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Hiding Things

Beagle is Hiding Things

Beagle Question: My Beagle, Molly keeps taking things and hiding them. She takes VERY STRANGE things that a dog doesn't need, she'll take brushes, combs, shoes! My dog even once took my pocket book and hid it behind the couch. Please help me, it took me over an hour to find it and I want my dog to stop doing this. Thanks! Owner: Carol, Beagle: Molly

Our Beagle Advice: Hi Molly. This is a good Beagle question! The reason for a dog taking something is very, very simple: he wants it. A dog will have no concept that this is unacceptable unless you train your dog to know it.  It's not uncommon for some dogs to do this; it appears that they mimic their ancestors; wild dogs that would gather many items and hide them away for future use. 
There are 2 main reasons for a dog taking and hiding objects. 

1)  A puppy that is teething may be so uncomfortable, that they take any objects that they can get their mouth on. If they gather a lot of objects, they may hide them to use later.

A puppy will have an overwhelming need to chew on just about anything. Your Beagle may understand that it is not acceptable to take your shoes and other things, so she may hide it in order to hide the fact that she just did something that you find unacceptable. If your puppy is teething, taking and hiding objects, you can help by:
Buying some high quality teething toys and scatter them in the house. As your puppy roams around, looking for an object to chew on, your Beagle will find some very helpful teething toys! In turn, you will be more than happy to see your Beagle gather up the toys and keep their “secret stash” of teething toys.
Whenever you see you Beagle taking something that is not appropriate, take it away and replace it with a teething toy. Praise your Beagle when they begin chewing on the toy or even if they run off with it.
Beagle with bone
Josie, 2 years old
Photo courtesy of The Harter Family
2) Beagle puppies and older dogs may take items to gain your attention. If you go running after your Beagle each time they take your shoe, your Beagle will learn that taking your shoe= lots of attention.
There is help for this:

Do you best to keep all expensive or sentimental objects out of reach of your Beagle. If your Beagle cannot reach them, you will not have to chase after your dog. Take the object away from your Beagle and make a trade for something that you dog will find much more interesting. Older dogs and puppies who are not constantly played with can become bored very easily. Your shoe may not look like a lot of fun, but the smell and texture of it is of interest to a bored dog!

Dogs that need more stimulation should be given interactive toys. These will be dog toys that make noises, move when the dog completes an action or holds a yummy dog treat inside in which the dog must work for hours in order for the treat to be released. Your Beagle will find this much more fun than taking your shoe!

If your Beagle does take something that is inappropriate, as long as it poses no danger to your dog, do not run after your Beagle and chase him.
This will be encouraging the dog to continue the behavior in order to play the game of “chase”. It is best to slowly approach your Beagle and make the trade for the interactive dog toy. Alternatively, do not allow your Beagle to engage you in a game of tug-of-war. Again, this will only prompt your dog to continue to take things, as they will learn that the outcome will be a game of tug!

You can help by obtaining an actual tug-of-war dog toy. This is usually a safe, strong rope with grasps on either side. You can set aside a certain time of the day, when your Beagle can expect that you will play this with her. Knowing that they have this daily fun to look forward to, can lessen the time that they put forth into taking objects in order to force you to play the game.

Taking a very important Object - There will most likely be at least one time that your Beagle takes something of great value to you. such as your pocket book that you wrote about. 
You will not want to engage in tug-of-war, to avoid damage. Your goal will be to get that object back as soon as possible before your Beagle scratches/ damages it.

How can you trick your Beagle into wanting to return it? If your Beagle is reluctant to make a trade for a dog toy, you can try to change around their objective. They take an object and run from you, usually expecting a chase. 

Change this and run from your dog. Encourage your Beagle to chase after you and make the game be: “Chase me and give the object back” Make this game challenging to your Beagle, run around corners and furniture. The harder it is for your Beagle to chase you , the happier your dog will be when he or she finally does catch up to you!  

The end of the game can be signaled by your Beagle giving you the object and you handing over a treat.
handsome Beagle dog
Zap, 4 months old
Photo courtesy of owner: Nita Sundararaju
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