Why Does My Old Dog Follow Me From Room to Room All Day?

Feb 13, 2012. — LarryDog, who is now almost 16, has recently taken to following me from one room to the next. This is new.

If I’m cooking, he’s underfoot in the kitchen–a logical thing for a dog to do, but something that’s new for him. If I am in my home office, he’s usually on his pad but the other day he noticed that he can fit under my new desk right next to me when I’m working on my laptop. If I go to the bedroom, he has two favorite places to lie there–one blocking access to the door and the other on a softer rug. Oh, actually, he has a third favorite spot in there: when I’m in the bathroom, he lies by its door in the bedroom.

And so it goes. The other day I stopped counting at a dozen times that he followed me, and that was around noon. What does he want when he does this? Mostly, it seems he just seems to want to be close. Other times, he comes and puts his face up to me. I pet him a little or scratch behind his ears, and he is satisfied to move away.

He still has most of his vision, but he is getting quite deaf. So maybe he is relying more of his vision and is keeping me closer for that reason.  It seems to me that in many of these moments, he is doing what he has always done as a dog: he is bringing me into the present moment, sharing a bit of love. But is there also a bit of preparation for the long goodbye that will be coming up sometime down the road?

A lot of people wouldn’t go for that idea, but I do keep wondering. He is still enjoying going for walks, eating his meals at top speed, and hanging out with us. There is still quality of life for sure. And all these little moments together add to it.

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6 Responses to “Why Does My Old Dog Follow Me From Room to Room All Day?”

  1. I cried reading this. It’s emotionally striking thinking there will come a time when you already have to let go. Memories of lost flashed back at me.

  2. Rosana says:

    Tina, my LarryDog is about a month older than your boy and he is half Blue Heeler!

    I have had two dogs who did just fall asleep and not wake up, and that is my wish for LarryDog whenever it happens. I think your comments make perfect sense! Thanks for writing.

  3. hundgestrickt says:

    My Blue Heeler boy is 15 years and 9 months and does the same. nearly deaf, vision better but not as it used to be and he does follow me a lot – if he isn’t asleep and doesn’t hear me at all passing him. He can walk up the stairs but has problems getting down again on his own as he walks faster then he can handle, though it is no problem if I am there and control his speed – but we must be aware as soon as we go upstairs – or to the basement – he has to come immediately with us or be blocked from getting on the stairs.
    In general he is doing still great, we have 3 younger smaller terrier girls who interact with him, he  has slowed down 8especially if it is warm) but definitely has quality of life! I will be the first who will stopp him from any suffering once he is that far. Best would be to find just the point befor he is in pain… sometimes I do hope he would fall asleep one day and not wake up again… And I try to live like this could happen any moment and I wouldn’t have any regrets… Does that make sense?
    Tina in Germany

  4. Dsucher says:

    Interesting.
    My Belgian Sheperd (Laekenois) has been doing that all his life (14.5years) as part of his breed.
    But for an older dog to start –that is fascinating, and endearing.

  5. Rosana says:

    I agree, Martyn, and it’s becoming more evident even since writing that post. I talked it over with our veterinarian last week and she has seen this in older dogs from time to time.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “A lot of people wouldn’t go for that idea” … but I would. I suspect that, like all of us when it happens, he is aware that his capabilities are beginning to fall away; the realisation of that gives rise to anxiety, and he deals with it by more frequent affirmation of the stable things in his life, notably your presence. That would be my reading, at any rate.