Why Does my Dog Lay by the Door? 

There are many reasons why you might find your dog laying by the door. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Your dog is missing you and wants to see you again – this is the last place they saw you and they know you’ll be re-entering through this door
  • Your dog is restless or bored and wants to go outside where they can walk or play
  • They want to use the bathroom
  • Your dog is laying by the door to protect you

Of course, it’s impossible to know exactly what your dog is thinking at any given time, but knowing your dog’s typical behaviours and moods will be the best indicator for why they behave a certain way. 

In the vast majority of cases, your dog laying by the door will not be a cause for concern, and it is likely caused by nothing too serious.

However, we always recommend that you carefully monitor any new changes in your dog’s moods to ensure that there is nothing more serious at play. If you suspect something untoward in your dog’s mood, don’t be afraid to contact your vet immediately for an expert’s opinion. 

In this article, we will give an overview of some of the most common reasons why your dog might be laying by the floor. There could be a specific reason for the behaviour, but it’s also possible that there is no real reason apart from the fact that this is your dog’s favourite cosy spot to curl up and sleep for hours on end! 

Your dog wants to use the bathroom

If you’ve raised your dog from when they were a puppy, you’ll remember the joys of training your dog not to go to the bathroom in your house. Fun times!

Your dog likely has specific cues to let you know when they need to relieve themselves and as a pet owner, you’ll be able to pick up on this and let them go outside. 

However, in the beginning of the process, it’s possible that many dogs will get confused when it comes to ‘asking for permission’ to go outside. Some might scratch your door, whine, bark, or walk around in a circle. 

If your dog is unable to get your attention, they might lay down beside your door and wait patiently for you to read their mind. 

Don’t feel too badly if it takes you some time to notice them – they are usually so busy pottering about all day long that you can’t possibly notice everything that they do. 

Try to notice if your pet is looking to go outside more frequently than normal. If so, it might be the case that your dog doesn’t want to use the bathroom, and there’s actually another reason why they are laying beside your door. 

Another thing to watch out for as a pet owner is if your dog seems to be trying to urinate more often, there could be an underlying health problem that you need to watch out for. It’s important to stay on top of this because your pet’s health is the most important thing.

They want to go out for a walk

One thing that pet owners often wonder is, how often should I exercise my dog? The answer is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and it will only become obvious when you have developed a healthy exercise routine with your pet.

According to animal experts, you should develop healthy exercise habits with your pet from as young an age as is safe. But it’s also important not to over-exercise your pet or they may experience health conditions.

The ideal situation is that you and your pet bond when you are outside exercising, whether that is on a walk, playing in the garden, or heading off to the dog park. Your dog learns to associate your front door with a world of very exciting opportunities, and that is not a small thing for any pet!

It may be the case that your dog has a gentle nature and wants you to know that they want to go for a walk or to experience new smells outdoors, but they don’t want to bark at you to grab your attention.

Some dogs will patiently lie by your door to let you know – they’re ready to go whenever you are. This could also be doubly true if you have windows or doors that your dog can see through.

If they are aware of some interesting activity going out outside the confines of your home, they are more likely to want to get out there and take part in the fun. What better way to tell you than by waiting at the exit point?

They could have separation anxiety

There are many symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs. Laying by the door is not necessarily a symptom of separation anxiety on its own, but taken together with other behaviours, could be an indication that something is distressing your pet.

If you are physically present when your pet is lying by the door, it’s unlikely that your pet is exhibiting signs of anxiety because you’re already in the house with them.

However, watch out for other family members who leave and how the dog reacts. If they are tense, upset, unable to focus on what they were doing before the person left the room, it could be a sign of separation problems. 

There can be many causes of this problem, and it’s quite common in dogs. Some of the most common causes have been identified as a new owner or a new family environment, a change in the family’s schedule, or an addition to the family (either a new person or a new animal).

A vet will be able to properly diagnose any anxious conditions that your dog may have, so it’s important to seek expert advice if you think this may be the case. The ASPCA outlines a robust treatment plan for mild to severe separation anxiety, but it’s important not to begin anything new with your pet that hasn’t been approved by a medical professional.

The best advice is to keep track of your dog’s behaviours and bring them to your local vet who can ask you further questions and identify the root cause of the issue. 

How to know why your dog is lying by the door

The truth is that it can sometimes be impossible to tell why your dog is acting the way that they are. Sometimes there is just no obvious reason.

Evidence of previous behaviour is a great indicator of future patterns of behaviour, so be sure to log your pet’s behaviour in a notebook or on your phone if you’re worried.

As we outlined, in the majority of cases, there won’t be a worrying cause of your dog’s preference to lay by your door. However, if could be the case that their territorial instincts kick in and they feel overly protective of you to the extent they will only lie down beside a door.

This isn’t usually something to worry about, but it could be something to watch out for. If you think that your dog is being overly territorial to the point that people are afraid to approach your house, or your dog is snapping at people indoors, it could be time to train them properly to reinforce positive behaviours.

No pet owner would say that it’s always 100% easy living with a dog, but with care and compassion, you can ensure that you and your canine companion have a very harmonious existence.