Why Does My Dog Hide Under the Bed?

Fear, food or fluctuations in his environment can prompt your dog to hide. We break down these behaviors and how to reverse them.

Hide And Seek
Typically, dogs hide under beds for behavioral reasons like anxiety or wanting a quiet space alone. © Kai-Chieh Chan / EyeEm/ Getty Images

A car on the street backfires, and your dog immediately runs out of the room and straight under your bed. Based on this behavior, it’s easy to guess that your dog fears loud noises. The question is: Why does your dog hide under your bed — or kitchen table — in the middle of a quiet day?

Top reasons dogs hide under the bed:

  • Fear — A strong motivator for hiding is a loud, scary sound, such as a vacuum.
  • Quiet time and a safe space — a hidden spot to enjoy some downtime by himself. The secret spot feels safe because of its seclusion.
  • Stress — Dogs hide when there’s a sudden change in environment, such as a house guest or a fluctuation in daily routines. The new situation stresses him, so he hides from it.
  • Learned behavior — Experience has shown him that morsels of food sometimes fall on the ground in that spot. Along those same lines, your dog hides when he finds something he knows he’s not supposed to have — if he can’t see you, then maybe you can’t see him with the taboo treat!
  • Illness — If the hiding behavior is sudden and you can’t link it to fear, food or forbidden items, make sure he isn’t sick or injured. According to the veterinarians at Sunset Veterinary Clinic in Oklahoma, a dog often hides under the bed, in a closet or elsewhere when he doesn’t feel well as his instincts tell him that weak animals make easier targets for predators. Schedule a visit to the vet to rule out any medical problems.

My dog hides under the bed — How do stop this behavior?

Talk to him softly and calmly when he’s afraid — let him know he’s safe. Praise him when he rejoins you and let him know how happy you are to see him. In other words, reward the behavior you want — his company with you — and ignore the hiding behavior. And let him know he has safe spots, such as a dog room, in your house for alone time.

Want to read more on dog hiding? Check out Is Your Dog Hiding? What To Do About It on dogster.com.

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