Why Is My Dog Sleeping Under the Bed?

Why Is My Dog Sleeping Under the Bed

Whether your house is full of cozy spots for your dog to sleep or not, your pooch will find a way to make himself comfortable.

For some of you, this means losing your favorite spot on the couch to your canine companion, and for others sharing your bed with a giant fluffball. Some dogs, however, are unpredictable and they might end up choosing the narrow, dusty space underneath your bed.

If that’s the case for you then you might be asking yourself, why is my dog sleeping under the bed?

Dogs will sleep under the bed to be closer to their owner, or because they enjoy the privacy. Perhaps your dog is hiding a secret toy stash, or they’re hiding out of fear. If your dog is suddenly sleeping under the bed then it could be stress-related, or a reaction to an illness or injury.

Discover all the possible reasons your pooch loves sleeping and spending time under the bed, whether you need to worry about this behavior and how you can deal with it!

Why Is My Dog Sleeping Under the Bed?

If your dog has turned the space under your bed into their own sleeping quarters then it’s only natural that you’re wondering whether this behavior is normal, so let’s see if it is!

Reason 1: Your Dog Wants Privacy

The spot under your bed might seem like an unattractive place to sleep, but for a dog that is seeking privacy, this might be the best place to hide.

One reason could be the simple fact that you never move the bed, unlike a chair or a table the bed usually stays in the same spot and so it’s a really reliable place to go to when your dog wants to be alone and they know that no one is going to disturb them.

The reason why your dog feels secure under the bed could be because they’ve turned it into their own private den, where they can seek refuge when they are overstimulated by a sound or the attention of other people.

This is actually a natural dog behavior, that goes all the way back to their puppyhood. According to Patty Khuly, DVM, “pups spend their first few weeks learning that a den is a safe, clean place to live and learn.” She also adds that when it comes to sick and injured dogs dens are “where they go to convalesce in peace…or die.”

If your dog doesn’t have a crate, or a spot in the house that they can call their own, where they know that no one is going to disturb them then it only makes sense that they will start using the space under your bed instead.

Reason 2: Your Dog Is Avoiding You

While Alexandra Horowitz, a dog researcher, suggests that we can’t be entirely sure if dogs feel shame or guilt, she admits that dogs can certainly behave in ways that suggest that they can experience these feelings, or something approximate.

I mean I can recognize my dog’s walk of shame each time he’s rolled in some poop he found in the fields by our house, or the puppy eyes he gives me when he’s done something equally “bad”.

For those of you who haven’t witnessed the walk of shame I’m talking about, here’s a compilation video!

If your dog doesn’t do the walk of shame, or they avoid making puppy eyes at you then they might be expressing their guilt by hiding under the bed.

Perhaps it’s worth paying attention to the times your dog decides to sleep under the bed. Do they go there after they’ve done something “bad” like chewing on your favorite shoes while you were gone? If your answer is yes then perhaps they are trying to avoid being scolded.

Reason 3: Your Dog Is Hiding Something

My dog loves hiding his favorite toys, and his favorite spot happens to be under the bed in our guest room. I think that’s because no one ever goes there, and so he recognizes that this is the safest place to keep his belongings.

If your dog is hiding half-eaten treats, toys, and some stolen goods from you like a hair brush then don’t be alarmed.

Dog trainer Deborah Fenton explains that “most of the time when dogs hide things, they do so because they have an instinct to hoard or guard their food and possessions.”

Reason 4: Your Dog Wants to Be Close to You

Dogs, even the ones living on the street in urban areas, prefer denning close to humans. So it comes as no surprise that your own doggy has chosen the space under your bed as their den.

Not only is that spot, enclosed and secure but it’s also right under their favorite person!

If you don’t allow your dog to sleep on the bed with you, but they still have access to your bedroom then your dog is likely to look for another cozy spot somewhere near your bed, and in this case, it could be right under it.

It’s also a great spot for avoiding being stepped on by their favorite human, and as soon as you’re awake they can start following you around, probably demanding food. It also makes it even easier for them to tell when you’re awake since they can hear your movements.

That being said, this type of attachment could be the result of separation anxiety. According to Debra Horwitz, DVM “most dogs with separation anxiety try to remain close to their owners, follow them from room to room and rarely spend time outdoors alone.”

Additionally, dogs will “show distress behaviors such as vocalization, destruction, or house soiling when separated from the owners,” Horwitz adds.

Reason 5: Your Dog Is Stressed or Afraid

Stress is another reason that your dog is hiding or choosing the space under your bed to sleep. This stress could be rooted in separation anxiety, or it could be the result of a recent change in their day-to-day life.

