article by uday kadali

Exploring Why Dogs Sleep Under the Bed: Reasons, Behavior, and Solutions

Dogs are known for their peculiar sleeping habits, and one of the most common behaviors is their preference for sleeping under the bed. As a pet owner, you might have observed that your dog likes to go under every piece of furniture you possess or if you buy a new one. They will explore every nook and cranny of your home, go inside or under them, and even choose some of the spots as their favorite hangout or resting spot. It can be frustrating if you have bought a plush bed for your beloved pooch, but he chooses to abandon it and sleep under the bed.

Many dog owners have witnessed this strange behavior. If you are one of them, chances are, you have even wondered why my dog sleeps under my bed. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this intriguing behavior of our furry friends and how we can address it. 

Main Reasons Why Dogs Sleep Under the Bed

In spite of offering your dog the best possible bedding or even after choosing to share your bed with your pet if your dog chooses to sleep under the bed, there are a few reasons that might be triggering this behavior. We have listed some of them. Go through these points to see if you can identify what is the mystery behind your pooch's behavior.

1. Instinctual Denning Behavior:

Our furry friends used to dig small holes or find small hiding places to create a den-like environment when they were in the wild. They possess this natural burrowing instinct which they inherited from their ancestors. They used to do this for security and comfort during sleep. Although our pets live in the luxury and safety of our homes, this habit is ingrained in their genes. So, sleeping under the bed is their way of recreating this denning behavior.

2. Safety and Security:

One of the primary reasons dogs sleep under the bed is the sense of security it provides. The enclosed space gives them a cozy spot where they feel protected from potential threats. You will see your dog behaving this way in a new environment, especially when you bring home a new puppy or have some guests. If your dog is hiding under the bed or acting strange, it could indicate anxiety or fear. 

3. Temperature Regulation:

As Dogs have fur-covered torsos, they have limited means for regulating their body temperature. The environment can be difficult for your dog if you are in a warm climate or going through the warm season. Hence they naturally gravitate towards cooler spots in your home. In most cases, the area under our bed is cool, which allows them to escape the heat in a  den-like environment. 

4. They've Been Naughty:

Although dogs don’t know what being naughty is, sometimes, they may seek refuge under the bed after behaving naughtily. In essence, they know what is not expected of them. So, if they think they have crossed the boundaries or done something you won’t appreciate, they are hiding from potential consequences or seeking a secure space to escape reprimands.
Also, If you find your dog under the bed, hiding from you, and avoiding eye contact, look around. Most likely, they have done something they are forbidden.

5. Health Issues:

You may come across situations where your dog abandons its usual resting place and choose to sleep under the bed. This can be due to some underlying health issues. Dogs usually look for a secluded, quiet spot when they are in some kind of pain, discomfort, or going through some illness. If your dog starts sleeping under the bed, it is a good idea to watch out for any signs of distress. Also, notice if they show any signs of lethargy or loss of appetite. They can also behave this way if they are injured. It is their instinctual coping mechanism. If any such signs are present, it is crucial that you consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health concerns.

6. Noise and Disturbance Reduction:

Our four-legged family members have very sensitive hearing, so loud noises and disturbances bother them more than it bothers us. Every dog owner knows how helpless and anxious our furry friends become when fireworks happen nearby. The high-pitched noises of fireworks are very stressful for them. Sounds from loud motor vehicles or any nearby construction site can also trigger anxiety in them. By hiding under the bed, dogs can seek solace and block out external stimuli.
If you have kids at home that play with your dog, it can be stressful or tiresome for the dogs as they hardly allow them any uninterrupted downtime. So, your dog might choose to sleep under the bed to hide from all the ruckus and disturbances. This allows them to have an undisturbed and safe resting spot.

7. They Might Have Found Something Forbidden:

If your dog finds something they are not usually allowed to have, say a food item or something they like to chew. They may store these things under your bed, considering it to be its den. They can even do this with their favorite toys. Later on, they get under the bed and have their moment with the toys or enjoy those pieces of food items they collected over time.

8. Choosing a spot close to you:

All the spaces under big pieces of furniture in your home are suitable “dens” for your dog. But if your dog chooses to sleep under your bed despite you allowing him in the bed, chances are they want to be close to you, but the bed, for some reason, doesn’t feel suitable for him. It may be that the room temperature is warmer, or he is looking for a spot that provides him a better view of his surroundings.  

