Picture this: you are doing your business when a curious snout begins to make his way into the bathroom and all of sudden, you have a furry four-legged spectator staring at you while sitting comfortably on the bathmat. Sounds familiar?
Dogs have this weird habit of following us into the bathroom only to stare fixedly at us, or just chill on the bath mat while we do our business. But why do they do this? What reason is behind this strange behavior?
As a matter of fact, there are multiple reasons why dogs follow you into the bathroom. Let’s go through them.
Reasons why dogs follow you into the bathroom
1. Pack mentality
Although dogs now live in the comfort of a house, sleep on their own bed and have food served to them, they are still animals with instincts and wild ancestors. The pack mentality is a part of them that domestication can’t erase.
A pack that was once formed by a pack of dogs, now consists of one, two or three dogs, and their human family. A pup most certainly thinks of the humans he lives with as his pack, his family.
As a result, they follow you everywhere, even to the bathroom. They just know that they want to be with you, regardless of the circumstances.
With the pack mentality, comes the sense of protection.
Has it ever happened to you that when you take your dog for a walk and they go potty, they stare at you? This happens because at this moment they are feeling extremely vulnerable, so they seek protection in you.
When they follow you into the bathroom, they are returning the favor. They are guarding you. Of course we both know there’s no wild predator to be protected from, but your pup truly believes they are protecting you. It’s kind of sweet, right?
For most part of the day, you are your dog’s whole social environment. Although dogs go to the park, spend time with other pups there and socialize with them, this only happens for 1, 2 or 3 hours a day. The rest of the time you are all your pup has.
This results in your dog intensifying their socialization with you. They are used to being with you all the time, so it’s only logical for them to follow you wherever you go, even if that means the bathroom.
4. Velcro dogs
This reason is kind of similar to the previous one. The main difference is that it only happens to some dogs, the velcro ones.
The pups that carry this trait are known for following their human to every single place they go. You move from one room to the other, and there you hear the steps on the floor as your pup walks right behind you.
Although any dog can develop this behavior, there are some breeds prone to do so, such as the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever and Great Dane, among others.
Yes, that’s right. Your dog could be following you into the bathroom out of mere curiosity.
When you enter the bathroom and close the door before your dog gets in, they may think “what’s in there that’s so exciting? Can I see it?”. It’s completely normal for them to want to visit a place you are constantly going to.
6. Separation anxiety
Your dog may follow you into the bathroom or wait outside the door whining because they suffer from separation anxiety.
If this is the case, you can try supplementing your dog with calming treats that will naturally calm your dog, alternatively, you could talk to a dog trainer so they can advise you on how to proceed, since this condition can result in great suffering for our pups. When a dog suffers from separation anxiety, they can develop destructive behaviors such as excessive chewing, go potty inside the house, constant barking or just wrecking the house.
To make sure this is the reason why your dog follows you into the bathroom, check if your dog also acts like this during other moments that you are away from them: when you leave the house, when you just go outside for a moment or when another family member takes off.
7. Positive reinforcement
The veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack has explained that your dog might follow you into the bathroom because of the positive reinforcement you are constantly giving them. If you give them treats or affection non-stop, it’s logical that they will follow you wherever you go, even if it includes the bathroom.
How to make your dog stop following you into the bathroom?
Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your dog following you into the bathroom (except if it is due to separation anxiety, that condition must be treated), you may want to have some privacy while doing your business and not have someone stare at you.
If that’s the case, there’s something you can do to make your dog abandon this behavior. You just have to train your dog to do something else while you are in the bathroom. You could provide them with reinforcement such as a chewable toy or a lick mat for them to be entertained meanwhile.