Why Does My Dog Have A Sudden Mood Change?

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Question submitted by Surbhi
I have a female Labrador. She is an active and healthy dog . But sometimes, when she is not in her leash, she hides under the bed or table and refuses to come out. If we try to persuade her, she growls. What is the reason for this sudden mood change in her?
Terry’s answer:
Whenever someone says to me “sudden mood change,”  I always ask them to make a vet visit first. You want to rule out anything physical going on. With that being said, she may just simply feel trapped when you go to coax her out from under the bed. Dogs go into flight or flight mode when that happens, and since she doesn’t feel like she can flee, she resorts to fight, which is to defend her space, or keep you from getting her out of it. The growl is telling you that she is uncomfortable with what you are doing. It is a warning, and you should not correct her for that. You risk getting no warnings when you correct for it.
Instead, try coaxing her out with a treat. Not approaching her, but sit it on the floor a couple of feet away so she has to come out and get it. No need to talk, just lay it there, back off, and give her time to make up her mind that she feels comfortable enough to come get it.
Now, as to why she is going under the bed to begin with is anybody’s guess. Try to make a note of the surroundings each time this happens to see if you can pinpoint any consistencies (thunder, kids playing loudly, garbage man going by, sirens, loud music, when it starts getting dark out). After you have the why figured out, you can work on the solution. She may just feel more secure and protected there. You might try a crate with a blanket over it to give her a “den” somewhere else besides under the bed. Good luck!
Terry Meeks is a dog trainer, APDT Member an CGC Evaluator in Pinellas County, Florida.  Find Four on the Floor Dog Training at FourontheFloor-Dogtraining.com and on Facebook.
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