Why Does My Shih Tzu Follow Me Everywhere?

why does my shih tzu follow me everywhere - long-haired shih tzu sitting in the grass

Have you ever wondered why does my Shih Tzu follow me everywhere? There are a few reasons this can happen, but the most common is because your Shih Tzu loves you.

Reasons Why Your Shih Tzu Follows You Everywhere

There are lots of reasons your Shih Tzu might be following you around, but here are the top ones.

How They Were Bred

Shih Tzus were bred to be companions to humans. They aren’t meant to hunt or chase cattle or run down bad guys. All they are bred to do is to love you.

Now that’s not a bad job. 

Because Shih Tzus get so attached to their owners, they want to be with them all the time. They want to be on your lap or at your side pretty much 24 hours a day. 

I know that my little Sammy likes to sleep with me, but not just in the same bed. She has to be tucked up right against me. (You can learn more about Sammy and Truman here.)

She wants her back to be up against my back. If I happen to move over a few inches she will do the same. There have been many nights where I end up on the very edge of the bed because she moves with me every time I shift in my sleep.

I don’t really mind it, but in the summer months, it can feel like I’m sleeping with a lump of coal attached to my back. In the winter months, the extra heat is an advantage.

The bottom line is that you are really their whole world, so the bigger question would be why wouldn’t they follow you around?

If it bothers you to be followed around the house, you can train them to not do it all the time. 

For example, I have taught my two Shih Tzus to understand that when I say, “I’ll be right back,” I’m not going to be gone long.

While it is true that dogs can’t actually tell time, it does seem to work. If, however, I’m gone from the room for more than a few minutes, or they hear me in the kitchen, then all bets are off.

shih tzu with wind blowing in its long hair
Depositphotos ID: 14607789 Copyright: Chaoss

Some Shih Tzus are Insecure

While it is true that Shih Tzus as a breed have some similar personality traits, all Shih Tzus are a bit different and have their own distinct personality.

The truth is, some Shih Tzus are insecure. They feel unsure of themselves and their surroundings especially when you aren’t around. 

This can cause them to want to be with you all the time. Of course, not all Shih Tzus are like that.

I see the difference in my own home with my two Shih Tzus. Sammy is a little timid and certainly insecure. This most likely comes from being badly abused and neglected as a puppy before I rescued her.

She wants to sit right next to me or on my lap all of the time. As I mentioned she wants to sleep right next to me or on my feet or legs.

She does follow me around the house no matter where I go.

Truman, on the other hand, is very independent and not the least bit insecure. He wants to be in the same room as me and close at hand, with him on one end of the sofa while I am on the other, but he was never a lap dog.

He doesn’t even want to sit right next to me and the only time he follows me around the house if he thinks he might get food.

He is very secure and doesn’t seem to need me around to feel safe and at ease.

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Your Shih Tzu Might Suffer From Separation Anxiety

This is an extreme form of insecurity. If your Shih Tzu suffers from separation anxiety then they will not only miss you when you aren’t around, but they can become truly afraid and act out.

If you feel your Shih Tzu might suffer from separation anxiety, you should ask your vet if there is anything you can do to help calm or ease their fears. 

long-haired shih tzu looking up at its owner
Depositphotos ID: 14607789 Copyright: Chaoss

You’ve Accidentally Trained Your Shih Tzu to Follow You Around

Let’s say you are watching TV in the evening and then get up during a commercial break to do what? Go get a snack in the kitchen? Maybe take a bathroom break? Check on your kids? 

Whatever you do when you leave the room think about what you do when your Shih Tzu follows you. 

  • Do you talk to your dog
  • Do you pet it when you get to your location
  • Do you give your Shih Tzu a doggie treat
  • Do you give your Shih Tzu a human treat

If you do any or all of these things, you have trained your dog to expect some form of attention if they follow you to your destination when you leave the room.

Let’s face it if you are going to get a snack for yourself, think about how many times you might have given your cute, little Shih Tzu a small taste as well.

This is the quickest way to train your Shih Tzu to follow you around because they have learned that they might receive food if they do so.

That’s true of attention as well. All dogs love attention from their owners.

Rescue Dogs Feel the Need to Be Near You

If your Shih Tzu is a rescue dog then it is going to see you as their hero. They can understand that you have taken them from a bad situation and perhaps even saved their life. On some level, your Shih Tzu realizes this.

Rescuing a dog can create a real bond and the rescue dog wants to be with you to show their love, but also wants to protect you in a way. 

Like All Dogs – Shih Tzus are Pack Animals

All dogs are pack animals. They want to be with their pack and near the leader or alpha of the pack as much as possible.

So, if your Shih Tzu is following you around, it could be that they feel you are the alpha in their pack and want to stay close by.

Also, if it is just you and your Shih Tzu, you are the only other pack member, so your Shih Tzu will really feel a need to be close to you.

When it comes to being a pack animal and why your Shih Tzu follows you around, the American Kennel Club, suggests that “The answer has to do with your dog’s animal instinct and pack mentality. Canine companions that exhibit this type of behavior are often referred to as “Velcro dogs” because of their desire to be attached to your side.

Related Questions:

Why is My Shih Tzu so Clingy?

Shih Tzus have a real need to be loved and to show their love to their owner. They were bred to be this way. It’s great, but it also means that they can be a little clingy and also suffer from separation anxiety.

Don’t be surprised if your Shih Tzu follows you from room to room including the bathroom if you let them.

My little Sammy will scratch at the bathroom door if I don’t let her in.

Just know this clinginess comes from love and the anxiety of being without you.

Are Shih Tzus Cuddly Dogs?

Yes, most Shih Tzus are very cuddly dogs. The thing that makes them happiest in the world is to be cuddling with their owner. 

If they can sit next to you or lay on your lap, they are in heaven. Don’t be surprised if they follow you through the house as well.

Your Shih Tzu wants to be close to you pretty much all of the time.

Do All Shih Tzus Lay on Their Back to Sleep?

No, they don’t. Some Shih Tzus are back sleepers and some are side sleepers. For example, my Truman does both. Sometimes he sleeps on his back, but most of the time he sleeps on his side.

Most likely you will see that your Shih Tzu sleeps in a number of positions.

To Sum it All Up:

For the most part, your Shih Tzu is following you around because they love you. They want to be close to their pack leader and you might be reinforcing the behavior by giving them treats and attention. There is nothing wrong with this behavior unless they are following you due to separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety can lead your dog to panic and have mental and emotional issues if it isn’t addressed.


Please Note:

This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu’s behavior. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.



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