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Why Do Dogs Sit By The Door?

A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Published on
Sunday 3 July 2022
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Why Do Dogs Sit By The Door?
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Is your dog sitting by the door at odd hours? Many dog owners find their dogs waiting at the door when they come back from a trip. Some pet parents have even noted that their dog waits by the door all day, doing nothing else! 

But is it always out of loyalty? Or can there be other reasons behind it? Let’s find out.

Why Do Dogs Always Sit By The Door? 

It is not uncommon to find your puppy waiting at the door when you come back from the office. There are several reasons why it might be doing so: 

  • Separation anxiety
  • Wanting to go out to potty
  • Protecting the home
  • Waiting for their beloved pet parent. 

The last one is the most common reason, as dog owners know so well. Some dogs even tend to charge at the door when someone arrives! But some dog owners have a different question: why do dogs wait by the door even when everybody is at home? Let’s answer all these questions in the next section.  

10 Reasons Why Your Dog Lays By The Door

Here are ten possible answers to your question.  

Encouraging the Behavior 

Have you ever given your dog a treat because you found it sitting by the door when you came back? You just answered the question: why does my dog lay by the door? Because your dog expects treats out of it! The dog probably thinks that this behavior is expected and would be rewarded if it persists. 

Establishing Dominance 

Some dogs are not waiting for you at the door. If you have ever wondered: why does my dog lay in front of the door, instead of waiting eagerly like other dogs, it might be trying to establish dominance over you! If you find this happening, talk and gently push your dog away from the door.  

Exerting Protection 

When dogs recognize that the door leads to the outside, they may want to lie down in front to be protective of the family. If you notice your dog doing this when you are at home, especially at night, they are exerting protection. Your dog can spot everyone who is coming and going from the door. 

Hormonal Impulses 

If you have a male dog who is not neutered and he is sitting in front of the door, you should check if it is mating season. Male dogs who are unneutered are often attracted to female dogs in heat. Don’t worry, the urge will pass in a few days.

Most Comfortable Spot 

Dogs search for the most comfortable areas in the house to lie down and your door might just be one. Your dog will find that spot comfortable if you have a soft rug or if that space is cool and pleasant. If you find your dog sleeping at the same spot by the door. 

Needs to Potty 

Most dog owners train their dogs to pee or go potty outside. If your dog is trained to do this, you need to ensure that you let them out at the right time. Dogs that want to go potty but haven’t been let out of the house yet will sit by the door waiting.  

Needs Attention 

Dogs love attention. If you have a lot of people coming and going in, and giving your dog pats and belly rubs on their way, that might be the reason why your dog is sitting by the door. 

Not Enough Exercise 

If your dog has not had enough exercise, it may sit by the door hoping to go out for a walk. This happens immediately after you bring your dog inside. It will stop if you let your dog play outside for a little while longer. 

Separation Anxiety 

If you find your dog waiting at the door all the time and never leaving your side when you are home, it might be suffering from separation anxiety. To help them feel better, you can play with them before you leave, feed them, and take them outside.

Waiting Game

When dogs might think it’s a game to wait for you. If you or any other family member is away, your dog might keep waiting by the door in anticipation of you coming back. Once you return, your dog will stop sitting by the door and play with you instead.  

Things to Take Note Of 

There are several reasons why your dog might be waiting by the door, so in order to narrow down the real reason, you need to observe the following points:

When Did The Behavior Start?

To understand why your dog is sitting by the door, you must check when this behavior started. Dogs with separation anxiety may sit by the door right from the time they were puppies. However, it might also be a recent development. 

What Happened Before the Behavior Started?

If your dog sitting by the door is a new occurrence, try and remember what happened before the behavior started. If a family member left home, you started going out more often, or if your dog’s daily routine changed, it might be why your dog started sitting by the door. 

At What Time of Day Do Dogs Sit By The Door?

When your dog is sitting by the door, notice the timing. You may sometimes find that your dog waits by the door all day. This may be because someone is not at home or your dog is protective. If you change your dog’s routine, your dog may take a while to get used to that. 

Which Door Does Your Dog Sit By?

Most dogs sit by the front door. These dogs are either suffering from separation anxiety or are waiting to go out. But if your dog is sitting outside your bedroom door, it could be because they want attention or are being protective. However, they may also do this when anxious.

Door Training for Your Dogs

Avoid Encouraging the Behavior 

If your dog is sitting by the door because you give treats, avoid doing so. If you continue to give treats, you will be encouraging the behavior. You can give them treats when they obey you and sit somewhere else.  

Give Sufficient Outdoor Activities 

Dogs often sit by the door when they don’t get enough exercise or want to play outside. So, you need to ensure that they are getting adequate exercise. Different breeds require different amounts of exercise, so talk to a vet about your dog.

Provide a More Comfortable Spot 

Dogs may sit by the door because that is a comfortable spot. If there is a rug or the floor is cool, provide that same comfort in a different area. This will encourage your dog to leave its spot by the door. 

Reduce Reasons in Developing Anxiety 

Separation anxiety is terrible and if your dog is suffering, you need to do everything you can to make them feel better. Spend time with your dog, play, feed them, and take them outside. You can also go to the door and then come back many times during the day. This will lead the dog to think that going to the door is normal and will not associate it with you leaving. This, along with some other activities, will help your dog cope better when you leave. 

Teach Proper Door Etiquette 

If you have a puppy waiting at the door, it is the best time to start door training. Teach them to obey simple commands like “stay” or “heel” to keep them away from the door. You also need to ensure that your dog does not get too excited when a new person comes in through the door. 

So, why is your dog sitting by the door? There are many answers, but most often it’s because they are missing you and want to see you come back. With some positive reinforcement and training, you can help your dog break this habit. 

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