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Here’s why your dog buries things

Have you seen your dog bury its favorite toy or chewy bone and wondered why?

A lot of canines love to hide their stuff in safe spots. Generally, dogs have an inclination towards burying items belonging to them and sometimes things that don’t.

One of the favorite things to do for dogs is to chew bones. And a cherished bone will find a burying place. We might think about why a dog would behave so oddly and what the need is of burying their beloved belongings. Wouldn’t it be better to invest energy in enjoying it?

Here are a few reasons why dogs bury things:

Survival instincts

Professional dog trainer, Teoti Anderson, working in Florida, stated that hiding leftovers makes sense if the dog does not know when to find the next meal. The dominant reason is saving things to find them secured at a later time. 

Generally, strong survival instincts are behind the development of such behavior. Most canines have inherited the skill of burying from the domesticated breed of wild dogs, i.e., Gray wolves.

When available food is stored for access at a later time, it is known as “food caching.” This is quite common in a lot of mammals and birds as food would be uncertain and scarce at times.

In 1976, a study was published in Ethology, stating that wolves are keen hunters. They lurk in a scavenging area and sometimes bury the leftovers of their kill as it takes time to finish their prey in a go.

Wolves and canines hide the remaining food in hideouts over large spaces and are known as “scatter hoarders.”

This study put light on tiny wolf pups that will cache their belongings not to be found by a sibling. Similarly, dogs show such bizarre behavior and understand it as if they were on auto mode i.e.acting on inner wolf instincts. So when you see your dog digging in your garden, be assured it is natural. You may like to know why ground though and not a blanket or under stairs. Dogs bury their bones in the soil so that they remain fresher longer due to decreased temperature and no direct sunlight, i.e., their own natural refrigerator.

Caesar Millan, a dog behaviorist, points out that sometimes dogs do not bury food to store and protect for needy times; instead, they bury it so that they can enjoy their loved possessions repeatedly.

Nowadays, with caring pet owners, dogs are not required to stash food, but still, the natural instinct stays with them.

Dog Breeds

A lot of breeds of dogs are inclined towards burying and burrowing holes without any reason. Breeds such as Beagles, Terriers, and Dachshunds are more prone to the above-said behavior. This is normal for them and pretty standard. 

Breeds that were cultivated for chasing and hunting maintain superb digging and searching abilities, such as Cairn Terriers. Also, it’s common for a Dushmond to bury its bones under pillows or blankets. 

Almost all dogs can dig and bury, but it is of no concern if your dog does not show such behavior.


When humans do not entertain and provide fun-energetic playtime to their dog pets, it finds ways to get busy on its own. To seek your attention and turn a monotonous day into a fun one, they may steal and bury your tv remote. 

It is understandable as a little simulation is there at homes, dogs tend to get bored and do such stuff. Give them attention and set boundaries as to what they can bury and not. You will be sorted.

Stress and Anxiety

If a dog is anxious, it may start digging and burying to soothe itself. Digging for them is a calming activity and decreases their stress at that moment. Sometimes, dogs bury their food to eat at their convenience if the current time or situation does not seem safe to them. 

A lot of dogs that were bred in puppy mills show such behavior. It is also common in multi-dog households. This can be improved by making your dog feel safe and comfortable with the help of professionals. Also, remember to feed your dog at the same time every day.

Fun Facts

Occasionally, dogs stash their treats and look into them again when in the mood or ignore it for weeks. Some dogs move their prized belongings multiple times due to indecisiveness and settle for a spot after spending much time. And certain dogs will never visit the buried bone ever again.

As per a study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science Journal, forgetting their hiding spots never happens with dogs. They have a strong smell sense;way more powerful than humans. So never think that a dog has forgotten about the whereabouts of its treasure.

Also, dogs can bury anything that catches their fancy, which may even be as small as stones.

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