Dogs like to sleep under tables. It’s just one of their many quirks that we find so adorable, or in this case… a bit odd. Does your pup like to sit under tables a good portion of the day or does he do it only at certain times, when there are thunderstorms, for example? Dogs often rest under the table and in many cases, we really don’t know why. Although this behavior is quite common, there are a number of reasons that can explain their apparently irrational reaction and their preference for dark, closed spaces. Here are some of the causes and suggestions to help you manage the situation like a real pack leader.
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The Root of the Behavior
Just like humans, dogs feel the need to be safe and protected. When insecurity and fear start creeping in, your pup will start running away from any commotion or loud noise, hiding under the table. You might even notice them doing so when someone in the room raises their voice. But what could possibly be bothering him so much when he’s surrounded by people that love him and when everybody treats him so nicely? If your pup has been adopted, for example, they can be overly shy and timid, especially if they’ve been abused in the past. The behavior can vary from dog to dog based on their individual personalities.
Some dogs just plain like to be hidden when relaxing, eating, or sleeping, while others are just as happy sleeping on their backs, belly up, in the middle of the room. Terriers and Huskies are more prone to such behavior than other breeds, although any type of dog can develop this reaction at one point or another during their lifetime. If they spend too much time being isolated and scared, they will more likely have serious anxiety issues later on, so it’s best if you address the problem as soon as possible. Apart from fear, there are plenty of other reasons that can explain this strange behavior. Take temperature for example… your dog may simply be looking for a cooler spot to hang out when temperatures are high, just like a confined space may be easier to warm up with body heat when it's cold out. It could also be that they simply imitate what animals do in the wild. They hide in caves and other places to feel safe and secure while taking a nap, much like wolves in a den. Wild animals do this to avoid predators, your pup could be doing this to get away from all the hustle and bustle of every day life in your home.
Encouraging the Behavior
If your dog likes to hide under the table, bed, or between your legs, he may be telling you he’s afraid of something. In this case, you need to be able to pull him out of his fears without physically doing so. In other words, don’t pull your dog or physically manipulate him when he is in an anxious state because this will reinforce or heighten the dog's fears. Providing attention or affection to a dog who is scared or fearful can actually reinforce their anxiety. Instead, you should try to distract your pup with high-value treats and engaging activities that will get him to move forward and come out of his den. You could try rolling a ball in front of him or praise him each time he shows more positive behaviors, to help him overcome the fear. Also, you need to make sure that whatever sound or noise that triggered the response from your dog stops before you start distracting him with treats and fun activities. In this way, he can focus solely on his new tasks and forget about his anxieties. The best thing you can do is to remain calm when your dog is showing signs of fear and thus, reinforce your status as leader of the pack.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Your dog may also be seeking a quiet retreat when feeling ill or in pain. If you notice any sudden changes in your pup’s behavior, like hiding under the table for hours or days in a row, you need to consider taking him to the vet. Watch for signs of illness, pain, or distress, which are usually accompanied by symptoms such as rapid breathing, excessive thirst, disorientation, lethargy, and reluctance to move. If you are not dealing with a sudden change then you probably have nothing to worry about. Either way, a visit to your veterinary provider will help clear up the situation and bring your pup out of the den, once more.
Oftentimes dogs will sit under the table… just because they can. It does not necessarily have to mean a bad thing. If your furry friend does not seem fearful or anxious, there is nothing to really worry about. You can help your dog learn not to be fearful or anxious by reassuring them of your strength, as they will look to you for guidance on how to react.