If your dog keeps hiding its treats and bones, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you five common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog hide its treats and bones? Possible reasons why your dog hides its treats and bones are possessiveness, nausea, being fed too much, nature, or having learned that the behavior is rewarded.
It is 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 hides its treats and bones
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause might be that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as more treats or bones, toys or extra attention, when it hides its treats and bones, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
The reason why your dog does it is likely to be that it is in its nature to do it (source). When its ancestors would catch food they would sometimes stash the food away since it would allow them to have food available to them if they were unable to find any more. This is a trait that dogs still have today and it could be why your dog hides its treats and toys.
Another possible cause is that something has been causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being anxious such as by hiding.
The reason could be that it has nausea which would be more likely if your dog has been “air burying” its food and if it has been eating less. It would also be more likely if it has been doing other things such as vomiting, being fatigued or pulling to the side on walks.
Being fed too much
The cause might be that it is being fed too much and it feels like it should stash the food it doesn’t need away for later. This would be more likely if it started doing it since eating more calories. It would help to make sure that your dog has been eating the right amount of calories.
The reason could be that it is being possessive which is where it does not want other people or animals going near its possessions. This would be more likely if your dog also has other possessive tendencies such as by guarding its food when eating or protecting its spot on the sofa.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
If it always did it
If your dog did not always hide its treats and bones, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as being fed more, becoming anxious, or possibly becoming ill.
If it has always done it then it would be more likely that it does it naturally.
What is different when your dog hides its treats
It would also help to consider the timing of when it hides its treats and bones since the timing could also have something to do with it.
If it hides its treats more when another pet is nearby then it might be the case that it is trying to hide its treats from that pet.
Whereas, if it does it at random times then it could be doing it for any of the reasons mentioned above.
What to do about your dog hiding its treats and bones
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it could have 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.
Don’t give it bones when it already has one
If you give it a bone when it already has one, it will be much more likely to hide the bone. Instead, it would help to wait for it to use its current bone and to give it a new bone then.
Limit its ability to dig
Another thing you can do is to make it harder for your dog to dig holes to put its bones in. You could do this by sectioning off parts of the backyard where it is easier for it to dig. Another option would be to cover the area that it tends to dig with rocks.
If you are not sure why your dog has been doing it but it has been doing it a lot, it would help to get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see why it has been doing it and how to get it to stop.
It is not uncommon for dogs to hide their food or bones so as long as it is not showing signs of being possessive, ill or anxious you could allow it to do it if you want to.
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