Why Do Dogs Hide Treats?
[All you need to know]

By kropek2021. • Updated August 19, 2021

The reasons dogs hide their treats are many, but the most common is simply to hoard. Dogs are instinctive hoarders. They want to keep their food and treats so they don’t have to share them with other dogs. Some dogs may also hide their items out of fear or anxiety, such as if the dog is in a new environment and doesn’t know how it is going to be treated.

The act of hiding their treats away gives them a sense of security, safety, and control over what food is available.

Some other possible reasons could be that they don’t want to eat all of the food at once; perhaps it’s lunchtime, and dinner time is coming up soon? Maybe they want to keep some things for later, which can happen if multiple pets are in the house. 

Whatever reason it may be, there are ways around this sneaky behavior! This article will explore some of these solutions and what makes dogs so devious in the first place!

6 Reasons Why Dogs Hide Their Food Or Treats

Some dogs will take extra measures when it comes to hiding their treats. Still, the reason behind this behavior might not always be immediately apparent.

It could indicate that your pup is feeling stressed or anxious about something going on in his life. In these instances, hiding his food or treats can be a way for your pup to feel more comfortable.

There are several reasons why dogs will hide their food or treats. But you don’t have to worry. It is a natural behavior found in many dogs. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why dogs will choose to do some hiding.

Your Dog Is Displaying Their Instinctual Behavior

Dogs have an innate instinct to hoard and scavenge. The root of this behavior can be found in the early days when dogs were our first animal companions. Wolves would hunt wild game, kill it and then hide the carcasses from other predators. 

They would also take their catch back to their dens for safe-keeping. Dogs evolved from wolves, and so they retain these instincts today, sometimes being put into action by a treat-hoarding dog or a food-scarfing pup!

So, your pup may be just acting out of instinct and not particularly scared of anything. On the other hand, it could just be the uncertainty of not having enough food later. Before coming to you, your dog relied on its mother for food. So, in unfamiliar terrain, dogs hide their food to ensure they have enough food to survive.

Dogs Are Territorial Creatures

Another reason why your dog may be hiding their treats or food is that they feel like the items are theirs and that no one else should have them! This can happen when two dogs guard a bone, for instance. But what about when one pup guards an entire bag of snacks from another? Well, they may be acting out of a sense of territoriality.

This is a common occurrence in a multi-dog household or a multi-pet household. One pet will think that you’re giving their items to the other pets, and they’ll feel possessive over it. This type of hiding can also happen when there’s a food-scarfing pup in the house who doesn’t want any competition!

If you have a greedy pup in the house, take steps to stop them from guarding their stash. The best way for this is by feeding your dog at more frequent intervals and providing them with enough exercise.

Another option would be putting away his treats or food so that they can’t see it anymore and then letting them know when it’s time to eat.

If your pup consistently hides his treats, you may want to consult a veterinarian for some additional advice and support on how to stop it from happening.

Sometimes They Are Just Being Playful

Sometimes when your pup is hiding their food, it’s because they’re playing! They have found some delicious snacks and don’t want to share them with any other pups, so they’ll hide the treats or even sneak-eat them in secret. But when they’re caught in the act, it’s simply because your pup is being playful.

They could also be doing this to get your attention. After all, dogs love getting treats, so if they have to hide them to get that from you, then it’s worth the extra effort and time!

As you know, dogs love attention. So, if doing an act like this is getting them a reaction from you, they’ll think it is okay to do so. You may be unknowingly reinforcing this behavior. They’ll keep hiding treats, toys, and anything else they have if it’s getting them what they want.

So, I’ll advise you not to make a big deal out of this, at least not in front of your dog. This way, your dog will understand that hiding things to get your attention will not work.

If they do something like this from time to time, don’t be too hard on your pup! They’ll understand if you tell them “No” in a firm voice or shake your finger at them, and they will quickly learn that ‘hiding stuff’ is not okay.

Your Dog May Be Just Hungry!

One of the most apparent reasons why a dog will hide their food or treats is that they want to eat them all themselves without sharing with anyone else! So if you have an adorable beagle who has found some delicious snacks and will not share, it’s because of its instinct to hoard and scavenge, as I mentioned previously.

When feeling hungry, dogs can act anxious, which is why they might hide their food. However, they could also try to go to their food-hiding place because they think it is safe.

When a dog is hungry, feeling overwhelmed and even acting anxious can lead to the dog hiding food. It does not mean that dogs are purposely misbehaving; but instead, they might be in a state of discomfort because they’re so hungry!

Are You Over-feeding Them?

If you’re over-feeding your dog, this could be the reason why they are hiding their food. They’re not trying to be tricky; they just want to store up for the future! If you have a new puppy who is getting used to their new environment, it’s possible that they may also do this.

So, check if you are giving your dog excess food. If so, try to keep their portions the same and not overfeed. Hiding excess food used to be a survival skill in dogs of ancient times. Resource guarding was vital for survival, and they are just trying to protect themselves.

Fix up a schedule and diet for your canine companion to regulate their food intake. You can take a vet’s consultation to fix a diet plan specifically for your pup.

They Could Be Dealing With Stress Or Anxiety

Our canine companions are not immune from stress, anxiety, or similar conditions, which could be one reason why they are hiding their food.

