Why Does My Dog Wait Outside the Bathroom Door?

why does my dog wait outside the bathroom

My brother’s Alsatian goes absolutely everywhere with him including following him to the bathroom. He will wait patiently outside the bathroom whenever he takes a leak or has a shower. Does your dog do the same?

It’s comforting knowing your dog is close by even when we do need to go to the bathroom. But if you have ever wondered why your dog waits outside the bathroom for you instead of staying in the lounge or yard, read on… I’ve figured it out.

Why does my dog wait outside the bathroom? Dogs will follow their owners and wait outside the bathroom door for reasons including separation anxiety or thinking you need protecting. With most dogs its learned behavior, they know when you come through a door with them sitting waiting for you, they get praise or reward.

I delved into this topic some more and came up with some interesting reasons for why your dog likes to sit outside the bathroom door waiting for you.

Read on if you want to understand this particular doggie behavior and whether you should be doing something about it. This will help you to pinpoint the reason and where you need to worry.

Why do dogs wait outside the bathroom door?

Do you find yourself being tagged by your dog wherever you go including the bathroom? While he may not follow you into the bathroom, he’s always sat there when you open the door. What does this behavior tell you about your dog?

1. Your dog has a case of separation anxiety

Some dogs get quite anxious if they can’t see their human friend. These dogs always want to be close by and if their owner leaves home, they often start crying or even howling. If your dog is constantly waiting for you outside the bathroom, it could be due to separation anxiety.

This is why they’ll wait outside your bathroom whenever you use the toilet or take a shower. Of course, they would prefer to be in the bathroom, but you may prefer them to wait outside. How do you know if it’s separation anxiety?

Why does my dog sit outside the bathroom door
A dog sits outside the bathroom door… waiting… (Image via https://unsplash.com/photos/jD6mQ0dN4Ws)

If your dog whines, paws the door, or even starts to cry while sitting and waiting outside the bathroom, then you know he’s anxious and wants to be with you.

Handy Hint: One of the biggest signs of separation anxiety in dogs is restless behavior at night. Here’s how you can help to calm a dog when it’s time to go to sleep.

2. Your dog is protecting you

Dogs are very protective of their owners if they have a close bond with you. A dog that waits outside the bathroom door is one way of making sure you’re safe while getting on with your toilet business.

Dogs somehow know when you can be in a vulnerable position. After all, they themselves feel vulnerable when they’re pooping!

If your dog shows no signs of being anxious or clingy and is simply lying outside the bathroom in a relaxed mode, then you can assume he’s keeping guard over you.

3. Your dog loves the attention

How often do you come out of the bathroom and give your dog a huge greeting as you open the door? Or you give him a big hug and greet him as if you’ve been away for ages?

This kind of greeting creates excitement in your dog, and he feels as if he’s getting an extra dose of attention.

We all know how much our dogs love getting our attention so any encouragement from us will make him repeat a certain behavior. Knowing that you’re going to give him a huge dollop of attention when he waits outside the bathroom means your dog is going to sit and wait for you to come out.

By rewarding this kind of behavior, you’re encouraging your dog to wait outside the bathroom.

4. Your dog is being instinctual

Dogs are instinctual beings. They rely on basic instincts to hunt, to protect themselves and others, and to be close to their pack. Wild dogs such as wolves move around in packs and they’re always looking out for each other.

Despite being a domesticated creature, your dog still carries the natural instincts of his ancestors. And he sees you and anyone else in the family, as his pack. So, when you’re out of sight, his instincts tell him to stay close. This includes when you disappear into the bathroom.

The next time you find your dog waiting outside your bathroom, know that his amazing instincts are telling him to stay close to you.

Should I stop my dog from waiting outside the bathroom?

The first step to stopping your dog from waiting outside your bathroom is to determine if it’s really a problem in the first place. If it doesn’t annoy you and your dog is relaxed, then I see no problem with your doggie sitting outside the bathroom.

However, you do need to figure out why he’s doing it in case there’s a deeper reason for this kind of behavior. Your dog may need some help particularly if he’s suffering from anxiety or he’s unhappy for some reason. You could ask yourself the following questions:

Has my dog suddenly started waiting outside the bathroom?

An anxious dog is an unhappy dog and as dog owners we want to keep our dogs happy. If your dog suddenly starts to wait outside the bathroom when you go in, with his tail tucked between his legs, you could look out for signs of anxiety. Perhaps, your dog has become insecure and needs help with dealing with separation anxiety.

Is my dog’s protective behavior dangerous?

We think it’s kind of cute when our dog gets all protective around us. However, this can be dangerous if not managed properly. If your dog behaves aggressively to other family members or visitors while you go into the bathroom, you need to deal with it appropriately.

Am I encouraging this behavior?

If the only time you give your dog attention is when you come out of the bathroom, then you need to look hard at yourself. Dogs need to know they’re love (and adored) by their owners and one of they ways they know this is by getting attention. If you want to stop your dog waiting outside the bathroom, don’t encourage him by rewarding this behavior.

Is my dog waiting for something to happen?

If your dog only waits outside your bathroom at certain times of the day, figure out what normally happens at these times. If it’s close to walkies time, your dog could be telling you it’s time to get out of the bathroom and take him for his walk. Or, maybe it’s close to his meal time and he’s waiting patiently outside the bathroom because he’s hungry.

Is there something wrong with my dog?

When a dog is not well he sometimes clings closely to his owner. At times we mistake this clinginess for anxiety, attention-seeking, or protectiveness. But, instead, your pooch is not feeling well and simply wants to be close by. If waiting outside the bathroom is a new behavior, then check your doggie out for any underlying health conditions.

How can I stop my dog from waiting outside the bathroom door?

Once you know what is causing your dog to wait outside the bathroom, you can decide what plan of action to take. You could do some positive reinforcement training, ignore him, or simply accept it’s normal for your dog to wait outside the bathroom.

I find it reassuring knowing my dog is relaxed and happy to wait for me outside my bathroom.


It can be endearing when your dog waits outside the bathroom door for you, but it could be symptomatic of a wider issue. If you see other signs of separation anxiety, don’t be afraid to talk with your vet – it’s a common dog problem.

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Image in header via https://unsplash.com/photos/jpxChT7ucKk

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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