Most dogs like playing with toys as it keeps them entertained, occupied, and mentally stimulated. They enjoy sharing their toys with their owners, such as when playing games like ‘fetch.’
Many dogs will typically drop their toys when they’ve finished playing with them, and their owners will often pick them up and store them somewhere safe. Unfortunately, some dogs like to play with their toys and hide them in random places. Why do they do that?
They hide them for safekeeping
As you probably know, dogs are relatives of wild animals like wolves, foxes, and coyotes. In the wild, those animals will typically bury or hide any leftover food for later, as they’ve no idea when they’re next going to eat.
When domesticated dogs hide their toys, they act on their natural canine instincts the same as their wild relatives. They don’t want anyone else to have their toy, so they’ll go and hide it somewhere safe. It’s usually a harmless pastime for your dog, but it can be an annoying habit if they do this regularly with food.
They are anxious
Do you know the full history of your dog from when they were a puppy? Rescue dogs and those that previously lived in cruel or cramped conditions with other dogs might suffer from anxiety.
Anxious dogs might hide their dog toys because they’ve always had to compete with other dogs in the past. As such, they may be possessive of their dog toys, especially if you own other pet dogs.
You may find this behaviour resolves itself once your canine companion gets used to knowing they are in a loving forever home. But, if the problem persists, you may need to seek advice from a pet behavioural specialist or your veterinarian.
They are possessive
If your dog lives in a multi-pet forever home, and they didn’t have a traumatic upbringing, the chances are high that they’re simply possessive. Some dog breeds can exhibit possessive behaviour more than others and hide all their dog toys regularly.
Of course, things can take a problematic turn if your dog takes to ‘guarding’ their dog toys and displaying negative behaviour, both towards your other dogs and yourself. If that’s the case, be sure to talk with a dog behavioural therapist for advice and assistance.
How to stop your pet from hiding dog toys
Whatever the reason, you ideally want to stop your canine friend from hiding their toys in the garden, under the sofa, or even inside your bedroom. If you’re at your wit’s end, there are some practical steps you can take to stop your pet from hiding their dog toys.
For example, let your dog only play with one toy at a time. Doing so means your dog will focus its attention and excitement on playing with it, rather than hiding it away for later. Be sure to give your dog a toy they will love playing with, instead of one that isn’t fun.
Finally, you should also ensure your dog gets plenty of attention and mental stimulation throughout the day. They’ll feel happy that you’re showing them affection and attention, plus they’ll stop feeling so anxious.