Your dog starts sleeping under your bed. It makes you confused and even a bit worried.
And you start looking for answers…
Let me help you.
Buckle up because you’re about to find out:
- How you could be reinforcing the behavior without realizing it.
- 3 dangerous conditions because of which your dog sleeps under the bed.
- Why you should crate train your dog and how it can stop them from going under the bed.
- 5 easy tips to stop your dog from sleeping under the bed (make sure to check out #5).
- And way more…
Table of contents
- Why does my dog sleep under the bed?
- Why does my dog suddenly sleep under the bed?
- 7 reasons why your dog sleeps under the bed (all of a sudden)
- How to get my dog to stop sleeping under the bed? 5 tips
Why does my dog sleep under the bed?
Your dog sleeps under the bed for various reasons such as being scared of certain noises, wanting to be close to you, searching for an alternative of a “den”, being ill or in pain and wanting to be undisturbed, hiding food scraps or toys under there, being hand-shy and avoiding touch.
Why does my dog suddenly sleep under the bed?
Your dog could start suddenly sleeping under the bed if they’re in an unfamiliar environment. For example, if you’ve just moved house. Or if they’ve developed anxiety. Other possibilities include a physical injury or an illness. This is likely to be the case if there’s no other evident reason.
7 reasons why your dog sleeps under the bed (all of a sudden)
#1: Just chilling in the…den
Sometimes your dog has had enough of the hubbub at home. They want to have some time of their own.
And what better place for that than under the bed?
Chances are, when your dog is there, no one disturbs them. And they’re loving it!
Dogs are den animals after all. They feel safe in small enclosed spaces. It’s an instinctual behavior.
Things aren’t always as simple as your dog wanting to relax. In some instances, the reason could be much more serious.
Such is the case with dogs who are anxious.
“What causes anxiety?”, you might ask.
Any stressful event such as:
- Loud gatherings at home.
- The weather getting crazy (thunderstorms).
- Fireworks on New Year’s Eve or the 4th of July.
- A child handling them roughly (such as pulling their tail).
Anxious dogs need a hideaway
So don’t be surprised that when that firework show starts, they end up under the bed faster than a bullet.
Other signs of anxiety in dogs include:
- Destructive behavior
- Attempting to escape
Some rescue dogs have anxiety. It’s caused by past trauma.
Warning: If your dog is anxious and you don’t have them treated, the anxiety can worsen.
Read next: 9 reasons why your dog barks at fireworks
#3: Physical injury
Your dog could be in pain. And you might not have the slightest idea.
But it’s not your fault.
Fact is, dogs are real pros in covering pain. It’s how they’re wired.
Dogs in the wild would cover their pain. This is a survival mechanism from their side.
Otherwise, they could be exposing themselves to danger. It’s because they’ll appear weak to enemies.
It’s good to keep this in mind while considering the possibilities of why your dog hides under the bed.
Vets observed that some dog patients would give the impression they’re relaxed. Even comfortable, while in reality, they’re in strong pain.
So what’s your dog to do if they’re already in pain?
Besides hiding it, they’ll try to avoid more pain. And they do it by preventing you from touching where it hurts.
In other words, they’ll:
- Snapping at you.
- Hiding somewhere where you can’t reach them.
Read further: 15 reasons why your dog growls at night
Another unpleasant, yet an important possibility to consider, is an illness.
Typically, when dogs feel unwell, they’d try to get away from everyone and everything.
If an illness is the cause, you’ll notice some more signs.
Here are a few examples:
- Lack of appetite
#5: Your dog is hand-shy
Now, you might be thinking “There’s such a thing as hand-shy?”
Well, yes. It’s as real as a dog’s desire to roll in poop every once in a while so they camouflage their own smell.
Hand-shy refers to a dog who doesn’t want to be touched.
By hiding under the bed they dodge the hands of:
- Unknown visitors
- And even their own pet parents
Reasons why your dog could’ve become hand-shy include:
- Being highly sensitive.
- Insufficient socialization.
- Having a fearful personality.
- Having negative associations with hands.
#6: Your dog is trying to be close to you
It could be that your dog is trying to be close to you.
Sleeping under your bed provides them with:
- Security because you’re there to protect them from certain dangers.
- Comfort, as the space under the bed, serves as an improvised den.