If you’re going through a new phase in life, your pup may be feeling stressed too. This can happen when we go through job changes or other major transitions in our lives, and I’m sure many dogs have dealt with these things too! Not that your dog’s job changes, but they feel the stress of moving or adjusting to a new place along with you.

So, try to get them out and about more. Having a routine helps a lot! If this is not the case, you could take them to a vet for more information on their feelings.

Here’s What You Should Do To Stop The Hiding Behavior

You can train your dog to stop hiding their food by using a food puzzle toy and training your dog with it by rewarding them when they un-hide their treat.

If you don’t know what a Food Puzzle Toy is, let me tell you that it is a device that is designed to hold small treats in tiny spaces, sometimes called an interactive feeder or puzzle feeder. Some of these are shaped like a ball where the dog must move sliders to get the treats out.

Another option is to adopt a “Reward-based Training Program.” It is a type of training where a dog learns new behaviors with positive reinforcement such as praise or food rewards for success in accomplishing tasks that have been set up with the assistance of their owner.

The goal is to have your dog only eat in designated areas, and if they do, you reward them, such as praise or food. Eventually, this will lead them to associate with being praised or getting treats for eating their dinner from their dish instead of hiding it under furniture after they’re done because there is no reward.

The training will help stop most of the bad habits or destructive behaviors your dog may have been showing.

Where Do Dogs Hide Food, Toys, And Other Stuff?

By now, I’m sure you know that dogs are adorable, but they can also be sneaky. If you’ve ever lost something because of your dog, you know how frustrating it can be.

Dogs have been hiding and burying their favorite toys for thousands of years. They love to bury bones and other precious items in the backyard or under furniture. It’s an instinct that is often hard to break them from without consequences like destroying the carpet or eating things they shouldn’t eat.

They are most likely to hide their food in places that they know will remain safe for a while, and this is why they might choose the corner of a room or dog bed. Sometimes, dogs will also hide their food right next to where you sit or under the sofa.

I’ve also noticed that dogs sometimes chew on things they are anxious about, eventually swallowing or hiding them. If your dog is chewing on things, this could signify that they feel stressed and need some help from you. Give them more attention if the problem persists, so they know that you’re there for them!

Common places where dogs hide food, stuff, etc. include:

  • Backyard
  • Under the furniture
  • In a particular nook or cranny of the house
  • Near their owner’s feet
  • In the corner of the room
  • Under the bed
  • Near their water dish or food bowl
  • Inside a toy, clothing, or bedding
  • In their dog bed
  • Between couch cushions
  • Inside the laundry basket

If you’re looking for your dog’s secret stash, it might be worth it to take a look in the above places! Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. There could be more places where your dog hides treats. 

The most common hiding spots dogs will use are under or behind furniture such as couches, tables, or chairs. This can make it difficult for people who don’t know where their pup might be hiding. Another commonplace to find your canine companion is in the backyard, especially if they have a favorite tree or bush that’s close by!

What should you do if you find your dog hiding something?

Suppose you’re wondering what should be done when your pet is found with some suspicious items. In that case, I recommend addressing the situation in an affectionate and understanding way. Don’t punish your dog or react negatively.

Assess the situation and figure out if it’s something they shouldn’t be eating. If so, prevent them from doing so by putting it somewhere they can’t get to it or otherwise remove the temptation away altogether.

If it’s something they should be eating, just take the food away and figure out why they are hiding their food. What kind of circumstances was your pet in? Did you do anything that might have set them off or stressed them out? There is usually a reason for this behavior, and it’s essential to find out what that might be.

It’s always a good idea to try and teach them that they should not be doing this kind of thing in the first place. If you find your pup with something, take it away from them before they can hide it again. When looking for things they may have hidden, make sure you look around near where they sleep or spend time.

Dogs are very sensitive, and punishing them could make them anxious and stressed out. This is not what we want!

Suppose you’re noticing new behaviors, changes in their eating habits, or other symptoms of illness. In that case, I recommend going to the vet for professional advice. If it is a new hiding behavior, try to find out the root cause.

If your dog is hiding food because of a digestive problem or anxiety, try giving them some different treats which they may enjoy more. You could also try giving them a cuddly toy or long-lasting chewable. It will provide them the stability they need to overcome their anxiety and stress.

What if my dog is hiding their food because he’s being bullied by another pet?

If your pup doesn’t want to eat for fear that his bully might take it all away as soon as he’s done, then you could try to break this habit by feeding your pup in a different location.

You can also build up their confidence so that they have the courage to eat every last bit of food as they deserve! Make sure there are no other pets around during meals and give them some space for themselves where they can eat in peace.

Using positive reinforcement training, you can teach them to eat in the presence of other animals. Don’t forget that they are always watching your behavior, so you’ll probably have more success if you reward eating with praise and treats!

The vital point to remember here is to provide them with a sense of security to not feel like their food is at risk of being stolen.

Suppose you’ve tried all these methods and your dog is still determined to hide his treats. In that case, the best option might be to hire a professional trainer to stop the bullying and hiding behavior.

Conclusion

Inside a dog’s mind, having food hidden away means they are more likely to be able to meet their needs later on. The instinctual behavior of dogs to hoard food is simply an extension of the need to protect themselves. They are not doing it because they want to be mean or make you feel bad about giving them treats! 

There are many reasons dogs will hide their treats, and there are ways around this behavior, so don’t worry. This article has gone over some of the most common reasons, some hiding places, and what you can do to stop your pup from being so sneaky. I hope it helped you.