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Why Is Your Dog Burying Bones?

Reason why dogs bury bones

As a dog owner, you greatly realise that even though you call them your fur baby, they do not act that much as a human would. And you love them for it. However, some behaviours are not entirely clear to you.

Your dog loves sniffing things, including whatever is coming out of the bottom end of the baby. That diaper is of great interest to your pup. Besides that, you don’t get why everywhere you go in the house; you have two shadows slowly attending to you.

One is your actual shadow, and the other is a furry one that should not be following you into the washroom. Even though this is true for dogs of all types, Bernese Mountain Dogs are particularly fond of this.

There is one particular one that you can’t make heads or tails of it.

It’s easy to dismiss as normal dog behaviour, but does it have any significance to it? Or is the dog trying to communicate something? Well, this behaviour is burying bones they come across, or even toys that they love playing with regularly.

Why does your dog do this?

1. As a survival tactic

Even though the dog and the wolf are two different species, they are pretty close in genetic makeup. This could help explain your dog’s behaviour. Before the days of domestication, the ancestors of dogs lived in the wild and operated similarly to wolves. This meant having to hunt down their food. They did not have refrigeration facilities, and also did not know when their next fresh meal would be.

This led to dogs burying bones in the ground, away from sunlight, and as a way to keep them fresh for longer. Dogs did this next to their dens so they could be within the range of their sense of smell, and also where they felt safe. This same behaviour has been passed down to your dog over the generations.

Now, your dog is burying anything that feels is of value to it. This could be the toy that it loves or the barbecue that both of you delightfully participated in some time ago.

2. The type of breed

Yes, all dogs have very similar traits and behaviours. However, these things will be more pronounced in certain breeds than others. In any case, breeds were, well, bred, for their various characteristics. Border Collies and German Shepherds are both shepherds; how they go about is what is different.

While all dogs will dig, given the opportunity, other breeds are more inclined to digging than others. This is especially true when you consider the different terriers, basset hounds, beagles, dachshunds, miniature schnauzers.

The terriers were initially bred for their excellent ability to clear an area of rats, and also to hunt down foxes, moles as well as badgers. These breeds would even dig down into the ground until they got hold of their prey and killed it.

Digging is a feature that these dogs were bred for, and therefore yours would engage in digging around your yard to exercise what it was bred for doing best. As they are very likely to dig, they are also very likely to bury bones and other things into the places that it has been digging.

3. Separation anxiety

Your dog may not exhibit the most obvious signs that it wants you to stay at home. There is the usual running to the door to try and go with you, or even block the door to keep you from leaving. As soon as you walk out, they are left there calm.

You may not notice it, but the separation anxiety could be mounting. This could begin to turn into destructive behaviours such as chewing up stuff in your house or even barking relentlessly. You having a yard doesn’t mean your pup will not experience any anxiety.

Even though it might be free to run around, it will still manifest anxiety in another way; digging. Digging can be quite soothing to do, and so, they will engage in this to try and rid themselves of feelings of anxiety.

If your dog also isn’t comfortable with your home, or the area where it is fed, it will try to make its own. For this, they will carry their bones and other foodstuffs to an area where they feel safer, and then they will dig to save it for later use.

This behaviour is especially typical in a household that has more than one dog. If you also get a dog from a breeder that did not provide adequate food, your pup may have already learned to save some for itself before everything is gobbled up.

4. Boredom

Apart from anxiety, the other most common thing that a good number of dogs go through is boredom. Yes, a dog is meant to be a pet, but they are not the type to be content to sit in one place.

Dogs are playful animals, and they need several hours of play for them to feel any physical or mental exhaustion. Keeping a dog engaged is an excellent way to stop a lot of destructive behaviours, as well as keeping them happy.

Dogs have varying levels of energy. If you picked a breed that was meant to work, then they will need many hours of exercise every day. This is why it is recommended you should walk your dog at least 90 minutes every day, or let them go and run around in the dog park.

Boredom can result in your pup digging holes and burying stuff so that they could entertain themselves. They will also take the remote and hide them around the house, just as a way of getting your attention.

Stopping your pup from burying stuff

This will be highly dependent on whether you want to stop the behaviour, or whether you want to redirect it. The thing you should take stock of most is what kind of mental stimulation and exercise is your dog receiving. If they are not adequate, then it’s time to switch up the routine.

The simplest way to reduce the occurrences is to take your dog out for some playtime. You can have them on a schedule so that your dog always looks forward to them, rather than take out their frustrations on your yard. You could also take the time actually to play and interact with them.

Toys are always an excellent idea. This is especially true of those that can contain treats inside them. This will give your dogs the mental workout needed, and they will have less time to destroy your yard.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have time to spare why not check out these related posts and dive deeper down the rabbit hole that is the being a pet owner.

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