Not that we don’t love the attention from our pets, but it starts to get a little overwhelming when they go literally everywhere you do. Can’t we have ten minutes to ourselves when we go to the bathroom? German Shepherds are notorious for following their owners around to every room in the house. If you’re going somewhere, you’re out of your mind if you think you’re going to leave them behind. Okay, maybe not every German Shepherd is like this, but a lot of them are. These dogs are known for their clingy personalities and a lot of people want to know why.
Why Does My German Shepherd Follow Me Everywhere?
It’s hard to narrow down a lone reason that your German Shepherd has become your personal shadow. Even though it is sometimes nice, we get that you’d need just a little bit more space. Let’s get into some of the main reasons why they just can’t get enough of you.
1. They like the attention.
German Shepherds were bred to work directly with their owners. Their history has molded them into being always next to you, even if they aren’t working dogs. Sometimes this breed follows in your footsteps just because they want to spend more time with you. While it’s sweet, they’ll continue to do it if you reward the behavior.
2. They want something.
Dogs can’t communicate with us, and following you around is their only way to tell you that they want something. Have you ever noticed that your shepherd gets a little clingy during dinner time? Whether they want food, water, toys, or something else, they might be bothering you because they’re trying to tell you about their needs.
3. They have separation anxiety.
It isn’t uncommon for some dog breeds, especially German Shepherds, to have separation anxiety. This breed is highly social. They get extremely lonely if they don’t have another dog, pet, or human to spend time with. This loneliness could lead to many different behavioral issues that set their training back.
4. They’re scared.
Not all dogs are afraid of the same things. Despite the bravery of a German Shepherd, there are still things that can set them off, only for them to follow you around for comfort. Whether it’s a loud noise or a certain person, our dogs view us as their protectors, and we help them feel calm and safe.
5. You reinforce their behavior.
Some German Shepherds learn to follow you everywhere because you rewarded the behavior, even if you didn’t do it on purpose. When they follow you and you start to pet them, give them treats, or pay any attention to them in any way, they learn that this is how they receive your love, and they’ll continue to do it until you train them to stop.
How to Get Your German Shepherd to Stop Following You
Understanding why your German Shepherd behaves the way it does is crucial for you to change the behavior. Once you’ve figured out the why you can focus on altering the behavior.
1. Give them plenty of exercise.
Dogs get bored and they are more likely to be under your feet if they have nothing better to do. Giving them an appropriate amount of exercise wears them out a bit. They’re more likely to be lying down and out of the way if you take them for a couple of walks a day or have a long play session with them.
2. Ignore it.
We mentioned before that dogs learn through positive reinforcement. If you truly don’t enjoy them following you around, then ignore the behavior. Do not punish them. Instead, don’t pay attention to them. Over time, they start to realize that following you is not paying off in the same way that it once did.
3. Consult a professional.
German Shepherds are intelligent but challenging to train sometimes. If you have tried everything you can to get them to stop, you might consider getting help from an animal behaviorist that can give you tips on how to change it.
It’s okay to have a love/hate relationship with your clingy dog. It’s nice that they trust you and want to spend every waking hour with you, but we empathize that this is less than ideal at many times throughout the day. Whatever you do, don’t punish your dog for following you around. Remember that this is their way of showing you that they love you and trust you enough to be around you. You are what makes them feel safe and there are safe ways to alter the behavior without ruining their trust.
Featured Image Credit: Happy monkey, Shutterstock