The arrival of a new baby could make your dog feel neglected, or perhaps it’s the complete opposite and you’re having visitors at your home and your poor pooch is overstimulated by the attention they are getting from grownups, and their kids.

In other words, sleeping under the bed could be your dog’s way of saying that they don’t want to play anymore.

Reason 6: Your Dog Is Afraid

“Noise aversions are quite common, with estimates of 1/3 of the canine population affected,” Kenneth Martin, DVM states.

I’m quite familiar with this issue because my fluffy companion used to hide under the bed during thunderstorms or fireworks. But with lots of training and positive reinforcement, my dog learned to deal with that fear. Sometimes the sound of fireworks still gets to him, but it’s something we’re always working on.

It’s important to deal with your dog’s fears as early as possible because fear can easily turn into a phobia which in turn can affect the quality of your dog’s life.

I also want to note that hiding and sleeping under the bed could become a habit for your pooch, especially if the sense of security that spot offers them is reinforced every time something stressful or scary occurs in their life.

Reason 6: Your Dog Is Sick or Injured

If your dog is constantly seeking that spot under the bed then you need to pay attention to their behavior because it could be a sign that your dog is in pain, either because they are sick or they were injured.

According to Malcolm Weir, DVM, “a dog who is painful may withdraw from his usual family interactions. He may become less engaged in his surroundings.”

Aside from sleepiness, you are likely to notice other changes like sudden bursts of aggression when you approach your pooch. Dogs that aren’t feeling well will also avoid certain activities they used to enjoy, and you may see that they are reluctant to go for a walk, instead, they will choose to hide under the bed and sleep.

Dogs are also really good at hiding signs of pain, and perhaps the only clue your dog will give you is the fact that they keep disappearing under the bed.

That’s why if you suspect that your dog’s behavior is starting to change and they are spending more time under the bed, then it’s important to take them to the vet and establish whether that behavior comes from pain or anxiety.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Sleeping Under the Bed?

If your dog has always been sleeping under your bed then it might be difficult to see it as a sign that something is wrong, but if it’s a newly acquired behavior then you definitely need to look into it!

They Want to Cool Down

Bluecross states that “unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin and so they rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose to regulate their body temperature and keep cool.”

To avoid the extreme heat dogs will often seek shady spots to lie down and the spot under your bed might be the perfect place for your canine companion to cool down.

So, if you notice your dog going under the bed during the summer then you need to make sure they have a cooler alternative, as well as fresh water and perhaps an AC or fan in the room they love to hang out the most.

Separation Anxiety

If your dog is sleeping under the bed out of clinginess then you need to determine whether they’re suffering from separation anxiety.

Aside from clinginess, you may notice other behaviors associated with separation anxiety like pacing, barking, and howling, your dog may start urinating and defecating when left alone, and you may notice your pooch partaking in destructive behaviors like chewing and digging.

Because these behaviors can also be the result of a health issue, it’s important to first take your dog to the vet. A professional veterinarian can also give you advice on how to handle separation anxiety and they can recommend a good dog behaviorist.

Stressful Environment

In some cases, your dog might be trying to cool down mentally, so pay attention if the visitors in your house aren’t overusing your dog’s social batteries, especially if they are not as comfortable around strangers.

Children can be too enthusiastic for certain breeds, so it’s important to give your dog a place where they can hide if you don’t want them to go under your bed.

Whether it’s caused by other people or certain noises, a stressful environment can make your dog unhappy, and they will look for ways to cope with their stress, and your dog might choose to hide under the bed,

Socializing your dog and desensitizing them to the sounds they fear can stop their fears from becoming phobias. One sound can turn into a group of sounds, which can simply debilitate your dog.

I also want to add that dogs suffering from musculoskeletal pain are prone to higher noise sensitivity. That’s because the moment a dog hears a noise their muscles will tense, thus increasing the pain they’re feeling. This alone can make your dog hide under the bed.

Your Dog Isn’t Feeling Well

Seeing your dog suddenly sleeping under the bed is a reason enough to suspect that something is not right.

I also get that dogs are good at hiding the fact that they’re in pain but as owners, we can still see when our canine companion no longer wants to cuddle, or they are not eating as much as they used to.

Small changes should be enough to tell us that it’s time to take our dog for a check-up. Even if there’s nothing serious with your pooch, you will have learned that you can deal with this new sleeping behavior through training and not medication.

Should You Be Worried If Your Dog Is Sleeping Under the Bed?

