When we have some extra time, we tend to notice things that maybe, we normally wouldn’t. This can be especially true regarding our beloved, albeit sometimes strange, pets. Certain behaviors can start to catch our attention, such as when your dog actually chooses to sleep or lay by the door when there are many, more comfortable options available.
So why does my dog sleep by the door? This choice is actually quite popular in the canine world for quite a few different reasons.
When a dog sleeps by the door, his intention is to protect you and your family from outside intruders. If the flooring near the door is a comfortable spot, it is another reason why he chose to sleep there. Other reasons may include he is trying to signal you that it is time to go for a walk or to play outside.
These reasons can be down to simply regular behavior, mood variations, aging, even environmental changes. The fact that they can not verbally express their intentions or feelings, as well as being hard-wired to learn through conditioning, makes body language the universal means of communication between humans and their four-legged friends worldwide.
The following are just a few of the canine-minded possible interpretations for this somewhat odd behavior.
Why Does My Dog Sleep By The Door?
10. He Needs To Go Potty
Being one of the most common reasons for hanging out around the door, this one takes our number 10 spot. Many times, especially if it is a sudden thing, laying or sitting by the door indicates that your precious pup has to go potty.
Another tell-tail sign is whining and/or whimpering in addition to his sudden relocation. That is canine-speak for ‘Hey, you, hooman, I gotta go and I’m not sure that I can hold it much longer!’.
09. He Wants To Go For A Walk
Sometimes, this behavior is indicative of the desire to go for a walk, a jog around the neighborhood, or even a short jaunt to the local dog park for some socializing. Dogs enjoy both the physical exercise and the fresh air provided by a nice walk in the great outdoors. His sitting by the door could very possibly mean that it’s time to get the leash!
08. It Is Playtime
Who doesn’t like to run and play in the warm sunshine? And, as you may imagine, Fido is no different. Your dog needs fresh air, exercise, and sunshine, in fact, he thrives on it. Since they know that to get outside they must travel through the door, this is where he’ll plant his furry bottom to make his point. When he suddenly goes and lies down by the door it could quite simply be his doggy signal that it is time for outdoor playtime.
07. Something Is Tingling His Doggy Senses
Many people don’t give credit to a dog’s innate natural intelligence. They are incredibly smart and intuitive, sometimes even seeming to have a pretty keen sixth sense. They just ‘know’ when something is up. This could be any number of things, an animal, a person approaching, or even a slight noise which he deems to be out of the ordinary.
06. Helps To Alleviate Joint Pain And Soreness
If the flooring near your door is something other than carpeting, such as tile or even linoleum, it is likely to be quite cool, and even more so during certain times of the year. Much like their human counterparts, dogs too can get achy, sore, joints and bones. As a result, they sometimes lay or sleep on the floor.
The coolness of the floor, while sitting and/or laying on it, can alleviate any possible discomfort. Higher than normal heat and humidity, as well as the draft coming from the door, can also cause them to seek out the cool surface of the floor.
05. He Is Formulating His Escape Plan
This one is especially relevant for animals that are still intact, or not spayed/neutered. When and if your pooch goes into heat, it will likely cause him to look for an escape route to find a mate. If he is in a heat cycle, this could very well be the reason for him choosing to lie by the door.
While, of course, getting your pet spayed or neutered is ideal due to overpopulation, if nothing else be sure that your pooch is microchipped. That way, if he does get out, it will greatly increase your chances of seeing him again.
04. In Need Of Stimulation
As any dog lover knows, dogs are quite a bit smarter than the average pet. But along with those awesome advanced brains, comes a need to keep our furry friends stimulated. In the great outdoors there are plenty of things to see, smell, and investigate, sending those neurons into overdrive. The act of sitting by the door could be his way of letting you, his hooman, know that he needs a little mental or physical stimulation.
03. It’s A Show Of Dominance
Being the pack animals that all canines are, dominance is always going to play a pivotal role in their lives. You are (or at least should be) considered the leader of the pack. However, don’t be surprised when Fido makes it clear that he is your number two, and this is one of his ways of doing this. By placing himself near or at the entryway of the home, he is basically showing his dominance over what he absolutely considers his territory.
02. He Is Under Stress
Dogs can get stressed out just as we can but they are unable to truly communicate their frustration. The act of him sitting beside the door could be his way to take a ‘time out’. Dogs decompress in their own way and sitting or laying down by the door, taking in the scents from outside, is an ideal way (for the canine crew) to do it.
01. Cementing His Keeper Of The Threshold Position
One of your dogs’ most important roles is that of family and household protector, and he takes it very seriously. That means that he feels the need to guard his home and by sitting by the front door he is ready to assess any possible intruders. Becoming too protective can happen so be sure to keep Fido’s ego in balance, we don’t want the mailman to be scared away!
Do You Encourage Them To Change The Behavior Or Just Let Sleeping Dogs Lie?
Unless it is becoming a real issue, one that has actual negative consequences like aggression or escaping, there is no real reason to discourage your pooch from sitting by the door. If you would rather he hang out with you, simply calling him over should typically do the trick. If it doesn’t then there is likely a very good reason for why he is doing it.
Breaking The Habit
If you do feel the need to curb this behavior, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Remember that learned conditioning that was mentioned earlier?
To be successful in any way, you’ll need to pinpoint why he was doing it in the first place, or at least rule out any obvious reasons and rectify the situation from there, if possible. Something like his seeking a mate during a heat cycle is not going to be stopped by simple training for example.
Showing him that by laying next to, say, your feet, as opposed to the door, will encourage him to do so. At the foundation of everything dog, all he wants is to please his human, it is in their nature.
When your dog displays certain behaviors, particularly ones that do not seem to make much sense (to us anyway, we’re sure Fluffy down the street totally gets it), it can be a bit frustrating trying to decipher what, if anything, it all could possibly mean.
The thing is, there can be an almost unlimited list of reasons for the behavior. Knowing your pooch and his one-of-a-kind personality, as only you do, is going to be the biggest tool you have to interpret what exactly it is that your pooch is trying to make clear with his apparently new favorite spot.