Rover loves to hide under the bed. He’s a rescue you have loved for years, but he has always been this way. He has gotten better over the years but still has a frightful temperament. When a thunderstorm hits, he immediately goes and hides under your bed. When you rock your Lady Gaga, he is back there again, and sometimes he just goes under your bed to sleep. You wonder if it is similar to having his safe personal cave, or does he have some deep-rooted emotional issues that you are unaware of? Maybe it is a combination of many circumstances. One thing is for sure, Rover spends a lot of time under your bed.
The Root of the Behavior
Believe it or not, there are actually many reasons why dogs hide under beds. Some reasons have to do with evolution and others are even more basic. One common reason is fear, but fear can take form in many shapes and there are multiple things that can scare poor Rover. Thunderstorms scare a lot of dogs. This goes back to when dogs lived in the wild when thunderstorms could be dangerous, resulted in different living elements, and require dogs to find shelter quickly. Thunderstorms are loud and intimidating. They are something we cannot control and are unpredictable. These are scary beasts to a dog that appreciates peace and a common routine. Other loud noises can also send Rover to the bed. Dogs possess excellent hearing skills and your roaring. Lady Gaga could drive Rover to madness. He appreciates the quiet and underneath the bed is where he finds it. Unfortunately, dogs who have been abused also tend to find hiding places. Underneath the bed may provide safety. Dogs are difficult to get to under there. Underneath the bed could also provide warmth, comfort, darkness, and shelter. Some earlier dogs were den animals. Even wolves were usually brought and kept in caves with their mothers as puppies and other dark places. These places even had a term called “maternal dens”. Another reason dogs may hide under the bed is due to tension in the house. Dogs seem to sense heightened emotions, and this can trigger stress and anxiety in dogs. Maybe there was a fight in the marriage, the birth of a new baby, or some other dramatic change, and your dog finds solace under your bed. Or perhaps you had to punish Rover because he was eating all your Cheetos off the table again. Dogs may retreat after being scolded or reprimanded. Many owners may not find your dog hiding under the bed to be a problem, but there are some scenarios that you may want to watch out for.
Encouraging the Behavior
It’s important to observe why your dog hides under the bed. If he says it always just been a safe and comfy spot, and/or he just happens to love the warmth and darkness, then this is no need for concern, and you might just want to let Rover be. But if Rover retreats to under the bed routinely after he comes into a contact with a specific person, or if the behavior seems atypical, then there might be deeper roots. Sometimes dogs find hiding spots because they are very sick, and they want to be alone. Sometimes it is because they are very fearful of a certain individual due to bad or frequent bad experiences with that person. It could even be that your dog hit a bout of canine depression, which is actually a very real and serious problem that should be addressed by your veterinarian. If you do not want Rover under your bed then you might want to take actions to make that spot inaccessible. One way to do this is by simply blocking it off with boxes or storage that you could put under the bed. It’s also important that you do not praise your dog or provide excess attention when your dog goes under the bed because then he will be more prone to continue doing it.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Sometimes, dogs just feel comfortable under the bed. This may not be a problem for you unless you have a folding bed, which could actually be dangerous for Rover. If you feel Rover is under the bed too often, then you may want to make other places around your house more appealing. Get a new dog bed and put his favorite toy in it, or encourage to let him go under your blanket when you are watching TV on the couch. You also could make Rover’s crate a comfy den-like space again. Some dogs even like their crates to be covered partially with a blanket for darkness. It turns out there are many reasons why Rover retreats under your bed. You are not sure what exactly happened to him before you rescued him, and do feel there might be some security he feels with the bed now.
Although Rover’s bed cave is not a huge issue for you, you do want to make sure that Rover knows that he has other comfortable spaces available to him, and you are working hard to get his dog bed and crate back in order. You also have become aware of Rover’s triggers, and during a thunderstorm, you snuggle with him and stay near his side. With these changes, Rover still likes to retreat under the bed--but not as much as he usually did, and this makes you feel terwoofic.
By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze
Published: 02/06/2018, edited: 01/30/2020