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Why Does Your Dog Follow You to the Bathroom? 8 Potential Reasons

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

young dog sitting inside the bathroom

It’s practically a guarantee that when it’s time for you to visit the bathroom, your dog will be shadowing you—which can be awkward!

So, what’s this all about? Why do dogs follow us into the bathroom, the one place where we need our privacy the most?

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The 8 Reasons Why Your Dog Follows You to the Bathroom

1. There Are Interesting Scents and Sounds

There’s no question that bathrooms are full of interesting smells and sounds. Beyond the obvious, there are soaps, shampoos, lotions, and perfumes. It’s an absolute smorgasbord for a dog’s senses!


2. They Don’t Want to Let You Out of Their Sight

Dogs form intensely strong bonds with their humans, which can mean you have a shadow everywhere you go. If your dog is in the habit of following you around the house, it should come as no surprise that they also follow you into the bathroom.

labrador retriever dog waiting for its owner in the bathroom
Photo Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

3. It’s Pure Unadulterated Curiosity

Your dog is likely super curious about what you’re doing in there. After all, we humans typically spend a great deal of time in the bathroom, so naturally, your dog wants to know why.


4. You’re Part of Their Pack

The ancestors of modern dogs were wolves, which live in packs. Our current domestic dogs carry some of those instincts to this day (though some breeds prefer to be on their own). Your dog most likely considers you a part of their pack and doesn’t want to let you out of their sight!


5. They Want to Encourage You

It’s likely that you’ve encouraged your dog in a positive reinforcement kind of way during their bathroom time, so your pup might be responding similarly. Also, giving your dog attention while in the bathroom—chatting with, petting, or reprimanding them—can act like a reward. After all, any attention is still attention.

jack russell terrier dog followed the woman in the bathroom
Photo Credit: Lazy_Bear, Shutterstock

6. They Have Separation Anxiety

The strong bond that your dog has with you can sometimes be on the extreme side. If your dog really doesn’t want to let you out of their sight, you should get your veterinarian involved. A healthy relationship between you and your dog should allow for time apart without your dog being in distress.


7. They Are Just Bored

There’s always the possibility that your dog is just bored, so when you get up to go to the bathroom, your dog follows because there’s nothing better to do. If you suspect that this is the case, they need more exercise and walking and extra toys and chews.


8. They’re Feeling Scared and Nervous

Your dog might be sticking to your side because something has them spooked or they don’t feel well. Maybe someone your dog doesn’t know is visiting, or there’s a thunderstorm or fireworks. Your dog might just be seeking reassurance by sticking to you like glue.

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Are There Dog Breeds More Likely to Follow You Everywhere?

Several breeds are commonly called “Velcro dogs” because they stick to their owners like Velcro! Many of these breeds were bred to be companions, especially lap dogs, while others were bred to work closely alongside humans.

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Border Collie
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • French Bulldog
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Maltese
  • Papillon
  • Pit Bull
  • Pomeranian
  • Pug
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Vizsla
  • Yorkshire Terrier
sick chihuahua dog lying on a rug
Image Credit: Zozz_, Pixabay

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Training Your Dog to Not Follow You Everywhere

If you don’t mind your dog accompanying you to the bathroom, that’s great! But if you prefer to have a bit of privacy, there are a few steps that you can take to encourage your dog to wait patiently for you.

Stay

One of the simplest methods is to train your dog to “stay” if you haven’t already. If you need to train your dog to stay in a place, do so without the bathroom to start.

Once your dog has mastered this command, you can use it when you go to the bathroom. If your dog obeys, give them a treat once you’re done.

Just Keep Moving

If you frequently move around the house, enter rooms, and so on, make a point of always coming back to check in with your dog. This will help teach your dog that you’ll always come back when you’re not in the same room as they are.

It also shows your dog that it’s not a big deal when you do something away from them. When your dog stays while you’re busy, give them a treat and praise once you come back to them.

Exercise Is Key

A tired dog is a happy dog! If you ensure that you’re wearing out your dog with daily walks and runs, they are less likely to follow you around.

This should also include keeping your dog mentally engaged. Mental exercises can consist of using puzzles and chew toys. You can even make your own!

A bored dog is more likely to act out of frustration. But when your dog uses toys designed to entertain them, this will keep them too busy to constantly accompany you to the bathroom.

wire haired jack russell terrier dog going for a walk
Image Credit: Jolanta Beinarovica, Shutterstock

Don’t Reward the Behavior

It’s important to take note of how you react to your dog when they follow you into the bathroom. You should ensure that you’re not unconsciously reinforcing your dog’s behavior; this can be something as simple as looking at them or petting them.

Scolding them is still a form of attention, which will encourage your pup to follow you. You should focus on giving treats and attention to your dog only if they stay while you leave the room. When they follow you, you must ignore them—don’t even look at them!

Everyone Must Follow the Rules

Everyone who lives in your household must stick to the rules. If your dog follows others into the bathroom, they must ignore your dog.

It can also be quite helpful to have everyone in the home participate in taking care of the family pet. If everyone takes turns feeding and walking them, your dog’s focus will be more widely distributed among their “pack” and not on just you.

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Conclusion

The most common reason your dog follows you to the bathroom is that they only want to be near you. It’s perfectly normal in most cases, and if it doesn’t bother you, just know that your dog clearly loves you, and that’s a beautiful thing.

But if your dog seems genuinely distressed while you’re in the bathroom, speak to your vet. You might need to have an animal behaviorist work with you and your dog in order to ensure that they are a confident and happy dog.


Featured Image Credit: Gorsky Roman, Shutterstock

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