Why do Dogs Lay by the Door – 10 Reasons

One thing we can all agree on, for sure, is that we love our dogs just as much as they love us. If we’re on the same page on that, it’s cool to ask the question, ‘why do they lie by the door?’ right? It’s a common phenomenon, and some answers might help all your dog parents out there to be better custodians of our furry companions. That’s all we want to be.

Most dog owners believe dogs lay by the door to safeguard them and their homes, a notion that holds some merit. However, there are additional explanations for this behavior, such as separation anxiety, the instinct to claim territory, a desire to explore, seeking attention, discomfort due to warm temperatures, and sheer boredom.

Why do dogs lay by the door

They Feel Protective of You

There’s a good reason why dogs are known as man’s best friends. They have the highest levels of loyalty and devotion you will ever find in any creature, domesticated or not. This is because your furry friend will go to any lengths to ensure you’re safe and protect you from any external attacks once it attaches itself to you.

They are born with an instinct to protect those in their pack, including you as their parent. They do not want any harm to come to you and understand that your door will likely be the gateway to any danger. In most cases, your dog ‘keeping post’ by the doorway will be their way of ensuring that any potential threats to you do not go past them. This makes sense because they know that you’re at your most vulnerable while you are sleeping.

They Want to Relieve Themselves

Your pet is at a disadvantage when it comes to going potty, especially if you don’t have a yard they can access at will. Because they have no way of vocalizing their need to you, they will rely on you to take them out regularly or hope you will understand their non-verbal signals and help them out. By laying by the door, especially the door leading outside, they might be trying to intimate that they need to relieve themselves.

A well-trained or experienced pet won’t whine or disturb you in your sleep as long as they can hold it for another couple of hours, but they’ll shoot outside as soon as you awake and open the door. They’ll be as considerate as they can hold it, so be sure to take note and adjust your potty schedule accordingly once you notice this behavior.

They Don’t Want You to Leave

You probably know this already, but your canine companion is the most loyal and protective being that you’ll ever have. They truly believe that you are them and they are you, and so they experience what’s known as separation anxiety whenever you’re out of their sight and smell. By sticking close to the door, which they know is your way out of their sphere of control, they are trying to protect you from the outside world. They are known as guard dogs.

This condition doesn’t cut across all types of dogs; certain breeds were specifically selected for this quality, including the following:

  • Briard
  • Boxer
  • Puli
  • Boerboels
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cane Corso
  • Canaan Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  • Black Russian Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog

Domesticated canines share many similarities in tendencies but to a different degree. The list goes on, so you will have to inquire from your research, breeder, or supplier to understand your dog’s latent or inherent tendencies.

They’re Curious About the Outside World

While you might think that cats are the curious ones, dogs exhibit their fair share of inquisitiveness about the world around them. Human beings are microsmatic (weak sense of smell), which means we rely primarily on our eyesight to take in the world around us. On the other hand, dogs are macrosmatic, as they use their olfaction (sense of smell) to experience their environment.

This might not seem so impressive when considered through the lens of our sense of smell, but it makes a lot more sense when we consider the faculties that dogs have. If humans have olfactory cells that can get to the size of a square of regular tissue paper, a dog’s olfactory surface area will extend to the size of 2 football pitches. Their sense of smell can be up to 100,000 times stronger than ours, allowing them to pick up scents from over half a mile away.

This ability makes lying by the door a much more meaningful activity for dogs than it would be for us. While you would be bored out of your mind in the same position, your dog might be experiencing the world outside those doors as it lays there, sniffing out all the people, fellow canines, trees, vehicles, and more as they carry about their business.

They’re Curious about the outside

They Want Your Attention

In these busy times, you might not have the time to spend with your pet as you used to. Dogs thrive on their parents’ attention, much more so than cats might, so you need to keep this in mind. If you’re living in an apartment or other quarters where they only interact with you, you might say that their day tarts when you greet them in the morning and end when you pat them goodbye – so it’s understandable that they might be somewhat overly attached to you.

To grab your attention, your dog might be lying in wait at the point they see you most as you leave the house – at the door. They’re just looking for some time and affection from their favorite person, which happens to be you.

They Are Trying to Cool Off

Like humans, your dog’s sleep quality will be affected by the temperature it experiences. While preferences in people differ depending on who you ask – some people prefer it warm while some prefer it cool – it all comes down to our internal thermoregulatory mechanisms. Thermoregulation can be thought of as our internal thermostat, which works by initiating various mechanisms to warm us up when we are cold and cool us down when we are hot.

In mammals such as humans and canines, internal body temperatures drop towards night, a vital element of a person’s sleep cycle. According to research on the matter, dogs will adjust their sleeping posture to try and regulate their temperature. A dog sleeping in a curled position will probably be trying to warm up, while a dog that lies stretched out is trying to cool down.

