Find Out Why Some Dogs Hide Under The Bed
Has your dog started hiding under the bed? You’re probably wondering what’s happening.
Is it a sign of anxiety, fear, or simply a cosy hideaway?
In this blog post, we'll explore the various reasons behind this peculiar habit and help you identify why your pooch might be hiding under your bed.
Let’s dive in.
9 Reasons Why My Dog Might Hide Under The Bed
Identifying the root cause of why your pup might be hiding can help you solve the issue (if there is one). Here are the main ones to look out for:
1. Fear and anxiety
Fear and anxiety can drive your dog to seek refuge under the bed.
Your dog could be frightened of lots of mundane things, like:
These triggers can send them running for cover.
Separation anxiety is another common cause. (1)
If your dog becomes anxious when you're not around, they may hide under the bed as a way to cope with stress. Even if you have a dog sitter for the day, they may find this place as a sanctuary to self-soothe.
Generally, this behaviour is temporary and nothing to worry about. Once your dog feels more calm and confident, they’ll come out to play.
2. Temperature regulation
Dogs have a natural tendency to seek cooler areas when they're hot.
During the summer months, your dog may retreat to the cooler floor beneath your bed.
Under the bed tends to be cooler because it's shaded from direct sunlight and often has better airflow.
In colder weather, your dog might burrow under the bed to keep warm.
So your dog could be hiding under the bed because it’s a warmer or cooler place to be.
The jury’s out as to whether dogs are denning animals.
“The truth is that while dogs aren’t technically “den animals”, as they certainly don’t spend the majority of their lives in a den, they do have a denning instinct.” – Cathay Madson for Preventative Vet (2)
But one thing’s for sure, dogs are territorial animals.
Having a dedicated spot gives them a sense of ownership and control. It's like having their own little kingdom where they can retreat whenever they want.
This instinctual behaviour helps them feel protected from potential threats. When your dog burrows under your bed, it's their way of creating a private safe space.
Add to that your scent and darkness of the under-bed space, and you can see why this would be a cosy place to call their own.
This behaviour becomes more pronounced when you have multiple dogs in the house.
Each dog may have its preferred hiding spot, and under the bed might be the chosen sanctuary for one of them. It's a way for them to establish boundaries and claim their territory.
4. A place to monitor activity
Dogs are naturally curious creatures. They love to keep an eye on what's happening in their surroundings.
Hiding under the bed provides them with a strategic vantage point to monitor what strange goings-on might be afoot in their kingdom.
They can observe the comings and goings of family members, other pets, or even visitors without being exposed for their spying.
Hiding under the bed can signal that your dog wants to stay close to you, but maintain a sense of personal space.
I had a German Shepherd like this! He was an aloof pooch who liked his private time but also wanted to be part of the family. So his spot was hiding under the coffee table. He was both visible and invisible just as he wanted.
5. Hiding forbidden items
If your pooch has stolen a slipper they want to chew or a piece of food they want to covet, hiding under the bed is the perfect place to cover their crimes!
If your dog is hidden under the bed, look for any stolen goods. You might just catch your little thief in the act!
6. Medical concerns
If your dog suddenly starts hiding under the bed when they've never done so before, it could be a sign of pain, disease, or injury.
Dogs have a natural instinct to hide when they are unwell. (3)
If you notice any sudden changes in your dog's behaviour, it's always a good idea to consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.
Once the medical issue is solved, your pup will likely stop hiding.
7. Minor changes in the environment
We all have coping mechanisms. Dogs do too!
Even minor stressors can trigger your pup to hide under the bed if that’s where they de-stress.
For example, if you’re packing your clothes to go on holiday, your dog may sense that something’s up. Likewise, if you’ve had an argument with your partner or you’re sick.
These micro changes all impact your dog.
Hiding under the bed can be a way for your dog to alleviate stress or tension.
8. Major life events
New babies, new homes, new pets, and even new partners can dysregulate the delicate balance in your home.
That can cause your dog to be more anxious and withdrawn than normal.
If your dog has chosen your bed as a safe space, don’t force them to leave it too soon.
As they adjust to the major change, they’ll open up more and stop hiding as much.
9. Searching for food
A little unorthodox but dogs can hide under your bed to look for food. This is especially true if your pooch is new to your household and just getting to know their surroundings.
If you tend to eat in bed, they might have sniffed out something you’ve dropped!
Train them to stay out of your bedroom while you are eating to prevent them from loitering under your bed for scraps.
So is hiding under your bed becoming an issue? Is it an issue to be solved at all? Let’s discuss.
How To Stop Your Dog From Hiding Under The Bed
So if your dog has made a habit of hiding under the bed, should you stop them?
Honestly? I vote no. Here’s why.
Your dog is likely hiding under the bed for protection or safety (if it's unrelated to any health conditions).
If your pup isn’t harming anyone or disrupting your sleep, I would personally leave them be. Being under the bed is clearly helping them self-soothe.
However, if you really want to avoid this behaviour for some reason, here are some quick tips:
Create a new den
An effective way to prevent your pooch from hiding is to create a new safe place.
“If your dog enjoys being under the bed due to it being a dark, contained space, you can try to recreate a similar spot like this in the house…a crate or kennel with a soft bed and covered with a blanket would be a great place for your dog to unwind.” – Jennifer Fabiano from Mental Floss (4)
Crates aren’t just for puppies! They are great for crafting a soothing solo environment for any pup of any age.
As long as you have a crate that is large enough for your dog, you can make a safe space for them.
Stop your dog from going into the bedroom
If you want to keep your pup away from your bed entirely, you can always make your bedroom a no-go area.
However, I wouldn’t do this without creating a suitable alternative safe space. Your pooch still needs somewhere to relax.
Dog gates are great for sectioning off areas of your home.
Positively reinforce being outgoing
Whenever your pup decides to leave their den and venture into other rooms, make a fuss!
Reward them with praise and treats so that they know they are a welcomed part of the family dynamic when they come out of their shell.
This technique works for any new puppies or adopted dogs that are having a hard time adjusting to their surroundings. Be patient.
Is It Okay for My Dog to Hide Under the Bed?
If your pooch has been hiding under the bed, the first thing is to rule out any injury or disease. But if they are just using your bed as a safe solace away from the world, there’s nothing to be too concerned about.
Remember that every dog is unique, and their reasons for hiding under the bed may vary. Pay attention to their body language and overall behaviour.
Focus on making your home a warm, comfortable safe environment. Even if your dog is completely happy at home, they may still hide under the bed every so often – and that’s okay!
Want to know more about dog sleeping habits? Check out our other articles:
Dogs have an instinct to hide when they are sick or injured. This is an ancestral instinct to withdraw so that they don’t slow down or infect the pack.
A dog may suddenly start hiding if they have anxiety around the home or have a medical condition. Consult your vet if your dog’s hiding behaviour is sudden and without any obvious cause.
- Gibeault, S. January 17, 2023. “Separation Anxiety in Dogs: Causes, Prevention, and How to Solve It”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved September 17, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/dog-separation-anxiety-how-to-stop/
- Madson, C. May 2, 2021. “Crate Training Your Puppy or Adult Dog: Everything You Need to Know”. Preventative Vet. Retrieved September 17, 2023. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/everything-you-need-to-know-about-crate-training-your-puppy-or-adult-dog
- Traverse, T. October 23, 2019. “Why Does My Dog Hide Under the Bed?”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved September 17, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/advice/why-does-my-dog-hide-under-the-bed/
- Fabiano, J. November 28, 2018. “Why Do Dogs Like to Hide Under Beds?”. Retrieved September 17, 2023. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/565541/why-dogs-like-to-hide-under-bed