Getting a dog is one of the fastest and easiest ways to enrich your life. Dogs are known for their love, friendliness, and loyalty; no doubt owning a dog can provide you with years of joy, laughter, and friendship.
Plus, I can’t think of a much better feeling than coming home to a dog that’s so excited she can barely contain herself.
On the more practical side, if you’re willing to put in the work, dogs can be trained to do tricks or even help with certain tasks. Having a dog also takes responsibility, but the rewards are well worth it.
Yet sometimes their behaviors can be a bit strange and it’s important that we, as good owners, understand the why behind those behaviors. To truly be the best pet parents we can be we need to be aware of what behaviors are problematic and if we should do something about them.
Like what about dogs that wait for us in strange places? Why does my dog wait outside the bathroom door? There isn’t a single reason every dog chooses this odd place to wait. But the quick and easy answer for your dog waiting outside the bathroom is likely based in one or more of the following reasons. You might have accidentally trained her to, it’s simply a great place to lay down, she’s worried about you, it’s instinctual, she’s after some love and attention, she’s bored, she’s curious, she suffers from separation anxiety or she’s scared.
Why Do Dogs Wait Outside The Bathroom?
If my brief rundown above helped you figure out the ‘why’, then go ahead and skip down to what to do about it. However, if you’re still not sure why your good girl is waiting outside the restroom we’ll explore the possible reasons why your dog likes to hang out outside the bathroom door in more detail.
You Trained Her Too (Oops!)
You or someone else may have been giving her rewards (without even realizing it!) when she was sitting just outside the bathroom. It was likely something minor like a quick pet, talking sweetly, or so on.
But now, your pup is used to getting rewarded for hanging out by that door, so it’s become part of her go-to routine. After all, who wouldn’t want more of those lovely ear scratches?
It’s A Good Spot
Or maybe that spot just happens to be a favorite of hers. You know how it is when you find somewhere just perfect to relax. It almost doesn’t matter where it is or what else is going on, you’ll head to that spot any chance you get.
Take my dog Bella, for example; she loves laying right next to the front door (in everyone’s way!) every morning. Why? Because that’s where the sunlight blankets the floor.
She’ll lay there sprawled out, without a care in the world, soaking up as much sunshine as possible…all while the rest of us step over her as we rush to get backpacks loaded and coffee mugs topped off.
This could very well be the case if she only waits when the bathroom door is shut (or at least closed enough that she can’t see in). This makes sense; if your pup can’t see where her beloved owner is at any given time she might be feeling anxious, wanting to protect them from potential danger. I’ve seen this in action with my friend’s dog too; when my friend is home, his pooch has to have eyes on him or we’re all treated to the antics of an anxious dog.
It could also be instinctual behavior – protecting and watching out for you being one common reason why dogs wait for their owners. After all, our good girls naturally want to stick close to their humans even when we don’t let them follow us into other rooms!
She Wants Your Love And Attention
It also could be that your pup is simply hoping to get some of your love and attention by putting herself in the right spot to get it – as close as possible to you.
When you come out of the bathroom and see a sweet face with puppy eyes looking up at you, will you be able to resist it? Your dog might be trying to test your resolve!
Okay, I probably gave too much credit to your dog there, but really, if she knows you’ll eventually walk by a certain spot, it’s a good place to be if she wants some loves.
Sometimes our furry friends are just looking for something to do, so they may be waiting outside of the bathroom in the hopes of playing. Or maybe she’s so bored she doesn’t know what to do with herself.
If your dog isn’t getting enough mental and physical stimulation, it may help to leave out some toys or other items that she can play with while you’re busy and play with her some more when you’re not busy.
Don’t discount the possibility that your good girl just wants to know what’s going on behind that closed door! Curiosity isn’t just a cat thing. In fact, it’s common among many pets, and dogs are no exception…especially when it comes to wanting to know what goes on in the place they live!
If you never let your dog in the bathroom but she hears different types of running water and smells everything from something stinky to fragrant lotions and perfumes coming out of it she could be very curious about what that forbidden place is all about.
If your good girl doesn’t just wait for you outside of the bathroom but waits for you everywhere (like my friend’s dog I mentioned above), then it could very well be a sign of separation anxiety. This is even more likely the cause if your neighbors complain of your dog barking nonstop each time you leave the house.
Finally, if none of these other things seem applicable then your dog could be scared; perhaps there’s a wild kid running around your home, a new puppy that she doesn’t get along with, or maybe even noisy neighbors creating anxiety-inducing noises…and all your poor dog wants to do if find a safe place away from it.
Whatever it is that triggered her fear reaction might need addressing so she can have peace of mind again.
What If My Dog Suddenly Starts Waiting Outside The Bathroom?
