It’s odd, isn’t it? You reward your dog for good behavior with a few treats, and then he runs off to another room to enjoy himself. Why do dogs do this? Should you stop your dog from taking his treats elsewhere? And how can you get your dog to eat treats with you? Here is everything you need to know.
So, why does my dog take his treats to another room? Dogs often take their treats to another room out of instinct to make sure they get enough to eat. Other reasons include your dog feeling lonely and not wanting to eat around others or because he doesn’t like his food dish.
Make more sense?
Well, perhaps somewhat.
But let’s delve into each reason in greater detail to get a better understanding before turning to how to appropriately respond, and perhaps even reverse this behaviour, should you want to).
Reasons Why A Dog May Take His Treats To Another Room
Your dog may take his treats to another room because of an instinct to protect his food, or because he wants to eat in peace and quiet. Other times your dog may want company while he eats. And some dogs don’t like their food dishes and will take food like treats out of the bowl to eat it on a preferred surface elsewhere.
Your Dog Is Prompted By Instinct
Many dogs will bring their treats to another room because of their ingrained pack mentality.
Our friendly, domesticated dogs still have many of their ancestors’ behaviors in their DNA.
Some dog breeds have more of a pack instinct than others, but all dogs have it to some degree.
Wild wolves will often take chunks of food and carry them off to a safe distance to ensure another animal won’t steal their treasure.
Wolves – and dogs – may also carry treats away to avoid having to fight over them.
If your dog carries his treats (or his food) away to a place that he deems is safe, he is saying to you, ‘Don’t touch my food, this is mine.’
Some animals will bury their treats to keep them safe for later.
In the wild, wolves don’t know where their next meal is coming from: stashing food for a rainy day is ingrained in them and, therefore, in our domesticated dogs.
Even though your dog probably has a routine where he knows when he’ll be fed, instinctive behavior is deeply ingrained and can sometimes come to the forefront to influence how your dog will behave.
It could be your dog is taking his treats away to a place where he feels the safest.
Watch where he goes – that particular sofa, chair, carpet or bed is where he feels most secure and protected.
Some dogs go further than others from their dishes – and some dogs will even seek out a hiding spot to eat their treats.
Even puppies start this carrying-away behavior from a young age: puppies often like to go to their beds to enjoy their treats.
When they are with their littermates, shoving matches are common to get to their mother’s milk.
If your dog was fed from a communal bowl with his littermates, perhaps he’s been accustomed to lots more shoving and competition for food.
In these situations, the less aggressive puppies might learn that it’s easiest (and less confrontational) to grab their goodies and run.
They’ll often drop the food down at a safe distance away to eat it without worrying about a sibling grabbing it.
Your Dog Wants To Enjoy His Treat In Peace And Quiet
Each dog has his own personality, and some dogs prefer to eat their treats in peace.
If you have a particularly anxious-prone dog in a busy household with lots of children or visitors, your dog may want to seek out a quiet corner to savor his treat.
Your Dog Is Feeling Lonely
Your dog may be taking his treats into a room where other family members are because he’s feeling lonely.
Just like us, many dogs prefer to eat – whether it’s meals or treats – in the company of loved ones.
If your dog receives his treats in a room where he’s by himself, he may want to bring them to a more communal place.
Dogs love companionship, and your dog may be showing you he wants to be part of the family even while he eats.
Your Dog Doesn’t Like His Dish
Sometimes dogs don’t like their food dishes, so they’ll take food or treats out of it and bring their delectables to another room to eat them.
If your dog has metal dishes, he may not like the sound of his dog tags or the bits of treat scraping against the bowl.
Other times it’s the sound of the dish on the floor as it moves with him picking up his treats that he doesn’t appreciate.
Other owners say their dogs bring food to a softer surface such as carpet or towels.
Sometimes your dog is happy with his bowl, but he doesn’t like its location.
Should You Stop Your Dog From Taking His Treats To Another Room?
If you have no cause for concern for your dog’s mental or physical health, you don’t have to try and stop him from bringing his treats to another room. However, if you find this behavior annoying, there are some things you can do to minimize it, depending on its cause.
When You Shouldn’t Need To Be Concerned
Most veterinarians will agree that you don’t need to train your dog out of taking his treats to another room.
In fact, sometimes trying to stop your dog from doing something that he clearly seems to need could make him anxious.
The first thing to do is to ascertain why your dog is carrying his treats away.
Once you know the cause, you can decide whether you need to do anything about his behavior or not.
You may want to address causes that affect the well-being of your dog, such as loneliness or simply his wanting to be a part of the family.
If your dog is a social eater, it’s very easy to move his food or treat bowl to a central location where he can be around people while he eats.
If your dog prefers to eat his treats in peace, it doesn’t take much to provide him with an area where he can go to relax and calmly chew his treats.
As long as the behavior doesn’t bother you or other family members (including other pets), you don’t have to do anything about it. Each dog has his quirks, and carrying treats away may be one of his favorite things to do.
