are not confident enough or feel safe enough in their environment to stay in a room alone.
These dogs may follow their humans constantly. They may also show signs of anxiousness when left alone.
If a dog fears being left alone, he will likely follow his human to the bathroom.
Some dogs exhibit this behavior every time their owner moves around the house. It also often happens that these dogs cling to their owners in unfamiliar environments.
This is especially common with dogs moving to a new home, newly adopted into a family, or feeling unsafe.
If your dog follows you around constantly, seems nervous, or shows signs of separation anxiety, he may be afraid of being left alone.
The Dog Wants to Strengthen Its Relationship With You
Does your dog sit next to you in the bathroom and look you in the eye? Or does he snuggle up to you while you sit on the toilet?
If your dog exhibits this behavior, he may try to strengthen his relationship with you during your toilet visits.
Although this may seem like an odd time to do it, some dogs crave any personal attention they can get from their favorite human.
If you find that your dog looks you in the eye every time you enter the restroom, he may be looking for a special connection.
Is It Normal for Your Dog to Follow You Into the Bathroom?
Dogs following their owners to the bathroom is normal behavior. Dogs love to be in our presence. So it should not be unexpected that they follow us as often as possible.
The reasons for this behavior can range from simple curiosity to severe separation anxiety, and it’s up to you to decipher the possible cause that is most likely to apply to your dog.
Using the most common reasons we’ve explained above, you can better understand this behavior in your dog and determine why your dog behaves this way.
Can You Stop This Behavior?
If you are tired of your dog following you to the bathroom, there are some ways to stop this behavior.
While every dog has different reasons for following his human to the bathroom, there are a few essential tips you can try:
- Use toilet time as an opportunity to train your dog.
- Practice sitting outside the restroom door with your dog and reward him afterward.
- Give your dog his favorite toy or a bone when you go to the bathroom. This will allow him to become engrossed in that item instead of following you.
- Play with a toy with your dog before you enter the restroom. Throw it in the opposite direction, then go to the bathroom.
- If you think your dog suffers from separation anxiety, getting him used to a dog crate may be a good idea, especially if he is young.
- If possible, try to reduce the amount of time you are away from home.
- Practice the “stay” command during toilet walks.
- You can place a baby gate near your toilet if anything else doesn’t work. This will help your dog understand that he is not allowed in that area. Remove the grate more and more frequently once your dog has learned that he is not allowed to be there.
Summary: Why Does My Dog Follow Me to the Toilet?
There are many possible reasons why your dog follows you to the bathroom. In most cases, it has something to do with their instinctive behavior or insecurity and fear.
However, there may be health issues in rare cases. So, if you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, talk to your veterinarian to clarify any possible medical problems.
If your dog has no medical issues, you can work with a dog trainer on the behavior if it’s bothering you.