Your dog is often hiding under the couch, or elsewhere, and whether it happens before or recently, you want to understand this behavior.
This is the whole point of this article and to do so, I suggest that you raise a few questions that it is important to ask yourself before you even want to solve the “problem”, if there is a problem.
When you observe behavior that your dog is engaging in, suddenly or not, that seems suspicious to you, it is always better and productive to seek to understand the cause of the problem rather than simply seeking to resolve the problem when it arises.
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Identify the onset of isolation behavior
So, first of all, you need to be able to identify the “date” from which your dog started adopting this isolation behavior: often hiding under the sofa or elsewhere. Indeed, was there an event or a trigger that could explain why your dog is trying to hide?
It is very important to try to identify what could have triggered this behavior in your dog because, for example, if there is an identifiable element that triggers this: you can gradually offer your dog desensitization work.
For example, if your dog often hides under the sofa when someone comes into your home, it is because he has certainly experienced a traumatic situation for him when one of your guests arrives or that he is afraid of people he does not know, etc. And in this case, it is more a work of socialization or re-socialization that should be offered to your dog.
Personally, I observed that my dog tended to hide when he heard the sound of my cast iron radiators flapping, it was systematic and yet I took a long time to understand his attitude. Once the trigger was identified, I was able to work with my dog to desensitize him to this noise and that he considers it a “non-event”.
A little additional advice : If you observe that your dog is hiding following an element that scares him, do not hesitate to call a dog trainer who can help you in the desensitization process so as not to risk aggravating the problem. by adopting, even unconsciously, a counterproductive attitude.
Why does my dog often hide under the sofa or elsewhere?
In addition, to further help you identify the onset of your dog’s isolation behavior, but also and above all to try to understand it, here are some avenues that can possibly help you understand:
- Be aware that it is not uncommon to observe this behavior in dogs that change environment , whether it is a geographical environment or a change of social group (moving, arrival or departure of a member of the group, human or congenerates, etc.) . This behavior is not “abnormal” and can happen over time. But you can still help your dog naturally with Bach Flowers for example. You can also establish or re-establish a reassuring routine for your dog (walks and regular games / education sessions for example, etc.).
The most important thing here will be to allow your dog to be comfortable in his paws, where ever he is, and/or with any person / dog / other animals by his side.
- Dogs who do not tolerate and appreciate physical contact very can also adopt a behavior of isolation to make sure they do not interact with anyone. Here, the most important will be on the one hand to respect the space that your dog needs, and especially not to force the contact, on the other hand, at the risk of seeing the appearance of aggressiveness in your dog. The side work to do here will be to strengthen your relationship so that your dog has more confidence in you, so that he is less suspicious of humans he does not know since he will have confidence in your ability to protect him. This work should be very gradual but above all supervised by a professional dog behavior so you don’t risk aggravating the problem.
- If your dog has started hiding very suddenly, do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian as well, it may be due to a health problem that causes pain in your dog . It is customary to say that once a dog is isolated and no longer feeds, it is not trivial and that you have to worry because it means that the dog in question is in suffering. Here, if your dog is “only” isolating himself, it may not mean anything “serious” but it is always reassuring to go for a check-up to eliminate all physical and medical reasons from your questions.
Moreover, for all questions concerning the behavior of your dog, whatever they are, it is always preferable to seek professional advice, whether it is a veterinarian or a behavioral dog trainer.
- Another reason that could trigger your dog’s isolation behavior, and which could therefore explain why he often hides under the sofa or elsewhere, is the fact that you may have a different attitude on a daily basis . Maybe you are more upset than usual, less patient, more stressed, sad, etc. ? It may sound harmless, but your mood can have an impact on your dog because it is well known that our dear canine friends are real emotional sponges. Thus, the fact of isolating oneself can be part of the consequences of a malaise of the master, transferred to the dog.
- A dog may also seek to hide to be left alone. I am thinking in particular of the masters (but especially of the children) who keep going to disturb their dog when it is in his basket. Be aware that the dog’s basket is a no-go zone when it is there . Always prefer to call your dog to come to you rather than going to “disturb” him in his basket. He must consider this place as a refuge area where he knows he will be quiet, in which case he will look for another place to land safely while being sure that you will not come to disturb him: like under the sofa for example.
Also, and to finish on the possible reasons which could push a dog to often hide under the sofa, perhaps you had what one could call a bad reflex, a gesture considered as malicious towards your dog , a day when you may have lost control and the gesture has gone too quickly? Well, this “violence”, even if it does not take place on a daily basis, can result in your dog preferring to isolate himself and hide rather than have contact with you, in memory of the last “violent” contact. that he had with you. So be careful, there is no judgment here and we can all have moments of weakness and silly gestures, but the most important thing is to be aware of this and to seek to regain the lost trust between you and your dog.
An element is often forgotten in the education process
Educating your animal is good, but it is imperative to think about Doing it the right way.
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My dog is often hiding under the sofa and elsewhere: what to remember!
Always try to understand why your dog is doing this rather than simply wanting to resolve the “symptoms” of the problem when it presents itself.
Identify the cause of the problem by remembering the possible triggers.
Offer your dog a comfortable place, his own place, where he will never be disturbed.
Never force contact , if your dog is isolated it is not for nothing. If you insist on making contact when he has clearly decided to go into hiding, your attitude could end up making your dog aggressive in fleeing a situation that does not make him comfortable.
Strengthen the relationship you have with your dog on a daily basis: take him out every day, offer him work, play and relaxation sessions with you.
Finally, the most important thing will be to seek advice from a veterinarian and / or a dog trainer so that they can help you identify the problem, on the one hand, and resolve it, on the other.
Final words and important recommendations
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