One of the biggest mysteries dog owners face is: Why does my dog follow me and not my husband? What is it about dogs that makes them stick to only one person? Do dogs have their favorite hoomans?
Many dog breeds like the Chihuahua or German Shepherd will indeed have a favorite person. They’re one-person dogs and tend to share their love with only one individual.
If you’ve got a rescue dog or a freshly weaned puppy, chances are, he’s going to follow you around, especially if YOU were the person to pick him up from the shelter or the breeder. Your new dog has found himself in a place where everything’s new. The only constant is you!
Animal behaviorists claim this is normal and can be curbed with proper dog training. The point is to include your dog in everyone’s lives and show him that all family members will take care of him. Your dog’s life may have been rough so far, but he should be okay now that he’s with a loving family.
There are many reasons your dog follows you and not your husband or someone else from the family. The most common ones include: perceiving you as the parent, leader, or having strong positive associations with you, breed characteristics, velcro dog syndrome, separation anxiety, or instinct.
To understand your dog’s behavior better, here are the most common reasons for your dog following you around in detail.
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? 13 Reasons Why
1. You’re the leader
All dogs have a strong pack mentality. If you’re the one setting rules at home, your dog will follow them and become your follower too. A lot of dog breeds are one-person dogs, e.g., the German Shepherd. You can’t expect these dogs to become attached to multiple people.
2. You two have a strong bond
Don’t let your husband or someone else who’s not being followed around feel discouraged. Your dog may love them, too, but you’re his person. All dogs are loving creatures. If you have a well-socialized dog, he’ll most definitely like other people too.
A strong bond with only one family member happens because the dog spends lots of time with that person. The solution to this problem?
Have your dog spend more time with other family members.
3. You’re the dog’s caretaker
When adopting or buying a dog, you need to be ready to satisfy all its needs. These include feeding, training, walking, and playing. If you’re the one that does all this, then your dog will attach himself to you rather than your husband. Maybe dividing chores between the two of you wouldn’t be a bad idea?
4. Dogs pick one favorite person
The person that gives cuddles anytime the dog asks and hands out treats all the time will be every dog’s favorite person. If you’re that person, then there’s no wonder why your dog prefers you over your husband.
When dogs pick their favorite person, it’s always because their energies are the same. Now you can understand why your husband, after all that effort, is still not your dog’s favorite person. It’s really nothing personal. It’s not that your dog doesn’t like him; it’s because he is only a one-person dog.
Photo from: @amstaff.manni
Have you heard about the imprinting process? This is something puppies do between weeks 3 and 12. The whole point of imprinting is a puppy perceiving another animal or human that’s close to it as their parent.
Now the term “dog mom” doesn’t seem so ridiculous, does it? You may not notice it, but if your pup follows you around and watches your every step, he may think of you as his mom.
6. Positive reinforcement always helps
Positive reinforcement is always helpful, no matter if you’re going through potty training, obedience lessons, or trying to reinforce your dog into doing something you want. For example, your husband can use praise and treats to win over your family dog. The dog will associate your husband with good things and start trusting him because he’ll think he will get treats every time your hubby approaches.
7. Your dog thinks your husband is a stranger
Even though your husband is the person you trust the most in life, your dog might not feel the same. Your dog will most definitely think of you and him as a pack and your husband to be a stranger.
That’s exactly why he’s not following your spouse around!
Most scenarios include freshly wed couples that start their lives together. Your dog will need time to warm up to the idea there’s someone new in your life that’s equally important to you as he is.
8. He fears your husband
Fear is quite a common reason your dog doesn’t follow your husband around.
It’s not pleasant, but it’s still quite possible.
There are many reasons your dog may fear your husband. Dogs pick up on our emotions. If your husband was against getting a dog and shows he’s not truly satisfied with the idea of having a dog around, the pooch would pick up on these emotions.
Another reason your dog may fear your husband is because he may have hit your dog. We don’t justify this act ever! So, if your husband actually hits your dog, resolve this situation asap so the dog doesn’t get hurt anymore.
9. Some breeds are just like that…
Some dog breeds will follow people around more than others. Herding dogs are more prone to developing this behavior since they believe they’re herding their pack together and getting the job done.
