Is your dog running off to stash his milk bones instead of scarfing them down on the spot?
Maybe you’ve found crumbled biscuits under his favorite couch cushion or tucked away in his doggy bed? This may seem like an odd and concerning behavior, but hoarding is an embedded canine instinct that can be traced back to your domesticated friend’s wild ancestors.
History Behind the Hoarding Instinct
Competition for food was fierce back in the days of early canines. When they did manage to find something to eat, pack members had to fight for a share of the spoils – not only with each other, but with outside animals as well. To combat this issue, dogs would bury pieces of the kill around their dens to chow down on later. Hiding carcasses this way was also useful when food was exceptionally bountiful and they had more than enough to get by for the day. When supply ran low, they could simply dig up the old stash for an easy meal.
Keeping a secret stash isn’t exclusively a canine behavior. The squirrels that Fido loves to chase are fans of hiding nuts in the ground for later snacking. Leopards take their meals to go so they can eat out of sight within the treetops. You too may have your favorite junk food continually stocked in the pantry.
Dogs These Days
Obviously, a modern day canine doesn’t have to hunt or hide their food if well cared for – they have the luxury of knowing the food bowl will always be refilled eventually. Even so, instincts are deep-rooted and may reappear from time to time for no particular reason. However, since your pooch won’t be toughing it out like their ancestors did, those kibbles may very well remain hidden. This is no different for our labradoodle and goldendoodle breeds.
Does this not seem to be the case with your pooch? There are a few other explanations as to why they may be hiding their treats.
- They may be feeling unsafe or insecure in their territory. Guarding what’s theirs can be more important than eating if they feel threatened.
- Perhaps there is a guest in the house that makes your dog uncomfortable – they may not want to chow down in front of a particular person, or strangers in general.
- Your pup could simply have a timid personality. Like humans, some dogs just prefer to do certain things alone, such as snacking.
If the reason behind your dog’s hoarding habit is still a mystery and you believe it may be affecting their health, try mixing up their routine. Feed them earlier or later than usual, or change the location of the food and water dishes.