If your dog burrows underneath your bed to sleep, it might cause you concern. It might even freak you out a little bit - especially if you aren't used to it and you don't know where your dog is when you wake up. Why won't your snuggly puppy use the dog bed you placed conveniently next to your bed? While it might take some getting used to, your do is probably fine. They likely just see the space under your bed as their den.
What Causes This Behavior
Sleeping under the bed isn't unusual behavior for your dog. It's a small, contained area that's dark and private. It's their own little refuge, a place for quiet calm. They're probably under the bed to feel safe and comfortable. But your dog probably has their own, specific reasons for seeking out their own fortress of solitude.
It Makes Them Feel Safe
Your dog is instinctively a den animal. They tend to prefer small spaces. Sometimes, this means sleeping beneath a bed. Sleeping under the bed allows them to see from all angles, providing a sense of security.
The space under your bed is also enclosed from above, which increases your dog's sense of security. This way, your dog doesn't have to pay attention to what's going on above or behind them, which makes them feel safe. If it's a safety thing for your dog, you might notice that they have trouble going to sleep in other parts of the house if there's a lot of commotion going on around them.
They Like the Warmth
Your dog is a comfort creature, and it's probably warmer under your bed. Your dog might prefer to sleep down there to increase their comfort. It's dark, but not to the point where they can't see. And if you have carpet or a blanket under the bed, it's extra comfortable.
Your flooring and the amount of space under your bed can make a difference, too. Do you find your dog likes to curl up in a blanket when they're lying around the house? Maybe you find them basking in the sun a lot. If your dog is otherwise chill (no pun intended), they might just be looking for a warm spot to snooze.
If you're OK with it and there's enough space, you can put your dog's bed under your own to make them more comfortable.
It's Close To You
Some dogs prefer to sleep as close to their owners as possible. Some dogs sleep on top of the bed, but if your dog isn't allowed up or feels they need more space, they might go under the bed to stay close. They can still smell you and feel safer in your presence. And they may also feel they can protect you if-needed when they're so close to you.
They Want Some Privacy
There are times when your dog needs their own space when they're feeling anxious. Usually, a crate serves as their den. But others prefer to dive under the bed for some much needed relief.
In this case, under your bed is your dog's safe retreat. As long as it doesn't bother you and they aren't getting into anything down there, this is probably a fine place for them to chill out.
Your Dog is Sick
This is the one time you should be concerned. Dogs instinctively hide when they're sick. They're known for concealing injuries. If sleeping under the bed isn't normal for your dog, this can be the first hint that something is wrong.
Hiding when sick is a survival instinct for dogs. Their wolf ancestors were in danger if they couldn't feed themselves, and other predators could target them if they were injured, so they tuck away in a den to recuperate.
What To Do
For the most part, unless you're worried your dog isn't safe down there or you think they might be sick or injured, you probably don't need to worry. Your actions need to be based on why your dog is sleeping under your bed. If they're sleeping under the bed for safety, warmth, or to be closer to you, and you don't mind, they can continue sleeping there. There are a couple reasons you might want to check on your dog, however:
- If your dog is anxious or stressed: If your dog is showing signs of anxiety, determine what the trigger is. Are guests over for the day? That might trigger this behavior. Once they're feeling better, they'll come out on their own.
- If your dog is sick: This is the main reason you might need to coax your dog out from under your bed. If you suspect your dog is sick, take them to the vet's office to find out what's wrong.
Change Your Dog's Sleep Habits
If you don't want your dog sleeping under your bed, there are actions you can take to prevent the behavior. First, provide an appealing alternative area that's comfortable, quiet, and secure. This could be a dog bed, a crate, or a designated room. Don't automatically assume your dog will enjoy moving to a different space, though. It may take some time for your dog to feel comfortable in another area.
Make this space more enticing by adding blankets or clothing with your scent, as well as their favorite toys. Use positive reinforcement to encourage your dog to use their new sleeping arrangement. If your dog continues to sleep under your bed rather than in their designated area, consider making it physically inaccessible. This way, they will be more interested in learning about the area specifically laid out for them.
If your dog is anxious, moving them from under the bed to a new place could add more stress. Consider waiting until your dog feels more relaxed.
Monitor the Behavior
While it's usually normal for a dog to sleep under a bed, any drastic changes in your dog's behavior should be taken seriously. Keep track of your dog's sleeping habits to find out what they're most comfortable with. As long as your dog is healthy and happy, sleeping under the bed can not only provide them with a source of comfort, but you too. You will know your dog is right there should they hear any bumps in the night or you need a cuddle buddy.