10. They’re lonely
Dogs aren’t meant to live alone. They’re social animals, and if they don’t get much attention, they will develop dog anxiety, and in some severe cases, even depression.
11. Paw patrol
All dogs act protective of their homes, some more than others. If you see your pup going around the house, tagging along with you as you do chores, he might think you two are on paw patrol together.
Since dogs are pack animals, this instinct of keeping together and watching over their territory will always come through.
12. Separation anxiety or depression
Following you around might be a sign of separation anxiety. If your dog acts scared while you’re not there, tries to escape by chewing, scratching on the door, and barks for hours, even though your husband and other family members are there, he’s experiencing separation anxiety and hates being left alone by you!
You need to assure your dog he’ll be safe until you get back and that there are people that care for him other than you. Also, try not to leave them alone for long periods of time.
13. Velcro dog syndrome
A velcro dog tags along with its owner everywhere. He thinks they go together like PB and J! If you feel you have no privacy at all because your pup follows you literally everywhere, you should know your dog is suffering from velcro dog syndrome.
This syndrome is not to be confused with separation anxiety. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety have it rough while you’re away. Velcro dogs aren’t that critical, but they do enjoy having you around all the time.
How Will I Know If My Dog’s Following Has Gone Too Far?
Don’t get us wrong, it’s okay if your dog follows you around a bit and watches for your commands and cues. However, if you see your dog has problems with dropping that behavior, then it’s gone too far.
Often, when a dog follows one person and fears the others in the house, it can mean he wasn’t properly socialized. Those dogs have a higher risk of developing social or separation anxiety, aggression, and other problems.
If no one stays at home with the dog during the day, we recommend keeping your dog entertained by leaving the TV or the radio on. Interactive toys also work like charms!
Still, if you’ve got a tough case of separation anxiety, try conducting desensitization. Leave for a few seconds and come back into the house. Every time you repeat this, increase the time you spend outside until your dog gets used to the idea you’re not there.
4 Pro Tips To Stop Your Dog From Following You Around
1. Don’t reinforce the behavior
When you see your dog following you around, it may be sweet at first, but you should not allow such behavior. Resist the urge to pat your dog on the head and reinforce the behavior. Giving praise, treats, belly rubs, and ear scratches are things that should wait until your pup calms down and stops following you around.
Have your husband entertain the dog to stop following you. It will make your husband look better in your dog’s eyes, and you can rest a bit from being the center of their world.
2. Quality time
If your husband has some extra time, initiate bonding with your dog. Playing fun games, cuddling, giving treats, taking them for a walk, or even grooming are good for establishing a strong bond between humans and dogs.
3. Ignore this behavior
It may sound like the wrong thing to do, but it’s the right one. Just ignore this behavior. You won’t hurt your dog by doing this. It doesn’t cut out affection completely. You can still pet your dog and show love, just don’t reinforce following around and ignoring your husband.
4. Keep the dog busy
Mental stimulation is essential for all dogs. You will need to keep your Fido entertained unless you want boredom to kick in and allow your dog to follow you around. Maybe your husband can give them puzzle balls with treats or other stimulating toys. Dogs seem to always be hungry, so toys with treats are highly motivating for them. Go on Amazon and order some fun games!
Also, physical activity will deplete their energy bar and get their levels of happy hormones way up high. Satisfied dogs won’t waste their time following people around. Instead, they’ll ask for entertainment.
Proof Your Dog Is Suffering From Separation Anxiety
Aggression. Aggression is the most dangerous symptom of dog anxiety. It can be targeted directly or indirectly. Direct targeting is when the dog behaves aggressively towards other animals and people. Indirect targeting is also dangerous and happens when a person comes between the aggressive dog and, for example, another dog. Aggressive behaviors like barking and growling can lead to far more dangerous situations and eventually to hurting other humans and dogs.
Urinating and defecating. Your dog may be potty trained even before the age of 6 months, but if he’s experiencing symptoms of separation anxiety, he may still pee or poop in the house. It’s only a sign of their anxiety and a huge frustration for us.
