What Does It Mean When a Stray Dog Follows You?

There are several different reasons to explain why a stray dog may be following you around. In this article, we’ll discuss three of the most common reasons that a stray dog would follow you as well as what your next steps should be.

Reasons a Stray Dog is Following You

It is Seeking Care 

The most common reason that a stray dog would follow you is because it is looking for care, likely in the form of food or shelter. Dogs are domesticated animals, meaning they are more or less dependent on human care for survival. While a dog can last on the streets for a long time, they do better in a stable home. A stray dog may seek out human care to find a new home or get fed. It is more common for dogs that have been previously owned to seek out the attention of humans. Whether the dog has gotten lost or was abandoned, it may have once lived as a pet. A dog that is seeking care will be friendly, and it won’t want to hurt you unless it feels threatened. These dogs may seek out your attention or affection, as they may be used to human care. Even if a dog is acting friendly, it is still important to be wary. Stray dogs can be unpredictable in their behavior, and you need to prioritize your safety. If the dog starts to act aggressively, get to a safe place before seeking out help for the dog. 

It is Guarding its Territory 

Some stray dogs are territorial, meaning they are protective over what they have deemed as their territory. If you are intruding on their space, they may stalk you in an attempt to threaten you. If a stray dog is following you to guard its territory, it will have angry or defensive body language. It may not hesitate to attack you, so it is best to not engage whatsoever. You should immediately remove yourself from the situation. Get somewhere safe before proceeding with your next steps. 

It May Be Good Luck!

care stray dog

If you believe in superstitions, a stray dog may be a sign of good luck! According to the Scottish, a stray dog following you is sure to bring good luck your way. If the dog happens to be black, you’re in for even more luck! Even if you don’t believe in these superstitions, a stray dog following you can still be lucky! Think of it as an opportunity for you to make a difference in this dog’s life.

What to do if a Stray Dog is Following You

Don’t Make Sudden Movements 

The first thing that you need to do if a stray dog is following you is be aware of your movements and body language. You do not want to come across as a threat to the stray dog. You should never run away from it, as this may trigger its hunting instincts. Rather, you should make your movements slow and deliberate. It is also not a good idea to make excessive eye contact with the dog, as some dogs may take this as a threat. Be calm, move slowly, and be the least threatening as you can.

Evaluate the Situation 

It is important to figure out whether the dog is following you to get help or to frighten you off its territory. To do this, evaluate its body language. If the dog is acting aggressively or defensively, you do not want to further engage with it. Doing so may result in either you or the dog getting injured. Instead, you should back away slowly and retreat to a safe place. If the dog is exhibiting friendly body language and seems to like you, you should still react cautiously but don’t need to leave. 

Get the Dog Help 

help stray dog

If the dog is exhibiting aggressive behaviors, leave the vicinity before reaching out for help for the dog. Once you are somewhere safe, notify a nearby rescue or animal welfare agency. They are properly equipped and trained to help stray dogs. If the dog is not being aggressive, check if the dog has a collar or any identification tags. If so, it is likely a runaway or is lost. In any case, you should take it to the nearest veterinarian clinic, rescue, or shelter. They will be able to check if the dog has a microchip. If it does, the clinic, rescue, or shelter will work towards reuniting the dog with its owner. They may ask you to look after it in the meantime, or they may board it themselves.  If the dog truly is a stray and has chosen to follow you, you should consider adopting it! Every stray dog needs a home, and this one sought you out. If you have the means of adopting the stray, it could be the beginning of an amazing new friendship. Every stray dog needs a home, and this one sought you out. If you have the means of adopting the stray, it could be the beginning of an amazing new friendship.

Final Thoughts 

If you find yourself in a situation where a stray dog is following you, it is important to do what is best for your safety and the safety of the dog. Be sure to properly evaluate the situation and remove yourself from any danger before seeking help. There are lots of reasons why a stray dog would follow you including if it is seeking care, guarding its territory, or maybe it is just granting you good luck. In any case, it is important to act responsibly and do your best to get the dog the help it needs. You might just end up with a new companion.