Why Does My Dog Lay In Doorways (Reasons and Solutions)

So, why does my dog lay in doorways, well it’s a common sight to see dogs laying in doorways or on the ground beside doorways, and in some cases, in front of them. The reason for this seemingly strange behavior is that it’s an instinctive behavior that mimics the scent-marking behavior that dogs do to mark their territory.

Of course, there are many reasons why a dog lays in a doorway and we will explore many of the possible reasons why a dog would do this.

If you find that your dog spends a lot of time laying in doorways, this article will provide you with some possible explanations for why your furry companion may be spending increased amounts of time in the door frames.


Here are some of the main reasons why this happens:

1. To protect you

Some people may think that their dog is watching out for them by laying in a doorway, and this may sometimes be true. However, if your dog puts himself between you and another person or another dog, he probably does not like the other party and is actually protecting you from an intruder or potential attacker.

2. To protect himself

Your dog may be laying in a doorway because he feels unsafe and is trying to protect himself from harm.

3. To block an entrance or exit

If your dog doesn’t like someone (or something) coming into your house, he may lay right in front of the door frame to prevent them from coming in. It’s almost as if he’s saying “I’m watching you!”

4. To cool down

Dogs sometimes will lie in doorways to keep cool. It can be a good idea to place a pillow or pet bed near the doorway so that you can let your dog rest on it when he’s done sitting outside in the summertime.

5. To ‘hang out’

Some dogs just like to hang out in doorways, especially if they have a comfortable spot where they can lay with their back against the door frame. Also, many dogs love spending time laying on top of their favorite “door sledge”.

6. To sleep

Many dogs will settle down for a nap right in front of the door frame. This can get annoying if you have to open and shut the door often, but it won’t usually last long! Most dogs will stay in place until they wake up, at which point they’ll move away from your doorway.

7. To protect food or toys

Some dogs that are laying near a hallway door may be trying to keep an eye on food or toys that are lying on the floor.

8. To take a nap

Sometimes, dogs will just need to take a little nap in the doorway and will later move away from the doorway.

9. Because they’re bored

If you don’t provide your dog with enough exercise, he may get bored around the house and may choose to spend lots of time laying in doorways. If you notice that this is the case, you should try to find more ways to make him happy and entertained!

10. Because they have a nice view

Some dogs will settle down in doorways when they like their position. Perhaps your dog has a great view of an activity taking place outdoors, or perhaps he just likes watching traffic while sitting in front of your doorway.

11. To get attention

If your dog is laying in a doorway, he may be trying to get attention from you or the people around him.

12. Because it’s comfortable

Some dogs will settle down in doorways because they like the feeling of having their fur on top of a soft carpet, and they may feel perfectly content to spend hours just laying there!

13. To keep an eye on house guests

Some dogs will lay in doorways in order to keep an eye on you and your guests that are coming into the house.

Looking Deeper

There are various things to consider when your dog starts to lay in doorways and you need to be questioning why this behaviour has occurred. A dog may get in the doorways because they’re new to their surroundings and want to know where they can go to avoid any potential dangers.

In other cases, it could be that your dog has a habit of laying in doorways and you just need to find out why.

To make things even more complicated there are also some medical reasons why a dog might be putting itself in danger by doing so.

It is very important to find out why your dog is laying in doorways as there may be more to the behaviour there is at first glance. A lot of people may think that it is a sign of dominance however, this isn’t always the case and you need to ensure that your dog isn’t suffering from some sort of illness.

To avoid any potential health concerns, there are some considerations you need to make first. For example, if your dog has been laying in doorways for a while then it is highly possible that he or she may be suffering from arthritis.

When this occurs, your dog may have restricted movement and they will find it harder to get up and walk around the house.

A dog can’t tell you that they are uncomfortable with their surroundings so it is your responsibility as a pet owner to find out what may be causing the behaviour.

If your dog is laying in doorways it could also be something as simple as a temperature change, they may have had to go outside for a walk or they could just want more attention because of this.

With so many possible reasons for the situation, here are various questions you can ask yourself when your dog starts to lay in doorways:

Is my dog trying to tell me something?

