If your dog always sits or lays at the top of the stairs, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why it might do it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog lay at the top of the stairs? Possible reasons why your dog lays at the top of the stairs are that it is being protective, it is waiting for something, it has some separation anxiety, it finds it more comfortable there or that it has learned that it gets rewards when it lays there.
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 decide upon what you should do about it.
Why your dog sits or lays at the top of the stairs
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog does it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
The reason why it does it might be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it only sleeps there when you are in your room and if it tends to show signs of separation anxiety when you are going to your room. If it gets anxious when you go to your room at night, I have written more about why it might be the case and what you can do about it here.
It’s waiting for something
The cause could also be that it is waiting for something. This would be more likely if it goes to the top of the stairs when you are in your room and it has not gotten exercise or food already and if it does not stay there when it has already gotten exercise and food.
It wants attention
The cause could be that it wants extra attention. This would be more likely if people tend to give it extra attention when it goes there and if it does it more when it has not already gotten a lot of attention. If you do not want it to sit there, it would help to reward it when it sits where you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it sits at the top of the stairs.
It’s being protective
The reason why it does it could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if does it when everyone is upstairs, if it sleeps there at night as well and if it goes to protective positions when you are in other parts of the house.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for staying there. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or other rewards, it will likely stay there more in order to get more rewards.
It is more comfortable there
It could just be the case that it finds it more comfortable at the top of the stairs. This would be more likely if it goes there at certain times such as when it is hot inside and if it is cooler at the top of the stairs.
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 your dog first started sitting at the top of the stairs
If your dog did not always sleep at the top of the stairs, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards for sleeping there or an issue with the place that it normally would sleep.
What is different when your dog sleeps or sits there
If it does not always stay there, it would also help to consider what is different when it goes elsewhere.
For example, if it does not stay there when you are not upstairs yourself, it would be more likely that it does it because it is waiting for things such as attention, exercise, food, it is being protective or it has some separation anxiety.
What you can do about your dog sitting or laying at the top of the stairs
Below are some things you can do if you want it to stay elsewhere in the house.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging your dog to behave the way you want by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. It would help to train your dog to lay down where you would like it to and then to tell it to lay down there multiple times daily rewarding it each time for doing it. Repeating this process should teach it that laying there will result in it getting rewards.
Avoid encouraging it
It would also help to avoid rewarding it when it sleeps or lays down at the top of the stairs. Instead, it would help to reward it when it sleeps somewhere else and to ignore it when it tries to get your attention at the top of the stairs.
Give it another area 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.
Reduce its separation anxiety
It would also help to take measures to reduce how anxious it becomes by doing things such as letting it pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it for long time periods.