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Why is my dog suddenly hiding in closet

Why is my dog suddenly hiding in closet

Why is my dog suddenly hiding in closet?

Q: My husband and I own a Labrador, who is approximately 11 years old. She's a really good girl but sometimes she hides out of "spite". We usually know it is because of a specific person but there are usually other situations that set it off too. Her main hiding places are under our bed, her crate, and in the laundry basket. She'll even sometimes "hide" when we're sitting down to eat our meals in the kitchen. We love her and she's a great family member.

Any other clues or thoughts on what could be causing it?

- Tia, California

A: If you already know the problem has to do with a person and you are not able to avoid that person at times when your dog is exhibiting this problem behavior, you need to be careful. Be sure not to do anything to make your dog anxious or uneasy when this person approaches.

It's also important to be sure you have a plan to handle your dog's reaction to people. That plan might include leaving the person alone until you can remove the person from your dog's environment.

If your dog does exhibit this problem behavior when a certain person is present, but she goes back to her usual behavior when that person leaves, the problem may have to do with the dog's anxiety level and her own "flight" instinct. It is very common for dogs to retreat when faced with an anxious or unfamiliar person. The problem is, once the person is gone, the dog may have a hard time regaining her composure. So even though it's the same person, the dog's instincts to "hide" are strong.

Dogs can be taught to feel comfortable and relaxed around people, but this does not come easy. This type of training requires patience, consistency and lots of time. This issue is compounded if your dog has never learned this and has no previous training or practice to rely on.

A big part of the solution to this problem is to develop your own positive relationship with your dog. Be sure you let your dog know that you are there to help her and will protect her. You will want to keep your dog in a positive situation and environment with people around her to develop her ability to socialize with them.

When your dog displays any problematic behavior (agitation, aggression, fear, avoidance, etc.) around other people, it is important to determine whether the problem is due to dog aggression or dog anxiety.

Is your dog aggressive?

Do people avoid your dog because they are afraid of her? Is your dog a barker? Is your dog aggressive to strangers and/or dogs? Is your dog aggressive to other family members?

If your dog is showing signs of aggressive behavior toward people and other animals, you must seek professional assistance. This problem is not just for the person responsible for training your dog but for the dog too. Once a dog develops an aggressive or violent behavior toward another dog or person, the dog should be removed from that environment. It's important to keep in mind that dogs don't understand the word "no." A dog who views an activity as acceptable may never even learn to accept a "no."

Is your dog a barker?

A dog who only barks to indicate a need or desire should be encouraged to bark. Banging on doors is a good way to get a dog to stop barking. You may want to get a leash and collar that has a "stop" bell. However, a dog who barks inappropriately or continuously can be extremely annoying to other dogs and people. If your dog barks excessively and the barking goes on and on, it may be difficult to get him to stop.

Is your dog fearful?

Anxiety is a natural response to situations, but you should be able to recognize signs of anxiety and take appropriate action. If you don't handle your dog's anxieties correctly, they will grow into anxiety disorders and could be dangerous to your dog or you. Signs that your dog may be exhibiting signs of anxiety are the following:

· Overhears a conversation

· Gets upset at the sound of a doorbell or door opening

· Gets anxious before a vet visit

· Whimper or whimper with a tail tucked between their legs

· Shivers excessively or becomes very agitated when you are in another room or your attention is diverted

· Whimpers or howls when left alone

· Doesn't want to go outside or wants to be right next to you

· Shivers and howls when you leave for the day

· Runs or hides in fear when you are in the house

· Has excessive saliva

· Cowering or hiding when you return home

· Vocalizes

· Has problems sleeping at night

· Acts unusually lethargic or tired

· Has problems eating

· Vomits or is overly hungry

· Is "scared" of strangers

· Has problems with separation

· Doesn't want to go outside

· Howls, whimpers, or barks excessively

· Hides when a cat walks into the room

· Won't eat food that has been placed on a plate

· Has problems with stairs

· Has problems jumping up

· Acts as if paralyzed

· Whimpers or whines excessively

If your dog starts to act as if something is wrong, it is important to get in touch with your veterinarian right away to check your dog's blood for any possible signs of illness. If your dog's blood pressure is too low or its heartbeat or breathing is too fast or slow, your veterinarian may want to x-ray your dog's chest to make sure that his lungs and heart are working properly. A blood sample is taken to check your dog's blood chemistry. An ECG is taken to measure your dog's heart rhythm.

When you bring your dog to your veterinarian, you'll be asked questions about your dog's eating habits, activity level, medications, and what his family does. If your dog has started to act in a peculiar manner and he isn't improving after several days, you may be able to get your veterinarian to recommend that your dog see a behaviorist.

#### **_Canine Behavior Analysis_**

Many dogs exhibit behavior issues that are just as, if not more, important than physical problems, including separation anxiety, nervousness, excessive barking, chewing, food stealing, or begging. The good news is that just as humans have techniques for solving problems such as these, so does our canine friend. If you are a dog owner, you may or may not have heard of this fascinating discipline. If you haven't, here are some points to help you understand this important aspect of dog care.

In addition to being an excellent pet, your dog also helps you with tasks such as controlling your household, protecting you and your home, and helping you find lost things or people. However, dogs are also capable of behaving in ways that are a nuisance to others