Does your dog hide in various parts of your house or yard fairly regularly?
Do they seem to have a preferred place to hide?
Is there a pattern to their hiding behavior?
What’s going on here? Why do dogs hide? Let’s find out.
Six Reasons Why Dogs Hide Away in Dark Places (Like Under the Bed)
Dogs hide because they want to alleviate negative feelings such as stress or pain.
Or they hide because they like being alone in a quiet space where they can relax without too much stimulation.
Of course, this is a summary of why your dog might often hide in dark places.
So, let’s look at a more detailed list of reasons why your dog might behave in this way:
- Stress or Anxiety
- Sickness or Injury
- Peace and Quiet
- They Are Avoiding You for Some Reason
- They are Protecting Their Treasures
- They are Playing or Looking for Something of Interest
Before we jump into the details, here is a short but adorable video of dogs hiding in funny places.
Just click on the video to enjoy watching these super-cute pups:
NOTE – You might also like to find out the answer to the question – can dogs fake injuries for attention?
1. Stress or Anxiety
When a dog feels stressed or anxious, it might use hiding as a coping strategy.
Finding a quiet, dark den-like space under the bed or somewhere similar to curl up can help them feel more secure and less stressed.
In fact, if you haven’t got anywhere like this in your house, it can be really useful to create a space like this for them.
A dog crate with bedding inside and covered with a blanket – so it’s nice and dark – is an excellent method of creating a den for your dog to hide in.
Then if they ever feel the need, they can slip away and chill out in a quiet, warm, and dark place where they feel safe.
NOTE – You might want to take a look at this post asking the question: why doesn’t my dog get excited to see me?
2. Sickness or Injury
Very similar to if your dog is suffering from stress, if your dog is sick or injured, they may be much more likely to find somewhere to hide.
If your dog is showing any other symptoms of pain or sickness, this could well be the reason for the hiding, in which case you should probably take them to a vet for a check-up.
NOTE – If you are in financial difficulty, you can take a look at this link to find places that offer help with vet bills.
3. Peace and Quiet
Dogs sometimes hide to get peace and quiet, especially if they live in a busy home or with young children who pester the dog or play very loudly around them.
If this sounds like it could be the reason your dog has been hiding, you should do your best to give them a snug, dark, den-like place to enjoy some quiet time on their own.
If you have young children, you should make sure they don’t go near this hiding space, so the dog knows they will be left alone when they are in it.
NOTE – You may also want to read this post looking at 11 noises dogs hate.
4. They Are Avoiding You for Some Reason
Dogs hide when they think they are in trouble and are scared that their owners will shout at them or tell them off.
They might not understand why they are in trouble, but they know when you are angry with them, and hiding might be a way of avoiding that.
5. They Are Protecting Their Treasures
Dogs and their treasures are so cute!
It might be a toy, a chew, a bone, or a special blanket.
They have something they feel protective over, so they take it somewhere quiet to stop other dogs or humans from stealing it from them.
As long as their “treasure” is something they are allowed to play with, then it is probably best to leave them to hide with it.
After all, if it does you no harm and helps keep them happy, why not?
6. They are Playing or Looking for Something of Interest
When you see your dog hiding, it could be that they are just playing around or exploring a different part of the house.
This is perfectly normal and natural behavior, and unless they are causing some damage, the best thing is to let them enjoy hiding away under the bed or wherever they may be.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Hides a Lot?
The answer to this question depends on why they are hiding.
Once you understand why your dog is hiding, you can figure out what, if anything, you should do about it.
Is it Normal or Excessive Hiding?
If they are hiding due to stress, pain, or illness, you should be able to spot it.
If they are acting differently from usual and seem distressed, there is probably an underlying reason that you need to investigate and fix.
Or if they seem fine in all other ways, then the chances are that there is nothing to worry about, and you should just let them enjoy their time alone.
Stress Reduction and Positive Reinforcement
If you want them to hide less, there are two approaches you can try:
- Stress reduction – Eliminate whatever stress-related factors could be upsetting your dog and see if they hide less.
- Positive reinforcement – Luring them out of their hiding place and rewarding them with a treat and some positive attention.
Why Your Dog Hides – You Know Your Dog Best
As a dog owner, you know your dog best. So if you think the hiding behavior is nothing to worry about, you are probably right.
But if the dog shows signs of distress, pain, or sickness, there could be something wrong with the dog, in which case you should figure out what is wrong or take them to the vet asap.
Final Notes On Why Dogs Hide Under the Bed and in Dark Places
Dogs often hide for perfectly healthy reasons that are nothing to worry about, but they can also do so as a coping strategy when something isn’t right.
Sadly they can’t tell you what might be wrong, so it’s up to you to figure out what might be causing them to hide.
If you think your pet pooch might be sick, injured, unhappy, or anxious, you should do your best to help them as soon as possible.
As with any questions about your dog’s health, if you aren’t sure what to do, the best thing is to take them to the vet to get professional help.
That is the end of this post focusing on the question – why do dogs hide under the bed and in similar dark places?
If you have any more questions for our team, please feel free to comment using the form below.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!