When you travel from room to room, does your canine companion come with you? Blue Heelers are known for this type of behavior.
They typically bond intensely with one member of the family and often want to spend all of their time with them. However, many owners wonder why they do this and what they can do about this behavior.
Blue Heelers may follow you around because they love you, but it could also be because you inadvertently reward them for this behavior with affection or treats. A dog with confidence issues or separation anxiety is also likely to exhibit this behavior. If the problem is recent, consult a vet.
If you are ready to uncover the reasons why your dog is following you around like a lost puppy, here is everything you need to know.
Why Does My Blue Heeler Follow Me Everywhere?
Blue Heelers are known to be extremely loyal dogs, so it is natural that your pup may follow you around if they have a strong bond with you.
Dogs are pack animals, and they view you as a part of their family. They want to spend as much time with you as humanly possible.
This might manifest itself as following you from room to room as you go about your day. Some owners aren’t prepared for their dog’s fierce loyalty towards them.
Having a dog constantly underfoot can prove to be annoying for owners who didn’t prepare for these “Velcro dogs.”
However, there may be more to it than the fact that your Blue Heeler simply enjoys your company. One reason that they may continue to follow you around is because they want to be rewarded.
If your pup learns that you frequently reward them, they will want to be around to claim those treats all the time. You might give them attention and praise or a few tasty morsels from your lunch.
No matter what type of reward you give them, you are unconsciously sending the signal that this type of following behavior is welcome.
You are subtly reinforcing this very strong tendency that Blue Heelers have. While it may be exciting at first to have your pup follow you around, be conscious of how often you reward them with your attention. Ignoring them a bit more may help you to correct the problem quickly.
Another key reason your Blue Heeler may be desperate for your company is a lack of confidence. They may rely on you for their protection. A dog who has no confidence in himself needs constant reassurance.
If this is a new problem for you and your canine companion, you might want to consider if anything has changed in his health.
For example, he might be losing his eyesight or his hearing. Dogs who have always been fiercely independent and now become anxious to leave your side might have more going on than meets the eye.
Be sure to consult with your veterinarian if you feel that your dog has just recently developed this type of behavior.
Check out this related article: 20 Unique Jobs for your Blue Heeler
Is it Separation Anxiety or Love?
One of the main issues that you should be concerned about if your Blue Heeler follows you everywhere is separation anxiety. Are they following you around because they love you or are they following you because they are terrified of being left alone?
Separation anxiety can be a serious issue for dogs who are overly attached to their human caregivers.
Many owners wonder how they can tell the difference. Especially with more people working from home now, their dogs have very few opportunities to be apart from their owners.
It can be extremely challenging to figure out whether you have a strongly attached pup or one with some type of crippling anxiety.
Consider your Australian Cattle Dog’s response when you do have to leave them on their own. Are they content to chew a bone or play with a puzzle toy until you return?
They may still watch out the window for your car to pull in the driveway, but they are relatively calm. This is a sign that your dog may just look to you as a benevolent leader that they enjoy spending time with.
On the other hand, a dog with separation anxiety will actually panic when you leave the room. They might begin nuisance barking, destructively chewing, or even going to the bathroom on your new living room rug.
Consider whether your dog presents a danger to himself or to your home while you are gone. If this is the case, you may be dealing with a dog with separation anxiety.
The good news is that separation anxiety can be a treatable condition. You can start by slowly working up to longer absences.
Leave your Heeler for just a few minutes at a time to teach them that you will always return. This will also show them that they never know when you might pop back through the door. Take this time to run to the mailbox or simply wait on the other side of the door.
It can also help to make sure that your Blue Heeler is tired. These dogs have boundless energy, so make sure that they get in a daily walk, a few games or fetch, or a long swim.
A tired dog is less likely to be destructive or to worry while you are gone. They will be too tired to do much more than take a well-deserved nap.
If the separation anxiety continues to be problematic, then you may want to consult with a trainer or your veterinarian.
A trainer can help you to work through different techniques that may alleviate your dog’s suffering. Your veterinarian may be able to prescribe anxiety medications for your Blue Heeler to help them better cope.
Read this related article: Can A Blue Heeler Live in an Apartment?
How to Teach Your Blue Heeler to be Independent
While spending time with your Blue Heeler is good for both of you, it is also important to draw a line. You want your dog to be able to function independently as well. Here are two tips to help you facilitate more independence for your pup.
Teach your Australian Cattle Dog the Place Command
Teaching your dog to go to their own little “place” is the premise behind this command. It could be a dog bed or a blanket on the floor.
Encourage your dog to head to their place and make it enjoyable for them. Leave their favorite toys near their designated space. Reward them handsomely for choosing to spend time here.
You might reward them with a frozen Kong ball stuffed with peanut butter, a few scraps of boiled chicken, or some green beans.
Make sure to do this often when you first introduce this new place to your pup. They will want to leave this area to get back to you, so you have to create a great positive association with it. As they get used to it, you can scale back how often you reward them for heading to their place.
If you struggle with this, you can always contact a trainer to help.
Exercise Your Blue Heeler
Your dog is less likely to be extremely active in seeking you out if they are napping. Make sure that they get plenty of exercise to burn off that extra Blue Heeler energy. Take them for walks and encourage other family members to take them for walks as well. This helps them to bond with more than one person in the family.
Helping Your Blue Heeler with Independence
Your Blue Heeler is an extremely loyal dog, but they can still learn independence. Try to uncover the root cause of why they happen to be following you around. Once you know the reason behind the behavior, you can work to minimize it altogether.
Is it bad if my dog follows me everywhere?
Many dogs will follow their owners around because they have a genuine interest in being around you as much as possible. However, some dogs will pace around their owners because they have some underlying anxiety issues. They may lack the confidence necessary to be independent and to spend time on their own.
Why does my dog prefer my husband over me?
It is quite common for dogs to prefer one person in the relationship more than the other. It may have to do with who spends more time with them, who rewards them, and even who they perceive as the pack leader. Keep in mind that sometimes dogs will change their mind and switch to preferring the other partner eventually.
Why does my dog sit between me and my partner?
If your dog is bonded to both you and your partner, they may choose to sit directly between you. This is their attempt at bonding and protecting both of you equally at the same time. On the other hand, it could also be a sign of jealousy to keep you from getting too close to your partner. It is your dog’s way of staking a claim over your attention.