If your dog is trying to tell you something then it is important to be mindful of what the behaviour could be saying as you may need to adjust the situation.

If your pet is unwell, then it is important that they are taken care of in order for them to heal and avoid worsening any conditions.

If your dog’s habits are changing or he has a new activity, then it is important to evaluate the activity and how it is impacting your pet and you.

Is my dog tired?

A tired dog will often lay in doorways, under tables or on sofas due to a lack of energy when they are in the home environment. Exercising your dog regularly will help to increase energy levels and keep them fit and healthy.

A tired dog will also find it easier to rest in a doorway or underneath furniture due to the fact that they can use their body weight as an anchor against the force of gravity when laying down.

Is my dog scared of something outside the doorway?

Some dogs may feel the need to lay in doorways due to arousal or fear of being outside the doorway. It is important that you are mindful of your dog’s behaviour and what they may be trying to tell you; if they are afraid then you should change their environment to reduce any potential stimuli they are feeling.

Is my dog hungry or thirsty?

Dogs will often lay in doorways if they are hungry or thirsty as it is a place where they can easily be fed without having to move too much. It is important that you take your dog out for a walk and to have some playtime at least twice a day.

You should also ensure that they have enough water to drink so that they do not become dehydrated.

Is my dog claiming territory?

Some dogs will claim territory by laying in doorways. If your dog is laying in doorways, then it is important that you don’t allow this behaviour to occur. Dogs will often lay on doorsteps when they are guarding their territory.

It is important to be mindful of what your dog is trying to tell you and avoid allowing your dog to make a habit of laying in doorways.

Is my dog lonely?

When a dog is lonely, it can be very difficult for them to settle and will often start to behave in an unusual manner. This is why it is important to have social interaction with your pet regularly and ensure that they are spending time with their friends.

By interacting with other dogs or simply playing with toys, a lonely dog will be able to calm down and settle when they are feeling stressed or anxious; whilst still being aware of what your pet may be trying to say.

Is your dog jealous of the attention you are paying to someone else?

A dog is very observant of its owners and will notice if you are spending more time with other people. If your dog is displaying jealous behavior then you should be mindful of your pet’s feelings and ensure that they still receive attention from you.

Dogs can become jealous very easily and will often demonstrate this by laying in doorways as it can make them feel like they are the centre of attention.

Is my dog bored?

Dogs are very intelligent animals and will often find ways to entertain themselves when they are bored. If your pet is laying in doorways, then it is important that you actively provide them with activities and mental stimulation.

Also, you should be sure to provide your dog with enough playtime and walking time so that you can help them to relieve any boredom that they may feel.

Creating Change

So once you have identified why your dog is always laying in doorways, and that it is something you wish to change, you can then take steps to eliminate this behavior.

The first step is, of course, to make sure you are providing them with a safe place in your home where they can lay down. Even when your dog seems happy and content on his lie-down spot then sometimes something can happen that changes their mind, so always provide a comfortable place for them to just hang out while you work around the house!

Other valuable moves include:

-Putting a rug on the ground in front of the door.

-Place a small pot or object at the entrance to block your dog from getting through.

-Put mats or doormats at every doorway in your home and train your dog to not cross them.

-Avoid blocking off any doors by closing them at all times if you don’t want your dog to go inside that room anymore.

-Reward your pet for sitting on command outside of any doorways (stay away from food rewards).

-Make it clear that the area in front of any doorway is yours and only yours (show your pet that he should not be there).

-When you greet your dog do so outside of all doors leading inside the house as a reward.

-Use an audible noise to distract your dog from laying in doorways.

-Call your dog to you by name when you see him starting to sit or lay down in a doorway.

-Make sure that everyone is aware of the rule about not letting your dog into a particular room, if he does not follow it, correct him by repeating the command until he does.


Preventing your pet from laying in doorways should begin as soon as they enter your life. Resisting them as a puppy and keeping them from laying in doorways as an adult dog are the best ways to keep them out of bad habits they will have for the rest of their lives.


Wikipedia – Dog Behavior



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