9 Reasons Dogs Follow You To The Bathroom


So your dog follows you to the bathroom too? Let me guess, you are wondering why dogs do this and if there is any reason for you to stop it. 

Well, you’ve come to the right place because we are going to talk about this strange habit and share:

  • 9 reasons why dogs follow you to the bathroom
  • Why they might also watch you pee or poop
  • If you should let them follow you to the bathroom
  • How to stop them from following you to the bathroom

And more…

The 9 Reasons Why Dogs Follow You To The Bathroom

Before we dive into these 9 reasons please keep in mind this is not an all-inclusive list encompassing every possible reason. There may be other reasons, however, these are the most likely reasons discovered to date.

1.) They Really Like You

It can be as simple as they just really really enjoy your company. To them it doesn’t matter what you are doing, they just want to be with you regardless. In fact, pros at Chewy have mentioned that dogs may have no idea what a bathroom is or what we do in there.

Even so, over time it’s likely your dog becomes aware and they will likely still follow you into the bathroom. Especially if they love being with you.

2.) You’ve Trained This (Accidentally)

This next reason people may not even realize. If every time your dog is around you, they get affection or treats, it’s likely they want to follow you around all the time. In addition, if you have ever pet them or even given them the slightest bit of attention when they’ve gone into your washroom with you, you may have accidentally reinforced the behavior.

Any form of positive reinforcement for them entering the bathroom creates a habit. It’s the same process when you are training them to sit, just in this instance, it’s training them to follow you into the bathroom.

However, it could also be that they just wanna know what you are up to. This leads me to the next reason on this list.

3.) Your Dogs Curiosity

Your dog could be simply checking in to see what you are up to. Since your dog may have no idea what a bathroom is, they could just be curious. A good way to tell if this is your dog’s specific reason is to judge how long they stay in the washroom. If they only walk into the bathroom for a few moments before leaving they might have just been curious about what you were doing.

4.) Animal Instinct

Dogs are social animals that come from a history of wolves where they needed a “pack mentality” to survive. Since dogs have this idea of companionship built into them, they may stick by your side to keep you safe and protect their pack (aka you). In addition, they may even feel vulnerable if you are not around so they stick by your side. 

Moreover, your dog might also believe that you are the pack leader and thus, feel obligated to follow you around your home.

This also leads us to the next reason dogs follow you to the bathroom.

5.) Your Dog’s Nervous

Some dogs can feel vulnerable when not by your side. That means whether it’s the bathroom, the couch, or your bed, they want to be with you. We call these dogs “velcro dogs” since they want to stick to you wherever you go.

This is typically the reason for dogs with separation anxiety. If your dog suffers from this they don’t want to leave your side. If you think this is the case, always seek help from an animal behaviorist or vet to help them cope better with their anxiety.

6.) Your Dog Is Hungry

Sometimes, the reason your dog wants to follow you into the bathroom is simply that they want you to feed them! They might be looking for a treat or thinking you are getting them something yummy from the bathroom.

7.) They Love Smells

Yep…you read that right. Your dog might just like the smell of your bathroom. Dogs love smelly things so if your bathroom is full of fragrant soaps and shampoos this could be why they follow you. Not to mention all the extra smells added from urine and feces. Dogs do love the smell of poop and pee!

8.) They Don’t Understand Privacy

As we all know, dogs don’t really seem to have any boundaries at all. Especially when it comes to our personal space and privacy. Dog’s just don’t understand privacy, so they end up following us into the bathroom even when we might not want them to.

9.) They Want To Help You

The last reason on our list is a classic admirable trait in most dogs. They want to be helpful in whatever way they can be. If that means sitting in the bathroom keeping you safe that’s exactly what they will do. Some will even hold the toilet paper for you or bring you a towel. The main idea here is they are trying to help you.

Why Do Dogs Watch You Pee Or Poo?

The reason a dog watches you pee or poop is that they know this is when animals are most vulnerable. So by accompanying you to the bathroom, they are able to stand guard to protect you while you are exposed. 

If your dog is still young, they might have no idea what you are doing in the washroom so this might not be the case. However, dogs a little older and wiser may begin to understand what is going on when you pee or poop.

Should You Let Your Dog Follow You To The Bathroom?

Overall, if your dog is a stage-five clinger and they follow you into the bathroom there is no real harm in letting them follow you in. It might be annoying to some, but it’s completely normal. The only real cause for concern would be if you find your dog gets genuinely upset or distressed anytime you are going into the washroom.

This can be an indication of separation anxiety which should not be taken lightly. Some signs and symptoms of this would be, excessive whining, vocalization, pacing, excessive licking, and urination or pooping during your absence.

How To Stop Your Dog From Following You To The Bathroom

If you are not a fan of your dog following you into the bathroom, there are a few strategies you can deploy to slowly end this behavior. Every dog has a different reason for following you but here are some things you can do:

  • Close the door when you go into the bathroom to let them know they are not allowed in the washroom. If they scratch at the door, either crate them or put them into an isolated room to indicate to them it’s not okay. If they wait outside the door the entire time without issue, praise them and reward them afterward.
  • Give your dog a toy or bone before heading into the washroom to keep them distracted.
  • If you think your dog has separation anxiety you can explore crate training to help reduce this.
  • Work on your dog’s training by getting them to practice the ‘stay’ command before going to the washroom.
  • Try training your dog to sit outside of the bathroom every time you go in. Have your dog sit and stay outside of the bathroom. Then walk in, wait a few moments, walk back, and then give them a treat. Repeat this process until it becomes a new habit for them.

If nothing seems to be working make sure to consider whether or not you have been giving them enough attention, exercise, and enrichment. Also if there have been any major changes to their environment, such as a new baby, new house, new pet, etc.). In addition, check the bathroom for anything they may like, it could be a plant, piece of smelly soap, etc…

The last thing to consider is if your dog is in pain. Sometimes dogs will follow owners around because they are in pain.

Citations

There’s a Really Cute Reason Why Dogs Follow You to The Bathroom
Is This Normal: Why Do Dogs Follow You Into the Bathroom?
Separation Anxiety
How to Ease Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety
Why Do Dogs Follow You into the Bathroom?
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Into the Bathroom?

Alec Littlejohn

Founder and Reviewer at Pawscessories. He is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! He grew up in a family of vets and to this day he helps out around the family clinic and shares his learnings on Pawscessories. Learn more about Alec's story here

Recent Posts