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Reasons Why Dogs Follow Their Owners Around

One of the biggest things about pets, especially dogs, is that they have an incredible ability to give a lot of love especially when their owner is around. All of us dog owners have the moment when we come home from work and we turn the key into the door and we hear the dog running across the house just to greet us. They want those cuddles and in fact it is one of the many favorite things owners look forward to. But there is another component to it. After settling down from coming home for the day you might find the dog sticks to your hip” suddenly. So why does this following occur?

Well there are quite a few reasons for it! One thing could be is that the dog wants to return the favor so speak. Think about it. It’s the time when you come home from your long day you’re your dog wants to feel they have you back and you are not going back out. Some dogs even have to follow their owners into the bathroom while the owner relieves themselves! It is really like they are trying to reassure themselves hey my owner is not leaving again. A certain study was done in which training dogs had to lie still in an M.R.I scanner. That is hard enough just for us two-legged people. Scientists found the dogs’ brain would respond to familiar sounds, sights, and smells. This suggested that dogs do in fact love us and consider us part of the family. They want to follow us to get that family cuddle! One other study done that focused on relationships between dogs in packs found that some dogs are more likely to follow the friendliest of dogs and not the leader of the pack. So if you are finding that your dog is following you around in the sense that they are looking for an autograph from a famed celebrity it suggests they love and safe around you. So you are doing something right! Keep on giving those belly rubs and scratches!

Once you understand the nature of canines, it’s clear why domesticated dogs and even stray dogs adopt people and never leave. Wolves are pack animals and that means they are social and need to stay with other wolves. A lone wolf could not survive on its own. Since house dogs are descended from wolves, they will retain some of those instincts. Stray dogs are a special case to a degree. If they follow a person home and in a sense “adopt” that person they will never leave. This dog has had the experience of living in extreme temperatures as well as suffering from hunger and other things. They want that family life over the stray life. Hence the following in this case would be understandable indeed!

Another interesting thing is dogs following the gaze of a human. Researchers have been surprised to find out that dogs are very adept at following the gaze of their owner to things such as objects or places. Another following example! They can do this even without the help of a command or point. It is another astonishing point to show that animals have evolved to fit our needs. Observations in the past have shown that animals such as dolphins, birds, primates, and seals will follow gazes up to a certain distance. However it seems that dogs will only follow gazes when it is directed at an object. This suggests quite a few things. For one thing it could suggest that they are following aimless gazes from early on in life. The second notion is that it has to do with training. An obedient dog will often be taught to keep their eyes and focus on the trainer. Therefore any distractions that can occur they just learn to ignore them.

From the time they are very young dogs have experience when it comes to living at home with their owners. Overtime they get the understanding that at anytime an individual can come into the room and this individual can hold affection for the dog. Researchers divided the gaze-following into certain groups. One group focused on intense trained eye contact while the other would be focused on to touch a tennis ball with their paw. After these sessions the dogs were then given the gaze follow test. As a result each dog’s results were altered. Less gaze following was seen and more unwavering attention was seen from all the dogs involved. So what is remarkable about these results? They show how dogs quickly can abandon natural instinct, having to gaze along with us, and just trust. Experts have said that in the past dogs have evolved to depend on humans compared to any other animal on Earth. These results support this idea to a degree. So in a way is a matter that dogs have become dependent on us humans and hence why they follow? Well it is to the eye of the beholder!

Now there is sometimes when it reaches a point when the owner wants some space from the dog following them which is understandable! Well there are some ways in which that can be done in a fun and loving way:

  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise each day! It should be 30 minutes per day!
  • Try working on commands with the dog such as sit, stay, or come.
  • Leave the dog with a nice distraction such as a food treat or toy.
  • Now if you have the dog that truly just never wants to leave your side then the advice is to pay less attention to the pet. Yeah that may seem a bit harsh and hard to do but in the long run it will be better for you and your dog! That is the most important thing!

    So the real reason why dogs follow human beings cannot be concluded because there could be quite the few reasons for it! Just continue to give your beloved animal the love and affection you have already been giving it!

    Image Credit: Javier Pierini/gettyimages

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