Why Does My Dog Hide His Treats?

Have you ever presented your pup with a fancy new chew bone only to watch him head for the garden to bury it? Dont be offended, its not that your dog hates your gift. In fact, this behavior usually means quite the opposite.

While some dogs have retained the hearty digestive tracts of their wild ancestors, others have developed sensitive stomachs over centuries of selective breeding. Even after their rescue, these dogs can be very anxious and possessive of their toys, bones and treats, prefering to bury them in a safe, secret spot.

If your pooch suddenly seems repelled by their food and has additional symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or behavioral changes, it may be time for a checkup. If your dog seems excessively nervous or becomes aggressively possessive of their items to the point of resource guarding , seek the advice of a canine trainer or behaviorist.

Why does my dog try to hide his treats?

Your dog is just practicing the canine instinct of food hoarding. … If a dog was lucky enough to find something to eat, he had to compete with other dogs in his pack—not to mention other animals—to keep his spoils. So dogs would bury bones and carcasses near their den.

Why do dogs hide their bones in the house?

This type of “burying” also follows the natural instinct to keep valued items safe and protected. Although some dogs are more compulsive with this behavior, lots of dogs bury things and are essentially hoarders. They simply want to save these special things in a safe place so they can enjoy them later.

Puppies are, in my humble opinion, some of the cutest creatures on earth! With their playful personalities and innocent loving hearts, they can do no wrong (at least for the most part).

Of course, we know that they dont need to save any nuts for the winter, but what is going through your puppys head when they are furiously looking for a great hiding spot and should you stop them from doing it? Puppies tend to adapt to our family life and being in our homes fairly quickly so quickly that sometimes we forget that at some point in the past their ancestors, whether they be wolves or wild dogs, had to survive the wild by finding and gathering their own food.

Food gathering and storing has been deeply rooted into the survival instinct of a dogs brain. If he is trying to bury it in the bedsheets, or backyard this is his instinct to keep it away from other animals or out of sight of competitors that may be searching for an easy meal. Its sad to think about, but if you have rescued a puppy from a previously abusive home or environment he may have some experience to draw on that proves to him he could end up going a few days without any food available.

If you’re ready for your child to take more interest and responsibility for your dog Click Here and sign them up for my fun interactive class! Their 5-month-old puppy is very concerned about taking its food and finding places to hide it in the house, or even bury it in the yard. As far as boredom goes, puppies are so full of energy and love a good game of hide and seek .

If they dont have a lot of distraction and mental stimulation from you this seems to be a good way for them to entertain themselves by hiding their food and then going back to it later as a bit of a surprise meal for them. If they get noticed by you for hiding their food, toys, or even your personal belongings chances are you are unintentionally reinforcing this behavior and they will continue to do it. Watching your puppy scurry around looking for a place to hide or bury their food can be quite entertaining, funny, and endearing.

A lot of owners have no problems with allowing the behavior to continue and may even encourage it by unintentionally providing attention and positive reinforcement. If you are not aware of all the hiding spots or cant keep track of them after some time the food may start to mold or stink and could cause other problems like attracting rodents or ants into your home. Compulsive disorder is defined by a repetitious, relatively unchanging sequence of activities or movements that has no obvious purpose or function.

Hiding their food may have an obvious purpose to them, but if it makes them engage in repetitive behavior like rubbing their nose on the floor, or digging relentlessly you will need to take them to the vet for a consultation. One owner told me about their small puppy that would hold their bone or treat in their mouth and growl and grunt while running around the house trying to find a spot to hide it, just to leave it there for a few minutes, go back and get it and start all over again. Another potential health problem is if your dog is burring its food or treats outside and then digging it up later and eating it.

Sitting in the ground for some time can not only cause it to mold and go rotten, but it can soak up chemicals or fertilizer from lawns or gardens ant that could be dangerous for your little puppys sensitive system. If the problem is serious enough your vet may prescribe anti anxiety meds as wells as a behavior modification plan. If your puppys food hiding is accompanied by any kind of aggression like growling or nipping then it may be cause for concern.

If your puppy isnt causing destruction with this behavior now its something you will want to keep an eye on and watch for in the future. But if you have experienced some of the negative side effects that were mentioned above and want to improve your and your puppys quality of life as well as train them to be a well-behaved dog in the future, here are some simple tips and tricks that may help you in the process of getting your pooch to curb their desire to hide their delectables! We all know how much time and work it is to monitor a puppy correctly, but its really in the best interest of the health and safety of our little guys to keep a close eye on them.

Its been my experience that sometimes our dogs may act like mischievous children as well, and that includes being smart enough to know how to push your buttons just to get your attention. Your puppy will catch on quick If you are trying to chase them down to retrieve the food, or working to get at their stash in front of them they may interpret that as you playing a game with them. Your puppy doesnt like the bowl- Some dogs prefer to eat things off the floor and not out of a metal or plastic bowl.

Sometimes its the feel or texture of the bowl and other times its the sound it makes when their dog tags hit it and clank.

Your socks. Those new shoes. The remote control. Every single one of their toys. Some dogs just love hiding things. But why? There are several explanations for why your dog has this somewhat annoying behavior. Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Deborah Fenton and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant Kate Naito discuss why dogs hide things and how to address hiding behavior so you can keep track of all your favorite things.

