Sometimes we just crave a bit of alone time and personal space, which is why there is nothing worse then going to the bathroom only for your dog to trail after you. Our Cavapoo, Rosie, follows me everywhere – she truly is my little shadow and sticks to me like velcro. But why do dogs follow us to the toilet and is it a step too far?
If, like me, you’re forever asking why does my dog follow me to the bathroom? then this article offers advice. We look at reasons why our Cavapoos accompany us to the toilet and explain how to discourage our dogs from following us everywhere we go.
With the exception of a smart phone, the majority of us prefer to pee alone. So it can be a little intimidating when you turn around for the toilet roll, only to find a pair of canine eyes staring up at you. But is this dog behavior normal, or are our pets trying to tell us something?
Reasons why your dog follows you to the loo
So why does my dog follow me to the bathroom? Are they curious as to what goes on behind the ‘secret’ door? Are they scared of being left alone for a few precious moments? Or do the simply love us sooo much that they want to spend every waking, breathing, peeing moment with us?
Well you only have to look at the way in which our dogs greet one another at the local park, to appreciate the fact that dogs have no concept of personal space! And although it may seem slightly weird to us humans that we have to share our loos with our canine chums, to our dogs it is just second nature.
Take a look…
Dogs are pack animals
As a wild animal, a dog will hunt, sleep, eat and play as part of a much bigger group. It is therefore imperative to their survival that they stay together in a pack. As your dog’s owner, the moment you wander off, it is instinctive for them to want to follow you.
Your dog adores you
To your dog, you are their whole world and therefore they want to do everything they can to protect you. But how can they do that if you are sat behind a closed door? When you wander off to the bathroom your dog wants to be by your side in order to keep you safe – which when you think about it, is really quite cute.
Dogs do not understand personal boundaries
Just like small children, dogs have no concept of personal space. This is why when you get up, they get up. When you go to the kitchen, they go into the kitchen. So why then should the bathroom be any different?
Dogs are curious creatures
A dog follows you because they are inquisitive about where you are going, what you are doing and most importantly, what is in it for them? People pleasers, your Cavapoo will want to know how they can help you, and more importantly whats in it for them. Just like kids, your dog will follow you to the toilet just incase there is a new toy, treat or adventure waiting for them.
Dogs experience separation anxiety
Most dogs are known for their affectionate nature (Cavapoos especially), and love being surrounded by people. But if left on their own – even for short periods of time – they can suffer from separation anxiety.
As responsible pet owners, it is up to us to train our dogs on how to cope with being left alone so that they can enjoy their own company and entertain themselves when we are not there. If you think your dog is struggling with being left alone and is experiencing anxiety, then you should contact your veterinarian for further advice.
Why do dogs like to watch us pee?
You may notice that when your dog stops to do their business they will quite happily keep eye contact with you! The difference being that whilst we like to visit the bathroom solo, our dogs see it as another opportunity to bond with us.
So whilst you might think that having your dog watch you pee is weird, to your canine chum it a great form of entertainment and something which you can share together!
Why you should stop your dog following you to the bathroom?
To spend every hour of every day with your dog is simply unrealistic, and although it may seem endearing that your dog wants to follow you everywhere, including the loo, it is really important that you discourage this behavior.
Apart from the fact that is not healthy for your dog to constantly need to keep you in sight, there are also a variety of products that we use in the bathroom which are not safe for our furry friends.
Concentrated cleaners that are regularly used in the toilet and bathroom could pose a health risk if your dog was to inhale, drink or absorb them through their paws.
Left for just a moment unwatched whilst you wash your hands, your Cavapoo could potentially drink from the toilet bowl or slurp from the shower tray, so it is always best to keep the bathroom off limits to your dog.
Tips on stopping your dog following you to toilet?
Now as I said earlier, Rosie would happily follow me EVERYWHERE! So, if I need to go to the bathroom, and she insists on being by my side, then the easiest solution is to just close the door to keep her out.
Here are my top tips for stopping your dog following you to the toilet.
Get your dog to wait outside
It’s another house training technique, but your dog won’t learn if they are allowed to continue with the same behavior. Simply tell you dog to wait outside, whilst reassuring them that you will be straight back. Like all positive reinforcement techniques, you should reward your dog for being patient with treats, toys and plenty of praise.
Provide your dog with plenty of distractions
Another way of nipping off to the loo without being followed is to give your dog plenty of distractions, so that they don’t even notice that you are gone. Puzzles and mental toys are great for this, as they take time for your dog to figure out and provide instant treats when you are otherwise engaged.
Understanding your dogs curiosity
If your dog following you to the bathroom is a new habit, then there could be a few explanations for the change in behavior, and you should always consult a professional for advice.
Perhaps you have been spending more time together than usual and you need to reteach them that being apart from you is perfectly fine? Perhaps there is something alluring in the bathroom, such as a water leak, secret food source or sweet smelling plant that is enticing them in? Or maybe they are in pain and are trying to get your attention?
We all love our dogs and although we want to spend as much time as possible with them, there are times and places which are better suited to doing this. The bathroom not being one of them!