Why Do Dogs Bury Things?

February 25, 2022

Have you ever wondered why your dogs head out with their favourite dog toy or to the couch and frantically start digging, trying to hide their treasure? Many of our furry companions like to hide things in safe places. They are often predisposed to burying items that belong to them, and sometimes they just love to do it. It happens to be a behaviour that their canine cousins and wolf ancestors share. But in the modern days, they don’t need to bury food like their ancestors. So, the question is, why do they still do it? 


dog digging

According to a study published recently in the Journal of Archaeological Science, the first sign of domesticated dogs was discovered 14,200 years ago. The Bonn-Oberkassel was found buried next to humans. Before that, wild dogs are believed to have existed some 19,000 to 32,000 years ago. Today, your furry friends get their heredity instinct from their oldest relatives, the wolves. Back then, the wolves did not have humans who fed them from time to time. Therefore they had to hunt down their food, and if they did not eat it at that very moment, they would bury it for future use.

This hereditary instinct was passed on to their descendants, your loving furry companions, dogs. This might be one of the reasons that your dogs are the way they are, but it is by far not the only one.

Resource Guarding

Dog burring things

If you have adopted a street or a rescue dog, then the dog has probably had to compete with other dogs for food, so the habit of protecting their food continues even after you have adopted them.

Stress & Anxiety

Dog in stress

If the dog is experiencing any stress or anxiety while eating their food, they may bury their food to come back at a more peaceful time and eat. Digging can be a calming activity for them. 


Another reason your dog might be burying their food is because of overfeeding. You might be giving your dog too much food, so they might think that saving the extra food for later is a good option.


Connection Seeking

One more reason for burying things from the household might be to establish connection. Burying your thing might make you look at your dog with suspicion, but for them, it is just attention for them.

Ways you can stop your dog from burying their food and things.

These are some ways to stop your dog from burying their food; now, let’s see some ways you can get your dog to stop burying their toys and other belongings :

Dog digging

  • If your dog has the habit of hiding or burying their toys, you can stop them by keeping their toys somewhere where your dog can access them and put them back.
  • If your dog does put their toys back, reward them with pets, praises, and play. If you find a toy, put it back in the storage place, this way, when your dog goes to search for it again, they will learn to look for their toy in the storage place.
  • You can teach your dog new tricks to bond with them and teach them to play politely and not bury their toys and food.
  • Things that your dog may be tempted to hide can be kept somewhere you can reach and give it to them, e.g., treats.

However, there are things you should never do to your dog :

  • You should not punish your dog by yelling at them or hitting them.
  • It would help if you did not take something away from them without giving them something better or at least equal to what you have taken away.
  • Do not chase your dog or make a fuss about them hiding the toys and food. Your dog might not understand this as a punishment, but instead, as a game, which will encourage their behaviour of burying or hiding their things.
  • If you still cannot see any difference in your dog’s behaviour, you can reach out to a dog trainer. They are professionals and have a greater idea of how to stop your dog from hiding or burying their toys and food.

Dog burying

There are many disadvantages to your dog burying their food and toys. First of all, the food might go bad till your dog remembers to dig it up and eat. This might cause stomach infections. Your dog would, further, put their toy in their mouth, and if the toy has picked up some worms, it would probably go to their stomach and infect them. We hope that you now know why your dogs bury their things and have learnt effective ways to stop it!

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