If your dog keeps sitting at the door, 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 about them.
So, why does my dog sit at the door? Possible reasons why your dog sits at the door are that it is waiting for exercise, it does it for attention, it is waiting for someone to come home or that it is being protective.
Since there are a number of reasons why it might sit by the door, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier for you to decide on what you should do about it.
Why your dog sits by the door
Below are common reasons why dogs will sit by the door and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your dog has been doing it.
It’s waiting for exercise
The reason why it does it might be that it is waiting to get exercise. This would be more likely if it sits by the door when you are home, it sits there when it has not gotten exercise yet and if it stops doing it when it has already gotten exercise.
The reason why it does it could be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it only sits there when you are not home and if it tends to sit with you when you are at home.
In this case, it would help to try to reduce the reasons why it might have separation anxiety by doing things such as exercising it, feeding it and letting it pee before leaving.
It is waiting for you
It might not have separation anxiety but it might still be the case that it sits there because it is waiting for you. This would be more likely to be the cause if it does it when you are away but it does not show signs of anxiety when you are leaving. It would also be more likely if it sits outside your bedroom door when you are in your bedroom.
It wants attention
The reason why it does it might also be that it is hoping to get extra attention. This would be more likely if it sits by a door that people walk through a lot and if people tend to give it a lot of attention when it sits there.
It is being protective
The cause could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it sits there 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 it gets rewards when it sits by the door. If you tend to give it things such as extra toys, treats or attention, when it sits by the door, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it sits where you want it to, to give it positive reinforcement training to get it to learn to sit somewhere else and to try to redirect its attention when it is about to sit by the door.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If it did not always sit by the door, it would help to consider if anything else changed when it started doing it. For example, if it happened when you started giving it exercise in the afternoons instead of the mornings, it would be more likely that it sits there because it is waiting for exercise.
What is different when your dog sits at the door
It would also help to consider if anything is different when it does not do it. For example, if it only sits by the door when you are away, it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
What door it sits by
The most likely cause would also be impacted by the door that it sits by. If it tends to sit by the front door, it could be due to things such as separation anxiety, waiting for exercise or being protective. Whereas, if it sits outside your bedroom door, it could be being protective, wanting attention, wanting food or it might be also due to separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog sitting by the door
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Train it to sit somewhere else
One option would be to train your dog to sit on command with the use of positive reinforcement training, in the area that you would like it to sit, 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 sitting in that new location results in it getting rewards.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for sitting there. Instead, it would help to train it to sit elsewhere and to encourage it to sit there by rewarding it when it does.
Give it a comfortable area to sit or 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.
Give it sufficient exercise
If it seems to be sitting there because it wants exercise, it would help to make sure that it is getting the right amount of daily exercise for its breed. It might also help to give it exercise earlier in the day.
Minimize reasons why it might be anxious
It would also help to take measures to reduce how anxious it becomes when left alone by doing things such as letting it pee, eat and get exercise before going before leaving it.