Have you ever wondered, “Why does my dog bury their stuff?”
Isn’t that a guaranteed way to lose or ruin their favorite treasures? It’s one of those doggy behaviors that often leaves us humans chuckling and scratching our heads.
Can you imagine getting a new television and immediately burying it in the backyard? Or what if we brought home groceries every week and stored them in the sandbox out back? It simply doesn’t make sense in the world of humans.
If your pooch could talk, what do you think he or she would say? “I just can’t help myself,” or “Why don’t YOU bury your things, you weirdo?” Is it just something we’re destined not to understand about our dogs?
Dogs like to bury things – not just bones. It could be a toy, a bone, your car keys, or a pair of socks. If they don’t bury things outside, they will bury things under dirty clothes, in between the couch cushions, or under blankets. If you watch, they’ll even push imaginary dirt over the house-buried items with their noses. (It’s so adorable!)
The Scientific Reason Behind Burying
Many years ago, before they were domesticated, dogs traveled in packs. They had to hunt for their food. The energy and time it took for them to capture and kill enough food were enormous. Often, as soon as they finished the job other hungry animals might come after what they had just killed. Also, there were times when a dog couldn’t finish their meal and they would bury the food to save for later. (There aren’t any coolers, refrigerators or take out containers in the wild.) This natural instinct continues today, even for domesticated dogs.
The Secret (Pirate) Life of Dogs
According to research, burying things is your dog’s way of protecting them. Other dogs might come to steal their best stuff, so it’s best to hide it underground. In a way, that makes dogs a lot like pirates, doesn’t it? They pilfer socks from the laundry hamper and bury them in the backyard. Steal an extra cookie from the counter? Bury that treasure in the backyard, matey!
Why Do Dogs Bury Things Now That They’re Domesticated?
Your dog ultimately buries things as part of their instinctual drive. Experts theorize that the instinct to bury may have several root causes.
Instinct: Your dog is never going to run out food with you manning the food bowl, but that’s not going to stop them from wanting to be protective of their favorite toys, treats, and food.
Too much: Yes, dogs can and do get full. Plus, they may choose to save something really yummy for another time. If they’re experiencing digestive upset, they may choose to save a treat for another day, just like you would on a sick day. Burying is your dog’s way of saving the good stuff for last.
Play time: Your dog loves to play, and burying things for you to find can be part of a game of hide-and-seek for your dog. Betcha can’t find where your keys are! I hid your left shoe, tag, you’re it!
No Real Reason: Sometimes, a dog just does stuff without an explanation. There is no need to analyze. A dog is an independent creature and just likes to do doggy things.
The Pirate Gene: I secretly think all dogs love adventure and have a little bit of pirate deep down. They love to sail the high seas (in the front seat of the car), raid neighboring villages (the cat’s toy box and the laundry hamper), and bury their treasures on deserted islands (the backyard sandbox).
My dogs have given me an entirely new spiritual perspective on life. I now have a genuine understanding of unconditional love and provision.