It is not strange that at home we cannot take a single step without running into our dog. For many, this close surveillance does not stop even when we go to the bathroom. It is clear that dogs do not handle the same concept of intimacy that we do!
Here we explain why your dog accompanies you to the bathroom. You may find it indifferent, but if this behavior makes you uncomfortable, we also give you solutions to keep your dog out of the toilet.
Dogs are social animals, with a herd instinct, this means that, in general, their entire life is spent within a family group. In other words, they are never alone and, if they get lost, they will immediately call to reunite their family. Wolves do it by howling. Domestic dogs do not need to howl.
But, equally, we are their reference and they will not want to lose sight of us. Not even when we go to the bathroom, although they are used to our absence when we have no choice but to leave them alone at home. In addition, it must be taken into account that the domestication process has prioritized the maintenance of the neoteny.
This means that the juvenile characteristics have been searched for and reproduced so that they continue into adulthood as well. Neoteny fosters the bond of interdependence that is established between dogs and humans. The result of thousands of years of symbiosis is that dogs need us, appreciate us and that is why they follow us.
Territorial behavior of the dog
The dog has the need to control what is its territory. That is why it is not strange to observe it sniffing communications with the outside, such as doors and windows, or sticking its nose in any new object that we bring from outside. It is also very frequent that they bark giving the alarm voice.
This happens if they detect the nearby presence of an intruder. Dogs also keep watch and, if necessary, defend their basic resources. These are, for example, its food or its bed. But, in addition to controlling, they also love to know what we are doing, in case it is entertaining, they can participate.
In fact, surely at some time, when you are cooking or eating, you have dropped a piece and let them eat it. Or you have even given it something. Sharing food is a show of affection for us. Without realizing it, these bits are interpreted as rewards by the dog, in a way that reinforces its behavior of following and “watching” us.
The dog as an explorer
In addition to following us, looking for food, entertainment, or controlling the territory, dogs are curious. They are interested in knowing what we are doing in the bathroom. They want to smell everything since olfactory communication is essential for them. It is not in vain that it is its most developed sense.
In addition, their curiosity will increase if as soon as we enter the bathroom we close the door and deny them access. If this is the case, some dogs will cry or scratch at the door until we go outside again, thus expressing their frustration. You might end up opening the door for the dog. But keep in mind that this way you will be reinforcing that behavior.
The company of our dog in the bathroom may not be a problem for us. Normally the dog enters, smells, or licks us if we bring our face or hand close to it, it sits or stands at the door, with its back to us, as if it were protecting us. Even if its visit doesn’t bother you, overdependence may indicate a problem.
In that case, you will need treatment. Normally we will also appreciate other symptoms. In the disorder known as separation anxiety, the dog does not tolerate not seeing each other even for a short period of time. As soon as we leave, it begins to bark, cry, destroy any object within its reach, defecate and urinate, etc.
In no case does the dog behave “badly” out of annoyance or on a whim. It is the manifestation of their suffering and that is why we must remedy it. There are general guidelines to solve this anxiety but, in the most serious cases, we will need the advice of an expert in canine behavior, an educator, or an ethologist.
Tricks so that your dog does not follow you to the bathroom
If our dog has a perfectly balanced behavior and the only problem we put on it is its habit of following us to the bathroom, we can take into account a series of measures so that it desists.
Also, there is no need to punish your dog. For some dogs this attention, even if it is negative, serves as a reinforcement to repeat the behavior that we want to suppress. Follow these tips to regain your privacy in the bathroom:
- Just close the door: it is an effective measure, yes, but some dogs will react by crying or scratching the door. If we open up or scold them, we can reinforce this behavior.
- Distract it : before entering the bathroom you can accompany your dog to its bed and give it its favorite toy or something that allows it to nibble for a while. If we get out of the bathroom and it’s still in its place, we’ll reward it to reinforce the behavior we like.
- Teach it to wait: dogs know the basic commands are essential for a good coexistence. Thus, if it understands “sitting” and “still” we can give it those commands just before entering the bathroom. The dog will stay at the door whether it is closed or open. If it doesn’t come in, reward it.
- Make it happy: it is essential to cover the basic needs that ensure canine well-being. Your dog needs the physical exercise it needs and we must provide it with sufficient mental stimulation. A balanced dog is more difficult to develop behavior problems.