Sometimes dogs go off on their own, crouching behind furniture or running underneath the bed. Dog hiding may seem strange at times, but why do they do it? There can be several reasons why your dog might tuck themselves away in a corner or try to conceal themselves. It may be fear, tension, playful musing, mischievous hoarding, or something else entirely.
This guide will help you determine why your dog is hiding. There are a few things to help you recognize how your pooch is feeling and when this behavior becomes excessive.
Is It Normal for Dogs to Hide?
Hiding is generally a normal behavior for dogs. While the behavior can be linked to fear, pain, or anxiety, many dogs are simply drawn to the cozy confines of secluded spaces.
Sometimes dogs seek out a familiar and secure area when they are feeling overwhelmed, similar to the way people might retreat to their homes or bedrooms in times of stress. Being territorial creatures, familiarity is important to canines. This is also why dogs mark their territory with urine.
Dogs hide for plenty of reasons, but this behavior is not always natural. It is important to tell the difference between healthy and excessive hiding.
Normal vs. Excessive Hiding
The best way to tell if your dog is hiding too much is if their routine changes. Crawling underneath the bed late at night or during periods of relaxation is normal. However, if they start to skip meals, refuse to go outside, or run away from others, there may be a more serious issue going on.
Why is My Dog Hiding?
Dogs hide for many different reasons, the most common being that they want to feel safe. The need for safety could be due to fear, anxiety, depression, or stress. If you notice your dog is scared or anxious, try to determine the source of their fear and remove it.
Your dog might also retreat to a small space for playful reasons like hiding a toy. Sleepiness, stashing some tasty food, or even searching for some sweet treats are other reasons for hiding.
Canines can be overwhelmed by strange or unfamiliar things such as a loud noise or a new acquaintance in their home.
They're Afraid of Something
Is your pooch hiding under the bed each time there is a loud noise, the doorbell rings, or someone new enters the house? Dogs can feel threatened by unfamiliar situations, and your furry friend may be hiding out of fear. Other symptoms of fear include:
Your Dog is Hiding Because of Stress or Anxiety
An unfamiliar setting can cause stress in people, and the same is true for our pets. While fear in canines can be addressed by removing the alarm source, nervous behavior is often caused by vague sources. Dogs can be stressed by less tangible situations such as thunderstorms, separation anxiety, and past trauma.
It is impossible to simply remove these sources of tension, so the best way to help your pet is by comforting them. Give your dog its space, and try to pet and reassure your furry friend once things have calmed down. Other signs of stress or tension include:
- Escape attempts
- Destroying furniture
- Excessive licking or chewing
Your Dog Feels Sick
Another reason a dog may hide is that it is not feeling well. It is common for many animals, including dogs, to hide if suffering from illness or pain. This is an evolutionary trait that protects animals in poor health from being spotted by predators.
Giving a dog space is important, but make sure your pet is not injured before giving it some alone time. Since dogs can sometimes hide health problems, the issue may not be immediately apparent. Signs of illness can involve:
- A lack of appetite
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
- Runny eyes or nose
- Stiff limbs
- Vomiting, gagging, sneezing, or coughing
They're in a Safe Place Where They Can Relax
The ancestors of domesticated dogs often found refuge from the wild in dens. Whether it was a small cave, hollowed-out tree trunk, or an underground burrow, a den is any small space that an animal makes its own. These areas make the dog feel safe and in control of their surroundings.
This urge to find a personal space is still present in domesticated dogs, and it's one of the main reasons why crate training can benefit your pet. Curled up in a comfortable cage, underneath a bed, or behind some furniture makes the dog feel like they are protected on all sides.
Also, since the "dens" have their own scent, it could be why dogs repeatedly hide in the same spot.
Your Dog is Hiding Their Goodies!
One of a dog's favorite pastimes is burying their favorite possessions. We can all picture that classic image of a pooch digging a hole in the yard to drop in its prized bone or tennis ball. Your dog may be visiting its secret stash of goodies when it hides.
