Get Your Dog Care Questions Answered by Experts
If you are not around to correct the behavior you can't stop it. It is not uncommon for dogs to do this as it predates a time when dogs did not eat on a daily basis so when they found food they would eat what they wanted and hide the rest for a later time. The only thing you can do is give him a regular feeding time and make the food more interesting so he eats it all at once or continue to pick the food up as you have been.
I do not think my answer is vague as a dog does not know why a person is upset five or ten minutes after it has done something, so there is no way a dog can identify the problem hours later when you come home. There is no way to rationale to a dog that you don't like to find food in your bed as you are not talking to a human child nor are you home or awake to correct the dog at the time of the action.
A dog needs to be corrected at the time of the offense in order for it to understand, and if you are not there to do that, how is the dog to know what you want?
Your other option is to get a food bowl that opens and closes on a timer so you don't have to remember to pick it up, after a certain amount of time the bowls lid will close until the next feeding.
Corrections are usually a poor way to train a dog with anxieties so you might actually be stressing him more with corrections for behavior that is natural to a dog.
To me this sounds more like a problem with human control of the situation than a dog behaving badly. Its almost like punishing a dog for shedding (but not quite and I do understand your frustration).
The dog has no clue about anything other than that you act strangely sometimes around food. He won't associate your actions with the fact the food is in the wrong place just that you are strange sometimes about food. He does get it that you are upset but has no clue he had anything to do with the problem.
I'd suggest starting by measuring how much food he normally eats in 20 minutes feeding time in the morning (you may want to start that on a weekend when you are not so rushed to get out the door) and then make sure to only give him that amount for his breakfast. Measure how much you usually give, then measure any left overs after 15-20 minutes and reduce the next morning feeding by that amount.This will help if you forget to pick the bowl up before you leave as he should have emptied it on his own if you get the amount right.
I normally feed a measured amount, leaving food down only for 20 minutes, for two meals a day. No more food until next meal time makes the dogs eager to eat when food is available and clean their dishes.
He may do better in eating with a smaller breakfast and a larger dinner meal. If he has anxiety issues he may be concerned about you leaving which impacts how much he can eat then. So feeding the bigger meal when he knows you will be home may work better for him.
As the human's bed is the best place in the house for a dog (it smells the most wonderful andsafe because you sleep there) you may want to close a door or put a baby gate up so he can't hang out or hide things in your bedroom.
Hope this helps you!
Funny thing about him eating in the morning. We have the same routine every morning. I walk him, make him a bowl ( 2 cups dry, 1/2 can wet) and I hop in the shower. My bedroom door is open and he does not put food on my bed during that time. Sometimes he eats the full bowl, sometimes half and sometimes he takes a little out and leaves it right on the floor next to the bowl, or puts in on my living room floor or on his bed which is in the living room.
With that being said. Should i just let him wait till dinner if he does not eat breakfast and only feed him once a day? or should i refill the bowl at dinner time if he eats his breakfast then? or just dinner if he does not eat breakfast and let him get on a schedule?
What I'd try in that case is reducing the usual amount in the morning by 1/4 and increasing the evening amount by that amount so he gets the right number of calories (if he is not overweight that is).
Yes he can wait until dinner if he doesn't eat during his alloted time in the morning.
My guess is he hides food in the house as he can't go outside and bury it 'for later'. He may well have had a time in his life before he met you when food didn't come at all and so hiding it for the lean times is more important to him.
Some people give dogs, particularly anxious ones, a stuffed Kong toy in the morning to work on getting the food out after they leave for work. That keeps the food fairly tidy if the dog doesn't work on it. You can see a Kong here
and you'd want the right size one for him (many pet supply stores carry them) and their rubber would keep food off textiles and rugs but you still might find the Kong in the safest place in the house, your bed, some of the time.
For comparison, I have to say the dog food is lots less of a horrid surprise than the live mouse my cat tucked under the covers for me one night! though sitting on a couch and discovering you sat on a very hard doggy treat bone is also a bit disconcerting!
You have been very helpful. I have tried the Kong toy. He ate the little piece that sticks out and that was it. He has everything except food at his disposal while im at work. Kong, rawhide bone, real bone, toys u name it. He doesnt eat or play as far as i can tell when i am not at home. He either just sleeps on my spot on the couch or on my bed. Id really hate to close my bedroom door on him while im out because i know he likes to sleep in my bed. He used to howl for hours when i left the house but that has ceased. I corrected that with a spray collar. Which he hasnt worn in months.
You are welcome - sounds like he' d be perfect if he didn't like to eat in bed! wait I think I've heard that about people's spouses too!
I'd say then maybe one of my tricks I use for rushed mornings to jog my memory - a note on the door or steering wheel with whatever I'm supposed to remember - some mornings I'd not remember anything if it wasn't for a note to remind myself!
Thanks for your above accept!