For the most part, dogs prefer to sleep at cooler temperatures, so they might prefer laying down next to doors where the breeze coming in under the door can help them maintain cool temperatures. So, don’t be offended when your dog leaves the comfy blankets you’ve fuffed up for it because, in most cases, they prefer cold floors instead.

They Miss You

Your dog loves routine. As much as you might think that a surprise visit to the park or a walk outside will excite them, they’re more content when they know what to expect. You wouldn’t particularly enjoy a surprise hike on your day off, would you? Well, your dog is more or less the same.

Whenever you switch up your daily schedule with your dog, you might be inadvertently stressing them out. If you work a regular nine-to-five shift at work, Fido will be accustomed to seeing you when you get home and spending quality time with you. If, on the other hand, you’re working a shift that calls you in for emergencies, your erratic timing might throw your buddy for a loop.

Whatever the reason, you’re not showing up at the regular time. Your dog will not understand it right away. As a result, they will take to the doorway hoping to see you again because they don’t know when they’ll see you again, and it’s bumming them out.

They Feel Safer There

Canines can be more complex than we give them credit for. This is especially true for rescue dogs or dogs in a new environment. By situating themselves by the nearest exits, dogs in a new environment might feel more comfortable. In such circumstances, it might be best to let them lay there as they acclimatize themselves to the new surroundings. With enough love and care, they will eventually come around, so patience is called for on the part of any new parents.

they feel safer there

You Might Have Encouraged Them to Sleep There

Canines are pack animals, meaning they take their direction from the pack’s leader. This intuitive feeling has them see you as their leader, and so they will follow your lead to the best of their ability. Your dog considers you the leader of their ‘pack,’ so you should be careful about what behaviors you tolerate or encourage.

This is especially important in their younger months or years. If you’ve allowed this to happen for weeks, months, or even years, they might simply think that that’s where you want them to be.

They Want to Mate

Nature, uhh, finds a way. It might not be obvious to every dog parent out there, but your cute pup will eventually grow into a big boy, which comes with certain urges. The instinct to mate will come over your cuddly friend in as little as 5 months, depending on the breed in question.

As long as your dog isn’t fixed, sexual maturity will come with increased interest in the outside world because they know that out there lies the opportunity to meet the opposite sex. You shouldn’t be overly worried about them shooting out of the door and breaking for the nearest female within sight. They wouldn’t be so indelicate, we should hope. They might just be waiting patiently for the next opportune moment when you’ll take them out for a ‘meet and greet’ at the local park or wherever you spend your outdoor time.

How to Stop Your Dog From Sleeping at the Door

It’s all well and good to outline what might make your furry companion post up against your door, but is there anything you can do about it? Yes, there is. Here are a few sure-fire ways you can get your dog to stick to their designated positions:

Avoid Encouraging the Habit

Your pet will listen to you as long as you are firm enough to give them direction. Positive reinforcement is the best way to go about this. Try and give them a treat when they sleep at their designated spot and withhold it when they do not.

There are different ways to show that you do not approve of their behavior, like leaving the room, for example. If they are advanced enough to listen to commands such as ‘come,’ ‘stay,’ and ‘down,’ you can train them to settle where you want them to be.

Give Them Sufficient Outdoor Time

All your dog might need is your time and attention. To keep them from being bored, anxious, or worried, take the outside and provide them with some exercise. Physical activity is a sure way to calm your dog down, especially if they tend to be more active than other breeds. They will show less aggressiveness to other dogs, minimize undesirable behaviors, and be better companions overall.

Give Them a More Suitable Spot

As mentioned above, your dog prefers a cooler spot than you might think. Dogs that may seem comfortable sleeping while snuggled up next to you in the winter might have a tough time during warmer weather. Keep this in mind as the seasons change. During warmer seasons, they may prefer taking up a position on the ground or wherever they can keep the temperatures cooler than you might be used to.

give them a more suitable spot

Final Thoughts

As all dog lovers know, canines are considerably more intelligent and intuitive than most people give them credit. Their courage, loyalty, and sensitivity are often overlooked when understanding and managing their behavior. Whether your dog takes to lying at your outside or bedroom doors, there will always be a reason for it.

If you take the time to understand what’s compelling your furry friend to do so, you will have an easier time getting them to leave off the habit. At the end of the day, it will depend on your patience and willingness to work with your pet. Ultimately many dogs like to lay by the door, it is normal behavior for many dogs.

At Cozzzy Together, we love dogs. If you are a dog lover, we would encourage you to shop our collection of dog bandanas, accessories, as well as products to treat yourself.

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