If your dog has been laying in doorways, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my dog lay in doorways? Possible reasons why your dog lays in doorways are that it is being protective, it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, it is waiting for something, or that it is anxious about something. 

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it. 

Reasons why your dog lays in doorways

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been laying in doorways and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason. 

Protectiveness

The cause could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it lays by the front door when you are home and if it also lays outside your door at night or in a position that allows it to see the front door.

Encouraging the behavior

It could also be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it lays in doorways, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. 

It wants attention

The cause could also be that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it. 

It’s waiting for something

The cause might also be that it is waiting for something from you and it does not want to miss it or it wants to remind you of it. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at a certain time such as when you would normally walk it and if it lays by the front door and gets excited when it sees you.

Anxiety

The reason why it does it might also be that it is anxious. This would be more likely if it tends to lay outside the door to the room that you are currently in and if it does not tend to lay in doorways when it can be in the room you are currently in. This would suggest that it has some separation anxiety. 

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

What else happened when it first started doing it

If your dog did not always lay in doorways, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that the behavior gets rewarded or it lost access to the spot it normally lays in.

What is different when your dog lays in doorways

It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to lay in doorways and what is different at that time. For example, if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally walk it, it might be doing it because it is waiting to get a walk.

What doorway it lays in

It would also help to consider the doorway it lays in. If it tends to lay in the doorway to the room you are in, it might be doing it due to separation anxiety or it might be doing it because it wants attention. Whereas, if it does it by the front door, it might be waiting for a walk or it might be being protective. 

What to do about your dog laying in doorways

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop laying in doorways. 

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it lays where you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Train it to go somewhere else

One option would be to train your dog to lay on command with the use of positive reinforcement training, in the area that you would like it to lay, then you could tell it to sit there a couple of times per day and reward it for doing so. By repeating the process, it should learn that laying in that new location results in it getting rewards.

Give it another place to lay down

It would also help to give it a comfortable area where it can lay down. The area should be cool, quiet, not too bright and there should be space for it to lay down comfortably. 

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.