Why My Dog Walks Behind Me

If you find your dog likes to walk behind you whenever you take him out for a stroll or even when you are in your home, you are not alone.

This post will share with you the reasons why your dog is behaving in this way.

When your dog is walking behind you during a stroll, he is doing his investigation task. He sees you as his pack leader and follows your lead. He is seeking your protection or is too tired to make any fast move. He is suffering from health issues such as arthritis or poor eyesight and is following you closely.

Walking Behind You During The Stroll:

He Is Doing His Investigation

It is a common instinct for your dog to sniff around when he is out for a walk.

This is due to the fact that your dog possesses a superior smelling scent and the captivating scent present in the outside world is simply too irresistible for him.

His curiosity had driven him to do some investigation.

That is why you would probably see him lagging behind you as he is busy exploring the place.

You would probably see him doing more sniffing at some vertical objects such as trees, fire hydrants and lamp posts as that is where he will find stronger scent left by his pack members.

He wants to establish a sense of smell with other dogs who might be around.

This is how dogs communicate with one another.

They leave their strong odor of urine along the way just to identify other dogs.

He Sees You As His Pack Leader

This is certainly a good sign as your dog perceives you as his Alpha.

He knows that he should faithfully follow behind you and obey your orders without hesitation.

It’s not unusual for him to only want to walk with you and no one else, because he believes only you (his pack leader) can protect him.

He trusts that you will provide him with the guidance, protection and shelter that he needs, and you have the final say in any decision that needs to be made.

You will probably see him being more submissive to you and will never pass through any door ahead of you.

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He Seeks For Your Protection

If you find your dog only starts to walk behind you when he is in unfamiliar territory, that could be a sign that he is feeling terrified and uncomfortable.

He is trying to “hide” behind you and trust that you will keep him from any harm.

This is likely to be the case when there are many roaming dogs in the street or there is a loud noise (thunderstorm coming) happening.

You would probably see him shivering and shaking, panting, getting too distracted and salivating.

He is scared that something bad may happen to him. 

What you should do is to pick him up and hold him in your arms. This will offer much comfort to him.

In addition, you can also try to gently pet him. This is one of the best ways to calm him down.

He Is Too Tired (Unwilling To Walk)

If your dog just had his play and did not take a nap thereafter, he is going to feel very exhausted.

Or, he could just have recovered from an illness and is too fatigue.

For either of these reasons, he is certainly NOT looking forward to taking a stroll with you.

That is why you will see him walking behind you as he simply does not have the energy to keep up with your pace.

You might find yourself in a situation when you have to stop and wait for him to catch up.

He is no longer interested in the treats that you are offering him (as a way to make him continue walking) and keeps yawning.

He just wants to sleep.

So, keep in mind that your dog needs to sleep to re-energize his body after any physical activities. 

I would suggest that the best time to take him out for a walk would be after his meal.

Suffering From Arthritis Discomfort

You will certainly want to take a rest and not move around when having joint pains.

This goes for your dog as well.

When your dog is suffering from arthritis or some joint pain, he will not be able to move around as he would like, and not to mention go for a long stroll.

This is especially so if your dog is reaching his senior age (between the ages of 7 to 11, depending on the breed size).

He is no longer as agile as when he was young and needs more rest and is less active than before.

His lifestyle will become more sedentary.

That is why he will be “dragging” behind you if he takes him out for a walk as he is in great discomfort walking.

Having Poor Eyesight

Your dog is depending on you to guide him during the walk as he couldn’t see the path clearly.

That explained why he likes to walk behind you and wants you to take the lead.

Poor eyesight can make your dog feel insecure and even afraid of his surroundings.

It can cause him to be uncomfortable when going into a new place or when being in unfamiliar places.

So, if you suspect your dog is having eyesight issues, bring him to see a vet as soon as possible. 

He needs proper eye care and regular checkups.

Walking Is Uncomfortable With Long Nails

When was the last time that you had trimmed your dog’s nails?

Having long nails makes walking an uncomfortable task for your dog. 

He feels the pain as his nails hit the floor, and he struggles to move forward.

The longer the nail, the greater the pain.

That is why he walks so slowly behind you as he has difficulty moving forward.

Make it a point to clip his nails regularly. 

If you trim your dog’s nails every two weeks, he will be able to walk more comfortably.

He Is Wearing Heavy Gear

Think of the time when you are carrying heavy or bulky stuff, I believe you will be dragging your feet to take every step.

This goes for your dog as well.

If you put a heavy leash clasp on him during the walk, he is going to feel great discomfort and that makes him “hate” walking.

That explains why he is always walking so slowly behind you.

You should switch to a lighter leash or back-clip harness as that would allow your dog to move freely, and he will enjoy his walking.

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Walking Behind You In The House:

He Wants To Be Your Shadow

Dogs are social animals, and they like to have companions.

They don’t like to be alone, especially if there is nothing to keep them busy.

That is why you will find your dog keeps following you and walking behind you in the house.

He wants to be with you all the time and be involved in whatever things that you are doing.

In return, he expects you to provide him with lots of love, attention and affection.

He Finds It To Be A Rewarding Experience

You may have unknowingly encouraged him to follow you. 

You see, your dog is going to repeat behavior that he finds to be rewarding.

So, if you have been rewarding your dog when he follows you to the kitchen (with treats) or to the garden (with play), to the car (with a ride), he will start to associate walking behind you with a positive experience.

This is especially so if your dog belongs to a guard dog breed such as German shepherd, Rottweiler, Doberman or Great Dane.

He will have a natural instinct to perform his guarding duty, which is to follow you and protect you.

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