If your German Shepherd keeps hiding its treats and bones, you might be wondering why.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do about it yourself.
So, why does my German Shepherd hide its treats and bones? The most likely reason is that it does it naturally and that it is an inherited trait. However, it could also be due to anxiety, nausea, being fed too much, possessiveness or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your GSD has been doing it. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd hides its treats and bones
Each of the different reasons that it does it will likely come with some clues.
Below, I will explain why your German Shepherd might tend to hide its treats and bones and what would make the possible causes more likely.
The reason that your German Shepherd does it could be that it is an inherited trait and it does it naturally (source).
In the wild dogs would not know when their next meal would come so it was not uncommon for them to hide their food so that they could go back to it later on if they needed to. This is a trait that dogs still have today and it could be why your GSD hides its treats and toys.
The reason that it hides its treats and bones could be that it is anxious. This would be more likely if it has only started doing it suddenly after something has happened that might cause it to become anxious. Things that might make it become anxious could include someone mistreating it, moving homes or another pet passing away.
I have written more about why your GSD might be anxious and what you can do about it in the past here.
The reason that your GSD has been hiding its stuff could be that it has nausea. This would be more likely if it has been “air burying” its food and eating less. It would also be more likely if it has been showing other signs of being ill such as by vomiting or being fatigued.
In this case, the best option for you would be to take it to the vet.
It is being fed too much
It might be the case that it is being fed too much food. This would be more likely if it is overweight or if it does not eat everything that it is given. In this case, it would help to make sure that you are feeding it the right amount of food and that it is the right type of food.
The reason that it does it might be because it does not want other people or animals getting to its stuff. This would be more likely if you have other pets and if it has a tendency of resource guarding by doing things such as protecting its spot or food.
If your German Shepherd is aggressive when it is guarding its stuff then the best option for you would be to take it to a vet.
You have inadvertently rewarded the behavior
It might be the case that you have been inadvertently training it to hide its food by giving it things that it wants when it does it. Things that it might want could include attention, toys or more treats.
Instead of giving it things that it wants when it does it, try to reward it when it is well behaved and to reduce its ability to hide its food.
Things to consider
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd might be doing it. Below, I will mention a couple of particularly helpful things to consider.
When it started doing it
It would help to consider when your German Shepherd first started doing it since there could be an event that triggered it to start doing it.
If your GSD started hiding its food suddenly then it would be more likely that it does it due to things such as nausea or anxiety.
Whereas, if it has always done it then it would be more likely to be due to things such as possessiveness, being fed too much or nature.
When it does it more
It would also help to consider if there is a time that it tends to hide its toys and treats.
If it only seems to do it at a certain time then it would help to consider what is different at that time. For example, if it seems to do it more when another pet is nearby then it might be the case that it is trying to hide its treats from that pet.
Whereas, if it does it at random times then it could be doing it for any of the reasons mentioned above.
What to do about your German Shepherd burying its treats
There are a number of things that you can do about your German Shepherd acting that way. The best thing for you to do with your German Shepherd will depend on the cause of it doing it. Below, I will show you some options that you have.
Avoid negative reinforcement
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to bury its stuff. Instead of giving it things that it wants when it does it, try to reward it when it is well behaved and to reduce its ability to dig.
Reduce its ability to dig
One way to get your German Shepherd to stop digging would be to reduce its ability to dig. One way to do this would be by sectioning off parts of the yard that it likes to dig in. Another option would be to cover the area that it tends to dig with rocks.
Take it to the vet
If you are not sure why your GSD has been doing it, it has been showing signs of being ill or it has started doing it suddenly and acting strange then it would help to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular GSD.
It is not unusual for dogs to bury their stuff so it is unlikely that it is doing it because there is an issue with your German Shepherd. As long as it is not showing signs of being possessive, ill or anxious then you could let it be if you want to.
If you would like learn everything that you need to know about how to have a happy, healthy and well-behaved German Shepherd, take a look at the German Shepherd Handbook