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Russell Terrier hiding under the bed.
Richard Unten/Moment Open via Getty Images
  • Hiding under beds, tables, or other furniture is a common behavior in many dogs.
  • Dog may hide under things due to fear, illness, or a simple desire for private space.
  • If your dog starts hiding when they never used to before, it may be a sign that something is wrong.

Have you ever wondered why your dog spends so much time hiding under the bed or a table? There are several reasons why this common dog behavior might be happening, and some of which are more concerning than others. If your pup insists on scurrying under the bed or a table to hide, there are a few likely explanations.

1. They Love Private Spaces

For many dogs, hiding under a bed or table out of sight can feel like a personal safe space.

“That’s their fun little fort to relax in,” says Jessika Jake, a CATCH Canine Academy certified dog trainer based in San Diego, California. “They like the little den environment.”

Jake says her Pomeranian is always searching for new hiding spaces around her home. However, she adds that there’s also a permanence in a bed or table that a dog might find comforting. Unlike a mat or a chair that might often be moved, dogs can depend on certain locations to remain unchanged.

2. They’re Afraid

“If there’s something scary going on, dogs love to find a hiding spot,” says Jake. “A bed or table might be a great spot where they like to go hide.”

Anything from a loud car alarm to fireworks might scare your pup. Jake’s dog was fearful of fireworks, so to help ease his worried mind, she gave him treats every time she heard fireworks. After enough repetition, her dog eventually learned to expect a treat whenever he heard loud noises.

Jake recommends using a soft voice to help calm your dog when they’re afraid. Next, try removing them from the environment. Ideally, get them somewhere safe and far away from whatever is scaring them.

3. They’re Physically Ill or Injured

“If they’re not feeling so well, they might find a place to hide,” affirms Jake.

When Jake’s dog was stung by a bee, he hid behind the toilet as a way to cope. If your dog is hiding and it’s not typical behavior, take a closer look to ensure they’re feeling well. At the first sign of any symptoms of illness or injury, visit your veterinarian to assess the situation.

4. They’re Looking For Food

There’s often an easy explanation for why dogs spend so much time under the kitchen table in particular. That is, they know they might find food there.

“If you have a dog that likes to supervise what you’re cooking and eating, they know they’re going to get it. Things like that hold their interest,” says Jake.

To keep them from loitering or begging, train them to stay out of the room while you are cooking or eating and reward them with treats for doing so.

5. They’ve Found Something They Shouldn’t Have

Your dog may have found a treat or food that fell on the floor and they’re trying to hide it under a bed or table. Some dogs will eat such foods alone to have it all to themselves

According to Jake, her dog once hid under a coworker’s desk after finding a normally-forbidden blueberry to eat off of the floor.

6. They Sense a Change in the Environment

If your home is normally fairly quiet and you have people over, your dog might hide to find a quiet place. Often, dogs used to quiet homes find themselves surrounded by other dogs and people, and just need a break from the commotion. Dogs hiding under beds for these reasons will often come out when the environment has returned to normal.

“They often don’t want any social connection,” says Jake. “It can be a way of saying, ‘I’m done playing.'”

How To Get Your Dog Not To Hide Under Things

To get your pup to stop spending so much time hiding under things, one approach is to train them to perform a different behavior. If your dog is hiding under the bed, ignore it. But when they’re laying on a mat or a rug, give them a treat. Keep at it and eventually, your dog will likely learn to change their behavior.

“Reward what you want. Ignore what you don’t want. When they know you like something, they like to show it off,” states Jake.

Know Your Dog

“Get to know your dog and know what’s normal and not normal,” says Jake. If they suddenly hide under tables and that’s a new behavior, take note. It could be a sign of a stressed dog or a warning that’s something’s wrong. If you suspect your dog isn’t well, then head to vet to have them checked out as soon as possible.

Need some help training your dog? While you may not be able to attend in-person training classes during COVID-19, we are here to help you virtually through AKC GoodDog! Helpline. This live telephone service connects you with a professional trainer who will offer unlimited, individualized advice on everything from behavioral issues to CGC prep to getting started in dog sports.

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