Rounding the corner to your bedroom, throwing himself on the ground and crawling under your bed probably isn't your dog's idea of a good time. It's most likely a reaction to a situation he thinks will result in a bad time. However, even wild thunderstorms can't compete with treats and praise.
The Fourth of July and thunderstorms are to dogs what monster truck shows are to kids who have sensitive ears and find themselves sitting in the front row without earplugs. Most dogs, regardless of breed and upbringing, despise sudden and loud noises. The noises scare them, causing them to seek what they believe is safety, often in the form of tight, dark places, such as underneath your bed. The University of California Veterinary Medicine suggests playing sounds that mimic thunder and fireworks. Starting with the volume at a minimum, give your dog praise and treats when he does not respond negatively to the sound. Gradually increasing the volume and continuing to reinforce his behavior positively eventually will condition him so that once fearsome noises no longer produce a negative response. Keeping training sessions to about five minutes per day and twice or three times a day prevents overwhelming your pup.
If your tail-wagging and happy dog was once the victim of abuse, those horrible experiences may still plague him, despite the resilience he has shown. The fear of being hit again often manifests itself in his reactions to seemingly harmless events. If his previous owner smacked him with a newspaper, the simple act of retrieving one from outside could spook him. If your dog suffered from paw abuse, he might try to take off under your bed when you grab a paw to cut his nails. Showing your pup that what used to hurt him is now okay is the best way of preventing his reaction. When you show him a newspaper, for example, feed him a treat. When you grab his paw and he doesn't react negatively, give him praise and treats.
From finally catching that tail that's been stalking them their entire life to preferring the front seat to the back seat during car rides, dogs can display some weird tendencies. For some dogs, that means catching some shuteye underneath your bed. Dogs are den animals and the enclosed space under your bed might just seem like the perfect den for your dog to rest and relax. If your pup strolls in your bedroom and takes a nap under your bed for no reason, there's nothing to worry about, unless you have a fold-up bed. In that case, placing something, such as a few boxes, along the edges of your bed probably is a good idea.
Things Not to Do
Whether your dog seeks shelter under your bed to prevent the mighty thunder monster from taking him, or in response to a perceived threat, comforting him while he's under your bed is the worst action you can take. By petting him or telling him that he'll be okay, you're essentially telling him that his response is perfectly normal. Yelling at him or disciplining him is even worse, and will cause further fear issues.
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