Hi Winnie, the first time we ever hear a growl coming out of our dog's mouth, it sort of breaks our heart doesn't it? It sounds like you have a very sweet boy, and beagles are normally that way, what comes to mind is that probably he is frightened by something.
Something perhaps happened that made him decide to stay under the table when he is a bit scared of something.
If this happens every evening, maybe something of your mother in laws' bedtime routine doesn't make him comfortable. This can be anything innocent. Can it be she was picking him up and petting him or wanting him to spend time with her in bed and he didn't like that? Can it be she was leaning over him and giving him good night kisses?
Innocent things like this given from a stranger (or somebody they do not see too often) can sometimes have dogs run for cover and not want to interact.
Of course, there may be other things that may trigger this. Perhaps she used to let her shoes fall to the floor with a loud thump before going to bed, used to cough loudly or something else. Nothing bad but some dogs are sensitive and get scared when there are other people in the home and they don't know them too well.
Sometimes we see dogs hide under tables this when they are chased around by children or other pets or when they don't want to do something (like given a bath, have nails trimmed or picked up etc).
The growl is sort of a way to say "I feel safe here, please don't get me out of here." Dogs who are forced out by pulling them can sometimes even bite, out of defense. So caution is needed. Even the sweetest dogs can bite when scared.
In any case, it seems like your dog is happy to see it's you and he comes out from his hiding spot.
Hiding in dogs is highly reinforcing because they feel safe, so it may take some time to get him out of this behavior. Sometimes creating a new bedtime routine can help.
For example, before he goes to his hiding spot, you can try to engage him in some game or let him do some tricks and reward him with some tasty treats or set up a treasure hunt by hiding some of his kibble around the home.
As new positive associations are made, he might feel safe again and stop feeling the need to hide.
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