It can make you pause and wonder what’s wrong when something changes in your dog’s behavior. Even if your dog starts doing something goofy, any major change in your dog’s habits can be cause for concern.
If your pooch suddenly starts waiting by your bathroom door it could be because she’s ill or injured. Any sudden and drastic change in your dog’s behaviors is a good indication something is off, so be on the lookout for signs of illness or other medical issues.
A sudden change could also be because something is suddenly scaring her or otherwise making her uneasy too.
In either case, try to observe your good girl closely to understand what might have changed in her environment or with her physically, and then work to eliminate anything that could be the cause of the sudden behavioral change.
Is It Okay For My Dog To Wait Outside The Bathroom?
When people’s dogs have strange habits, it’s only natural to wonder if it’s okay. When it comes to whether it’s okay for your dog to wait by the bathroom the answer is: It depends on what’s prompting your dog to do so.
If it’s a sign of health issues or separation anxiety, then it might be time to consult with your vet. But if your good girl is just soaking up some sun in her favorite spot or trying to show her love and affection, then there’s likely no harm.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you also don’t want your dog doing any damage, by say, pawing at the door, while she waits for you to finish up in the restroom too. If she is, then it’s probably not okay for her to be hanging out there.
Ultimately, as long as you understand why your dog is waiting here, you’re okay with it, and she’s not doing any damage – then it should be fine!
How Do I Stop My Dog From Waiting Outside The Bathroom?
If you’ve decided your dog needs to stop waiting for you while you’re in the restroom then the first step is to figure out why she’s doing it. You’ll take a different approach to changing a waiting dog’s habit if she suffers from separation than if she is hoping for some extra pats on the head.
Once you know the ‘why’, you can use one or more of the ‘hows’ below as appropriate.
Give Your Dog Her Own, Special Spot
An excellent way you can help your pooch to learn to enjoy laying and waiting in a place other than outside your bathroom is by setting up her own special spot.
A nice comfy doggy bed in an area she feels safe and comfortable will go a long way to enticing her away. You even can take it a step further and train her the ‘go to spot’ command. That way you can direct her to her new spot when she’s laying where you’d rather she wasn’t.
Crate training your dog may take some time, but done correctly it’s another excellent way for your dog to have her own dedicated space safe place.
This is especially useful for situations when she might be spooked by things like rambunctious children or something similar.
On top of that, it will also provide her with a place to sleep each night.
Remember, if you want to crate train your dog, make sure to never use the crate as a form of punishment. That will defeat the entire purpose of the crate being a positive and safe place for your good girl.
Stop Encouraging It
Trust me, as a fellow dog owner, I know it can be oh-so-tempting to give in to those big puppy eyes but you need to resist the urge!
Even the smallest bit of positive reinforcement, like a pat on the head, will encourage your dog to keep doing whatever she was doing when she got that reward. If you tell your dog she’s a good girl and then scratch behind her ears every time you leave the restroom, guess where she’ll be waiting the next time you go?
Punishing your pet shouldn’t be an option when trying to break bad habits, especially silly ones like this. Instilling fear in your dog will likely only worsen things, so positive reinforcement is always better.
Reward good behaviors with treats or affection and soon enough your dog will start associating doing what you want her to do and not bathroom waiting with outcomes that are much more desirable!
Mental Stimulus And Physical Exercise
Sometimes our four-legged friends are just bored, so make sure your good girl has plenty of both mental stimulation (brain games!) and physical activities (walks!) throughout the day.
This will not only keep any destructive and bothersome behaviors from showing up but also will help to strengthen your bond together too.
Summary: Why Does My Dog Wait Outside The Bathroom?
As you have seen, there are many possible reasons why your dog may be waiting outside the bathroom.
It could range from instinctual behavior to protecting you or it might just be because she wants some love and attention. Separation anxiety is also a possibility if this behavior persists in more places than outside the bathroom. She might even be scared of something going on inside or around your home that needs addressing so she can feel safe again.
Finally, if your dog has a sudden behavior change, it could be a sign of a serious medical issue so you’ll want to keep an eye on her or ever take your good girl to the vet.
As long as you’re okay with your dog sitting outside your bathroom waiting for you, and it’s not a symptom of a serious problem and your dog isn’t being destructive then there probably isn’t any harm in your her sitting there.
If you want your dog to stop waiting outside the restroom for you then you’ll first need to figure out what the cause is. Understanding what’s behind her behavior will help you to find the right solution whether it be crate training, creating a dedicated spot, or providing her with more mental and physical stimulation. Remember to not use punishment, besides positive reinforcement methods will always reap better results in the long run.
With patience and consistency, you can help your dog to break this or any other habit you want to.