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Why Do Dogs Follow You to the Bathroom? 10 Reasons

Written by: Genevieve Dugal

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Dog in Bathroom

Why Do Dogs Follow You to the Bathroom? 10 Reasons

Living under the same roof as a dog is like having a second shadow that follows you everywhere. Dogs love to walk their owner from room to room and enjoy their presence. For them, intimacy is a somewhat abstract concept, if not nonexistent. But why do dogs follow us to the bathroom?


The 10 Reasons Your Dog Follows You to the Bathroom

1. They Want to Be Included in Your Activities

Dogs can form strong bonds with their owners, and with that, they want to be included in everything you do, no matter what—even the bathroom is fair game. Dogs don’t think of you going to the bathroom as an off-limit activity for them or a private matter; the bathroom is simply another room they want to follow you into because it looks like another activity to participate in with you. After all, going to the bathroom can be considered an activity, right?

scared Yorkshire dog terrier is standing in the bathroom at home
Image Credit: Unofficial Kodak Moments, Shutterstock

2. They Are Curious

Dogs are instinctively curious creatures and don’t like to be excluded in anything, so when you trot to the bathroom, your dog wants to know what you’re doing in there (sitting on the toilet is not an obvious event to dogs). Of course, sitting on the toilet is not the only thing you do in the bathroom. They are curious about everything you do, like taking a bath, showering, putting on makeup, brushing your teeth, etc. A bathroom is a place they know you frequent, and they want to see what’s up.

3. They Are Protecting You

As creepy as it may seem, your dog is not spying on you while you relieve yourself or showering. Instead, they are there to protect you. They know you go to this room often, and your dog interprets that room as your territory, so in their eyes, it needs to be protected. Regarding your dog’s point of view, something could be lurking in there that they need to save you from. When you think about it, it’s a cute behavior!

wet goldendoodle dog after a bath
Image By: Matt Addis, Shutterstock

4. They Love Your Company

One of the sweetest reasons is your dog just loves you to pieces and cannot stand the thought of not being near you. Dogs are naturally sociable animals, and they long to be in your company, no matter where you are. That’s why they are sad when you leave and excited when you return—just because you’re going to the bathroom doesn’t mean they don’t want to follow along to simply be in your presence.

5. They Love to Smell Different Scents

We all know the bathroom can have an unpleasant scent, but your dog doesn’t care. However, bathrooms can have all sorts of scents, like shampoo, hairspray, lotions, and a whole slew of other scents. Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell and can have a field day smelling all the different scents in a bathroom, so this alone could be the reason why they’ve followed you into that room.

funny curly Labradoodle dog bath
Image Credit: Dikushin Dmitry, Shutterstock

6. They Are Worried About You

Consider this scenario: you’re standing in front of the mirror—you may be flossing, plucking your eyebrows, or any other number of things that make you make funny faces. Or you could be feeling sick and making faces while sitting on the porcelain God. To your dog, they may feel that there’s something seriously wrong with you, and they follow you in because they’re concerned. How sweet.

7. Your Dog Is Experiencing Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is something many dogs experience, and if your dog follows you from room to room, this could be the reason they follow you into the bathroom. Dogs with this unpleasant condition will be stressed when you leave their presence or if left alone, and if you go into the bathroom, your dog will follow to stay with you.

Many reasons can cause the behavior, such as changing routine, moving into a new home, losing a family member, and so on.

dog hugging owner
Image Credit: Bogdan Sonjachnyj, Shutterstock

8. Privacy, What’s That?

Dogs have no concept of privacy, and the bathroom is commonly known as a private room to many, but your dog doesn’t view it that way. Dogs are pack animals and travel in groups. Going to the bathroom is an everyday, normal event for dogs, and even though it’s also normal for humans, your dog simply thinks they are staying with you in the pack. To them, there is nothing private about going to the bathroom.

