If your dog has been hiding, at night, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog hide at night? Possible reasons why your dog has been hiding at night are a problem with the room it sleeps in, fearfulness, someone mistreating it, injury or illness, depression, still being young or inadvertently encouraging the behavior.
Since there are a number of reasons why your dog might have been hiding, at night, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog hides at night
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It might be the case that something has been causing it to become fearful. This would be more likely if it does it more at certain times such as when there are fireworks, sirens or construction works outside.
In this case, it would help to remove the thing that is making it become fearful if possible or to try desensitization training.
Someone mistreating it
The cause could be that someone mistreated it.
This would be more likely if you recently adopted it from a shelter. In this case, it would be likely that it would begin to do it less as it becomes more comfortable around you and its new surroundings.
But, it would help to give it lots of attention, exercise and to play with it. If it doesn’t improve over the course of a few weeks then it would help to get help from a vet or dog behaviorist.
It could also be the case that someone mistreated it recently. This would be more likely if it has started hiding suddenly and if it does it when a certain person is around.
Another possible cause is that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, if it has been crying, vomiting or showing other signs of being ill or injured. The best option, in this case, would be to take it to a vet.
A problem with the room it sleeps in
The cause could also be that there is an issue with the room it sleeps in. It might be the case that it is too noisy, too bright or there could be something else in the room causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it does not hide as much when it can sleep in different rooms.
The cause might be that something has been causing it to be depressed. Causes could include an owner moving away, being mistreated or another pet dying.
In this case, it might improve over the course of a few weeks. But, you can help by giving your dog positive attention in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. If it does not improve after a few weeks then it would help to get the help of a vet or a dog behaviorist.
Being too intimidating with it
Dogs were bred to work alongside their owners for hours daily so they are highly intuned with their owner’s emotions. If you get aggressive or emotional around your dog it will cause it to react to it and it could be why it has been hiding.
Instead, it would help to be calm around your dog and to give it lots of training so that it learns how to behave.
It’s still young
Sometimes, puppies will go through a more fearful stage. If your dog is a puppy then it could be the case that it is going through a more fearful stage and it is likely that it will stop in a few weeks.
Inadvertently encouraging the behavior
The cause might also be that it has learned that hiding at night results in it getting rewards. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, when it hides at night, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
The cause might also be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it starts showing signs of being anxious when you are leaving to go to bed, at night, and if it does not hide when it can sleep where you sleep.
Things to consider
Below are a couple of things to consider when figuring out the main cause.
What else happened when your dog first started hiding at night
If your dog did not always hide at night, it would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as injury, illness or something causing it to be fearful.
What is different when it does it
It would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it does not do it when it can sleep with you, it would be more likely that it does it due to having some separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog hiding at night
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop hiding at night.
Be calm around it
When interacting with your dog it would help to be calm with it since they can be very responsive to their owner’s emotions. If you get emotional or aggressive around your dog then it will usually cause it to react itself.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has learned to hide due to rewarding the behavior. Instead, try to reward it when it does not hide, to redirect its attention when it is about to hide and to train it to come to you when you want it to.
Avoid punishing it
If you punish your dog, for hiding, then it will likely reinforce the behavior and make it become more fearful of you. Instead, it would be better to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way you want it to.
Give it exercise and play with it
If it is healthy, it would also help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed. Doing so should help to get it to go to sleep more easily.
Ensure that its sleeping environment is comfortable for it
It would also help to ensure that the room it sleeps in is comfortable for it. The room should be not too bright, cool and quiet.
Reduce reasons why it might anxious
It would also help to limit reasons why it might be anxious at night. Things you could do would include, letting it pee just before you go to bed, giving it sufficient exercise during the day and not making it have to wait too long between meals.
Get help from a vet or dog behaviorist
If it has been showing signs of injury or illness, the best option would be to take it to a vet. If it is healthy, but it has been hiding excessively for more than a few weeks, it would also help to get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to see what you should do in order to get your dog to stop doing it.
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