Your dog is under your bed again, and you’re wondering why. This is common behavior for many dogs, so we’ll look at some of the possible reasons and whether or not you should be concerned. Your bed offers a dark, safe, and cozy spot that provides a sanctuary from anything that might be stressing him out.
Changes in the Home
Your dog is a creature of habit, so when things change in his routine and environment, he might seek refuge under your bed. Perhaps you’re having people over, and there’s a lot of noise. Your dog might just need a break, and hiding under your bed will give him some peace until things go back to normal.
If something makes your dog afraid, such as sudden loud noises like fireworks, thunder, or when that annoying noisy motorcycle roars past your house, seeking a safe and quiet spot under your bed is something that your dog might do regularly.
Your dog may just find hanging out under your bed a particularly enjoyable thing to do. It’s quiet, dark, and cozy. He might just want to hang out and relax, just like you do in your favorite chair.
Nabbed Something Forbidden
Your dog has managed to grab something that he knows he shouldn’t have, but it’s too good to pass up. So, he’ll run under your bed to keep out of your reach and enjoy his unexpected treat.
Injury or Illness
If your dog isn’t feeling well or is injured, he might seek out shelter as a way to cope with pain or illness. If your dog is acting differently, particularly if he doesn’t usually hide under your bed, check him for illness or possible injuries. Take him to your vet as soon as possible if you suspect either possibility.
If you would prefer it if your dog doesn’t hide under your bed, here are some tips to ensure that he won’t gravitate to your bed, at least as often.
Create a New Space
If you create a similar kind of space, your dog might seek it out instead of constantly going under your bed. If you don’t have a dog crate already, consider purchasing one. Or if you already have a crate, you can buy a crate cover like this one or drape some blankets over it.
There are also soft dog crates that can create a cozy, den-like atmosphere. They also have the advantage of being collapsible for easy storage and the ability to travel with your dog.
Train Your Dog to Deal With Stress
You can train your dog and help acclimatize him to a stressful environment. There are a variety of methods that can help your dog deal with the fear of loud noises.
First, there’s a variety of products you can purchase designed to help your dog deal with loud noises. Items such as the ThunderShirt or calming supplements, as well as Rescue Remedy, are all designed to calm your dog naturally.
Experts suggest that playing sounds of thunder and fireworks at low volume and very gradually raising the volume over days and weeks. Pairing this with praise and treats will allow your dog to become accustomed to these sounds.
You can also work on distracting your dog during storms or fireworks. Put some music or white noise on to help cover some of the loud noises and use distraction by playing with him. However, don’t force him to play if he would rather hide. You need to show him love and patience and not add to any of his stress.
If you’re worried about your dog’s anxiety, you can speak to your veterinarian about your options.
Signs of Stress
In order to have a better understanding of why your dog is hiding under your bed, it will help if you recognize the signs of stress that he might exhibit.
Of course, you know your dog best, and if your dog is acting out of character and once you’ve ruled out any medical issues, you can help your dog deal with his stress constructively. Allowing your dog to have time in a quiet place when you have no control over the loud noises (unless you’re Thor) might be the best solution. You can also talk to your vet or a dog trainer about how to best help your dog.
What Not to Do
Humans need kindness, love, and patience when feeling afraid and stressed, and dogs are no different.
When your dog is under your bed, you should not pet him, reassure him or feed him treats at that moment or you’ll be essentially rewarding him for his current, fearful behavior.
On the other hand, you should not punish or yell at him as that will only add to his fear and make the situation worse.
You need to act as normally as possible and talk to or play with your dog like everything is business as usual.
Why Does My Dog Sleep Under the Bed?
If your dog prefers to sleep under your bed instead of on your face, consider yourself lucky. But perhaps your dog is sleeping under there because he enjoys it. Dogs are considered den animals because their wild, doggy ancestors would sleep in small, enclosed spaces. Your dog is just tapping into his roots and enjoying being near you, in a safe environment and in an enclosed space.
The overall takeaway from this should be that if your dog seems anxious, fearful, or stressed, you should follow some of the above steps. You want your dog to be healthy and happy all of the time. If you are ever concerned about your dog’s behavior or health, consult your vet.
Your dog may have multiple reasons for running under your bed, but there are numerous resources at your fingertips. Always treat your dog with love and try not to get frustrated with him. You do not want to be part of the source of your dog’s stress. Your dog is a sensitive and perceptive animal and a part of your family. Your job is to ensure your dog is happy and to provide him with the most amazing life possible.
Featured Image Credit: Dennis Yang, Flickr