9. They Receive Positive Reinforcement

It’s hard not to pet your dog while they’re in the bathroom with you while you’re doing whatever is warranted at the time. If you do this or even give your dog a treat afterward, you may be showing them that by following you into the bathroom, they’ll get a treat. In other words, you are unknowingly giving them positive reinforcement. This is fine if you don’t mind your dog being in there, but if you want to stop the behavior, you’ll need to stop using positive reinforcement.

Rottweiler Give Treat
Image Credit: Dmitriev Mikhail, Shutterstock

10. You Have a “Velcro” Dog

Depending on the breed, some dogs are needy and can be clingy to their owners. Herding dogs are typically more independent and don’t engage in this behavior as much, but some dogs long to be near their owner no matter what. Some dogs stress when their owner is out of sight, and they must find them. That said, your Velcro dog will likely follow you wherever you go, including the bathroom.


Other Canine Characteristics That Explain This Behavior

Dogs belong to a gregarious species. This means that they have evolved to live within a social group. Initially, this was a prerequisite for the survival of the individual and that is why dogs have such a deep-rooted instinct in their brains to get closer to another individual from their social group with whom they maintain strong emotional ties.

Moreover, there are statistically observational studies of behavior in canine communities that have shown that a dog can spend more than half the day within 10 meters of another member of his social group. Something similar has also been observed in groups of wolves.

The behavior of the species helps us understand that our dogs want to stay by our side in all places of the house because they are animals used to living in groups and are very protective. This way, he can walk you to the bathroom to protect you, just as the dog feels protected by you. This is also why it is quite common for your dog to look at you when he is defecating. At this point, the dog feels vulnerable and seeks support from his social group, which is you!

Nonetheless, what has been mentioned above does not fully explain why dogs follow you to the bathroom, as there are many dogs who have a great relationship and a very good emotional bond with their human friend, but who don’t follow him around the house.

Why Do Some Dogs Not Follow Their Owner to the Bathroom?

Part of the answer to this question lies in the puppy’s development:

In the first stages of a puppy’s life, the animal is in its behavioral development which is and will be fundamental when it becomes an adult. It is a stage of life where all the lived experiences will deeply mark his future behavior. Indeed, these are the “first experiences” that have a great impact on the behavior of the puppy.

These experiences can be both negative and positive for the animal. For example, the behavior of a puppy who has had a traumatic first experience will not be the same as that of a dog who has had positive and pleasant first experiences.

If he is used to following you to the bathroom from a young age, it is quite normal for him to continue this behavior into adulthood. Thus, he acquired this behavior and for him, the strange behavior would be rather not to accompany you. However, it may also be quite normal that he has not acquired this behavior and, therefore, does not follow you or has learned not to be allowed to enter that room.

cavalier king charles spaniel dog sitting on the floor
Image By: Svetlanistaya, Shutterstock

How to Manage This Behavior

If your dog follows you to the bathroom and does not show signs of anxiety when you forbid him to come in, there is no need to intervene because the animal already understands that he is not allowed to enter. However, if your dog accompanies you to the bathroom because he is too dependent, that is to say, he has developed hyper-attachment, it is essential to intervene and treat him to restore his mental stability.

Besides, dogs that develop separation anxiety show other signs like crying, barking, destruction of objects and furniture, urinating inside the house, vomiting, etc.

So, if your dog shows any of these signs, you will need to teach him to be more independent by using the following techniques:

  • Let your dog spend time alone with a toy so that he learns to be entertained on his own.
  • Increase his socialization by taking him to a dog park.
  • Let other people in the house walk and spend time with him.

However, in some severe cases, the anxiety is such that it will be very difficult to correct the situation without professional help. In this case, it is advisable to consult a dog trainer or a veterinarian.divider-dog


The unconditional love of dogs for their humans is a fact known and cherished by all dog owners. If it is sometimes funny and inconsequential for your pooch to follow you everywhere, even to the bathroom, this behavior can be a sign of separation anxiety. So, if this behavior bothers or worries you, do not hesitate to call a professional, who will be able to help you reduce your dog’s anxiety.

Featured Image Credit: Zayats Svetlana, Shutterstock

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