In addition to being territorial animals, dogs can show possessive behavior. Any pet owner can tell you that a canine does not easily give up its favorite chew-toy. Guarding belongings and stashing food around the house is a natural survival strategy.
They Found Something They Shouldn't Have
Another reason your canine might be hiding is that it is stashing things it shouldn't. A pooch can experience shame just like a person, and sometimes our pets know when they've done something wrong. A dog may hide contraband like "people food" or toys that don't belong to it.
A sign that your dog is storing things it shouldn't is if the animal waits for you to leave before hiding. This indicates the dog doesn't want you to see where its stash is.
How to Get a Dog Out from Hiding
A dog hiding in comfort will come out when it's ready, but a canine experiencing a problem may be reluctant to come out of its hiding spot. Keep an eye out for the symptoms mentioned above so that you can coax your dog out of hiding if the behavior becomes excessive.
In some cases, you might need to take your dog to a vet or pet specialist. Since hiding and running away are potential symptoms of tension, trauma, and fear, keeping a calm tone and relaxed demeanor is important. Being overly forceful with your dog could make the situation worse.
Help Alleviate Their Anxiety or Stress
When your dog is acting scared, they need to know that you're there for them. After you've confirmed the animal is in good health, get them some food and water. Bring their favorite toy and a blanket to the hiding spot and speak in a soft voice.
A dog that shows nervous behaviors is likely reacting to a situation that feels strange or threatening. Removing the alarm source may help a dog that is acting fearful. However, tension can be caused by uncontrollable situations such as city traffic or fireworks.
Even though there are certain scenarios we can't control, we can take care of our pet's emotional state with CBD dog treats and CBD oil just for dogs. Dog treats infused with CBD oil are a great incentive for a dog hiding in a hard-to-reach area. You can also mix CBD oil into your dog's food to alleviate tension as well.
CBD boosts your pet's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is present in nearly all mammals, and it helps regulate essential body functions. A well-functioning ECS can relax your dog and soothe fearful or nervous behaviors.
Train Them & Reinforce Positive Behaviors
If you see your dog acting strange or retreating to its private place, first give them some space. After you think they've had enough time to themselves, call the dog by its name. Not responding to the sound of its name is one sign that you need some additional incentive.
The same situations can repeatedly trigger dog hiding. If you can't change or remove the cause of your pet's discomfort, you might be able to change its reaction to the source. Find some time to get your dog used to the trigger by giving it CBD dog treats.
For example, let's say your dog runs to hide under the bed each time there is a clap of thunder. The next time it rains, keep some CBD dog treats nearby. Each time it thunders, give the dog a treat so that it will get the soothing effects of CBD while simultaneously associating the sound of thunder with food. Also, giving your pet CBD 30-minutes before you know a storm is coming can help prepare them with a boost of tranquility.
A dog hiding underneath the couch might not respond to its name, but it may perk up at the prospect of treats. One way to get your dog out of its hiding spot is to offer it food, but how can we tell them that it's snack time? Try shaking the bag of treats to coax them to come out.
Eventually, your furry friend will associate the sound of the bag shaking with food. The next time you want to get your dog out from underneath a piece of furniture, just shake the bag and watch them come running!
Play With Them
If the problem isn't an illness, tension, or fear, it might be boredom. Try pulling out a ball or a length of rope to get your dog out of hiding.
Find plenty of opportunities to play with your pooch. Even though a new chew-toy is a good way to lure your dog from underneath the bed, these should not be the only times you play with your dog. Playtime is good for your pet's physical health, mental stimulation, and even their sensitivity to overwhelming situations.
Final Thoughts - Why is My Dog Hiding?
If you can't find your furry friend in their usual spots, they may be hiding somewhere in your home. This is a natural instinct that is often a source of comfort for the animal. However, the behavior can also indicate a health problem, hidden stash of goodies, or tension.
Change or remove the source of discomfort if possible. Otherwise, get your dog food, water, and plenty of space. Take them to the vet if you notice any symptoms of pain or sickness. Pay attention to your dog's needs so that you can provide them with the safest, healthiest, and happiest care possible!