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Why Do Dogs Sit by the Door? 7 Vet-Verified Possible Reasons

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Dogster Team

Pomeranian dog sitting by the door

Why Do Dogs Sit by the Door? 7 Vet-Verified Possible Reasons


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

BVM BVS MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Does your dog have a habit of sitting by the door? If so, you might wonder exactly why they’re doing that. After all, it seems like every time you turn around, they’re right back in the same position. Most of the time, this behavior is pretty simple to decode.

In this article, we’re going to aim to explain why dog’s might practice this particular behavior so you can see where it might be coming from.  There hasn’t been any scientific research into why dogs sit by doors, but we have collated the theories behind it.

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The 7 Reasons Why Your Dog May Be Sitting by the Door

1. Protection Instinct

Some dogs are naturally protective. They sit by the door to protect you in the event of an intruder or another issue. Your dog likes to be right there, anticipating anything or anyone that could walk through the door. This protective instinct is pretty tricky to train out of a dog.

However, you can manipulate the situation in your favor. Dogs who exhibit this behavior can make the best guard dogs. When it is fostered correctly, it can benefit you and your family. A dog that naturally wants to be protective already has the foundation necessary for that.

Keep in mind that if your dog is too protective, it can cause bigger issues if they don’t learn how to channel it properly. You might see a lot of them getting very bent out of shape or even aggressive when other people come to the door.

It is fine to let your dog know that they have the job of protecting the property without them having the poor judgment that can sometimes accompany it.

a german shepherd dog by the door
Image Credit: pryzmat, Shutterstock

2. Separation Anxiety

If your dog has separation anxiety, they might anticipate every single time you leave the house. If someone they love has left the house, or they know that you are about to leave, your dog might go over and sit by the door, slightly panicked.

You can tell they’re uncomfortable, but you might not quite understand why. This behavior usually transpires because your dog is trying to get ahead of you leaving or is waiting for you or someone else to come back. They sit by the door to make sure they’re right there to try to convince you to stay if you choose to go.

Or, if they get lucky, they might be able to convince you to let them tag long. While separation anxiety can vary in severity, it can be a very complicated problem to treat.

3. Protecting Territory

Your dog might be asserting their territory. After all, they take it upon themselves to look after the household and all those who dwell within it. If they can smell other dogs around they might try to plant their scent at the entrance of the home to ward off any opposition.

You might notice this behavior a little bit more if your dog isn’t fixed yet. This tendency is a little more common in males, although females have been known to be territorially aggressive, especially with dogs of the same sex.

dog waiting for owner to play and go for a walk on door mat
Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock

4. Wanting to Go Outside

Your dog might be trying to get your attention to let them outside! They know you love heading out the door, most of the time without them. But they’re not ready for you to leave them home alone! They want to go on a walk.

If your dog is craving a little time out on the town, they might be encouraging you to get on your tennis shoes. It’s time for a little adventure. This is likely the reason if you get closer and closer to your dog, and they can’t contain their excitement. Finally! Their human has listened to their request and they’re about to get what they want.

If you seem to have a dog that wants to be a little more active than you’re willing to be from time to time, it’s very important that they have another channel to blow off some steam. If you have a particularly rambunctious pooch, having a fenced-in backyard or safe space outdoors can benefit everyone in the household.

5. Temperature

Some dogs have a problem with overheating. If they lay next to a doorway, they can catch a little bit of a draft. It might be a way for them to regulate their body temperature. If that’s the case, you might notice that they are panting when they lay down but tend to chill out over a few minutes of being by the door.

It’s a very smart spot for a dog to lay if they’re having a little bit of trouble with temperature control. But if you do notice that your dog is struggling, you can also provide other ways for them to cool down. You can be sure that your dog has an available fan or something similar to keep their body temperature regulated, and always ensure they have fresh, cool water available.

dog sitting on doormat at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

6. Boredom

Some dogs might be laying next to a door just because they’re bored. They know that the door leads to a whole great big world, and they’re really just hoping to find something to do.

Typically, these kinds of dogs can pace a lot or show other signs that they are feeling a little stir-crazy.

They might also be very connected to one member of the house that is either in school or work. They could be out-of-their-minds bored until their favorite person comes back. Even though you think your company should be sufficient, sometimes, it’s just not the same!

7. Eagerness or Curiosity

If we know anything about our pups, it’s that they are super curious critters! They love to know what’s going on and will go out of their way to nose around. If they are at the door, they’re likely waiting for a knock or some other form of stimulation to get them going.

Plus, if you have a slight draft coming in under your door, your dog is likely smelling all sorts of things on the outside. If you have a stray cat that comes onto your porch, an opossum that comes to steal your cat food, or another critter that loves coming close, your dog may simply want to investigate and find out more about this animal.

dog sitting in front of a door
Image Credit: GoodFocused, Shutterstock

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Benefits of Professional Training

If your dog has an issue with being territorial or suspicious of people coming over, it might be a good time to enroll them in a behavioral program. These programs can work very well to establish order and allow your canine to take some time off.

If your dog constantly feels like they have to guard your home, they might not be able to relax that well. The goal is to alleviate a little bit of that responsibility and allow them to channel their energy properly.

If you go through the training course with them, it also provides an opportunity to have a bonding experience with your dog. Professional training can vary in price, but there are a lot of free resources online if you feel confident enough to take a stab at it.

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The Bottom Line

Our dogs can lay next to the door for lots of reasons! The actual reason your particular dog lays by the door might not even be on this list. It’s hard to decipher the real reason, but it is pretty likely to involve what we’ve discussed in this article.

Hopefully, you’ve learned something you didn’t know about dogs, and some of the information might apply to your pooch.

Featured Image Credit: aonip, Shutterstock

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