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The Real Reason Why Your Dog Keeps Following You Into The Bathroom

Tanya Ruiter

Owning a dog is one of the best life experiences you can have. The unconditional love and joy that they show you is unmatched, and while it's a lot of work, it's absolutely one of the most rewarding things you can do.

You develop a bond with your dog so quickly and the habits and routines that you fall into start to feel like you've been doing them forever. It's not until someone asks you "do they always do that?" that you may even realize that it's not normal.

Well, at least it seems abnormal to non-dog owners, because each of us who owns a dog knows that they will follow us literally everywhere. No place is off limits. Even when you head into the bathroom, there they are, looking up at you with the devotion and love that you may not be expecting in that moment.

But why do they do it? Why don't they just stay comfy on the couch and wait for you to come back? Sure, not every dog will follow you in, but there are a lot of them, so why are they doing it?

Well, apparently there are a scientific reasons for why your dog is always under your feet.

They're pack animals

pug in the bathroom
Here I was, brushing my teeth, when I felt something push on my leg. Tanya Ruiter

Domesticated dogs have been evolving for generations now, but as they have, they've learned to associate their humans as part of the pack. Dogs in the wild tend to live in groups to stay safe, but in a home there is a chance they won't have any other canine counterparts. That means you're their new best friend.

They have a very strong connection and bond with their group, and so the reason they are always trying to stick by you is because it's deeply embedded into their DNA. Even though that means they are going to watch you use the bathroom, at least it's because they want to watch your back for you.

They think it's what you want

pitbull puppy leaning on bathtub
When you try to take a bath, but you've got an audience.Crystal Patterson

When you spend time with your dog, chances are you are going to pet them, talk to them, and give them other kinds of positive reinforcement. They very quickly learn that spending time near you means that they get treated nicely.

A dog's ability to associate things it a lot more impressive than you may realize, so even just giving them a quick pat on the head after they follow you means that they think they've done it right.

Their brains release chemicals that make them happy when they look at you

Animals are a lot more like humans than some people give them credit for, even when it comes to their brains. Sure, they may not speak our language, but the fact of the matter remains, their brains function a lot like ours.

Scientists have been able to study animals' brains and have learned that when they recognize a person, their brains release the oxytocin chemical. This hormone is responsible for making you feel bonded to another person, or in this case, creature.

So once this bond is formed, oxytocin is released in their brains when they see you, and as a bonus, the same thing happens to you! Both of you get that happy hormone that makes you feel loved.

One study actually found that when owners were allowed to look at their dogs, they released more of the hormone in their urine immediately after.

They're trying to help

Pomeranian watching you pee
Supervision is necessary.Tanya Ruiter

While you may look at your dog and think that they are clueless to your everyday needs, it isn't because of a lack of trying. They want nothing more than to help you in all your life goals, even if that means watching you pee.

Because of their pack animal mentality, they feel like if you're moving around, it's because you're patrolling your territory. They need to make sure that you have the backup you need just in case.

Sure, you know nothing's going to happen in the bathroom, but what if it does and they weren't there to help defend your territory? They'll never forgive themselves.

Source - Reader's Digest / Science Direct / Scientific American / Frontiers in Psychology

Does your dog follow you everywhere? Because I know mine does!

Tanya has been writing for Shared for two years. She spends too much time thinking about dogs, Marvel movies, and ice cream. You can reach me at tanya@shared.com