Here's What It Means if Your Dog Likes to Hang Out Under the Table
I’m constantly amazed by my dog Grits. I could buy him an expensive and plush bed, but he’d rather lay his head on the hard metal frame of my coffee table. Ditto for when we’re eating dinner—you can find him hanging by our feet 100% of the time. But it turns out, Grits isn’t the only dog with this funky habit, and it got me thinking about why dogs hide out or sleep under tables.
The dog-walking app, Wag, says if your dog is retreating under a table, there could be a few reasons for it. The first reason, according to Wag? “The kitchen table resembles an enclosed space just like a dog house does. It has four legs and a roof, which may feel protective to your dog...it helps them feel protected, comfortable, and relaxed.”
As an added bonus, most tables aren’t completely enclosed, so your pup can still check out what’s going on with the rest of the world. Dr. Beth Cobb, DVM, veterinarian at Cahaba Mountain Brook Animal Clinic in Birmingham, Ala. says it could just be that your dog wants to be around you, but they still want their own space to chill out.
She says if your pup is under the coffee table in the living room, they probably just want to be by you, but it could be a totally different situation if they’re sitting by your legs under the dining room table. “Some dogs are around the table because they’re hoping you’ll give them treats or food,” says Dr. Cobb. If you notice Fido is begging for scraps, it could be time to correct the behavior (and stop feeding him human food!).
However, if you notice that your dog is retreating under a table or bed during stressful experiences, they could be experiencing fear or anxiety. Dr. Cobb says, “Some dogs are scared of storms or loud noises, or have different phobias, so I could see a dog getting under a coffee table or going under the bed to feel like they’re in a tight, secure, safe place.”
Dr. Cobb says there are different things your vet can discuss with you to help your dog feel less anxious or scared. “There are behavior modifications, holistic ways you can help them or medications.” And if your pup has started hiding out under a table or bed all day (and hasn’t done so before), Dr. Cobb says that’s not normal and “it’s worth at least a phone call to your vet.”
The bottom line: Unless your pup has just started hanging under the table (or hiding under the bed for hours at a time), it’s probably just a harmless behavior that helps them feel safe and protected. It might seem a little weird to you, but as the old adage goes, “let sleeping dogs lie.”