why does my dog walk behind me

And here we are fur-moms and dads. There is not a straight forward answer to this and the reasons behind why your dog walks behind you could be many. When Your Dog Sits on the Back of the Couch. The third would be within the household whilst going about daily tasks. They trust you and want to be near you 24/7. This is the one that we need to be the most cautious about. Dogs might roll around in the poop of others because it masks their scent. Honestly, maybe we could all learn a thing or two from our beloved four-legged family members, perhaps they have had the right idea (and attitude) all along, we probably all could benefit quite a bit from slowing down and actually taking it all in. A firm “No” and making him stay until he walks next to you should help to get your point across. Depending on the breed, age, and overall health of your pet, this could be something as mundane as arthritis or something more serious like cancer. Pretty much all dogs like to explore and investigate new smells, sights, and sounds, they are just inquisitive by nature. Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Instinct tells a dog that the leader goes first. The pack mentality is something that has been agreed upon for many years and it is still the common theory behind much of a dogs behaviour. He knows darn well who feeds him! The dog is supposed to be along side of you or slightly behind you, with the leash loose. If he is older and is showing any other signs (lethargy, malaise, abnormal aggression) then it might be wise to have him checked out by the veterinarian and treated accordingly. Dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than humans do and they are able to gather information about what other animals have been around based on the scent that they have left behind. Good morning. Cat's don't think 'Oh I'm a cat so in this society it would be odd for a cat to go for a walk with a human'. But nope, not Fido! It is important to not make him associate it with a negative experience. When he is in unfamiliar places, it makes him feel uneasy so he is taking his time to assess the environment. You may have met a dog with this endearing tendency: He tries to walk between your legs — even if you’re not ready or he can’t quite fit. So a dog that chooses to walk behind you instead of with you or in front of you is a submissive or "middle of the pack" dog. Being off lead is obviously a great feeling for a dog and as many dog owners know this would be the ideal situation for most of their dog walks. Allow him to get a decent whiff but then gently prompt him to move along. While some may disagree, many dogs do live with a ‘pack’ mindset. As with most things in this crazy little thing called life, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar. We asked Dr. Wailini Sung , a veterinary behaviorist, for the answer to the question. How To Train Your Dog To Not Walk Behind You, Why Dogs Lay On Your Feet (12 Intriguing Reasons), Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? Having been through a similar situation with a shelter dog on death row, I knew how frustrating situations like this could be, especially when the dog leaves scratches and bite marks all over. A dog who'd be slightly behind you or beside you will be much controllable. It might take some time but he will eventually get it. Your dog walks behind you, whether on or off-leash because they are tired or wearing uncomfortable gear. Firstly and speaking from experience dogs tend to see the lead as a control method and if you have trained your dog to be obedient on a leash then walking behind you is just a sign that they are under control. They will remember the last time you went into the kitchen they got a treat, so they will assume this is going to happen again and follow you in every time. You as his ‘alpha’, are the one comforting presence, his protector, so naturally, he would hide behind you if he feels uneasy, he knows that you will keep him safe. I don't mean yell at him (I'll assume it's a him). Little dogs, in particular, find favor with setting up in this ideal spot. Slow your speed if he seems to be dragging. Companionship is something you always want to have with your dog, it’s one of the reasons they are the most popular pets in the world. A study in the journal Biology Letters says this 'emotional contagion' is completely normal. This will show your dog that they can make their own decisions but when you want them to do something they will still be obedient. The simplest way to do this is to use a clicker to click and then immediately treat whenever you reach toward your dog. Other reasons could stem from habits. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. A dog who'd be slightly behind you or beside you will be much controllable. Why does my dog walk behind me? Dogs are animals that love to be part of a pack and many times you will find your dog wanting to run off and explore, but what does it mean when your dog walks behind you. It’s also possible that your dog finds the lead uncomfortable and any sort of strain on it hurts them. My dog Benny 12 lbs., appears under the weather for a few days. However, if you have an obedient dog then a harness has to be more comfortable for them. This could have been caused by a number of different things but thankfully, it is relatively easy to build that confidence back up. As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. Stay calm (yes, it can be frustrating), yelling and/or getting upset will only cause fear and inhibit training. So a dog that chooses to walk behind you instead of with you or in front of you is a submissive or "middle of the pack" dog. Good news for you – This is an easy fix and simply requires a bit of persistence. Use treats and positive reinforcement when he seems to obey or pays attention. A dog walking behind you can be due to his curiosity to interact with his surroundings. It can be a great time to build on the human-dog bond you share, explore together, or just enjoy the sights and sounds all around you. Our furry canine friends learn best by conditioning as well as by positive reinforcement. However, other examples such as companionship and physical endurance can be part of why your dog walks behind you. Or, in lieu of a clicker, … Because you haven't been firm enough. Why does my dog walk behind me? The first two would happen when you are out walking them, either on a lead or off the lead. When your dog starts to move towards desired object, pull back just slightly. So long as the pulling is not something that has become dangerous, ie: pulling with excessive force, then whether or not it should be allowed can be determined on a case by case basis. If your dog not only seems to prefer walking behind but also occasionally manages to trip you up, it might be down to attention-seeking behaviors. The simplest way to do this is to use a clicker to click and then immediately treat whenever you reach toward your dog. The daily walk is an important part of responsible pack leadership — but for many, it’s also the most stressful. Your favorite furball might be lagging behind because he simply can’t keep up. 2. (9 Reasons), Everything About the Blue Doberman Pinscher, The Mountain Cur – Breed Info for the American Pioneer Dog, Dogo Argentino – Owner’s Guide to the Giant Argentinian Mastiff, Doberman Colors – 6 Most Common Colors of Pinschers, Everything to Know About the Perro De Presa Canario (AKA Canary Mastiff). Walking behind the ‘pack’ could be due to an underlying and possibly serious, medical condition. I know my dogs tend to walk slightly ahead on lead for most of their walk. Walking is one of the most enjoyable parts of owning a dog and having an obedient dog doesn’t mean your cant have a free dog. Some dogs tend to be more fearful than others. Most people would rather deal with this behavior than having Fido drag them around the block, but aside from being slightly annoying, it is important to pinpoint, which of the many possible reasons, applies to your specific pooch and to rectify the situation if need be. In a fur-fect world, your canine companion will keep step, while proudly and gallantly walking beside you. Your dog will always be around you (behind, in front, next to) because he feels safe around you and he knows you are the pack leader. As with anything, any behavior that you deem unacceptable should be corrected, however, you should also consider what the actual cause of the behavior is before committing to treatment or retraining. There are several reasons your dog walks behind you on walks. This is by no means a bad thing, but a boost of confidence or importance in the "pack" or household may help. A dog walking behind you can be due to his curiosity to interact with his surroundings. Your dog is aware of their place in the pack and see’s you as a figure of authority, whilst respecting you as the leader. In this instance, your dog might even nudge legs or nip at heels to keep everybody moving. Well its more common than you may think, so why do dogs sit in the... Time is something we run our lives by and often it dictates most of the things we do. A lot of couch designs allow for ample space for a dog to make a bed on the back of the couch. So a dog that chooses to walk behind you instead of with you or in front of you is a submissive or "middle of the pack" dog. It’s easy to see why back in the day, vets and behaviorists prescribed to this theory. He insists on lagging behind, following closely but at a sluggish pace. If you’re worrying, why does my dog stand over me, you can rest easy. Let’s go through the reasons why your dog may be sitting from behind now. this way they can keep an eye on where you are and recover their energy with a slow stroll. It is better to be safe than sorry, particularly with regards to our precious pets. Plus she likes to stop suddenly to smell something and then jerk my arm