Why Does My Dog Walk Behind Me? (7 Reasons)

Why does my dog walk behind me? Many dog owners are trying to know the reasons behind this behavior from their dogs while walking. Don’t worry; this article has provided all you should know about dogs walking behind their owners.

Dogs are known to be very loyal creatures. They love their owners and are always eager to please them, no matter what it takes or how long they have to wait. 

This is why walking behind the owner may not come as a surprise at all. Dogs do this because they want to please their owners, even if that means walking slightly further away from them while walking together. 

Dogs have been walking behind their owners for centuries. In the earlier days, dogs would walk behind their owner to protect their master from any danger lurking behind them.

In modern times, dogs still follow the same instinct and continue to walk behind their master or mistress for a few simple reasons we will discuss in this article.

There are other reasons dogs prefer walking behind instead of next to their owners.

Does your dog walk behind you? Why does your dog walk behind you? So, Why does my dog walk behind me? We will look into some possible explanations in the following texts.

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Walk Behind You

1. A display of dominance

Putting yourself before someone else can often show dominance over that person, for example, when dealing with children or animals. This is why it may be a display of dominance if your dog walks behind you, as he feels like he is above you.

This does not mean that your dog sees himself as your superior or even as an equal to you. He only feels like he has the right to walk before you because he respects and trusts you more than anyone else in his eyes, which makes him see himself as subordinate to you.

Your dog walking behind you can tell others that they should stay away.

When we want to show dominance towards another person, we often try to keep them at arm’s length and establish a significant distance between them and us. 

Your dog probably does this too by walking slightly further away from the group while walking together with them instead of walking right next to them. Other people can see your dog’s act of keeping distance as a warning not to come too close.

The same story applies to dogs placed in animal shelters like the SPCA or other rescue centers. These dogs may prefer walking behind their owner because they want to tell others, including their new owners, that they should stay away and leave them alone. 

This is why many dogs walk behind at the SPCA while others seem like more likable pets.

2. Scent marking (Territorial Marking)

Dogs often mark certain areas where they live by leaving their scent on the spot. What better way is there than using their urine? When your dog walks slightly further away from you or behind you while walking together, he might be scent marking your territory, as if to keep it as his own.

The reason dogs tend to mark their territory is to show other dogs where their environment is, which helps them know their boundaries. By walking ahead of your dog, they are marking you as their territory, decreasing the urge for your dog to walk ahead.

3. They are Stalkers!

Dogs love to stalk around bushes and trees to mark their territory with their scent glands. A dog will continue walking behind you because he has no idea what his surroundings are, allowing him to do this marking behavior at ease without being seen by anyone else, not knowing that he is there stalking around doing his business.

4. Territorial Defence

This falls into the same category as territorial marking for dogs; however, it applies to when dogs do not have the opportunity to mark their territory using urine.

When dogs are walking behind people, they tend to walk in-between your legs which is like its own territory that he protects by putting himself between you and any danger coming towards you. 

This is the dog’s way of protecting his master or owner, which also applies to dogs walking behind cars.

5) Follows Alpha’s Lead

Dogs will only follow dominant leaders. They determine this through how they act during times of distress, fear, and pain.

A dog will always follow directly behind his leader because it provides support for itself by having a person or another animal in front of him in case anything dangerous were to happen again while walking in front of his leader.

6) They are Afraid

Dogs tend to follow their owner or leader to make themselves feel safe and know that somebody is protecting them at all times while they are vulnerable. 

If a dog is new to your house, he will walk behind you until he feels comfortable enough, where he would then walk in front of you, showing that he trusts his surroundings. 

When dogs are outside on walks with their owners, if something were to suddenly appear close by without the owner noticing, such as another person walking towards them with their dog, the dog can become frightened, which causes him to run behind its owner for protection and security just like it would in its natural environment.

7. Protects You

Dogs can be trained and taught to be protective of their master. If you were to walk ahead of your dog and somehow got distracted by something along the way, you would not know if somebody was approaching from behind, which could leave an opportunity for an attack on yourself or somebody else. 

By walking behind you, it is a bit more difficult for anybody to sneak up on you without having that extra sense that your dog provides while standing in front looking at anything that may approach his owner while standing behind him.

You should always make sure to give your dog the attention he deserves when out on walks because this will show him how much you appreciate all of his efforts in listening to everything you say, which will make him want to listen more often. 

Don’t forget, dogs are our best friends, and it is time they start getting the respect that they deserve!

Read Also:

5 ways to stop Your dog from walking behind you.

Dogs love to follow behind their owners. However, when it comes time to train a dog and fix behavior problems, this causes a lot of trouble in the process. 

If you’re a dog owner and wish to stop your dog from this behavior of walking behind you, please our guide below.

Here are five different ways to stop dogs from walking behind owners.

1. Teach Them Commands

When you walk your dog, give him a cue like “heel” or “walk with me.” This will make it clear that he is supposed to be on either side of you, not following behind. 

It takes time to work, but eventually, the cue will be enough to remind him not to follow behind you.

2. Walk In Another Direction

When your dog starts following you behind, turn around and immediately walk in another direction. By changing directions suddenly without saying anything or giving any cues about what he should do, your dog will begin wondering why you left the path. 

He won’t understand your motive by walking ahead of you rather than following directly behind means he isn’t doing something wrong, and you will begin to teach him that he needs to pay attention.

3) Placing A Leash

Try placing a leash on your dog when you go for walks in the beginning. By keeping the leash loose but not completely slack, it will allow enough tension on the leash that your dog may feel uncomfortable staying behind. 

This can be combined with another form of training, such as using an anti-bark collar or giving anxiety medication if needed.

4. Pushing Your Dog Away

If all else fails, try pushing your dog away from you when he comes up behind you and starts following close by. This method is less than ideal with time because it might cause aggressive behavior and stress to both you and your pup. 

Always use positive reinforcement training and never punish!

5) Get A Professional Help

If none of these methods work, it might be time to get professional help. A trainer or behaviorist can go more in-depth and schedule training sessions to teach your dog what you want him to do so he doesn’t walk behind you anymore!

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