The evolutionary journey of the modern dog is an extraordinary one when you think about it.
And you should consider looking up the 40,000-year domestication history of the dog evolving from wolves into dogs. Tens of thousands of years were required for human beings to train dogs, differentiate between breeds, and optimize the realization of mutual benefits.
And it’s amazing how much humans and dogs still misunderstand each other.
Most of the problems that your dog may manifest could be related to its breed or unrecognized behavioral habits. Some of the issues may even stem from your own unrecognized, good-intentioned, but bad habits when caring for it.
Let’s talk about doggie treats, for example.
Dog treats are delicious snacks for dogs who may not find dry dog food appetizing or filling. And dog treats are great to use as a reward system for obeying orders and good training.
Dog treats are also beneficial for a dog’s dental health.
Dog owners spent over $6 billion on treats for their dogs in 2020.
Whether dog owners realize it or not, dog treats can sometimes be the connective glue that helps fashion a companionship bond with a pet.
But if that is true, why do dogs sometimes hide their treats?
There is more than one answer to that question. And the best way to answer it is to understand your dog, its breed, and its behavioral habits.
Here are some reasons why your dog may be hiding its treats.
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Dog Treat Overindulgence
Unless they are suffering from anxiety or medical issues, most dogs will not refuse food, especially a dog treat.
A dog will accept a dog treat whether it is full or not in the mood for a snack.
If a dog realizes it won’t be able to eat the treat, it may hide it. And if you have multiple pets in the house, the dog may hide its treats to secure it from other pets.
While well-intentioned, you may be overfeeding your dog and creating the problem in the first place.
Safety Tip #1
Overfeeding your dog treats can cause obesity problems, canine hypertension, and potential dental problems.
You should consult with a veterinarian to exactingly calculate your dog’s daily kcal intake needs. In the same way that an average human needs 2,000 calories a day, your dog needs a specific daily calorie intake based on breed and weight.
However, calories for dogs are called “kilocalories” or kcals. Find out how much your dog should eat each day and stick to it.
Dog treats should comprise only 10% of your dog’s daily kcal intake.
Not knowing these statistics is the difference between paying for treats your dog eats or finding them hidden around the house.
The domestication history of dogs was mentioned earlier to emphasize a crucial point; dogs are animals of instinct.
The evolutionary wolf instincts of its ancestors are active in every dog. The only thing keeping a dog from acting out on its every instinct is effective training. You should positively enforce obedience training with affirmative actions and offer treats as rewards for obedience.
However, old instincts die hard. It is not uncommon for dogs to lapse into instinct mode, especially if you overindulge it.
Ancient dogs had to hunt in packs all day to find prey to eat. And when they captured their prey, they would hide it to eat later and keep it from other animals. Strategically hiding food was a crucial survival skill for ancient dogs.
Your dog may just be reverting to its genetically inherited instincts to hide its food when it hides its treats.
Safety Tip #2
Consult with a veterinarian or obedience coach to solve the treat hiding problem.
Depending on the breed, it may not be emotionally healthy for your dog to continually hide food as though its survival depended on it.
Hiding its treats may also be a sign of discord with other pets in the home.
Do you play with your dig enough? How often do you take your dog for a walk?
Do you ignore your dog when you are at home due to work, chores, or other responsibilities?
Answering yes to those questions does not make you a bad person. But it could be a reason why your dog is hiding its treats.
Your dog may be lonely and simply craving attention by hiding its treats. Hiding its treats may be a simple game the dog thinks it is playing with you, hoping you will find it.
Confronting the dog with the hidden treat may register as companionship time with the dog, as well as a reward.
Anxiety and Stress
Your dog hiding its treats may be more than a sign of strong genetic instincts, breed, or competition with other pets in the home.
Do you own a rescue dog? If so, you probably have no idea the abuse, stress, or survival tactics it had to manifest in its former life.
A rescue dog may have been abused or starved by its former owner or the staff in an unprofessional pound or shelter. Your dog may have had to coexist with other fierce, cruel, and desperate dogs on the streets or in a shelter.
Simply put, your dog may be stressed, anxious, or may have a canine version of PTSD. Hiding its food may be a coping mechanism that it learned long before you adopted it.
In this scenario, it may be crucial to enlist the aid of a professional obedience coach or school.
Make time to play and engage with your pet every day. Dogs are built to run, play, and frolic outside. Dogs who live in houses and apartments may be stressed, lonely, and desperate for attention.
Monitor how much dog treats you are giving your pet. And always remember the 10% rule and don’t give them too much.
If those tactics don’t work, then take your dog to a good obedience trainer.
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