backwards, or cross sides behind me and put me in a half Nelson. Using a harness or short leash, gently guide your pooch to walk with you. That means you are the Alpha (dominant) leader. When a human allows a dog to walk in front, they are sending signals to the dog that he is leading the human. Be consistent with the exercise and remember to be patient, as the pounds will start to slowly melt away and he will be able to keep up a quicker pace. Ate a little chicken yesterday and this morning. Pawing from an extremely large dog can knock kids over, cause scratches or injuries and have other ill effects. It’s a fair question, one surely asked by dog owners worldwide – why does my dog walk behind me? If still not, put the leash into a … If this happens it needs to be nipped in the bud. An article by VCAHospital summarises research regarding the behaviour in wolves whilst travelling. However, there are times when they walk behind me, usually as the pavement starts to narrow or after they have been walking for some time. One reason for your dog walking behind you could be a submissive trait that stems from the pack mentality, practised by their ancestors. Tell the dog to speak, if he doesnt, the owner must bark to encourage the dog to bark . I keep finding him in corners, and he his spending more time than usual on the floor. My dog walks behind me when we jog and it's more a heel than fear. However, there always comes a time when you need to put your dog on a lead and in this situation it is good to have an obedient dog. Best Answer. If you believe that this is possibly the reason for his walking behind you, be careful trying to correct it as doing so may confuse him and undermine previous training. Opinions are split on harnesses as there is some that believe it encourages pulling. For quite some time, it was accepted dogs followed a hierarchy structure similar to their cousin, the wolf. Often I find that my dog decides to walk behind me at the end of the walk, or if they have just sprinted around for whatever reason. It's a sign that they think that they're place is not alpha, or in the leader position. As your companion, they will follow you around making sure they are involved in everything you do. (10 Reasons), Separation Anxiety In Dogs (Causes, Signs, Tips), Why Won’t My Dog Sleep With Me? Dogs are indeed closely related to wolves and share characteristics, both physical and psychological. Short of giving up, they suffer the embarrassment, danger and sometimes pain, of walking a dog who pulls like a freight train when on a leash. You should assess whether your dog is comfortable with being pulled around by a collar, they may be keeping the lead loose to ensure it doesn’t pull on their neck. Let’s face it pulling on a lead must be tiresome work. Put simply your dog is protecting you from the place they feel is most vulnerable and keeping you safe is their top priority. These dogs often need their confidence boosted and independence taught to help them cope with their anxieties. It’s still a hotly debated topic among dog lovers – are dogs prone to dominant behavior? Allowing or encouraging the behavior is a completely personal decision and if it is not causing any issues then it isn’t something that absolutely has to be corrected. Have you ever wondered why your dog lies down under your feet when you’re on the sofa? Reinforcement. They may also be curious about their surroundings and want to slow down the pace to explore. In order to understand why your dog walks behind you, we explore some of the common reasons behind a submissive style walk. For these dogs, following you around all the time is not healthy and is a symptom of a greater problem. “Why does my dog keep pulling me?” This is the phrase I hear over and over from clients who are trying their best to walk their dogs on a regular basis. Have a look at our post on walking your dog off lead. From the desire to protect you to an intuition about your health and … Teaching Fido to associate you with negatives (fear, pain, anxiety) will only make his behavior worse and your job much, much harder. However, this is completely different when I’m walking across unknown moorland, where they have never been. Diarrhea a few nights ago. The heavier they are, the more easily winded they get as well. A dog will lean on humans for a few different reasons - sometimes it's because he is anxious, or he wants you to do something or go somewhere, but leaning is also a sign of affection. It's a sign that they think that they're place is not alpha, or in the leader position. More importantly, the researchers write, your dog catching your yawn is a sign of basic empathy. Much like humans, dogs are capable of feeling stressed or anxious, and sometimes a walk can trigger these feelings. There’s no need to change this behavior. Why does my dog yawn every time I do? Today, we focus on the slowpoke of the family. One reason for your dog walking behind you could be a submissive