Is your dog hiding under the couch? Pet parents often find their dogs hiding under the furniture in a state of bliss or fear. Determining the difference of the emotional state is easy by observing the look on your dog’s face. Sometimes your dog might be cuddling under the couch to find a cozy place to sleep and feel safe, while other times he could be scared or sick and looking for a way to feel better. If your dog hides under the couch or other furniture in your home the following information will help you learn more about the behavior and pinpoint the cause.
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The Root of the Behavior
Denning is a natural instinct in canines. It dates back to their ancestry thousands of years ago. Wild dogs would seek out den-like environments to have a place to feel safe and to have a place to call their own. This den-like environment provided shelter from harsh weather conditions and predators, as well as provided a safe place to raise their offspring. Have you ever noticed your dog likes to hide under the couch at certain times of the day or in specific circumstances? Sometimes your dog might feel tired and want to sleep peacefully under the couch or hide from the company they consider to be strangers. If you take note of the circumstances surrounding your dog’s desire to hide under the couch it will help you pinpoint the cause. If the cause is related to fear of visitors, thunderstorms, noise, or other issues, this can easily be solved. However, if your dog seems to be hiding under the couch for no apparent reason, you might need to do some detective work. Common symptoms such as appetite changes, loss of interest in playing, excessive paw licking, and sleeping all the time are often an expression of depression, injury, or illness.
Your dog doesn’t have the capability of telling you how he feels, so it’s up to you as a pet parent to determine the cause of the behavior. Carefully inspecting your dog’s body for injury or skill ailments is your first step to eliminating this issue as the cause. Also, observing if your dog whimpers, limps, favors a limb, or shows any other signs of physical problems. It’s wise to think about the current issue and environment your dog is exposed to that could be the result of this behavior. Did you just move? Did a family member move out? Did your family relocate to a new house? Does your dog have a place he can call his own? These are all valid questions that could lead to emotional depression in your dog. Sometimes just allowing your dog to adjust to the new situation and keeping him busy with activities such as playing outdoors and cuddling with you on the couch, can help relieve the depression over time. If you are unable to determine the cause of your dog’s behavior and the reason why he is hiding under the couch, seek professional help from a veterinarian.
Encouraging the Behavior
The root of the behavior is a natural instinct in canines. This behavior does not need to be encouraged or discouraged. It is harmless and often helps your dog feel safe, cozy, and comfortable. The only time you should be concerned is when your dog prefers to be hiding more than living a normal everyday life, he refuses to eat, seems depressed, upset, or isolates himself from the family. Hiding under the couch on occasion is good for your dog. It means he found a safe place to call his own and feels safe and comfortable in his den-like environment. If your dog prefers to relax under the couch or other furniture, you can make it more enjoyable by placing a soft dog bed in the same area for added comfort. The downside of your dog hiding under the couch is it could be a sign of depression, anxiety, or illness. Most dogs seek a safe environment when they do not feel good. It could be considered similar to when humans have the flu and prefer to cuddle under a blanket in bed to help them rest and feel better. Your dog is expressing the same type of behavior when the underlying reason is illness, depression or injury.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If your dog tends to cuddle up under the couch every time you watch a movie, it most likely is not anything to worry about. However, if your dog is spending time under the couch on a regular basis when you are in another room or outdoors, you need to look into the matter further. If the cause is related to illness, seeking medical advice from a veterinarian is recommended. But if your dog is just enjoying himself under the couch, you might want to designate an area of the house that he can call his own which includes his own dog bed, toys, blanket, and more.
Your dog might feel so comfortable under the couch you might want to join him. Who would not want a safe and cozy place to rest and watch a movie, right? This natural behavior is normal and only needs to be addressed by a professional if poor health, anxiety or fear are the cause of the behavior.