Acting destructively. Destructive behavior is also quite common with separation anxiety. It results from your dog trying to escape and follow you and usually happens around doors and windows. Some severe cases even end up in the dog hurting themselves. Breaking out of dog crates, doors, and windows can result in injuries!
Depression. Depression is the second biggest problem that happens because of separation anxiety. Depression is quite common for dogs that feel down for long periods of time. Some of them even suffer from long-term depression! These symptoms are the same as with humans: they become inactive, withdrawn, and eat in their beds, cry at night… You’ll see how your dog sleeps all the time, and that’s a warning sign!
Why Is My Dog Standing Between My Husband And I?
You’re the leader of the pack. You’re his role model. You’re his everything! Do you think it’s easy for a dog that thinks of you as something more than a best friend to drop this attitude? It’s not. You’re your pup’s valued resource of love and attention he needs to function normally.
When a dog comes between two spouses, his resource guarding instinct will kick in. All animals, especially wild dogs, have this instinct. The best example of this is a dog guarding its feeding bowl.
The reason your dog jumps between you and your husband is that he thinks you’re sharing the love only he deserves with other people. That’s why they act distant and sometimes aggressive towards your husband, and that’s why they’ll jump on you, giving you lots of wet kisses!
Why Does My Dog Jumps And Licks Me?
Speaking of wet kisses…
When your dog jumps up and licks you, he’s only showing affection and love. Dogs can’t speak. Instead, they use their body language to tell you something.
But, what about when your dog licks your hands or feet? Is it the smell that attracts them?
Actually, no. It’s only a way of bonding with you, learned from their dog mother. When puppies are little, their mother licks them clean to create a bond and show love.
So, no, your feet don’t smell like cheese, and that’s not the bacon smell on your hands.
Why Does My Senior Dog Follow Me?
Senior dogs often develop a condition called CDS. CDS stands for cognitive dysfunction syndrome, otherwise known as “doggie dementia.” It’s caused by a degeneration of the brain. Symptoms of this condition include disorientation, change in sleep-wake habits, and anxiety. It can also mean your dog will act clingy too.
Since our senior puppers are so prone to developing chronic conditions, any of these symptoms and any changes in their behavior may mean he’s got medical issues.
How To Create A Healthy Balance
If you’re wondering, “Why does my dog follow me and not my husband?” things have gone too far, and you need to restore the balance in the house. It can be achieved by following this advice:
• When bonding with your dog, include other family members and make it a fun event for the entire family.
• Physical and mental stimulation will calm your dog down and help it go through the rough periods when you’re not there. Dogs with too much energy are easily bored and become destructive. So, you better hand your husband a dog leash and send the two of them out for some bonding time.
• Train your dog to sit and stay. Also, leave toys and treats next to his bed so your dog knows where and when to calm down.
• Change your routine and have your husband do the grooming or walking.
• Dogs that have less confidence may tag along for your protection. You can encourage your dog to stay away from you for a while, e.g., to stay in its bed while you’re making dinner.
• Rules need to be made, and everyone has to stick to them. If your dog displays issues sleeping in its bed or doesn’t want to get off the sofa, maybe it’s time to train him again and consult a professional.
So, are you still wondering, Why does my dog follow me and not my husband?
Hopefully, you’re aware of why dogs act this way. All dogs, no matter if they’re from a shelter or purebreds recognized by the American Kennel Club, can develop this behavior. It’s external factors that affect it. A dog that’s been through a lot in its previous life will most likely tag along and follow you more than your husband. Such dogs need a constant in their lives, and the only constant is their person of choice.
Dogs can have a favorite person. But, even that can be changed.
If you want to stop worrying about why your dog follows you and not your husband, you will need to include your hubby in the routine you have with your dog. Divide the chores! Have your husband give out treats and belly rubs. Let the two bond and go for a relaxing walk in the park.
Disclaimer alert: we don’t approve if your partner acts terribly towards your dog. Hitting the dog, yelling at it without reason, or treating the dog badly is never an option and never justified. If your husband acts this way, then there’s really no point in wondering: Why does my dog follow me and not my husband?