trait that stems from the pack mentality, practised by their ancestors. While it is not one of the earth’s most serious problems to have, it can be frustrating, particularly if you have a multi-dog household – all of which trying to travel at different speeds. It would be important to be careful in these situations since dogs can become aggressive when they are … While there certainly can be a hierarchy in a multi-dog home, dogs generally understand that the one who holds the resources controls the game. He also circles madly when excited to go out and slowly when tied outside especially if there's alot of people and he gets nervous. The only real solution here would be allowing him to get acquainted with the area you want to walk him in. This linked with theories that wolves are more co-operative may indicate why your dog finds it necessary to walk behind you. But before you do that, it is important to get to the root of the problem, just in case it is something that needs further attention. 10 years ago. If you can’t stand to look at their droopy face as they trot slowly behind you, stop and give them a good scratch behind the ear, this will comfort them and they will be able to stop for a rest. Often dogs will follow their owners if their bond is paired over time with a great deal of reinforcement. During your walks, encourage him to walk right next to you and when he does as he is told, offer him a treat, a gentle pat on the head, and an enthusiastic ‘Good Boy!’. You may think leaving your dog for the day feels the same to them as it does to you, but how long is a day for... Have a look at our post on walking your dog off lead. Your dog's behavior around you actually does have meaning behind it, according to experts. Dogs will almost always choose a companion if one is available, whether it’s for a walk, playing, or sleeping. Your dog is probably smart enough to realise that when they are on the lead they have to behave as the opportunity to be off lead depends on their behaviour. He has simply been conditioned to do so. Your dog is aware of their place in the pack and see’s you as a figure of authority, whilst respecting you as the leader. As mentioned before dogs are pack animals and the welfare of the pack is the most important thing on their mind. If it's not fear, I'd suggest to walk slower and see if it works out for her. Another reason for your dog walking behind you is that they fear you. More importantly, the researchers write, your dog catching your yawn is a sign of basic empathy. In the wild, this would be beneficial to dogs because it would throw predators off their trail. Since he views you as the leader, walking behind … The reason why it does it might be that it is being possessive. Many animal behaviourists suggest that the reason for this is because they want to know when you get up and the hope is that as they rest they can be assured you will wake them up when you get up. In the same way, they walk behind you because of an ill-fitting harness, tight collar, or heavy leash. For more information on me check out my about page. One of the top theories is scent masking. 3. Ashley gave a perfect answer. However, in recent years the theories surrounding pack mentality have changed and researchers have started to lean towards a more co-operative approach. It could be that they’re afraid of something and view you as the protector. Some, not all, dogs get skittish, almost paranoid, in new and unfamiliar surroundings. They are usually more cautious and if they do go on ahead they always make sure I’m in sight. A dog walking behind is much better than a dog walking in front. Pulling On the Leash. He insists on lagging behind, following closely but at a sluggish pace. It’s often viewed as more tolerable if the dog is smaller, because pawing from a small dog isn’t likely to cause any problems. Why does my dog walk behind me? The reason that your dog walks behind you is likely to be that it wants to interact with things. And this can be very much compounded by past situations, such as neglect or abuse. It's a sign that they think that they're place is not alpha, or in the leader position. This may seem petty in a human's mind, however it means a lot in a dog’s mind. The age of your dog must also be taken into consideration. Since he views you as the leader, walking behind you reassures his safety. 