We all know a velcro dog, or maybe you have one yourself already. Velcro dogs are those who seem to follow you everywhere you go – from the kitchen to your bedroom, and even to the bathroom. 

So why do dogs generally follow you everywhere? If you’ve been wondering about this, you’ll be happy to know you’re in the right place. In this article, we hope you can follow us as we help you find out all sorts of questions like why my dog follows me everywhere, whether I should be worried that my dog is following me everywhere and what dog breeds tend to follow humans around more. We’ll also look at why your older dog might have started following you everywhere, and give you tips on how to stop your dog from following you around. The first thing you should know is that dogs following you around is a fairly common thing. If it’s something you consider to be a problem, you can help resolve it with some understanding and training. Our full programme of training inside the Zigzag app is based on your puppy’s breed and age. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Oh, and we don’t want you to do it alone, of course. Our team of professional dog trainers will always be on hand to help you with any stage of your puppy’s training.

beagle smiling
Photo by Marliese Streefland on Unsplash

Why does my dog follow me everywhere?

Dogs are social animals. As their beautiful facial expressions tell us, they seem to hang off our every word and want to be with us all the time, so following is definitely a normal part of canine behaviour. Here are more reasons why your dog might be following you around:

Your dog follows you because they love you and want to be near you

Plain and simple, dogs follow us because they want to be near us, and they love companionship. Ultimately, this is why we love dogs right? We’re not into the pack leader model around here at Zigzag HQ, but dogs do have quite the preference to be with their friends and family most of the time.

Dogs follow you because they’re bored

To your dog, you’re their ultimate source of fun and games. If you’re up to something, they want to know every little bit about it. What you’re up to is often a lot more interesting than being on their own.

Because you’re reinforcing

Treats and toys aren’t the only things that work for positive reinforcement. Many dogs find your loving smile or a few words of kindness very reassuring and comforting, so they’ll likely follow you around to see if they can get a glimpse of affection. If you only pay attention to them when they are with you, they’ll continue to follow you. To them, you’re just nice to be around. 

Dogs follow because they don’t want to miss out

Yes, FOMO is definitely a thing for many dogs. And this can be a good enough reason for them to follow you around everywhere. Instances of when the fear of missing out is likely to kick in is when a new pet or family member is at home, and your dog thinks they’re getting all the attention instead of them.

Following you because they’re anxious or have separation anxiety

Some dogs can’t bear the thought of being apart from their owners as being near them makes them feel safe. While the scientific data doesn’t support the idea that dogs who follow you everywhere automatically have separation anxiety, you might want to think if your dog or puppy has some struggles being home alone or seems hyper-attached. Our article on dog separation anxiety has more information about this if you’re curious.

Changes in routine

Dogs are creatures of habit and like having reliable routines. Having a routine helps them build confidence, so if daily patterns are changed, it can worry them – triggering their velcro side to come out and play.

golden retriever puppy walking
Photo by Cristian Castillo on Unsplash

Should I be worried that my dog is following me everywhere?

Dogs who follow you everywhere are not necessarily a huge cause for concern. Certainly, for puppies being near their caregiver is a survival instinct, so tagging along with you will come very naturally to them. Remember, they feel safe around you – even most adult dogs feel this way.

In case you have a dog who can only relax when they’re right next to you, or if their following along is driving you mad, you might want to dedicate some training time to settling down on a mat, or helping them relax.

Which dog breeds will follow you around?

Some dog breeds will follow you more than others. These are likely to be companion dogs who are used to working with people or ones who are generally clingy and feel more anxious when you’re not around. 

Here are a few breeds which might be natural followers:

Hungarian Vizsla

Hungarian Vizslas are known to be people dogs with sensitive souls. They want to be with you all of the time, and they are a breed that can struggle more with anxiety or separation anxiety.

French Bulldogs

Frenchies are the ultimate cuddle bugs and people-focused dogs. It’s one of the reasons why they’re so popular all over the world – people just love to feel loved. Frenchies will follow you everywhere and will get serious FOMO. They’ll want to know what you’re up to at all times because there might be something in it for them. They might also feel a bit worried when they’re on their own, which is yet another reason why they’ll want to be close to you.

Pugs

Pugs, or little Yodas as I often think of them, were bred to be companion dogs for the wealthy. Today, they continue to live up to this by always wanting to be with you.

Why is my older dog following me everywhere suddenly

Following behaviour in senior dogs that seems to have popped out of nowhere may be cause for concern. Some senior dogs may suffer from Cognitive Dysfunction, which can cause them to appear confused, disoriented, or restless, and make them want to be with you as a result.

Other reasons that an ageing dog might suddenly want to follow you can be:

  • Hearing or sight loss
  • They feel stressed or anxious
  • They’re feeling under the weather
  • Separation anxiety
  • They’re hungry (appetite can increase with age!)
dog smiling with tongue out
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

How to get your dog to stop following you

If you want your dog to stop stepping on your heels, there are some things you can do to help. But there is a general key to all of this… teach them to relax! 

  1. Make sure they’re healthy – this might mean going to the vet for a visit to get the all-clear. This is particularly important if you have an older dog, and you notice they’ve started following you everywhere. 
  2. Prevent them from becoming boredPuzzle feeders, chews, and interactive games will encourage them to entertain themselves by solving problems (and having fun while they’re at it) and avoid feeling bored.
  3. Give them a good walk every day – Focus on sniffy walks rather than long walks. This is because keeping their noses busy by exploring all kinds of smells tires dogs out mentally, helping them become calmer and more relaxed in the long run. Long walks might encourage your dog to become more of an athlete that can never get enough of physical activity. Our guide on how much exercise your puppy needs will help you determine how much time to spend so they don’t get too tired. 
  4. Make sure their bed is comfortable – As you may know well, a good bed will help result in a good night’s sleep, and you’ll be in a much better mood the next day. It works the same for dogs, and feeling good can help them not feel like they need to follow you around all the time. Different dogs will prefer different types of beds. For example, long-haired dogs or those who get very hot may prefer a flat memory foam style bed, whereas dogs who get cold may prefer a doughnut or a nest bed.
  5. Block out background noise – Use white noise machines or music to help them stay calm. A zen puppy often means a confident puppy, which is always good news.
  6. Create a confinement zone – Make a safe haven behind baby gates or a puppy playpen where they’ll hang out. Snazz it up with toys and blankets to make them want to spend time there. This is especially useful for puppies because it allows you to create a puppy-proof space.
  7. Train some basic obediencePositive reinforcement training can be used to teach your dog a go-to mat, place, or settle cue in the best way possible. Make sure to increase the amount of time gradually so they can remain settled over time without feeling unsafe. On the Zigzag app, you can find a lot more about this – why not download it today? 

You’ve made it to the end! Well done following us up until now. We hope we’ve helped you manage a dog who follows you everywhere, but mostly, you’ve understood that having a velcro dog is not necessarily something to worry about. They’re just being dogs, simple as that. Dogs love our company, but it’s worth checking how they react when you go out to rule out separation anxiety. 

If you think your puppy has separation anxiety read our full guides to puppy separation anxiety and how long can you leave a puppy alone for

Positive reinforcement training is always good to help teach dogs basic obedience cues. It gives them an understanding of what to do, and you get a better-behaved dog without anyone getting stressed out. How lovely does that sound? Read our guide to basic puppy training commands to get you off to a good start! You’ll also find a full training programme in the Zigzag app. We’ve designed our programmes around your puppy’s age of development and breed, so you get the ultimate bespoke experience from an app. Oh, and our team of expert dog trainers will always be happy to talk to you any time you run into hiccups. Trust us, they always pick up the phone.