- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Puppy whines and hides treats

September 14th, 2004, 04:26 PM


We have a 5 month old Westie terrier puppy, a female, named Portia. We picked her up when she was 7 weeks old at the breeder so we have had her almost from the very beginning. She's a great pup, has gone through one set of obedience classes and is a great companion to my husband and I.

Something that has been happening for a while, though I can't recall exactly when it started, was when we give Portia a treat, sometimes she eats it, but sometimes she hides it. I'm not really concerned with the hiding of the treat as that seems very terrier or dog like in a pack household. The funny thing is that her 'hiding' place is usually somewhere very open, aka the corner of a room or right next to a toy of hers. Definitely not concealed, but apparently enough to make her feel good.

What does concern me slightly is that she started whining while she carries the treat around looking for a hiding spot. This was very infrequent originally but now happens about 3 times a week. It's sad for me to hear her whining, I originally thought something was wrong with her when she did this, or that she had hurt herself eating the treat or it was stuck or ...etc etc. But I realized that she just was carrying it or holding it in her mouth and whining. Eventually she finds a place for it and hides it and stops whining.

What could be causing this? She gets alot of treats throughout the day and is pretty spoiled, so it's not as though she is starving or should feel as though her treat will be taken away. Plus she hides it in the open anyway! She doesn't do this with her food, and we hand feed her treats as well for training purposes and to discourage possessive behavior with foods. She will let me take food away from her without any outward anxiety, and she has a big stash of treats from her hiding scenarios around her area. 50% of the time she never retrieves the treat and we throw it away, but sometimes since it's in an obvious spot, she eats it within a day or two. These are all hard treats of course, or cookies, biscuits, etc..which won't expire within a few days. Nothing soft or perishable..she eats any perishables or soft treats right away.

My husband doesn't think we should worry about it because it doesn't seem to be a real problem, and she doesn't keep whining after hiding...but I hate to hear her cry. Anything we could be doing to stop this? I read on another forum that one gal stopped her pup from hiding treats by taking it away when he hid it, and then he got the message that if he did not eat it right away, then it would go away. But I am hesitant to take them away from her because she is already obviously she is anxious about it in the first place? The only thing I have been doing when she starts to cry is tell her to stop it, or tell her it's okay but she just stares at me like I'm the insane one! ;)

Other than this, she does not exhibit outward anxious behavior at all, and as I noted, is not aggressive about food or treats at all, which is why this is such an odd thing for us to watch.

Suggestions appreciated, or tell me if I am just an over-paranoid puppy parent.

pug lover
September 14th, 2004, 04:48 PM
maybe she is calling her treats to come out and be eaten!!!I would say that this sounds like a game she is playing... :rolleyes:

September 14th, 2004, 07:12 PM
When Izzy was about 6 months old, she used to do the same thing. I would give her a pigs ear and then she would run aroung the house with it whining as if she couldn't find a good place to hide it. So I would help her find hiding spots (like under her cushions), this seemed to help her and it became kind of a game. Maybe Portia has run out of good hiding places and needs help trying to find new ones??

September 14th, 2004, 07:58 PM
Casey sometimes whines out of pure excitement. Maybe it's just the anticipation of hiding the treat, something your pooch really loves to do? It might not be sadness at all.

September 14th, 2004, 08:17 PM
Please don't take this the wrong way, but why is Portia getting so many treats?

It could be a game, or it could be anxiety over finding the right place to hide her treat.

If she isn't eating them, you might want to cut back on the number of treats you give her.

September 14th, 2004, 08:29 PM
our dog does the same thing, but she waits at the door because she wants to bury the treat outside.

September 14th, 2004, 08:34 PM
Our pup "talks" to the treat if it's not the one she was expecting. Maybe your pup is complaining? The puppy version of "Not this again!". :D

September 14th, 2004, 10:21 PM
Well originally we were doing the positive reinforcement training with treats for things like going in the litter box (she is litter box trained), so she was getting alot of treats, even if they were small. She ate 99% of these.

Then I switched to various other types of treats for some variety in taste, and she started hiding the ones that were slighly larger (aka biscuit vs a tiny soft treat). Now she gets things like pigs ears or the peanut butter sticks esp for when we are gone, and if she can't eat it all at once (thank god!), or gets bored with it, she hides it for later. Or sometimes she just takes it and hides it right off and then eats it while I am gone. Or sometimes not at all!

I have cut back on the treat amount immensely, also because her stool was softening and I read it could be overeating and also too many various types of foods...but she still does the hiding thing even though she gets way less treats.

Sounds like no one is really concerned about the crying/laughing and I kind of like the idea of finding her hiding places since I think she'd love that game.

The only thing is that I don't want her to really continue that habit as I am afraid we will not always find the treats she hides and then they rot or ants come into the house, etc.

Also recently, we found her when she had been unattended in her area in our living room with a yellow muzzle and paws. We searched high and low for whatever it was she had eaten, and there was NO staining elsewhere at all than on her. None on the carpet or on the tile, nothing but her paws, muzzle and tongue. Bright yellow mustard color. We never figured it out and I got the idea into my head that maybe she had hidden something she never should have had in the first place, and then brought it out while we were gone to eat it. This really concerned me as our house is very puppy-proofed esp since she went through the teething stage, and she is not allowed to roam the house at all without supervision. So I was freaking out thinking about what she could have found, much less EATEN entirely with no remains! She was fine, but the 'hiding' thing took on a different note when that happened.

Thanks for the helpful comments! :) I'll keep a watch on her and maybe try a few different things and see how she responds.

September 15th, 2004, 05:18 PM
Beauty hides treats too. Usually it's something that she doesn't want. She always hid dog bones and would eat them later, same thing with the dental rawhides. We just stopped giving her those treats. My brother gave her a treat at his house and she got up behind him on the couch and hid it in the cushions and got down again. We assumed that it was from being at the SPCA, and that she felt the need to hide things from the other dogs.

Donna Marie
September 15th, 2004, 05:23 PM
My sister in laws dog used to hide treats too. I always thought it was because they didn't have anywhere to bury them, so the went and did the next best thing.

September 16th, 2004, 09:39 AM
My puppy does the same thing. She will come up behind us when we are sitting on the couch, dig a hole in our back and drop the treat.
I think its cute.

September 16th, 2004, 11:59 AM
Den-Den started becoming possessive of his milk-bones and not eating them. This was a problem when Corky came over because he was growling at Corky. Now we give him one milk-bone at night when he asks for it and he usually eats it right up. If he doesn't eat it, I don't give him another one. Only gets one at a time. On those occasions that he has his bone and hasn't eaten it and we're expecting Corky to come over, we'll pick it up and tell him we'll "save" it for him and put it up on the kitchen counter. He knows it's there and is quite content. Corky comes over and they're both happy. When Corky leaves, he'll go to the counter and ask for it again. For training treats, I give him little pieces of the dry cat food. They're so tiny that he eats them right away and isn't really getting all that much. Ever since he had that episode of HGE, we're really careful with treats.

September 16th, 2004, 12:57 PM
For training treats, I use Kibbles & Bits, reccomended by my obedience trainer because they are small and they can eat quite a few without gaining weight. This is not to say that I think Kibbles and Bits is a good food, but I figure since it is not making up the majority of her diet, it will be okay.