If your dog has been hiding your things a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
Possible reasons why it has been doing it are that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior, it is bored, it likes the scent on your things, it wants attention from you or that it is anxious and the scent makes it feel more secure.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog hides your things
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.
Encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving your dog things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give your dog rewards such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it takes your things, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want, to avoid rewarding it when it takes your things and to try to reduce its access to your things.
The cause could be that it is bored and looking for a way to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you are around and it has not been able to get exercise. It would help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended of exercise for its age and breed.
It likes the scent
It is likely that your things will have a strong scent. It could be the case that your dog has been taking your things because it likes the scent on your things. This would be more likely if it does not seem to be doing it due to being anxious, it does it at random times and it does not seem to be doing it for attention.
The cause could be that it has some anxiety and the scent on your things makes it feel safer. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more in situations where it might feel anxious such as when you are not home.
It wants attention from you
The cause could also be that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
It would help to give your dog attention throughout the day by training it, exercising it and playing with it. But, it would help to avoid rewarding your dog with extra attention when it hides your things. Instead, it would help to wait for it to calm down, to take your things back and to reward it, later, when it is being well behaved.
Things to consider
Below are a number of 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 take your things, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If your dog started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start being anxious such as you working longer hours or it might have learned that it gets rewards for doing it.
What is different when it does it
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to take your things. For example, if it tends to do it when you are not home, it could be the case that it has some separation anxiety.
What to do about it
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop taking your things.
Avoid encouraging it
Since it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewarded for taking your things, it would help to avoid rewarding your dog with attention when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved, to try to redirect its focus when it is about to take your things and to avoid getting emotional with it when it takes your things.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
As mentioned above, it could be the case that something has been causing it to be anxious. It would help to take measures to limit reasons why it might be becoming anxious. Some things you could do would include ensuring that it can get exercise, food and a chance to pee before leaving it and to ensure that it is getting the right diet.
Make it harder for it to get to your things
Another option would be to put your things in a location that your dog cannot get to such as somewhere high-up, a room that it does not have access to or a cupboard.
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