Have you ever wondered, “Why does my dog go under the bed?”
If so, you’re not alone.
This behavior can be a head-scratcher for many pet owners.
In this article, you will uncover the common reasons why dogs seek out these secluded spaces, learn how to create a more comfortable environment for them, and understand when it’s time to consult a professional.
Embark on this journey to better understand your furry friend and meet their needs more effectively.
Reasons Why Dogs Go Under The Bed
Seeking Safety And Security
The story starts thousands of years ago with our dogs’ ancestors: the wolves.
If you’ve ever watched a nature documentary, you’d know wolves often seek out dens—small, enclosed spaces—for safety and security.
These natural dens act as a refuge from predators and harsh weather conditions, creating a secure environment for them to rest, nurture their young, and hide from potential threats.
Domestic dogs have inherited this denning instinct, and to them, the space under your bed often seems like the perfect den.
Not only is it cosy, but its limited access points also allow them to control who approaches them, adding to their sense of security.
This explains why your beloved pet often sees this space as their safe haven.
The more you understand these instincts, the better equipped you’ll be to make your home environment feel safe for your dog.
Temperature Regulation And Comfort
While it might not make much sense to us humans, to dogs, going under the bed may simply be a matter of comfort.
Especially in the summer months, the floor under your bed can be cooler than the rest of your house, providing your dog with a perfect spot to cool down.
Conversely, in the winter, your carpeted floor can provide warmth for your pet.
Regularly grooming your pet, particularly those with thick or long fur, can help them regulate their body temperature better and potentially reduce their need to seek out these cool or warm spots.
Rest And Relaxation
Think of the tranquillity your bedroom offers, away from the chaos of daily life.
For your dog, the secluded spot under your bed can offer the same serenity, providing them with a quiet environment where they can nap without interruptions.
Interestingly, a study published in the journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science has shown that dogs, much like humans, have different stages of sleep, including REM sleep, which is when dreaming occurs.
If your dog seems to be shaking or ‘running’ in their sleep, they’re likely dreaming!
Understanding this need for undisturbed sleep can help you provide a more peaceful environment for your dog to rest in.
Desire For Personal Space
Believe it or not, dogs are much like us humans when it comes to needing some personal space.
Particularly in a bustling household, your dog may find the constant stimulation overwhelming.
Retreating under the bed allows them to have some alone time away from the activity.
It is crucial to respect this need for personal space and ensure that children, other pets, and even adults understand that when the dog is in their special place, they should be left alone.
This respect for boundaries can go a long way in building trust and a stronger bond with your pet.
Fear, Anxiety, Or Stress
If your dog frequently seeks shelter under the bed, it might be a symptom of fear, anxiety, or stress.
Dogs can be incredibly sensitive and get easily overwhelmed by environmental changes, unfamiliar people, or loud noises.
The safe and secluded space under the bed provides a refuge for them during these stressful situations.
One study published in the journal “Veterinary Record” discovered that dogs could even pick up on their owners’ stress, underscoring the importance of maintaining a calm and relaxed environment for your pet.
Thunderstorms Or Fireworks
Loud noises such as thunderstorms or fireworks can be terrifying for many dogs.
In fact, according to a study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, about half of all dogs show signs of fear during thunderstorms.
The loud, unpredictable sounds and bright flashes of light can cause extreme fear and anxiety, prompting them to seek refuge under the bed.
Offering comfort and reassurance during these times can help ease their fear.
Illness Or Physical Discomfort
Like many animals, dogs tend to isolate themselves when they’re sick or hurt.
Dogs have evolved to hide their pain as a survival mechanism in the wild, so as not to appear weak to predators.
If your dog is hiding under the bed along with showing other signs of illness or discomfort, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or changes in behavior, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care promptly.
Sometimes, this could be the only way you’d know your dog is in pain.
What To Do When Your Dog Goes Under The Bed
In managing your dog’s under-the-bed habit, understanding the reason behind the behavior is half the battle won.
Here are some steps to create a comfortable and safe environment for your dog.
Provide Alternative Safe Spaces
An alternative to your dog going under your bed could be to provide them with their own “den”.
This could be a dog crate, which you could cover with a blanket to create a cosy, enclosed space.
You could also create a special corner for your dog in a quiet part of the house.
Create A Calm And Relaxing Environment
Reducing loud noises, providing a regular routine, and ensuring your dog has plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind can help create a stress-free environment.
Products like dog pheromone diffusers can also help soothe your dog and create a sense of calm.
Address Fear, Anxiety, Or Stress Triggers
Work on identifying and addressing your dog’s fear triggers.
If loud noises are causing anxiety, consider using desensitization techniques, which involve exposing your dog to these sounds at a low volume and gradually increasing it over time, helping your dog become less sensitive to them.
Encouraging Behavior Modification
If you’d like your dog to change their behavior, consider using positive reinforcement techniques.
For instance, you could place their favorite treats on their new bed, encouraging them to spend more time there.
For dogs who hide due to fear or anxiety, gradual desensitization can be effective.
This involves exposing your dog to the thing they fear at a very low intensity and slowly increasing it over time.
Positive Reinforcement Training
Positive reinforcement, where good behavior is rewarded, can be effective in managing a variety of behavioral issues.
Rewarding your dog for choosing to rest in their own bed instead of under yours can encourage them to repeat the behavior.
In conclusion, your dog’s habit of going under the bed is likely an expression of their instinctual behaviors, need for comfort, or a response to stressors in their environment.
By understanding the root cause of this behavior and responding appropriately, you can help ensure that your dog feels secure and comfortable at all times.
Remember, when in doubt, it’s always best to consult a veterinary or a canine behavior professional.
When To Consult A Veterinarian
Persistent Or Extreme Hiding Behavior
If your dog’s behavior of hiding under the bed becomes constant or intense, it’s time to ring the alarm bell.
Persistent hiding could be a sign that your pet feels perpetually threatened or anxious, which can drastically affect their quality of life.
It may also indicate that they’re struggling with a chronic health condition that needs attention.
Sudden Changes In Behavior
One day, your dog is out and about, wagging their tail, and the next, they’re cowering under the bed.
If such sudden changes in behavior become a recurring theme, it’s a red flag that warrants investigation.
Dogs aren’t ones to hide their emotions.
If they’re unusually quiet or skulking around, something’s likely off.
Behavioral changes can be an early sign of various health issues ranging from infections and injuries to more serious conditions like cancers, according to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
Thus, sudden behavioral changes should be discussed with a vet without delay.
Signs Of Illness Or Discomfort
Your dog’s retreat under the bed can be their way of communicating to you that they’re not feeling well.
If your dog’s retreat is accompanied by other signs of illness such as lack of appetite, lethargy, changes in bathroom habits, or unexplained weight loss, it’s crucial to take them to a vet as soon as possible.
Before You Go…
Now you know why your dog goes under the bed.
If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!
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