If your dog keeps waiting outside the bathroom, 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 wait outside the bathroom? Possible reasons why your dog waits outside the bathroom are that it has separation anxiety, it is being protective, it has learned that the behavior is rewarded or that it does it by nature. 

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 deal with it.

Why your dog guards you in the bathroom

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

Separation anxiety

The cause could be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being anxious when you are going to the bathroom and if it also becomes anxious when you are leaving home or going to bed at night. Signs of being anxious could include pacing or crying.

Protectiveness

The cause could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to be overly protective when other people or animals are around you. It would also be more likely if it tends does not show any signs of being anxious and it doesn’t seem to be waiting for something from you.

Encouraging the behavior

It might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for waiting outside the bathroom. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys, or treats, when it waits outside the bathroom, it will likely do it more. 

Nature

Dogs evolved as pack animals so it is natural that they will want to be around other members of their pack. The reason why your dog follows you to the bathroom could be that it naturally wants to be around you so that it feels like it is part of the pack and more protected. This would be more likely if it also tends to follow you to other places after already being fed and exercised. 

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 wait outside the bathroom, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. It might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start. 

If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that the behavior gets rewarded or something causing it to start being anxious when alone such as if you got a new pet.

What is different when your dog waits outside the bathroom

If it does not always wait outside the bathroom, it would help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it does not do it when it has already been fed or given exercise, it might be the case that it does it when it is waiting for those things. 

The body language it shows

It would also help to consider what sort of body language it shows when it does it.

If it shows signs of being anxious such as crying, making itself appear small or pacing, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to something causing it to be anxious or fearful such as separation anxiety.

Whereas, if it is relaxed, when it waits outside the bathroom, it would be more likely that it does it naturally because it feels more secure around you or because it is being protective.

What to do about your dog waiting outside the bathroom

Below are a number of options you have when trying to get your dog to stop doing it. 

Avoid encouraging it

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 does not follow you to the bathroom and to avoid rewarding it when it does.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

It would also help to try to limit reasons why it might be anxious. Some things to do would include, ensuring that it gets fed, exercised and that it can go out to pee before leaving it for a while.  

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging the behaviors that you want to see by rewarding them and discouraging unwanted behaviors by not rewarding them. To use it to get your dog to stop following you to the bathroom you could make it seem like you are going to the bathroom and reward it when it does not follow you. 

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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.