Dogs are adorable and devoted, but that devotion can sometimes get a bit much. For example, when your dog follows you everywhere, including into the bathroom when all you need Is 5 minutes to yourself.
I’ve been thinking about why dogs follow you into the bathroom, and have come up with more than 20 fun reasons below. But if you were to ask a dog behaviourist why your dog follows you into a bathroom, here’s what they’d probably say.
Dogs follow you into the bathroom due to separation anxiety. Plus your dog sees you as part of the pack, so will follow you to the bathroom to protect you. Dogs also learn that when they wait for you outside a door, they will often be greeted with praise when you come back out.
More reasons why dogs follow you into the bathroom
As well as those reasons, there are more that I’ve listed below. These range from the benign to the ridiculous, why your dog will follow you to the bathroom. They are chronicled below, in no particular order of significance.
1. For social reasons
Dogs are, by and large, sociable animals. Historically, they lived in packs and have difficulty being loners They want to be with you and cannot imagine that the feeling is not reciprocated.
2. For reassurance
If your dog is still a puppy, you are its de facto parent. Your image and presence has been imprinted on its brain and it needs to be near you for reassurance, all the time.
3. For security
Even older dogs need regular eye contact (not aggressive staring though) to feel secure so will follow you into the bathroom on each and every trip.
Let them through the bathroom door and they will watch you This may give the impression that they are staring at you… perhaps not what you want in this moment of privacy!
4. To cool down
On a more utilitarian note, bathroom floors are often one of a few rooms in your home with tiled floors. Long-haired dogs, such as Labradors, may accompany you to the lavatory, merely to cool down on the cold surface.
5. To be loyal
Some breeds are known as Velcro dogs, because they are particularly clingy. These people-pleasing pooches, that stick to you and follow you everywhere, may view it as loyalty.
They come in all shapes and sizes, from Great Danes to Welsh Corgis.
Handy Hint: Here’s a comprehensive list of things to check if you’re not sure whether your loves you or not. How many does your dog do?
6. Due to herding instincts
Herding breeds, like Australian Cattle Dogs and Border Collies, have a different reason for stalking you. You are part of their flock. They are responsible for your well-being and need to know where you are at all times.
This is why your dog will follow you to the bathroom and wait patiently outside the door.
7. To guard you
German Shepherds (here’s more on the breed) and Doberman Pinschers make wonderful pets but they are always on guard. They will follow you to the loo just in case some danger befalls you there. Dogs are also said to be able to sense when you are in pain, so if you rush to the bathroom hurting, it’s no wonder they want to follow you in.
8. To support you
Other dogs are cheerleaders. They are happy to support you in everything you do. The experience is not entirely unpleasant and may feel, to us humans, like the halcyon days of potty training, when our slightest efforts received the highest praise.
9. There is no such thing as privacy
Dogs have no boundaries when it pertains to bathroom activities. They have not developed a notion of privacy and do not consider it at all indelicate to accompany you into the privy chambers.
If your dog likes to follow you to the bathroom, they might also exhibit clingy behavior like this.
10. They come for the adventure
They think that eliminating waste is an adventure, and want to tag along. Their owners make a big deal out of their peeing and pooing. First thing in the morning, bleary-eyed, their parents will urge them to go potty, and heap praise on them when they do. If they have a garden it is a wonderful time of unaccompanied exploration and barking at the neighbourhood.
If there is no garden, their owner needs to get dressed up, two or three times a day, in all weathers, to escort their charge around the neighbourhood, with the sole aim of encouraging them to deposit a trophy on the pavement.
Such devotion needs to be repaid.
11. They watch you, because you watch them
To be fair, you watch your dogs do their business, so they are only returning the favour. On walks, in public places, pooch owners hover anxiously while bowel are being moved, and even collect the trophies.
They regularly examine their dogs’ poop to see if it is healthy. Dogs observe this behaviour and think they are discharging an important duty by monitoring your progress.
