Why Do Dogs Hide Their Treats?


If you’ve ever observed your dog hiding treats or bones, you may wonder why they engage in this behavior. Dogs have a fascinating range of instincts and behaviors that have evolved over centuries of domestication and survival in the wild. Hiding treats is one such behavior that has roots in their ancestral past. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore why dogs hide their treats, the reasons behind this behavior, and the implications it may have on their physical and mental well-being. Understanding this instinctive behavior can help pet owners provide the best care and enrichment for their furry companions.
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The Origins of Hiding Treats

The instinct to hide food is deeply ingrained in dogs and traces back to their wild ancestors. In the wild, canids, like wolves and foxes, are opportunistic hunters and scavengers. They often hunt in packs, but food resources can be scarce, leading to competition among pack members. Hiding leftover food or surplus prey is a survival strategy to ensure they have sustenance during times of scarcity.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Hiding Treats?

If your dog suddenly starts hiding treats, it could be due to various reasons:

  1. Storing for Later: Dogs may hide treats as a natural instinct to save them for later. They may want to keep their prized possessions safe and secure until they feel the need to consume them.
  2. Anxiety or Stress: Dogs may hide treats when they are feeling anxious or stressed. In some cases, this behavior can be linked to separation anxiety or changes in their environment.
  3. Resource Guarding: Some dogs may hide treats as a form of resource guarding. They may perceive the treat as a valuable resource and hide it to protect it from other pets or even humans.
  4. Feeling Unwell: If your dog suddenly starts hiding treats and displays other signs of illness or discomfort, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any health issues.

Why Do Dogs Hide Their Treats Instead of Eating Them?

Dogs have retained the instinct to hide food even in a domestic setting. Several reasons can explain why they hide treats instead of eating them immediately:

  1. Survival Instinct: The instinct to hide treats stems from their ancestors’ need to protect and preserve food for times of scarcity.
  2. Securing Valuable Resources: Dogs may view treats as valuable resources, and hiding them is a way to ensure they have access to food later when needed.
  3. Enjoyment and Playfulness: For some dogs, hiding treats can be a playful and enjoyable behavior. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and fun to bury or hide their treasures.
  4. Social Behavior: In some cases, dogs may hide treats to share them with other pack members or to engage in cooperative scavenging.

Is Hiding Treats Good for Dogs?

Hiding treats can be a natural and harmless behavior for dogs, as long as it doesn’t lead to any negative consequences. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Stale Treats: If your dog hides treats in hidden corners or crevices for extended periods, the treats may become stale or attract pests.
  2. Resource Guarding: In multi-pet households, hiding treats can lead to resource guarding behavior and conflicts among pets. It’s essential to monitor interactions and provide each pet with their own space and treats.
  3. Unusual Hiding Places: Be cautious if your dog starts hiding treats in unusual places, such as furniture or bedding. This could indicate anxiety or stress, and it’s essential to address the underlying issue.

Why Do Dogs Hide Their Bones and Treats?

Hiding bones and treats is an extension of a dog’s natural instinct to bury or stash food for later consumption. Dogs may also hide bones and treats as a way to protect their prized possessions from potential scavengers or competitors.

Encouraging and Managing Hiding Behavior

If you want to encourage your dog’s natural hiding behavior, consider providing them with opportunities to do so in a controlled environment. Use interactive toys or puzzle feeders that allow them to “hunt” for their treats and then hide the toys in designated areas.

If your dog’s hiding behavior becomes excessive or problematic, consider the following tips:

  1. Provide a Safe Space: Create a safe and comfortable space for your dog where they can hide treats without feeling threatened.
  2. Supervise Interactions: If you have multiple pets, supervise interactions during treat time to prevent resource guarding and conflicts.
  3. Address Anxiety or Stress: If hiding behavior is linked to anxiety or stress, work with a professional trainer or behaviorist to address the underlying issues.
  4. Rotate Treats: To avoid treats becoming stale, rotate them regularly and remove any hidden treats that may attract pests.


1. Why is my dog suddenly hiding treats?

Dogs may suddenly hide treats due to instincts to store food, anxiety or stress, resource guarding, or feeling unwell.

2. Why do dogs hide their treats instead of eating them?

Dogs may hide treats as a survival instinct to protect and preserve food for later consumption. It may also be a playful and enjoyable behavior or a form of cooperative scavenging.

3. Is hiding treats good for dogs?

Hiding treats can be a natural and harmless behavior for dogs, but pet owners should monitor for any negative consequences, such as stale treats or resource guarding.

4. Why do dogs hide their bones and treats?

Hiding bones and treats is an extension of their natural instinct to bury or stash food for later consumption and to protect their prized possessions.


Dogs hiding treats is a fascinating and instinctive behavior that harks back to their ancestors’ survival strategies. Understanding this behavior can help pet owners provide a stimulating and enriching environment for their canine companions. While hiding treats is generally harmless, it’s essential to manage the behavior if it becomes problematic or leads to conflicts among pets. By embracing their natural instincts and providing a safe and controlled environment for them to exhibit this behavior, pet owners can foster a sense of security and well-being for their furry friends.
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