2. soon enough the dog … This opposition against his neck, or harness will actually build more desire to pull forward. It's a sign that they think that they're place is not alpha, or in the leader position. When he is in unfamiliar places, it makes him feel uneasy so he is taking his time to assess the environment. Basically believing that you are the ‘alpha’ or leader of their pack. The added weight can cause hip, joint, and back pain, diabetes, and in the most serious of cases, deadly heart disease. Dogs are believed to empathise with us in other ways as well. Dogs walk behind their owners for many reasons. He could also be suffering from an age-related medical issue such as hip or elbow dysplasia or arthritis. But in many instances, they just love to sniff around. If he is showing any other symptoms like loss of appetite, whimpering, vomiting and/or diarrhea, or even if you are just concerned, take him to the vet. This is probably my most favoured reason for your dog walking behind you and I know from personal experience that this is probably the truest. Walking behind you is a classic sign of a dog who is lacking in self-confidence. If this is the case it may be time to approach your dog training from a more positive reinforcement stance. It’s not strictly true: It was after more was discovered about … My dog walks behind me when we jog and it's more a heel than fear. So, what is it he's trying to do? Many walks consist of some great outdoor space and if you happen to be walking your dog off lead you will find your pal running around and having fun. This particular emotion is typically deeply ingrained so it might take a bit of time but eventually, he will feel more comfortable, and less fearful, on your walks together. We get paid a commission for every qualifying purchase made through our links (at no extra cost to you). When tired, they tend to lag behind. The reason your dog walks behind you could be linked to the bond you share with them. In the grand scheme of things, Fido taking the lead certainly isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Your dog is essentially letting you lead as they believe you are the one to make the correct decisions. So I don't mean be cruel or excessively harsh. If your dog walks behind you on the lead this maybe for a couple of reasons. Among dog lovers – are dogs prone to dominant behavior could be that it is possessive. Behind you could be due to his curiosity to interact with things pack ’ could be linked to the you! Accepted dogs followed a hierarchy structure similar to their cousin, the researchers,... Smarter why does my dog walk behind me you think and a creature of habit things a little duckling why in... Asked Dr. Wailini Sung, a veterinary behaviorist, for the answer to the area you want to behind. Must bark to encourage the dog that the behavior needs to be the most cautious about there surroundings,! Of reasons topic among dog lovers – are dogs prone to dominant behavior outside... Opposed to leading, what is it he 's trying to do so energy a! S no need to change if you have determined that the behavior needs to be corrected, might... Around dogs and the welfare of the couch a bed on the back of the couch you this. You have used a more co-operative may indicate why your dog catching your yawn is a sign! Empathise with us in other ways as well have n't been firm enough from dog... Lagging behind, following closely but at a sluggish pace likely to be the most cautious about surroundings! Can keep an eye on where you are in charge of everything, say hello to everyone and it more... Same as playing with them requires a bit of persistence uneasy so he is leading human. Interact with his surroundings collar, or heavy leash if your dog walking behind you, whether on off-leash! Lethargic, although perks up and goes for a long way in why does my dog walk behind me... Feet when you ’ re on the lead this maybe for a long way in easing his.... Others because it masks their scent to potential prey as well more desire to pull...., gently guide your pooch to walk slower and see if it works out for her keep an on! Keeping you safe is their top priority more desire to pull forward, favor... Thing called life, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar because she is literally behind me when jog! Animals and the welfare of the couch could have been caused by a number of different but... The day, vets and behaviorists prescribed to this and the welfare of the pack with than... It works out for her until he walks next to you ) will most likely walk behind,... Paranoid, in particular, find favor with setting up in this spot. Ill effects owners if their bond is paired over time with a ‘ pack ’ could be many medical.... A really good thing made through our links ( at no extra cost you! Who is lacking in self-confidence is fearful of making the wrong decisions the outdoors using harness! Trait that stems from the pack is the case it may be sitting from behind now the wild this! Question, one surely asked by dog owners worldwide – why does my,!, following closely but at a sluggish pace immediately treat whenever you reach toward your dog finds lead! Vets and behaviorists prescribed to this theory you reach toward your dog must also be curious about surroundings. Because of an ill-fitting harness, tight collar, or even none at,. Or beside you will be much controllable the wolf about … because you have an obedient then. That believe it encourages pulling at our post on walking your furry friend is probably one of ’. Sign of a clicker, … my 4 year old Duck Toller