Does your dog sometimes find corners of the house to lay in? Or perhaps she finds a large plant to hide behind? You may puzzle over this behavior, especially if you have provided your pooch with her own special mats and beds.
Depending upon how long your dog has lived with you and the frequency/timing of this behavior, there may be various reasons why your dog might hide behind plants or in corners:
- Personal space
- Needs a “den”
- Too hot or cold
Your dog may be trying to tell you something. Keep reading to learn more about what it may mean.
1. Your Dog May be Fearful or Anxious
If you have just adopted either a puppy or a rescue, your dog may be frightened. A puppy may miss his mother and look for a safe place to curl up in to feel more secure.
Often, a crate or cozy bed with lots of blankets and a hot water bottle can help comfort your new puppy. Keep the crate or bed in your bedroom and give your new pup a safe stuffed toy and one of your old socks or t-shirts so he can smell your scent. If he wakes up in the middle of the night take him out to pee. Puppies have small bladders! See this great post from Cuteness.com for more about your puppy’s first night.
New Rescue Dogs
A newly adopted dog may feel very intimidated by his new home. Everything will be different and strange and he does not yet know if this will be a good or bad situation. His first inclination may be to look for a place to hide–under the bed, in a corner, or behind a couch or plant. This may be especially true for dogs who have had an abusive or challenging past.
Given time, kindness, and positive experiences, most dogs eventually adapt and come out of hiding. You can help by placing his bed in a corner of your bedroom and some blankets in corners he likes to hide in. Eventually, you can move his blankets closer to where you sit in the living room and let him know it is also a safe place. See my post about rescue dogs who have PTSD as well as How to Comfort and Heal a New Rescue Dog.
Sometimes loud noises or something going on outside may frighten your dog, and he may need a place to run to feel secure. If this happens only periodically, it is normal behavior for your pooch to seek a secure space.
One of my rescue dogs who has lived with me for three years absolutely hates fireworks! They really frighten her and she not only runs for the corners of the house but for the smallest room as well. I often see her sitting or curled up in the bathroom on the 4th of July, wide-eyed, and terrified. Tranquilizers help, but she usually stays there until they stop. See my post about dogs barking at sirens and motorcycles and other noises like fireworks.
Your dog may not be feeling well, and is simply seeking a place to rest and heal. If she seems lethargic and stays in a corner space for a while, you may want to have her checked out at the vet.
Sometimes, when my dogs have minor stomach upsets, they will go to a corner to rest for a while. I noticed one time that one of my dogs kept going to her daybed a lot in the corner of the living room under the stairwell. She kept licking her front paw and I discovered that she had a small gash on it. When I tried to help, she pulled her paw back and wouldn’t let me touch her. She just wanted to be left alone to deal with it herself. Fortunately, it healed in a couple of days without medical intervention.
After my smaller dog, Georgia, first came home from her surgery to remove a large tumor, she retreated to her daybed in the corner. When her sister, Charlotte, ventured over to play with her she growled, “Leave me alone! I have had a really bad day!” Charlotte backed off, a little confused, but respectful.
Dogs, especially older ones, can also have arthritis or pain from other medical issues. If your dog seems to react to being touched or held and retreats to a corner a lot, you should probably take him for a medical check-up.
4. Personal Space–Sometimes Dogs Don’t Want to be Found!
My sweet dog Georgia, who is featured in the picture above hiding behind a plant, really needs her personal space every now and then. Normally, she sits on my lap along with Charlotte in the morning when I have my coffee. Then she will hang out in my office or wherever I may be sitting. But, I am sometimes amused when I don’t know where she is and will call out her name only to see her trotting out from the corner to see what’s up!
I noticed this behavior about a year after I adopted my dogs. Georgia sometimes needs to take a break from her sister who barks at every little thing. She just does not want to get involved with all of the commotion and will retreat to a calmer space. Also, her sister can sometimes be a bit of a bully and is more aggressive. So, Georgia finds ways to create a calm, safe space for herself out of harm’s way.
See this cute video of a pooch who does not want to come from the backyard when her owner calls for her. It is hilarious!
5. Needing a Den
Some dogs hide in corners and behind plants just because they really need a den. Certain breeds have a greater instinct for this, and others just feel more secure in a den due to past experience and have a higher need for a safe place.
In the wild, dogs often stayed with their pack in protective areas. They would also create personal dens in hollowed-out tree trunks or dig shallow beds in the dirt and layer them with dry grass and plants, as a place to rest and hide from animals who might prey on them.
6. Too Hot or Cold
Our family dog, Skipper, used to lay against a wall that had a heater vent, so he could warm up on cold, Iowa nights. Likewise, a lot of dogs will lay against a cool outer wall and tile floor to help cool down on hot summer days. Georgia sometimes will snuggle up against the wall in our dining room next to the a/c vent on hot days.
Sadly, like humans, dogs can develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia as they age. According to NCBI research, 14.4% of dogs 14 years or older develop some form of dementia. The study notes that “Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is a behavioral syndrome that affects old dogs. Dogs with CCD show behavioral alterations such as disorientation, altered interactions with owners, other pets and the environment, sleep-wake cycle disturbance, house-soiling and changes in activity”.
If your dog seems disoriented like he has forgotten where his bed is located and wanders aimlessly around the house, he may be experiencing some memory loss and confusion. Also, if he begins to bark at you as if you are a stranger and these behaviors become a pattern, you should definitely have him medically evaluated.
If your dog is sleeping or lying in a corner is not generally something to be concerned about. In most cases, it is a very natural thing for them to do. However, if there is a pattern or it seems excessive, take her to your local vet to be checked out.
Otherwise, let your furry friend have her personal space to heal, feel more secure, or just hang out and relax!