12. It’s a social thing
Ablutions are a communal activity for dogs. Even in a plot of land, the size of a small game reserve, my string of female dogs will queue up to pee on the same spot.
13. To communicate
Whether you know it are not, you are communicating non-verbally with your dog in the bathroom. That is the way they do it. When male dogs lift their legs against a tree, they are sending strong messages to unseen adversaries and love interests. Who knows what you are broadcasting!
Handy Hint: Have you ever wondered what would happen if dogs could actually talk?
14. To collect data
Dogs are also collecting data in the bathroom. Smells change in there. A sensory overload for humans translates into an information dump for your dog. Be thankful your dog is only staring trance-like at you.
They sniff each other’s butts. It could be worse… which reminds me, does your dog ever smell your belly button?
15. Fear of missing out
Your dog may be bored and live in hope that you will initiate some stimulating activity, not necessarily in the bathroom. They just do not want to let you out of their sight in case they miss it.
They will patiently follow you into the bathroom, watch you do your business, then follow you devotedly onto next destination.
16. To break the routine
You may be a novelty to a dog. Several of my friends’ dogs follow me when I use the facilities at their homes. I like to think they adore me and take it as a privilege and a compliment.
I suspect though that I represent a break in their daily routine when I go to the restroom, or maybe they are following you to the bathroom me to ensure that I do not steal anything.
17. Out of curiosity
Your dog may be curious. You go into the bathroom, every day, usually several times a day and sit on the throne. It must be an important place with specific meaning in your life. One day your pooch will figure it out.
18. Due to suspicion
In most countries, building legislation dictate that bathrooms have at least one outside wall. There is also usually a door on the bathroom. These two spatial details make your dog suspicious.
When you go in there and disappear for ages, you dog suspects that you have a secret exit and have left the building. They follow you inside to ensure that you do not abscond.
19. Concerns of you being alone
Dogs do not like to be alone. Being empathic animals, they believe that you have the same aversion, so your dog will dutifully follow you into the bathroom each time you go.
20. To stave off loneliness
By following their owners into the ‘library’, dogs are staving off loneliness, and what may even feel like abandonment. There are Readers Digest books in there, plus puzzles, old magazines and even daily devotions. Some people spend hours in there.
With the advent of smart phones, users can really get bogged down. A modern idiom is ‘toilet plus phone plus WiFi, equals infinity’.
21. Because it’s a chill-out space
Your dog may see the cloakroom as your mutual ‘third space’, a place for buddies to chill out in companionable silence. Dogs are not overly discerning. They do not demand designer décor, and their notion of ambience is completely different from ours.
It is a wonderful way to earn brownie points with your dog, with minimal effort.
22. To get your undivided attention
Perhaps your dog is looking for affection. You are together, alone, in a small space, and you are stationary. You are a captive audience. The potential for receiving undivided attention is huge.
23. Just in case you have treats
Some dogs are diabolical. They will sell their souls for treats. Hoping against hope, despite years of evidence to the contrary, they will follow you into the can, convinced that you have a biscuit tin in there.
If they can just keep on hounding you, one day they will receive a gastronomical reward.
24. Simply because they can
There is nothing special about the littlest room in your house. Perhaps your bull mastiff follows you everywhere, and the only place you really notice it is in there, because there isn’t enough room to swing a cat.
Understandably you will feel under pressure, being paid such close attention in such a confined space.
Dogs are man’s best friend. They look up to you and want to spend as much time as possible with you. This desire extends to joining you in many of your daily activities, including trips to the bathroom.
You are the pack leader and represent security for them. They will seek eye contact often for reassurance and to await the next instruction or event.
For humans their presence may represent an invasion of territory, especially if the dog is large and the space is limited. Their constant stare could add to the feeling of intimidation and of being judged. You feel like you will never pee alone.
Rest assured, your dog has your best interests at heart when he or she follows you into the bathroom.
You might also like…
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- How a dog might be able to sense an evil person in the room
Image in header via https://unsplash.com/photos/FP1ZiywBneU