- Predictability because as soon as you get up, they’ll be able to follow you. So they won’t be left on their own.
The benefits go on and on.
But there’s more to it than meets the eye
The driving force behind this behavior could be clinginess or separation anxiety.
To be able to determine which one it is, you have to look for additional signs.
Separation anxiety typically goes hand in hand with:
- Destructive chewing
It all happens when the pet parents are away. And the dog is all alone.
Reading tip: 13 odd reasons why your dog howls when you leave
As to when you’re at home, your dog might not want to leave your sight.
This could also mean they’re a velcro dog. Which is basically a dog that’s stuck to you like glue.
Such clinginess is characterized by:
- Watching your every move.
- Following you like a second shadow.
- Needing and wanting to be next to you all the time.
Note: A velcro dog might not have separation anxiety. But a dog with separation anxiety could also be a velcro dog.
You might also enjoy: 5 reasons why your dog is clingy and needy at night
#7: There’s a (dog) treasure under the bed
Dogs love hiding their valuables in holes when they’re in nature. But when they live inside, it’s a different story…
By valuables, I mean scraps of food they didn’t feel like eating at the moment. Or some “toys” you wouldn’t normally allow them to play with. Such as your socks for example.
Your dog would stash certain things under the bed because they consider it a safe territory. Especially if you don’t bother to check that often what’s going on there.
If your dog has a lot of toys there, they’re likely to want to sleep next to their stuff.
Lissa (my Chihuahua-Mini Spitz mix) loves to sleep in her own bed. And takes a toy or two of hers while at it. It’s a dog thing.
#BONUS: Your dog is noise-sensitive
Noise sensitivity is a thing among dogs.
In fact, more than 20% of dogs in the UK suffer from this. The intensity of their fear is from mild to severe.
It’s also known as phobia towards certain noises. Usually, these are noises caused by:
Warning: If noise sensitivity isn’t diagnosed on time, it can escalate. As a result, your dog could become easily scared of all types of sounds. Even if they’re less intense.
This happens because your dog starts generalizing their fear of specific sounds.
Noise-sensitivity could affect your dog’s life
Some dogs become reluctant to go on walks in certain areas. Or even get out of the house.
What’s more, research found that dogs who suffer from musculoskeletal pain are prone to have a higher sensitivity to noise.
Because as soon as they hear an alarming sound, their muscles will tense. This will then increase the pain they’re feeling. And the dogs will feel more pressure on their inflamed muscles and joints.
Researchers advise that veterinarians run a full physical checkup. That way, pain could be treated. And from there on the behavior.
How to get my dog to stop sleeping under the bed? 5 tips
Personally, I’m not a fan of my dog sleeping under the bed. It’s not that I don’t want my dog to feel comfy…
I just have a dust allergy. And whenever my dog’s fur brushes against places that are dustier, there’s an allergen party in the air! And my nose starts leaking and my eyes watering.
So, as you can see I have my reasons to want to prevent the behavior. I’m sure you do too.
Here’s how you can achieve it:
#1: Get your dog what they want (need)
No, I don’t mean let them be.
In reason #1 I spoke about how natural it is for a dog to hide in a den.
But there are no dens in apartments and houses…
So, your dog is forced to improvise.
And they choose to rest under a chair, a stool…or the bed.
But it doesn’t’ have to be this way.
The first thing I advise you to do is to pick a part of the house where you’d like your dog to retreat
Then place a crate there. The crate should serve as a safe haven. Meaning, your dog should take to it like a duck to water.
To help your dog do that, you should crate-train them.
The good news is that you can do that by putting inside a favorite toy of theirs, Their bowl of water. A comfort blanket.
All of these items will help your dog smell familiar scents. And associate their crate with something they love.
As soon as you notice your dog sniffing the crate, hand them a treat. Do the same once they go in to explore.
Warning: Never force your dog into the crate. This could backfire and it would take you longer to gain their trust again and crate train them properly.
Last but not least, you can put a blanket over the crate so it feels more secluded. This should give your dog the ultimate den feeling. 🙂
You might also find this read helpful: 11 reasons why your dog suddenly hates the crate
#2: Leave nothing to chance
Your dog has suddenly started sleeping under your bed. You can wait for some time and see if they stop.
