OK, so here’s the situation:
Prior to a few months ago, jeevdawg lived in a ground floor apartment with his mother, my bride-elect. At nights, he slept in the living room, and his mother would sleep in the bedroom. After his mother and I started dating, he continued to sleep in the living room while we slept in the bedroom. The door to the bedroom would be open except when we wanted a little bit of alone time. All of these rooms were on the same floor, separated by a relatively short distance.
We are now in a much larger home, with an actual upstairs and downstairs. We have been trying to have the dog sleep in the downstairs. He has his chair, his toys, and a window to look out of. It’s actually where he spends his time when we’re not home.
At some point in the middle of the night, he creeps upstairs and sleeps on the bedroom floor. Neither of us usually hears him come in, but he’s there in the morning when we wake up.
Now, I don’t want to close our bedroom door because a) I want to be sure that he does have access to us for legitimate purposes (i.e. potty), and b) I don’t want him scratching on the door, or deciding that if the humans aren’t around, he’ll chew on the furniture. (Bitter Apple and other aversives don’t work on this dog.)
We also don’t really want to gate him so he can’t come upstairs. We did that once, and found that he had an accident. He has had separation anxiety issues in the past, and still exhibits tendency towards the behavior (example - when we’re awake, he follows us from room to room, unless appropriately distracted by food or something walking by the window). So whether the accident was because of anxiety or because he was downstairs when he woke up in the morning and we couldn’t hear him whining to tell us he needed to go outside, it was still our fault, not really his. (He’s pretty good about not messing in the house otherwise, notwithstanding some earlier episodes).
Crating him is definitely not an option. He was a rescue dog and is quite crate-phobic. I think he only does well when we board him because a) they exhaust him so much that he sleeps through, and b) he knows we’re not there.
I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to induce him to stay downstairs because I never see him come in and therefore can’t correct him.