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Ask A Vet: Why Does My Dog Follow Me To The Bathroom?

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We laugh at jokes and memes that declare how having a dog means you never have to pee alone again, but it’s true. If we get to go to the bathroom, you can bet our dog is right behind us. Our dogs are really tuned in to us and curious as well, but seriously…do they have to attend our potty breaks?

Your dog might like to stare at you when he poops, but most humans don’t stare at anything (with the possible exception these days of a smart phone) and prefer to be alone for their time on the porcelain throne. The answer to this question may lie in who your dog is. As a member of your family pack, your dog feels the need to be with you, doing. She may feel vulnerable in your absence.

Dogs are also naturally curious so when you slip into a room and always close the door, you are odd. Your home is your family territory and the bathroom is within the boundary of its sphere of influence. Your dog probably feels like that area must be patrolled and secured-surely that is the reason that you go there. Patrolling is a cooperative venture. Why wouldn’t you want him there for back-up? When he smells that you have “marked” there, he instinctively understands.

Dogs place value on resources in order to survive. High value resources are ones that are a priority and these are things like food, water, and territory. Pack animals understand resources as something that benefits the whole group. They are masters at cooperation. In the wild, they hunt and forage as a group. They share and defend their territory as a group.  So from your dog’s perspective, you would never want to go anywhere in that territory alone. Privacy is not a communal word and your dog understands communal living.

If you feel that you just want some alone time, give your dog a distraction for your time in the “reading room”. Enrichment toys are ideal for this purpose since they take some time to figure out. You can find a special item that will entertain him for little while, so that he is not banging on the door!

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