Why Does My German Shepherd Follow Me Around Everywhere in the House?

If your German Shepherd is following you around the house no matter where you go (bathroom included), he is probably a full-blood German Shepherd. In fact, this behavior, also known as “shadowing”, is hard-wired to the GSDs’ demeanor.

Originally bred for herding, hence the name “shepherd”, German Shepherds still retain the tendency of following, nudging, and guarding over their owners. With their pack mentality, GSDs also look upon their owners as the alpha to follow them around. Otherwise, they are either being protective, affectionate, or attention-seeking.

In the German Shepherds’ world, there’s no such thing as too much following of their owners. If you think your pooch is constantly following you without giving you any privacy whatsoever, then you may need to understand better why they are doing it non-stop.

What does it mean when my German Shepherd follows me everywhere?

If you are getting a German Shepherd dog, you are signing up for their incessant love, licks, nudges, and their heavy shedding, every second of the day.

Known for their affection, German Shepherd dogs are inquisitive and curious about what you are doing all the time. They show their love by being involved in what you do 24/7. Their adoring brown eyes will follow you where you go, and your furry friend is a constant companion. 

1. Your German Shepherd is protecting you

German Shepherds are one of the best guard dogs to date. And being (overtly) protective is very much their nature. If you happen to be pregnant, or just had a baby, it’s very natural for your German Shepherd to become very protective of you.

This is why he will guard you every second you are around – this fearless bodyguard will always be making sure you are safe. 

2. Your German Shepherd is exhibiting his herding instincts

German Shepherds were and still be used as herding dogs. They excel at herding livestock back from the fields after a day of grazing, hence the name “shepherd.”

Domesticated German Shepherds also exhibit this same behavior towards their families. If they seem to be rounding you up, staring at you more than usual, circling you, or even nudging you, their herding tendencies are at play.

They just think you are one big sheep to be herded away home- distract them with a giant ball of fluffy toy!

3. Your German Shepherd is considering himself part of the pack

Dogs are evolved from wolves, and their pack mentality is still in their blood. If your dog is giving you an overwhelming amount of attention, it’s because he considers you the alpha of the pack.

Looking up to you as the leader should also mean that when the clinginess gets out of hand, a quick “Stay!” command should prevent the dog from following you into the bathroom!

Following you around is an intuition, so utilize it instead to keep some space between your dog and yourself, especially when you need to be away for long hours. 

4. Your German Shepherd is seeking your attention

Well-trained dogs or older dogs following you around uncharacteristically can cause concern.

If your dog is showing you more attention than usual, he probably wants you to notice something or take a look at him. When dogs are uncomfortable or sick, they usually follow their owners around, whine, stop eating and demand attention until their discomfort is sorted.

Your dog simply needs you to give him loads more cuddles and playtime than you have been lately- be his best friend! 

5. Your German Shepherd is showing affection towards you

Another reason why your German Shepherd is showing affection toward you is simply that she loves you.

They will hound you every second of the day to show their love. This is exactly why your German Shepherd is following you because he either misses you or has separation anxiety. The best thing to love them back is by giving your GSDs adequate attention and playtime.

6. Your German Shepherd has separation anxiety

Among the concerning reasons why your German Shepherd cannot seem to leave you alone is because he has separation anxiety.

Whining and crying for hours when you leave, demanding to be let in every time a door closes, and other physical symptoms indicate that your pooch gets anxious when you aren’t around.

Separation anxiety can be dealt with by getting a sitter for your dog if you are away from your buddy for long hours. 

7. Your German Shepherd wants to play

If your German Shepherd isn’t getting enough hours of play in a day, especially if it is a young dog, it will have a lot of pent-up energy.

This energy will translate into your dog hounding you to play with him.

To fix this, have designated hours of high-intensity playtime with your dog, and buy him toys that keep him distracted, occupied, and happy. Playtime also can include cuddles, walks, and other stimulating activities that keep your pup happy!

8. Your German Shepherd is bored

In case you are not aware, German Shepherds are super high-energy dogs, especially when they are young.

Lack of occupation can make them want to release all their pent-up energy on you. 

If you can’t make the time to take the dog out for a walk or play, engage him in activities that will keep him sufficiently preoccupied. Things like chew toys and treat-dispensing toys are the perfect way to dissipate your dog’s boredom.

How to stop my German Shepherd from following me everywhere? (7 Useful Tips)

1. Teach your German Shepherd the ‘Stay’ command

Commands such as “leave it,” “stop!” and “stay!” make your life a whole lot easier by preventing your dog from shadowing you everywhere. Applicable to both herding and over-protectiveness, use positive reinforcements and treats to appreciate your dog’s good behavior and to remind him of what is off-limits or not. Remember to be patient!

2. Give your German Shepherd plenty of toys to play

You can absolutely teach an old dog new tricks, especially if it means he gets off your back for a couple of hours. Toys such as indestructible chewies (so you don’t break the bank buying replacements every day), puzzle and treat dispensing toys for cognitive improvement, and exercising the brain during quieter playtimes.

3. Assign your German Shepherd something to do

Since they are very obedient dogs and love being of use to their family, you can keep your German shepherd occupied and away from you.

If your dog is herding you or being overprotective, distract him by teaching tricks like clearing up toys from the floor, rocking the baby’s cradle, or getting the mail inside.

4. Do not reward this behavior

If you’re habitual of feeding your dog scraps because his brown puppy eyes are irresistible to you, you are actually enabling its behavior. Instead of positive reinforcement by feeding him scraps each time, set a boundary and reward him with treats for good behavior and tricks instead. 

5. Counterconditioning

Counterconditioning is a form of behavior therapy that will alter the reaction your dog has to a stimulus.

If your dog starts whining when you are away from it for too long, effective counter conditioning will reinforce that your being away isn’t causing anxiety and discomfort for your dog. It is basically you normalizing what is happening to prevent your dog from being anxious because of it. 

6. Desensitizing

The first thing is to be discretionary with how much time you spend with your dog.

If your dog is constantly following you around, stay away from it, beginning with smaller periods of time and then larger ones. This will prevent the dog from getting anxious and will normalize to you not being around all the time.

7. Consult a vet/animal behavior specialist

If all else fails, there are several types of professional assistance you can seek to prevent your dog from following you around all the time.

Consulting a vet for serious issues like separation anxiety and dog trainers for behavioral issues can do a lot of good. 

Conclusion

German Shepherds can be your best companions since the day you brought them home. Their following you around is their instinct that makes them German Shepherds. And there’s literally no way you can stop them from shadowing you.

However, if you think reached a level that is unnatural (again, there’s no such thing as following too much of you from a GSD’s perspective), then you may need a second opinion to check what exactly is causing this behavior.

Further Questions

Are German Shepherds bred to be clingy?

They aren’t necessarily bred to be clingy, but it is inherent in their nature that they are pack-oriented and protective of their family. Hence they may follow you around seeking approval and attention. 

Do German Shepherds have any concept of privacy?

Considering the overwhelming affection they have for you, you can only enforce a sense of privacy with your dog through effective training and behavioral therapy to prevent them from following you around.