Why Do Dogs Hide Under Tables?

golden labrador retriever puppy under a table

Sometimes our dogs do weird things. From a canine perspective, it may make complete sense. But, from a human perspective, it may just seem strange. Understanding why dogs might be doing something can help you communicate with them better. One of these behaviors is hiding under tables. Why do dogs hide under tables? Here are a few reasons your dog might be hanging out under the table:

1. Your Dog Could be Nesting

If your dog commonly takes a nap or relaxes under a table, they could be nesting. This could be particularly true if they don’t have a crate or other safe, enclosed place to rest. Dogs like to relax in hidden places where they feel safe. A table, especially one with a tablecloth, could be providing a space that feels enclosed and makes them feel protected. The space under the table could be providing a safe retreat for your dog.

If you’re fine with your dog being under the table for this reason, you can encourage the behavior simply by continuing to leave them alone when they are relaxing under the table. If they are using this space as a safe retreat, they’re letting you know that they want to be alone for a bit.

If you don’t want them under the table for some reason, make sure you provide a semi-enclosed, comfortable place for them away from the hustle and bustle of the house. You want to make sure they have a secluded space where they feel safe and where they can retreat when they need a break. It’s important for your dog to know that they can retreat to this place when they want to be left alone and that they will be left alone when they go there.

2. They Could be Afraid or Anxious

It’s common for dogs to hide or find a safe place when they feel afraid or anxious. If there are a lot of people in the living room, your dog may hide under the table to escape the chaos. The same can be true for loud noises and during thunderstorms or other loud storms.

If you adopted your dog from a shelter and they came from an abusive or fear-filled environment, they may also hide under the table to feel safe. From under the table, your dog can still see and hear what’s happening, but can get a reprieve from dealing with whatever is stressing them out.

If your dog experiences storm anxiety, there are some things you can do to help calm your dog during a storm. If they’re hiding under the table for other reasons, you can create a safe haven for them somewhere else in the house to make sure they have a comforting place to go when they need to feel safe.

3. Your Dog Could be Sick or Depressed

Another reason your dog could be hiding under the table is that they are feeling sick or are depressed. Dogs can’t tell us verbally what’s going on when they don’t feel well, but they can sometimes show us through their behavior.

Sometimes, when dogs are sick, they will retreat somewhere to be secluded. If your dog is suffering from depression, they will often find a secluded, safe place as well. This could be under the table or somewhere else in your home.

Make sure you take note of other behaviors your dog is exhibiting. Are they more lethargic than usual? Are they eating or drinking regularly? There are several symptoms you should never ignore in your dog like vomiting, excessive drool, extreme lethargy, and more. If your dog is feeling off or showing these symptoms, it’s time to go to the vet.

4. They May be Injured

When your dog is injured, they will often try to seclude themselves. Similarly to when they are feeling ill, they want a safe retreat to relax. So, pay attention to your dog and look for any signs of injury, especially if hiding under tables is not typical behavior for your dog.

5. Your Dog May Have Found Something

If you, your family, or your guests commonly eat at the table, your dog may be hanging out under it because they found dropped food there once or they’re used to getting table scraps. This is one potential reason why dogs hide under tables.

It’s also possible that they found some food, received a treat, found something to chew on, or grabbed a toy and headed under the table to hide it and keep it safe. This helps ensure they get a chance to enjoy what they’ve found uninterrupted and don’t have to share with other people or dogs in the house.

6. They Might be Seeking Out a Cooler Place

If your dog starts hiding under tables during the summer, they could be seeking out a cooler space. It tends to be darker under a table and likely cooler, especially if the flooring is not carpet. These characteristics tend to make underneath the table a better place for napping.

Now, if someone asks, “why do dogs hide under tables?”, you know a few answers. Plus, you can apply these reasons to your own dog to better understand their behavior. If your dog is hanging out under the table, it’s not necessarily a bad thing and could be normal behavior.

But, if they’re heading under there all the time because they’re not feeling well or because they’re anxious or fearful, you want to make sure you work with your vet and with your dog to help resolve the problem.