Does your dog bury his bones, or even his favorite toys, in the backyard? Or even worse, does he sometimes dig them up and bring the muddy mess back inside…smiling and wagging his tail all the while? According to pet expert Arden Moore in The Dog Behavior Answer Book (Storey, 2006), thousands of years ago, dogs did not know where their next meal would come from, so after a kill they would bury any uneaten food to hide it from scavengers. When they were hungry again, they would return to their cache and dig up their leftovers. The dirt also helped keep their food fresher longer by protecting it from sunlight. Your dog is just following that ancestral urge. Even though you feed your dog every day, you can’t take that “must stash food for a hungry day” mentality out of him. The same goes for those extra toys he stashes away. He may even take other household items like the TV remote or your wallet–both have been known to disappear from many a home!
If the burying urge becomes a problem for you, keep in mind that dogs tend to bury extras, not essentials. Patrol your house and pick up any spare dog bones or toys. Limit his access to one bone and one toy at a time. Vary the type of dog bones and toys from time to time to keep him interested. By limiting the quantity and providing variety, you may lessen his motivation to take his treasure out to the backyard. Make his favorite digging spots less attractive by covering them with chicken wire or bricks or other objects that are not paw-friendly. And try offering your dog a less-destructive indoor option: Show him how he can bury his favorite toy under a blanket instead.
Does your dog bury treasures? Has he or she buried anything surprising? Share your stories in the comment field below.