When You May Want to Address Your Dog’s Behavior
There are some instances in which you’ll want to look at what you can do to help your dog diminish this behavior, such as:
- If your dog is nervous when he eats treats. If you think your dog is nervous and is carrying his treats away because he is feeling stressed or anxious, consider giving him a safe place to eat where he won’t be disturbed. You can provide a crate or another closed-off area where other pets won’t disturb him or try to steal his food
- If your dog is sensitive to noises. If you have a highly sensitive dog who needs quiet, you must do your best to provide this for him. Remember that many dogs are sensitive to loud noises, such as fireworks displays and thunderstorms
- If your dog becomes defensive or aggressive over his treats. If you notice your dog snapping or growling when other animals or people come near his treats, you’ll want to use training to curb this aggressive behavior before it becomes a problem. Keep your dog separate from other pets until you have succeeded in training him to accept that others may be nearby while he eats. You may want to consult an animal behaviorist to help you curb these undesirable behaviors.
Tips for Preventing Your Dog From Taking His Treats Somewhere Else
There are several things you can do to help prevent your dog from taking his treats somewhere else if it is creating a problem for you or your dog:
- Change his bowl. If the problem is his food bowl, change the type of bowl – if he doesn’t like plastic, try ceramic or metal. If he doesn’t like metal, try ceramic or plastic (BPA-free). You could also try a glass bowl. Some dogs prefer eating off of a flat surface, such as a plate
- Keep his food bowl clean. Dogs prefer to eat from a clean bowl, and it’s healthier for them as old food harbors bacteria
- Check his bowl’s position and ensure it doesn’t slide around as he eats. Some dogs don’t like their bowl sliding across the floor while trying to munch on treats, so see what you can do to ensure the bowl stays put. You can try putting a rubber mat underneath so that it won’t slide around
- Try changing his treats. Some dogs will carry different types of treats away and eat others in their bowl – which defies explanation! Still, it’s worth a go if it helps your dog – wet treats, for instance, are more difficult to carry around
- Make treat time private (see above). Some dogs prefer to eat in peace, so if that’s your dog, get a crate or use dog gates to keep other animals away at treat time
- Pay attention to where your dog likes to bring his treats, and if possible, put his food bowl there. Also, look at the surfaces he likes to eat on: some dogs drop treats on the carpet because they prefer to eat off of a soft surface, whereas others seek out a tile floor in another room
How Do You Get Your Dog to Eat Treats with You?
If you want your dog to eat his treats with you rather than take them away to another room to eat on his own, you can get your dog used to taking treats from your hand
Offer Treats From Your Hand
By offering treats directly to your dog’s mouth, you’re lowering the chances of him walking away to eat.
After all, he’s already got the treat in his mouth, so no-one else is going to be able to steal it!
A good way to feed treats from your hand is to:
- Hold your hand half an inch to one inch away from your dog’s mouth, at nose level
- Keep your hand still as he takes it from your hand. You may want to offer the treat from between your fingers or on the flat palm of your hand, depending on the nature of the treat
- Be sure not to have your hand too high up – too high and your dog will strain to reach the treat. Too low, and he may think he has to lie down to get it
Make Treat Time A Game
Your dog loves spending time with you, especially when cuddling or playing games. Try making treat time more of a game by:
- Tossing a treat on the ground in front of your dog for him to fetch
- Putting a treat inside a toy such as a Kong ball and sitting with your dog while he tries to extract the treat
- Making a soft dog food mush that you can feed to your dog from the end of a dog training squeezing tube
- Feeding your dog sticky treats like peanut butter or cheese from the end of a wooden spoon (or the palm of your hand, if you don’t mind getting sticky)
- Putting out a line of treats along the ground, one at a time, for your dog to follow. Have something fun at the end of the line of treats like one of your dog’s favorite toys for you to play together afterward
- Pretending to eat the treats yourself, as if you were eating a bag of chips. When you see your dog salivating or yearning for a treat too, offer him one from your hand
Offer Extra Special Treats
Many canine fussy eaters will gobble up stinky treats such as fish-flavored treats.
Some dog treats use whitehead, tuna, or salmon to entice dogs to eat.
It’s actually pretty normal for a dog to take their treats to another room, even if it feels unusual to us humans.
Most of the time, it’s nothing to be concerned with.
In some circumstances and contexts, you may even be able to stop this behavior if you would rather have your dog eat their treats in your company.
But ultimately, you should ensure your dog feels comfortable and as a result, it’s probably best you let them eat their treats where it feels right, for them.
Related guides you may want to read:
- Why Won’t My Dog Take Treats From My Hand?
- Why Does My Dog Bring Me His Treats?
- Why Does My Dog Hide His Treats?
- Why Does My Dog Hide My Socks?
- Why Does My Dog Stay In Another Room?
- Why Does My Dog Bring Me Random Things?
- Why Does My Dog Drop The Ball Away From Me?
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.