The answer heavily depends on your dog and how well you know them. What is normal for one dog, might be a bad sign for another dog. For instance, seeing a Great Dane sleeping over 16 hours a day is usually normal, but seeing a Border Collie sleeping this long should be alarming!

That being said, this behavior can and should be alarming if you’re suddenly finding your dog sleeping and hiding under the bed. That won’t necessarily mean that they are sick, but it could be a sign that your dog is not happy with their environment.

Before you start worrying about whether this behavior is normal or not you should ask yourself when did your dog start sleeping under the bed and under what circumstances. Pay attention when your dog is hiding under the bed and the possible triggers.

How to Stop Your Dog from Sleeping Under the Bed?

If for whatever reason you are not happy with your dog’s new sleeping arrangements and you don’t want them to sleep or hide under the bed then there are a few things you can do to curb this behavior.

Let’s see your options!

Visit the Vet

If you find your dog sleeping under the bed then this behavior is definitely worth investigating, especially if you’re not used to your dog seeking refuge under there.

When it comes to unusual behaviors my advice is always going to be “take your dog to the vet”.

A professional veterinarian can identify any possible injury or illness, and even if the root of the problem is a psychological one, a veterinarian can still help you either by giving you training advice or re-directing you to a dog behaviorist.

I know the issue of your dog suddenly sleeping under the bed might be small, but it can easily turn into something more serious, so it’s important that you deal with it before that happens.

Use a Dog Crate

As we’ve already established your dog might be using the space under your bed as a den, and that’s often the case for dogs that don’t have a crate.

If that sounds familiar then consider providing your dog with a crate so they feel like they have their own personal space where they can sleep and relax whenever they feel overwhelmed by other people or certain sounds.

Since your dog likes the feeling of sleeping under the bed then you can drape a blanket over the top of the crate so it gives your pooch the same feeling of comfort.

If your dog likes hiding toys under the bed, you can place them in the crate, and any other comfort thing they may have, like a blanket.

It’s important not to force your dog to go inside the crate, instead, you need to properly crate train them, so it’s actually a place they enjoy being, otherwise, they will continue sleeping under the bed.

Find a Sleeping Alternative

If for whatever reason a crate is not an option for you then try giving your dog other sleeping options where they feel safe.

You can train your fluffy companion to sleep in a different location, but make sure that the new place is comfortable, and gives them that secluded and protected feeling that a den would.

You can always turn this into a DIY project!

Desensitization Training to Deal With Anxiety

If the reason your dog prefers to sleep under the bed stems from anxiety or fear then the first thing you need to do is try to identify what is causing that fear.

It’s important to look for any changes to your dog’s environment, like visitors coming over, or the arrival of a new baby that is crying.

Perhaps there are certain noises that trigger your dog’s fear like the vacuum cleaner, or you live in an area where thunderstorms are quite common.

No matter what the source of their anxiety might be it’s important to desensitize your dog to their fears through training. Repeated exposure in a controlled environment in low doses along with positive rewarding can help your pooch overcome their anxiety.

If you’re not sure how to do it make sure to talk to a professional dog behaviorist or trainer, so they can guide you through that process.

Positive Reinforcement

As I already mentioned above rewarding your dog is an important learning technique, and it’s called positive reinforcement.

It’s the best method if you’re trying to teach your dog that there’s no reason to choose the spot under the bed over their crate or any other spot that you’ve chosen for them.

By giving them treats every time they sleep in the preferred area you are creating a positive association in their mind, and rewiring their thought process about a certain sleeping spot or situation.

For example, if your dog is going under the bed because they are fearful of strangers then you can give your pooch a treat every time they sniff the hand of a visitor in your house.

Remember to avoid showering them with treats all the time, especially as they get more confident. Use words of affirmation, petting as well as treats to create a sense of safety.

Finally, if you find yourself struggling then seek help from a professional!

Closing Thoughts

Dogs love being cozy and as strange as it may sound to us, that dark spot under your bed could be the coziest place for them.

For some dogs, it’s the best place to escape unwanted attention from visitors or even their owners. I wouldn’t be surprised if you found a few toys, and your dog’s dark and shameful secrets like some chewed slippers and half-eaten treats under there.

While this behavior can be very innocent, triggered by your dog’s need to have their own personal den, it could also be the result of separation anxiety, or they might be seeking to hide because they are in pain.

That’s why if you feel that your dog sleeping or hiding under the bed is out of character, then make sure to check in with the vet and perhaps consider making a few changes so your doggy doesn’t feel the need to hide in order to feel safe.

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