Hey, PupVine… my German Shepherd follows me everywhere. Is something wrong with him?
Oh, don’t you worry – there’s nothing wrong with your dog. German Shepherds tend to act that way. In most cases, it’s nothing harmless. But, it can be a sign that something odd is in progress like separation anxiety.
Luckily, you have us to nip things in the bud and help you figure out what’s wrong with your dog, why it happens, and how to put an end to it.
Ready to find the reasons behind all that shadowing?
Help, My German Shepherd Follows Me Everywhere!
This kind of behavior isn’t usual for German Shepherds, but it can still happen due to various reasons such as poor socialization, stress, changes in the routine, etc.
I want you to know that following you around doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. Your GSD might follow you because he’s really crazy about you, and you’re the best dog owner ever. Have you thought of that?
If you’re still not convinced, and you’re looking for other reasons, you should check out the following ones down below.
1. A Cry For Attention
Okay, a cry for attention is definitely the biggest reason why your German Shepherd follows you everywhere.
When was the last time you cuddled with your dog? Don’t you know that German Shepherds are huge cuddlers, too? They might be all tough and powerful, but deep inside, GSDs are desperate for your love. They always seek human approval.
If your GSD is following you around, even to the bathroom, you should give him some attention, even for a second. He’ll appreciate it. But, don’t forget to love him all day long. This doesn’t mean you should lie in bed and cuddle with your GSD. Just show him you’re there and you care.
2. Oh, That Needy Behavior
Normally, it’s the other German dog breed that expresses neediness. Yes, Doxies are the needy ones… not German Shepherds. Still, these pups can exhibit the same behavior, especially if they live with a Doxie or a similar breed that’s usually very needy.
German Shepherds are usually independent dogs. However, once they start following you around, making sure they always have you in their sight, you can suspect the clingy and needy behavior to kick in.
Dogs that act this way have either experienced something bad and they want the person of their trust around, or they’re having some sort of an impairment that doesn’t allow them to perceive you. For example, blind dogs are often very needy because they don’t see you.
Do you have a GSD adopted from a GSD rescue center? Well, then you know what to expect. Adopted dogs often come with issues like clingy behavior and insecurity.
Stop for a second and think about what your GSD has been through. Was he mistreated? Did someone hit him? Why did he end up in the shelter in the first place?
There’s no doubt that the GSD is feeling very insecure about… everything, even your love. Such dogs tend to follow their humans around because they find it hard to believe someone is actually treating them nicely.
4. They’re Just Too Sociable
Is there such a thing as being too sociable? Yes, there is because German Shepherds that seem to be shadowing their owner can be a bit too friendly. We can say they’re quite the social butterflies.
These dogs simply enjoy the company of their humans so much that they want to spend all of their time together. There is a difference between this behavior and acting needy. Clingy and needy dogs will beg for attention, while social butterflies will follow you around because they think you’re fun!
Just being around you will be enough for these dogs. But, you should draw a line as to where your dog can go with you and where not.
5. They’re Hungry
One of the simplest reasons why your German Shepherd is following you everywhere is because he’s hungry. Did you feed your dog this morning? Did he have a satisfying meal? If not, then your dog is simply asking you politely to feed him.
However, the problem might not be whether you feed your dog. What you feed your dog might be the issue.
German Shepherds need a rich, nutritious diet, packed with real animal proteins. If you can’t commit to buying premium kibble made by using top-notch ingredients, then you should consider feeding your GSD raw food.
Lastly, if he’s fed and satisfied, then maybe all he’s asking for is a yummy treat and a pat on the back.
6. They’re Bored
Boredom is a huge issue for German Shepherds, especially if they live in apartments. Dogs that live in a house with a big back yard can go outside and have fun on their own, especially if the yard is locked and secured.
But, what does a bored city-GSD do? He follows around his owner.
If your dog is already full, healthy, and walked, but he’s still walking around the house after you, then he’s definitely bored. Boredom can cause destruction in German Shepherds. They’re big dogs with a strong bite force. Imagine them destroying your new pair of boots!
There are two ways to curb boredom: you either play with your dog and go outside, or you hand out fun puzzle toys with a delicious treat as a reward.
7. Separation Anxiety
Unfortunately, German Shepherds are quite prone to developing a condition known as separation anxiety. Sadly, it strikes pretty much any GSD, no matter their background.
The common denominator for all of them is the feeling of being left alone in the house when the owner steps outside.
Separation anxiety is manifested by panic attacks when the dog is left alone. He becomes restless, starts pacing around, barking, whining, and howling, and eventually begins destroying things. Potty regression isn’t foreign either.
The condition needs to be addressed with caution. You should either bring your dog along, or limit the time he spends at home alone.
8. They’re Trying To Herd The Family
There’s nothing strange about this behavior because German Shepherds are herding dogs. They will try to gather everything and everyone as long as there’s a big group around. For example, leave them alone with a bunch of puppies and they will try to get them all together in one place.
The same can apply to herding you and other family members. Your German Shepherd is simply trying to bring you guys together because he loves seeing you all together. Their herding genes are strong so don’t be surprised the next time your dog rushes your kid to sit with you.
9. Protective Instincts
Another huge reason why your GSD is shadowing you is his protective instincts. As we all know, German Shepherds are not aggressive towards family members. They’re super kind and protective, always making sure they’re keeping an eye out on the family.
However, they’re not friendly towards strangers. A GSD will act aggressive if it’s someone unknown at the front door, or someone trying to break in.
In case you’ve experienced a robbery recently, or you live in a sketchy neighborhood, your GSD will follow you everywhere to make sure you’re safe.
These protective instincts can be a bit too much, especially since they have no clue about personal space.
What Should I Do If My German Shepherd Follows Me Everywhere?
There are a couple of things you can do if your GSD follows you around all the time, but none of them are physical or verbal punishments. You should never hit your dog. Not only will he not forgive you for hitting him, but you’ll lose his trust.
So, what should you do?
For starters, if this behavior begins all of a sudden, you should try ignoring it. In most cases, dogs will drop the act if they see their owner has no response. This helps them believe they’re not doing something their owner would like, and GSDs are all about human approval.
However, if ignoring does not work, you should try other things like giving them meaningful tasks or games to play when you have something to do. In most cases, following you around is because of boredom and separation anxiety, so make sure you switch their attention to something interesting.
Another helpful thing that lots of owners do is desensitization and counterconditioning. Basically, you’ll have to prove to your dog that the sound of keys jingling and you pulling out the coat doesn’t mean a bad thing. Good things can happen from those actions, like receiving treatos.
Patience is what should not be lacking on this trip. You and your dog should have lots of it. Still, if nothing succeeds, try contacting a professional dog behaviorist.
Hey… now I know why my German Shepherd follows me everywhere!
Of course you do. That’s why we’re here to help you. Any unusual behavior coming from your dog might scare you, but sometimes you shouldn’t be scared at all. It’s important to learn why similar behavioral patterns occur, and how to address them.
Only then will you be able to understand your dog like you’re supposed to.
9 Things I Can’t Do Since Owning A German Shepherd
Sunday 26th of February 2023
[…] You won’t have the luxury of spending time laying in your bed peacefully because your German Shepherd will be so excited that you woke up, and it won’t leave your side. […]