What does your pup like to collect?
Does your dog have a tendency to hide food around the house? Have you seen your dog stashing toys under the couch? How about burying bones in the garden? Have you failed in a massive search for the right half of your favorite pair of shoes only to find it weeks later tucked under a desk? Could this be hoarding behavior? Is it normal for dogs?
It is all very normal, instinctive behavior. The benefits of hoarding go back to the ancestry of dogs, when they were a wild species. Back then, dogs were not guaranteed to receive a meal every day. So, when hunting was good and food was plenty, it made sense for dogs to hide some of the extra as insurance against less plentiful times.
But hiding food is never a good idea!
“Fifteen thousand years later, the instinct to plan for a future need is still alive and well in the psyche of our well-fed buddies. They sometimes respond to their urges by burying food. Some pups address the age-old instinct by hiding toys or other favorite objects,” said Dr. C.Sue Furman who teaches future physicians and veterinarians.
The problem for the modern paw-rent, however, is that hidden food will quickly start to decompose, turning into a bad odor and attracting other decomposers, like insects. The best way to prevent your dog from hiding food is to create a routine around mealtime. This should start by going for a long walk so that the dog feels tired and works up an appetite.
After the walk, prepare the food and make your dog sit before you put the food in the bowl. Your dog will realize that in order to get food, they needs to sit quietly and stay calm. As soon as your dog stops eating, remove the bowl.