If your dog has been putting stuff under the couch, 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 about them.
So, why does my dog put stuff under the couch? Possible reasons why your dog puts stuff under the couch are that it is in its nature to hide things so that it can access them later, it’s bored, you have encouraged the behavior or that it does it for attention.
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 main cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.
Why your dog puts stuff under the couch
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
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.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that it has been doing it because it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats, when puts its things under the couch, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
The cause could also be that it is bored and it is looking for a way to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if your dog does it more before getting exercise and if you tend to get emotional with it when it does it. It would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily recommended amount of exercise for its age and breed and it would also help to be calm with it since it could be doing it due to your reaction.
It wants attention
The cause could also be that it wants attention and it knows that putting things under the couch will result in you giving it attention. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not given it much attention in a while and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.
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 your dog first started hiding stuff under the couch
If it did not always hide things under the couch, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If your dog started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as suddenly not giving it as much attention or it might be the case that something has been causing your dog to become anxious.
What is different when it tends to do it
It would also help to consider if there is anything different in the timing that your dog tends to do it. For example, if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it attention for a while, it would be more likely to be because it is trying to get extra attention from you.
What to do about your dog hiding stuff under the couch
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
To make it more difficult for it to put stuff under the couch.
One thing you could do would be to make it harder for your dog to put its toys under the couch. You could possibly do this by blocking off the bottom of the couch from your dog.
Get bigger toys
Another option would be to get bigger toys so that it can fit them under the couch.
Take the toy away
Another option would be to train your dog to learn that putting things under the couch will result in it losing the toy for a while. You could do this by taking the toy away whenever it puts its toys under the couch and not giving them back for a day or two.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that putting its toys under the couch results in it getting rewards. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want, to avoid giving it things when it puts its toys under the couch and to try to redirect its focus when you notice that your dog is about to try to do it.