Do you have a pet dog? Or do you love watching dog videos online? Then you must have noticed that whenever a dog receives a bone, they rush to hide it. At that time, have you ever wondered to yourself, why dogs bury bones? I mean, are they preparing for any upcoming famine or is it just something done out of instinct? If you don’t know the answer, then let’s find out why dogs exhibit such unusual behavior.
1. Are Dogs Burying Bones a Natural Instinct
Did you know that today’s domestic dogs have a common ancestor called the Gray wolf (Canis lupus)? They are considered as the ultimate predators of the wild having large teeth, powerful jaw, and the ability to chase their prey at a great speed. So in the earlier times, when these canines weren’t domesticated by humans, food wasn’t readily available for these wolves to eat.
2. Scientific Reasons for Burying Bones
Dogs used to store their food in the soil to protect it from other animals and scavengers. It was also because the soil in which they buried their food, acted as a natural refrigerator. By doing this they could keep their food away from direct sunlight.
Also, the temperature of the Earth reduces with the depth of the hole. As we know wolves often move in packs, thus by burying large amounts of food, they could preserve the freshness of the food for an extended period. This also ensured the survival of their pack in scarce times.
But even after being domesticated by humans, modern-day domestic dogs still engage in such behaviours when they are provided with lots of food. So that they can enjoy that bone when they need it the most. Some pet dogs even hide things that are non-edible like toys or balls as their treasure, so that other dogs won’t be able to steal from them.
3. Do All Dog Breeds Have the Same Natural Instinct?
Not just all dog breeds, but even dogs of the same breed living in different households can have different instincts. One may bark after seeing strangers, while the other may be more friendly toward them. Similarly, not all dogs may tend to bury bones. Households with multi-dogs can have an increase in competition for food.
So they tend to bury food, favourite toys, bones, and non-edible items to keep them safe from other dogs. This common behaviour can be noticed in squirrels too, they keep their nuts and seeds stored in a hidden place so that they don’t run out of food.
Did you know squirrels dig more than one hole, to confuse other animals? They do this to make others believe that those holes might have food, thus in that way they keep the actual place safe under leaves.
4. Other Reasons Why Dogs Bury Bones
A dog doesn’t need to bury bones or other items just to savour them later. It can do it to seek your attention, like hiding the tv remote. This can add a new routine to overcome boredom and let them vent their energy in new ways.
When the dog doesn’t feel safe in the area they are being fed in, they can bury that food, to eat it later when they feel safer. Even digging can also be a self-soothing behaviour for dogs. Thus, dogs bury things when they feel anxious or stressed, so they practice this behaviour to feel better.
5. What Is an Ideal Place for Dogs to Bury Bones?
If you want your dog to follow its instinct by burying bones, then you should be aware of the ideal place where your dog would like to buy his treasure. A perfect place for a dog to bury its treasure would be somewhere where it can find organic soil as they are soft and requires less strength to dig in such a place.
One such place at your house can be your yard or garden where such easy-to-dig soil can be easily found. Your dog may feel more comfortable burying things in a place other dogs are less likely to visit as any dog that catches its smell can steal their prized bone. It should also be accessible for the dog to retrieve its treasure when the need arises.
Sometimes, while digging a hole, your dog tends to cry out of happiness or frustration. Happiness because they finally got a place to hide their bone and frustration because they couldn’t enjoy it now.
But if the dog fails to find such a place, then your carpet or one of your furniture can become its ideal place to bury things. So, make sure that your dog knows the right place to bury their items, or else your home will become its digging ground.
1. How Can I Stop My Dog From Burying Bones?
So now after understanding why dogs bury bones, you may decide to prevent your dog from doing such a thing. If yes, then you need to spend your time with your dog. Most dogs tend to do such things when they feel bored. You should maintain a proper schedule to go on a walk and play with them. Also giving them proper training can ensure that they would use their energy in other activities than digging.
There are plenty of things like chewable toys or Kong toys which can be stuffed with treats in the middle. You can even add frozen treats to make it longer for them to finish it. This keeps them busy while you are away at work.
2. What Dog Breeds Bury Their Bones?
There are certain species or breeds of dogs that are prone to digging more than others. Some breeds include the hunting breed, which can be said to have attained more qualities of their ancestors than others. Cairn Terriers, Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, and many more. You may even be amazed to notice specific names of breeds that usually by physical appearance don’t seem to come under hunting breeds.
But most of them were specifically bred in earlier times for hunting games. Thus, certain non-hunting dogs like Huskies and Border Collies also display the heightened desire to bury toys or bones like many wild dogs.