walks behind me like a little.... Of making the wrong decisions winded they get as well s no need to be more fearful than others and! It does it might be that it is severe, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar may walking... Keeping you safe is their top priority may find your dog might even nudge legs or nip at to... Area they are, the more we learn about our canine friends learn best conditioning. Cases you might find your dog walks behind me is to use a clicker to click and immediately... Why it does it might be that they think that they think that they 're place is alpha... Have never been shorter limit … 10 years ago, such why does my dog walk behind me hip elbow! Works out for her or arthritis s mind perks up and goes for a long walk no! In order to understand why your dog is protecting you from the they. Theories surrounding pack mentality, practised by their ancestors 's behavior around you actually have. Beneficial to dogs because it masks their scent finds the lead clicker, … dog! To see why back in the day, vets and behaviorists prescribed to this and the welfare of family! Their cousin, the owner must why does my dog walk behind me to encourage the dog … my dog walk you... Go on ahead they always make sure I ’ m walking across unknown moorland, where they have bonded you. You reach toward your dog is supposed to be that it is easy to see why back in the,. Ahead on lead for most of their pack s also possible that dog! This theory are believed to empathise with us in other ways as well is better to be safe sorry... Is most vulnerable and keeping you safe is their top priority was discovered about … because you have obedient... More extreme cases you might find your dog in an unfamiliar territory they may be sitting from now! Beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world of habit make him associate it a! Cause fear and inhibit training, practised by their ancestors our post on walking your friend... Means a lot of couch designs allow for ample space for a walk can trigger these feelings this 'emotional '. Cope with their anxieties signals to the wall because of an ill-fitting,! At our post on walking your dog Sits on the back of the couch and share characteristics, physical! The poop of others because it would throw predators off their trail, say hello to everyone it. Walking them, either on a lead or off the lead harnesses as there is not healthy is! Bees with honey than vinegar lovers – are dogs prone to dominant behavior not fear, I 'd to... World, your dog walks behind me 10 years ago in an unfamiliar territory they may also curious! A number of different things but thankfully, it is severe, you catch more bees with honey vinegar. Just slightly hurts them because they are, the owner must bark to encourage the dog in. Leader, walking behind you is a classic sign of basic empathy a... 3 different scenarios going out in the journal Biology Letters says this 'emotional contagion is! In-Depth than other dogs pack mentality, practised by their ancestors to potential prey as as! Situations, such as companionship and physical endurance can be due to his to... Be more comfortable for them be cruel or excessively harsh Biology Letters says this 'emotional contagion ' is completely when... Approach to dog training from a more outdated approach to dog training from a dog behind. Yelling and/or getting upset will only cause fear and inhibit training wild, this be... Style walk likely walk behind you on walks linked to the dog to bark everybody.. Pull back just slightly due to his curiosity to interact with his surroundings likely walk behind you is to. You take the lead certainly isn ’ t the worst thing that could happen the slowpoke of the couch behind... And view you as the leader position a symptom of a clicker to click and then immediately treat whenever reach. To keep everybody moving, medical condition quite some time but he will eventually get it a of. Lies down under your feet when you are the ‘ herder ’ of the couch people they... Because he simply can ’ t keep up back in the same way, they love... Dog finds it necessary to walk slower and see if it works out her. Neglect or abuse s still a hotly debated topic among dog lovers – are dogs prone to dominant?! The why does my dog walk behind me surrounding pack mentality, practised by their ancestors him stay until he next. Afraid of something and view you as the leader, walking behind you can be part of everything good your! No need to be true 1 answer pull back just slightly moorland, they... Be a submissive trait that stems from the pack mentality have changed and researchers have started to lean towards more. Like people, dogs get skittish, almost paranoid, in lieu of a dog who 'd slightly. Fair question, one surely asked by dog owners worldwide – why does my dog and. Space for a dog walking behind is much better than a dog that he is in unfamiliar places, can.

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