For some time (or always), your dog has been hiding and isolating himself.
You can’t figure out why, you don’t understand what’s “wrong” and you are worried. This is quite normal because in general, it is always good to understand the source of a problem. We will therefore try to clarify this problem.
Why is my dog hiding?
To find the cause of this problem, I suggest a series of questions to which you must (try to) answer as much as possible before looking for a concrete solution to solve your problem:
Is your dog isolating himself from a particular event? Was there a trigger for his behavior?
Think about this carefully, it is very important because behavior that stems from a trigger, if it is determined, will be behavior that is “easy” to rebalance because a progressive work of desensitization can be put in place. On the other hand, I strongly advise you to call on a behavioral dog trainer so that he helps you in the different stages of deconditioning and desensitization.
Has there been a change in your daily life, in your dog’s environment? Have landmarks disappeared or changed for your dog?
In fact, dogs, despite the fact that they are very “adaptable”, remain animals sensitive to changes. In this case, by prevention, it is often advisable to help the animal to manage its emotions, in particular through the administration of Bach flowers as a cure before, during and after the event for example. Otherwise, allow your dog to adapt gradually and give him time to integrate his possible new environment and the duration of this adaptation will mainly depend on the character and sensitivity of your dog. Sometimes you will need to be more secure and reliable in the eyes of your dog. You will therefore have to be very consistent and above all very sure of yourself so that your dog will trust you and so that he can better understand this change.
Has your dog always been like this? Is it in his nature to want to avoid physical contact?
It happens that some dogs are not very tactile, and it does not matter! The most important thing is not to force contact, at the risk of traumatizing the animal and making it eventually aggressive. Nevertheless, you can work on strengthening your relationship with him: by responding correctly to his needs to create trust, by playing with him so that he equates your contacts with something positive, by working on your attitude and that it matches your dog’s character, etc. But in any case, wanting to force contact would be counterproductive!
If his isolation behavior is sudden, is your dog in pain somewhere? Have you thought about taking him to your veterinarian to possibly diagnose a disease that would cause pain?
Indeed, when a sudden change in behavior appears in your dog, it is always good to go and have a “check-up” with your veterinarian because it is never (in any case rarely) harmless. In addition, if your veterinarian does not detect anything abnormal, it is up to you to take up all the questions set out here, and possibly call on a behavioral dog trainer so that he can help you solve your problem.
Have you had a change in behavior towards your dog that would have traumatized him a little to the point that he prefers to avoid contact with you?
You may have had a behavior (even once) that was too firm, too authoritarian, too violent, too much this or too much, that your dog would not have liked, so he tries to avoid to be re-confronted with this kind of situation and prefers to isolate oneself. So there is no form of judgment for this point, we are above all human beings, we all have reactions which sometimes are instinctive, reflexes (good or bad), actions arising from a strong emotion, etc. . It is not “serious” to slip and exceed a limit, the whole thing is to realize it, to point out what is wrong, possibly understand why it happened so and then do everything to avoid that this does not happen again.
And in case your dog has had a slight trauma linked to an attitude you had towards him, take up the point concerning the strengthening of the relationship between you and your dog, this is called relational rebalancing.
Finally, last question: have you been in good energy lately?
This question may seem strange, but you know it: dogs are real emotional sponges! In addition, they spend their lives observing and deciphering us, they know us by heart. Therefore, if you do not feel well, your dog will feel it and this can result in various forms: isolation can be part of it.
Be careful though, if the symptom of isolation is accompanied by other symptoms, such as loss of appetite, excessive licking and, in general, a sudden change in behavior, you should definitely consult your veterinarian because a dog that isolates itself and no longer wishes to feed is an animal in great suffering. So don’t wait for your dog to get better, act quickly.
What to do if your dog hides, isolates himself?
In a few points, here is what you should do (or not do):
- Try to find the cause, the source of your animal’s isolation behavior (physical pain, trauma, character, bad experience, etc.).
- Do not try to force contact, at the risk of worsening the situation and making your dog aggressive (attitude he would simply adopt to protect himself more since isolation does not work).
- Give your dog a corner of his own, which he knows is safe and where he can go without difficulty, while being certain that no one will disturb him.
- So don’t forget, the basket: this is a prohibited area for all family members! When your dog is inside, we leave him alone.
- Possibly rework your attitude, readjust it to your dog’s character and sensitivity.
Obviously consult your veterinarian if this symptom is sudden or if it is accompanied by other unusual and worrying symptoms (loss of appetite for example).