Whatever the cause, he just wants to relocate yet be close to you. The area under the bed becomes an ideal choice as it provides a constant smell of yours along with a cool resting spot or wide open view of the floor.

 

Training Your Dog Not To Hide Under Things

Usually, it shouldn’t bother you if your dog enjoys private time inside their personal “den”. Let them have their moment. But, if you are concerned that the dog is physically bigger and can get stuck or if you are concerned about your dog hiding under the bed too frequently, there are steps you can take to redirect their behavior. Remember not to scold them. Try to understand what is the reason behind the issue and address it appropriately. 

1. Provide a Dog Bed:

Create a designated cozy sleeping area for your dog, such as a plush dog bed, place it in a well-ventilated, temperature-regulated place, and positively reward your dog whenever he uses the bed. Over time, he will learn to sleep on his bed.

2. Crate Train Your Dog:

Good crate training goes a long way. Buy a crate big enough for your dog and cozy it up with dog blankets, toys, and treats. Start at an early age. Good crate training will help you deal with many situations. Don’t force your dog inside the crate. If you make it attractive enough, they will explore it themselves; over time, they will make it their den. You must be patient and persistent and reward him for staying inside the crate. A well-crate-trained dog can sleep comfortably the whole night inside a crate. 

3. Alleviate anxiety:

If your dog is hiding under the bed out of stress or anxiety, it is best to remove the source of anxiety in the first place. On the other hand, you can provide some distraction or calming agent, like a favorite blanket or some light music. If loud noises are bothering your dog, try to place your pooch in a closed room to reduce the intensity of the sound and be there with him to calm him down. 

4. Put Up a Barricade:

If you don’t want your dog to access the underside of the bed for any reason, simply put up a barrier or cover the entry spots with something. This will deny him access to that space altogether. 

5. Provide Positive Reinforcement:

Use positive reinforcement and rewards to motivate your dog to sleep in preferred areas. Remember to reward him with praises and treats whenever he sleeps at the right spot. Timing is crucial for positive reinforcement. An untimed reward can send a wrong message. He will learn to use the spot intended for him to sleep with time. Once he starts using the bed, remember to praise him but reduce the frequency of the treats. 

6. Seek Professional Help:

If you think your dog is hiding under the bed due to any medical issues or injuries, it is important to consult a veterinarian. Or, if the behavior persists for what so ever reason and you are significantly concerned, seeking professional help is advisable.

Takeaway

Dogs sleeping under the bed is a common phenomenon and is not really a matter of concern. They are doing this out of instinct to use a den or need security, comfort, or safety. It might be a matter of concern if you believe your dog is doing this out of anxiety or exhibiting excessive hiding behavior. providing some assistance or addressing the root cause will be appropriate for such cases. 

Every dog is unique, and some have a higher borrowing instinct due to their breed.  So it isn’t fair to compare them with others. Just be attentive to their needs and provide the encouragement and love they desire. If needed, don’t shy away from taking professional help and ensure your dog feels safe and comfortable in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my dog sleeping under the bed indicate that it is hiding?

Dogs tend to sleep under the bed due to their innate animal instinct. Sometimes they playfully hide under the bed. However, since dogs are domesticated animals, they generally prefer to be near humans. If your dog is hiding under the bed, shaking, or reluctant to come out, it may indicate anxiety, illness, or fear. As the owner, you need to observe and, if necessary, consult a professional to identify the underlying cause.

Why do dogs prefer to sleep on the floor?

Dogs have a higher body temperature than humans, so they seek out cooler surfaces like tiles or wooden floors to regulate their body temperature. Another reason why dogs may choose to sleep on the floor is if they are not comfortable with their current sleeping arrangement. Lastly, if your dog encounters any type of physical pain, it may opt for a hard surface like the floor to sleep.

Should I allow my dog to sleep under my bed?

If it isn’t bothering you or if you don’t notice any sign of distress, then it is ok to let your dog enjoy the comfort and security of the cozy den they have established under your bed.

Why does my dog only sleep under my bed?

Dogs love to feel the emotional attachment it has with its owner. Hence, to enjoy your presence and to feel safe and comfortable, your dog likes to sleep only under your bed and not others.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to sleeping under the bed?

Yes, some dog breeds have a higher tendency to burrow, and these breeds are more prone to sleeping under the bed. But not all dogs of these breeds will have the same tendency. Some of the popular breeds that enjoy burrowing or sleeping in small dark “dens” are Dachshunds, Terrier breeds, etc.

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