If your dog carries its food bowl around, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you four common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog carry its food bowl around? Possible reasons why your dog carries its food bowl around are to remind you to feed it, teething, anxiety, or having learned that the behavior is rewarded.
It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Reasons why your dog carries its food bowl around
Below are four common causes and what would make each of them more likely.
To remind you to feed it
The cause could be that it is trying to remind you to feed it. This would be more likely if it tends to carry the bowl around when it has not been fed yet and it stops after being fed. In this case, it would help to ensure that it is getting the right amount of calories, in its diet, since it could be the case that it is hungry due to not eating enough.
Another possible cause is that it is teething and carrying the food bowl allows it to soothe its teeth. This would be more likely if your dog is still young, it has been biting on other things as well and if it has been carrying other items around.
Often dogs will carry things around, with their mouths, when they are anxious. Anxiety could be the reason why your dog has been doing it. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it is more likely to be anxious such as when you are leaving home.
Encouraging the behavior
It might also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats, food or extra attention, when it carries its food bowl around, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always carry its food bowl around, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to a change in its diet causing it to become hungry, something causing it to become anxious or learning that the behavior gets rewarded.
What is different when your dog carries its food bowl around
It would also help to consider what else is different when your dog tends to do it. For example, if it tends to do it more when it has not been fed yet, it would be more likely that your dog is doing it due to being hungry.
What to do about your dog carrying its food bowl around
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
Feed it at the same time
It could also be the case that your dog has been carrying its food bowl around because it does not know when it will be fed and it wants to remind you to feed it. To prevent this, it would help to feed it at around the same time daily so that it knows when it can expect to be fed.
Give it other things to carry
Another option would be to give it things to pick up that you don’t mind it picking up. Things to give it could include toys or a bone.
Ensure that it is getting the right diet
It would also help to ensure that it has been eating the things that it should be and that it has been getting the right amount of calories since it could be doing it due to hunger.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to redirect its focus onto something else whenever it seems likely to pick its food bowl up. By doing so repeatedly, you should be able to get it out of the habit of picking its food bowl up.
If your dog has been doing it excessively or you cannot get it to stop, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and what you can do about it.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
It could also be the case that something has been causing it to be anxious. It would help to limit possible reasons why it might be anxious by letting it pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it.
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