Training, creating a controlled environment, and positive reinforcement can help curb item hiding. Although we may not want our dogs hiding a half-eaten bully stick between the couch cushions or digging up the back yard to bury a bone, we have to understand that this is nature, not naughtiness, explains Naito.

Its a survival strategy Its believed that hiding a surplus of food in the ground is a canine survival strategy where the food can be preserved and protected in the cool ground, and then eaten later. When it comes to domesticated dogs, hiding items prevents other pets in the house from stealing them, states Naito. Avoid giving puppies access to off-limits items like shoes, socks, or kids toys and keep in mind the following tips.

Teach your dog to put their toys in a particular area of your home, using treats to reward positive behavior. Dont give too many toys or treats Having a surplus is what causes dogs to bury things. Whatever you do to respond to your dogs hiding behavior, your goal should be to reinforce the trust and loving bond you have.

You dont want to do anything to jeopardize that or create a situation where your dog is fearful and may even bite in retaliation. Doing so could signal to your dog that youre creating a game of chase that encourages the hiding behavior.

1. Instinct

Burying valuable items is an instinctual throwback to the survival skills of our dogs’ wild canid ancestors. Wolves, coyotes and foxes never know when their next meal will come, so if they are lucky enough to have leftover meat after a kill, they bury it in the cool dirt to protect it from sun and scavengers. The soil acts as nature’s refrigerator, keeping food fresher longer so the animal can retrieve it later when nourishment is scarce.This behavior is known as “caching,” and although it is mostly harmless, it can become an issue if your dog is burying and retrieving perishable items. While some dogs have retained the hearty digestive tracts of their wild ancestors, others have developed sensitive stomachs over centuries of selective breeding. If you choose to give your dog fresh or raw meat and bones it is best to ensure they eat them right away.

2. Anxiety

Some dogs may bury food and treats due to negative experiences in their past. Pups from backyard breeding and hoarding situations may have had to compete with others for limited resources. Even after their rescue, these dogs can be very anxious and possessive of their toys, bones and treats, prefering to bury them in a safe, secret spot.This behavior may resolve on its own once your dog realizes he or she is safe and will be fed regularly. If not, seek professional advice from your veterinarian.

3. Nausea/Inappetance

Dogs suffering from nausea-causing illnesses may attempt to “air bury” their food. They typically nudge the bowl away with their nose or try to cover it with imaginary dirt. If your pooch suddenly seems repelled by their food and has additional symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or behavioral changes, it may be time for a checkup.However, “air burying” alone does not necessarily mean it is time to dash to the vet’s office. Picky eaters and those adjusting to a new diet may also engage in this behavior.

4. Over-Feeding

Caching may be an indicatation that you are being overly generous with the food and treats. This behavior in a healthy dog suggests they have more than they need and can afford to save food for later. Domestic dogs are typically fed on a reliable schedule and should not feel the need to stash leftovers.Commercial diets often over-estimate the amount of food dogs need to consume each day, while raw and homemade diets are free from fillers, meaning the nutrients your pooch needs can be achieved with less food. If you need help determining how much to feed your dog, consult your veterinarian.

5. Possessiveness

Some dogs are simply more possessive than others, especially if they are living in a multi-pet household. They may opt to hide their prized possessions under the dirt in your backyard, tangled in the blankets on your bed, or in the crevasses of your sofa. This could be a symptom of anxiety as discussed above.If your dog seems excessively nervous or becomes aggressively possessive of their items to the point of resource guarding, seek the advice of a canine trainer or behaviorist.

Hiding things is in their nature

“Most of the time when dogs hide things, they do so because they have an instinct to hoard or guard their food and possessions,” says Fenton.“Although we may not want our dogs hiding a half-eaten bully stick between the couch cushions or digging up the back yard to bury a bone, we have to understand that this is nature, not naughtiness,” explains Naito.

They’re saving up for later

Just as squirrels stash nuts and humans put valuables in a safe, dogs hide their most treasured items, so they stay safe and don’t end up lost.

It’s a survival strategy

“It’s believed that hiding a surplus of food in the ground is a canine survival strategy where the food can be preserved and protected in the cool ground, and then eaten later. When it comes to domesticated dogs, hiding items prevents other pets in the house from stealing them,” states Naito.

It could indicate stress

Dogs who hide or protect their possessions may have underlying anxiety or stress issues. This may stem from living with another dog who takes things away, among other reasons.

Underlying health issues

Hiding isn’t always a behavior issue. The habit could be a sign of a health problem, being overfed, or boredom.One of the best ways to prevent these habits is to teach puppies the right way to play from the start. Avoid giving puppies access to off-limits items like shoes, socks, or kids’ toys and keep in mind the following tips.

Don’t give too many toys or treats

Having a surplus is what causes dogs to bury things. If you have many toys, rotate them so your dog only has access to one or two at a time.

Create a controlled eating environment

When your dog is still in training, consider using a baby gate or barrier so they cannot move their food out of the kitchen or wherever their food is served, says Fenton.