Do You Have a Dog Shadow at Home

By on January 24, 2020
Dog

Have you ever run into your bathroom as quickly as possible? Not because you have an emergency, but escape to the bathroom for a little privacy? You didn’t shut out anyone in particular, just your shadow that follows you everywhere while home. Your dog, they follow you like a shadow, getting up when you get up. They sit when you sit and follow close enough to lick your legs at any given moment.

If your dog is your trusty sidekick, following you from room to room and lying by your side wherever you are, you know how draining it can be. This devoted companionship is one of our favorite and endearing traits of dogs, but why do they do it?

They just want to be around you

The most straightforward answer is simply because your dog just wants to be close. Most dogs enjoy spending time with their human and would rather spend time near you than in a room alone across the house. There’s more to it than this, however, as your dog may be wired to want to follow you around.

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It may be in your dog’s genes

If your dog is part of the working or herding groups, such as border collies or Australian shepherds, they are bred to work alongside humans. It’s very natural for them to want to stay by your side. 

Even if your dog isn’t a working breed, dogs are pack animals, which means, in your home, you’re part of the pack. Your dog wants to be close to its pack and especially close to the alpha. If you’ve had your dog since they were a puppy, it’s also possible that they have imprinted on you. Guardian dogs, for instance, are introduced to livestock as puppies so they imprint on the flock. A puppy in your home may imprint on you when they between 3 and 16 weeks of age. They view you as their parent or a person they can trust and follow.

You give positive reinforcement

Your dog may also follow you around for the simple reason that you’ve reinforced this behavior by giving food, water, treats, and belly rubs. All of these good things happen when they are around you. This reinforces the decision to spend time by your side. The more positive things that happen to your dog when they are in your presence, the more likely they want to be with you.

According to Scout Knows, dogs tend to become fixated on one person in particular. The person that they see as the “alpha male” or whoever gives the most attention or other benefits. This could be taking walks, feeding or engaging with play sessions. Consider the dog’s point of view, you are the source of everything wonderful and magical. The focus is on that person because of what they give access to.

A Mutually Beneficial Relationship

Research shows the bond between a person and a dog is similar to the bond experienced between an infant and their parents. Dogs are also masters at reading human faces and body language. Dogs are also capable of understanding what an expression means, emotionally.

Research published in Biology Letters also found dogs recognize both dog and human emotions. So dogs are often thoroughly bonded with their human owners and likely enjoy the companionship they get when they’re with you, just as you enjoy theirs. Your dog is also likely watching your actions closely for clues about the day. 

“Given all the research to support a unique adaption to understand human gestures, language, and tone, it’s no wonder that dogs often look like they are studying our movements. They’re watching our every move to see if we give them clues as to our intentions, or to catch us communicating with them. In this way they could anticipate that it’s time for a walk, or see that you are getting ready to leave, or perhaps that it’s dinnertime.”

While your dog gains insights into how soon dinner is coming and a steady supply of scratches behind the ears, you’ll also benefit from your dog’s close presence. The physical presence of your dog next to you provides a source of companionship and comfort. Your dog’s rhythmic breathing, soft fur, and warm body all contribute to this soothing effect. Dogs can even provide health benefits like lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, which supports heart health. You may need to just have to stay firm on the boundaries.

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Do You Have a Dog Shadow at Home