If you think your puppy is playing a game of hide-and-seek each time he hides under the couch, think again. He might be hiding out of fear or maybe he just wants some peace and quiet. If the space under the couch is narrow, this behavior can be dangerous and your furry friend might get stuck. To avoid this, make adjustments so your puppy can't go under the couch and provide alternatives that are safe and always available.
Place flat storage boxes under the couch so there's no space left for your puppy. Fill the storage boxes so they're heavy and your pet companion can't push them out of the way.
Buy your puppy a dog crate so he has a comfy, safe resting area that he can go to when he wants. Dogs are den animals and instinctively will seek refuge in a small, secure space. If your pup doesn't have a crate, the space under the couch will have to do. Ensure the crate fits your puppy's adult size and has a divider to make it smaller. The space you confine him in should be just large enough so he can stand up, turn around and lie down. Avoid using a crate that's too large, because your puppy might use one end as a potty and the other end as a resting area.
Close the door to the room with the couch in it so your puppy can't go under it. Alternatively, use a baby gate to block your pup's access to the room. When you leave the house or can't watch your puppy, confine him to the crate or to a small pet-proof room.
Remove your puppy from under the couch each time he hides, because allowing him to stay there reinforces his fear -- you're telling him it's alright to hide. Avoid removing him with your hands, because this might increase his fear and he might growl or bite. Use the handle of a broomstick to gently sweep him out from under the couch. Immediately put a leash on him to keep him from running back under the couch.
Redirect your pet companion's attention so he forgets all about hiding under the couch. Avoid holding and comforting your puppy after removing him, because this tells him he was right to be fearful and won't break the habit. Instead, show your pup a dog toy and play games with him to distract him.
Socialize your puppy so he doesn't hide under the couch each time visitors come over. Take him for walks and allow him to explore and play so he can meet other people and dogs and enhance his socializing skills. Have him interact with all family members and invite friends over to meet and play with your pet companion.
Items You Will Need
- Storage boxes
- Dog crate
- Baby gate
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Hiding Under the Bed
- Urban Dog: The Ultimate Street Smarts Training Manual; Cis Frankel
- Puppy's First Steps: Raising a Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Dog; Nicholas H. Dodman and Lawrence Lindner
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.