Just now, I stood up from my desk, walked to my bathroom, closed the door and…
Before I even had a chance to unzip my pants, my dog, Tucker, was scratching at the bathroom door. He wanted in. And he wanted in badly. I have absolutely no shame and am otherwise alone in my apartment during the day, so I obliged. I opened the door, finally unzipped my pants and proceeded to release my stream — yes, while my dog watched with his entirely expressionless face.
This is an almost everyday occurrence, and I often wonder what goes through his chunky head when he follows me into the bathroom: Is he afraid that I might fall into the toilet? Is he a sick perv, who enjoys watching me wee? Is he just curious?
“Dogs like to keep us company, so if your dog likes to go with you to the bathroom, it’s just because they want to be with you,” says Zazie Todd, animal psychologist and author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. “It may feel embarrassing to us to have a dog watch us use the bathroom, but it’s not to the dog. They’re just wanting to be with us and see what we’re doing. Your dog probably keeps an eye on you at many other times, too. If you don’t like it, you can always train your dog to wait outside the bathroom or in another room instead.”
One simple way to do this is by giving them treats or a toy right before you go into the bathroom, so they have something to keep busy with while you have your private time.
Otherwise, though, rest assured that you have nothing to worry about, even if your dog insists on watching you make it happen on the toilet. “They don’t see peeing or pooping as anything that’s private, so it makes sense that they’re just following you around, as they would in any other situation,” says Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and author of more than 1,000 essays on animal behavior, including his book Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do. “Frankly, it doesn’t bother me one bit, and I’m sure they’re not going to tell any of their or your friends — no big deal at all.”