Why Does My Dog Sleep by the Door? (7 Main Reasons)


Dog owners often wonder, “Why does my dog sleep by the door?” Well, let’s explore this!

Your dog can be sleeping by the door to protect you, to get your attention, to mark their territory, or to show leadership. This behavior could also show that your dog is curious, has separation anxiety, or is just waiting for you.

I bet you’re still a bit confused, though. So, why don’t we get into the details about this behavior?!

What Makes Dogs Sleep by the Door?

As I said, there are multiple reasons why your dog prefers to sleep by the door. Some of the common reasons for that are:

For Protection

It’s no secret that dogs would do anything to protect their owners.

Your dog might think that the door carries the possibility of danger; something threatening for you might pass through it. As a result, your dog would sleep by the door the whole time you’re asleep to block out any threat.

If this is the case, you might also find that your dog starts barking whenever someone they’re unfamiliar with passes by the door.

To Mark Their Territory

Your dog could be marking the doorway as their territory by sleeping by it. If your dog hasn’t shown any such signs of territory marking before, this might be a reaction to some environmental change.

Such changes may be that you moved to a new house, got a roommate, got a new pet, or there’s a new baby in the family.

The doorway might be the place your dog feels safe in, away from the anxiety they feel at the rest of the house. So, they mark it as their territory. This could be troublesome for you if your dog starts being overprotective of their territory. They could start biting or barking at anyone who gets near it.

To Show Leadership

What can I say, even dogs can be control freaks!

It’s true. Your dog might be feeling a kind of superiority over you, and wants you to know it. By sleeping by the door, your dog controls your getting in or out.

In a way, it’s like you’re asking for your dog’s permission to leave or enter the room. Hence, you know your position in the relationship: the follower. This is actually a natural phenomenon since dogs live by the pack mentality and seek leadership. Normally, they look upon a family member to be the leader.

However, if your dog shows this sign of disobedience and dominance, it might be because they’ve sensed a lack of strong leadership. This causes many problems for dogs.

Separation Anxiety

Your dog might be sleeping by the door because they’re afraid you’d leave. They saw you go out through it before, so they believe you’ll do it again when they’re asleep.

I’m guessing you went all, “That’s so cute” when you read that. However, this will be problematic for you in the long run.

It’s like babies who can’t let go of their mothers. I know some people who can’t even leave the house because of their extra clingy dogs.

Separation anxiety can cause many problems. Some dogs even get all disruptive when left alone.


Your dog might be sleeping by the door simply because they’re curious about what’s on the other side of it.

Maybe they can hear a certain noise or smell a distinct scent that they want to check out. You’ll find that once you open the door, they’ll go look for the source of the noise or scent.

For Attention

Your dog might just be trying to get your attention by sticking to the door. This reason would be most probable if your dog is sleeping in a way that blocks your path.

Your dog might be looking for your attention because they want to play, exercise, eat, or pee outside of the room.

Waiting for You

If you come back home and find your dog sleeping by the door, they’ve probably been waiting for you to come back.

This is especially true if you’ve been away for a long time and so your dog could’ve gotten bored or just missed you. Thus, they wait by the door to greet you once you’re home.

Don’t worry, though, they might not have been waiting there the entire time. Dogs have a strong sense of smell and hearing. So, they may have sensed that you’re about to come in and beat you to the door.

How To Pinpoint the Reason for This Behavior

To understand what makes your dog so keen on sleeping by the door, consider the following:

When This Behavior Started

Try to remember when your dog started sleeping by the door.

  • If it’s when you moved to a new apartment, or possibly after an attack, chances are they’re being protective.
  • If your dog doesn’t function well when they’re alone, then they’re doing it over separation anxiety.
  • If your dog has started doing this after you got a roommate, baby, or pet, they’re probably a little anxious and being territorial.

When This Behavior Occurs

  • If your dog only sleeps by the door when you’re sleeping, they’re probably protecting you.
  • If they do this whether you’re home or not, they probably have separation anxiety.
  • If they do this whenever there’s a crowd or noise behind the door, they might be curious.
  • If they sleep by the door when you’ve been home for a long time and they have nothing to do, they’re probably looking for your attention.

How To Stop This Behavior

Almost any behavior can be altered through training and through the famous dog commands. Here are the commands you can give your dog:

The “Come” Command

First, to get your dog to get up, use the “come” command with the help of some dog treats to attract your dog.

The “Down” Command

Use the “down” command once you’ve reached the place you want your dog to sleep in.

The “Stay” Command

If your dog tries to get back up, use the “stay” command to let them know you don’t want them to move.

With time and repetition, your dog should get used to sleeping in that place and let go of the habit of sleeping by the door.

If you just want to stop this behavior without assigning a specific sleeping place for your dog, the commands will also help you. For example, you can command your dog to go fetch something, distracting them from whatever reason they’re sleeping by the door.

Moreover, if your dog has separation anxiety, you should look for ways to stop this anxiety.

However, you might find your dog resistant in some cases, as in the case of dominating dogs. Here, you’d have to show more confidence, trust, and patience in order to motivate your dog to listen to you. Dogs respond to strong leadership.

Final Thoughts

Dog body language is often a mystery to us, humans, but we must do our best to understand it. Your dog doesn’t sleep by the door to annoy you or something, there’s always a deeper reason behind such behavior.

Whether your dog is being protective, territorial, controlling, anxious, curious, or just looking for attention, never ignore the signs they’re sending you.

Monitor their behavior, like when they started doing it and when it usually occurs, to better understand why your dog is making a habit out of sleeping by the door. Once you’ve figured out the reason behind it, try your best to modify their behavior using commands and training.