If your dog always sleeps downstairs you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it does it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog sleep downstairs? Possible reasons why your dog sleeps downstairs are that it is used to there, it finds it more comfortable, the area you want it to sleep is not comfortable for it or that it’s being protective.
There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog does it and it could be a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.
Why your dog sleeps downstairs
Each of the different reasons why your dog sleeps downstairs will likely come with some clues.
Below are a number of possible reasons why it does it and what would make them more likely.
It’s used to sleeping there
The reason why your dog prefers to sleep downstairs could be that it is used to sleeping there and it is unsure of what it might be like to sleep upstairs. This would be especially likely if it has always slept downstairs.
It finds it more comfortable
The cause could be that it finds it more comfortable downstairs at night. This would be more likely if it has more space downstairs, if it gets hot in your room and it is cooler downstairs or if it has a bed downstairs.
It thinks you don’t want it to sleep where you sleep
Another reason why it chooses to sleep downstairs could be that it thinks that you want it to sleep somewhere else. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants when it does not sleep where you want it to. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it sleeps downstairs then it might be doing it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it lays down where you want it to sleep and to train it to sleep there using the tips mentioned below.
Your bed is not comfortable for it
If you want it to sleep with you, it could be the case that your bed or your room is not comfortable for it. The room or bed might be too hot or there might not be space for it to lay down.
It’s being protective
The reason why it does it could also be that it is being protective and it wants to know when people are entering the home. This would be especially likely if it can get protective around the home and if it chooses to sleep in an area where people are likely to pass through.
Old age or injury
It might also be the case that your dog is no longer able to get up the stairs. This would be more likely if your dog was struggling to get up the stairs before. It would also be more likely if your dog is an elderly dog or if your dog has been showing signs of injury such as limping.
Things to consider
If your dog always slept downstairs
It would help to consider whether or not it always chose to sleep downstairs or if it started doing it suddenly. If it has only started doing it recently then it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it did not always do it then it might have started due to the weather becoming hotter at night and downstairs being cooler or you might have rewarded it for sleeping there.
If it has always slept downstairs then it would be more likely that it is used to sleeping there and that you need to train it to sleep where you want it to using the tips below.
If your dog sleeps with you sometimes
It would also help to consider whether or not it always sleeps downstairs. If it chooses to sleep with you sometimes then it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it sleeps downstairs when it is hot then it would likely be doing it due to being too hot upstairs.
How to get your dog to stop sleeping downstairs
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop sleeping downstairs.
Positive reinforcement training
One option is to use positive reinforcement training to get it to learn to sleep upstairs. This is where you reward your dog for showing signs of sleeping there and not reward it when it does not.
To use it to get it to sleep where you want it to, teach it the down command then tell it to go down in the spot you want it to sleep in then reward it for staying there. I have written about how you can train it to learn the down command in this post.
Avoid negative reinforcement
Negative reinforcement training is where you reinforce bad behaviors by rewarding your dog when it displays them. If you give your dog rewards when goes to lay downstairs then you might be reinforcing the behavior. Instead, it would help to reward it for choosing to lay upstairs.
Why is my dog suddenly sleeping downstairs?
If your dog has started sleeping downstairs suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as the temperature becoming hot upstairs, you intimidating it, old age or injury causing your dog to be unable to get up the stairs, or other pets started sleeping upstairs. It would help to consider what else changed when your dog first started sleeping downstairs since it might be the case that there was an event that caused your dog to start doing it.
Is it ok if my dog sleeps downstairs?
Typically, it is perfectly fine for a dog to sleep downstairs. Unless there is a significant hazard that you happen to have downstairs, it would likely be the case that your dog is perfectly fine sleeping downstairs.