Or, you could take things into your own hands and speak to your vet.
It could turn out to be nothing to worry about. Then, you can consider yourself lucky.
But what if there’s a health issue?
Reacting on time could be the difference between your dog getting better or worse by the minute…
Either way, you can gain your peace of mind by:
- Ruling out a medical issue.
- Doing something to ease your furry friend’s situation.
Note: If you don’t have any nearby vet offices that are open, you can use the online service Ask A Vet.
In short, speaking to a vet is something you won’t regret.
#3: Work with your dog’s brain
In other words, train.
A puppy who is fearful of hands could resort under the bed.
But what if you start working with the puppy?
Positive reinforcement can do wonders for you and your pup.
Try to create positive associations. Whenever your puppy goes to sniff someone’s hand, give them a treat.
Do the same when someone touches your puppy. It could be petting or stroking. Doesn’t really matter. As long as there’s a gentle touch and you keep the treats coming.
Eventually, you’ll teach your puppy to perceive hands as something good. Even exciting!
You can do the same when it comes to loud noises
- Crate train your dog.
- Play the noise of the scary sound.
- Increase the noise when it’s meal or playtime.
- Introduce some additional noises. These could be sounds from cluttering pots in the sink. Or banging a ball against the wall.
#4: Remove anxiety triggers
If the cause for your dog’s hiding is fear, you’ll need to change something in their environment.
Maybe it’s too noisy for them.
Or they could be associating the vacuum cleaner in the corner with danger. No joke.
Some dogs could be reactive to brooms or other objects.
It all comes down to what experience the dog has had with the object in question.
Don’t miss out on this article: Why does my dog bark at the vacuum?
Observe your dog:
- Are they trying to move away from a certain place in your home?
- Do they seem uneasy around certain people from your household?
- Do they cower at the sight of you holding the mop, broom or vacuum cleaner?
If so, try a different approach and remove any object that could be stressing out your dog. Then watch if the dog’s behavior changes.
In case your dog is anxious around a certain person, look if it’s something the person is doing. Maybe they’re carrying their keys with them all the time and the dog doesn’t like the jingling sound.
#5: The power of predictability
Whether your dog is a foster one or just a fearful soul, there’s one thing that can help them.
I’m talking about predictability.
Often, a dog could start suddenly hiding under the bed, if something unexpected has scared them.
As creatures with exceptional hearing, dogs can easily get stressed out by unknown noises. And if the noise is loud for you, imagine what it must be like for your dog… Basically, picture it 3 times louder.
Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?
Luckily, not all is lost.
There’s a method that can help your dog cope with the fear of the unknown. One word…
And while for you that might seem daunting, it could be a blessing for your dog.
Dogs can benefit from routines in the following ways:
- A routine helps a dog feel safe and secure.
- It works wonders when they’re suddenly put in a new environment.
- If your dog enjoys the event, they will burst with excitement every time it’s about to begin.
You might be wondering how your dog will be able to tell whether there’s a routine or not.
We, humans, have a biological clock. And so do dogs!
The biological clock alerts them when the time for a walk has come. Or when it’s dinner time.
The more there are pleasant events, the better it would be for your dog’s mood. And confidence, as they’ll know what to expect.
Here’s what to do when your dog is scared of sounds such as fireworks:
- Play fireworks or thunder sound at a low volume.
- You can do this several times a day at a particular time slot of your choice.
- Give your dog a favorite activity to do in the meantime. Play tug of war together or fetch. Or teach them commands with a high-value treat (boiled chicken for example).
By doing this consistently, you’ll manage to get an important message to your dog. It’s that they needn’t be scared of sounds like that.
BONUS#: Don’t encourage the behavior
Have you been rewarding your dog for hiding under the bed?
Maybe you’ve been trying to get them out by giving them treats. Or petting.
So your dog could get the idea that in order to receive some rewards, they first have to go under the bed.
And what happens if this scenario repeats itself?
It could turn into a habit.
Avoid trying to get them out by offering treats. Instead, direct their attention to crate training.
Besides that, there’s also the danger that you could be encouraging nervous behavior.
If you notice your dog is hiding because they’re scared, don’t try to comfort them
This won’t benefit your dog. What it will do is let them know that you approve of this behavior.