You get home with this incredible gift for your loved four-legged friend: a bone! Oh, you know your dog will love that and will love you even more for that! You can already envision all the jumps of joy and kisses and licks that you will be receiving as a ‘thank you’! So you thought! Instead, your dog grabs the bone with his/her mouth and go straight to the back yard! For your surprise, your furry friend starts to dig in into the soil, making a whole big enough to place ‘the gift’ and when all is set and done, he/she comes back inside home as if nothing ever happened! Sounds like your dog? Yes it does! It really sounds like any other dog, really! Burying bones is one of the canine’s most odd behaviors, so we think, but for our furry friends it is a serious business, driven by heredity and instinct.
Old habits die hard: I am sure you have heard this expression before and have agreed with its rightness. Well, this is also true for our canine friends! Back in the days when civilization didn’t really exist and we were not around to feed our dogs twice a day plus treats, life for them wasn’t always a picnic. Burying their hunting prize was a necessity. They had to find and maintain an adequate food supply in order to survive.
Not only they had to hunt to survive; they had to save it for later when hunting would become scarce; they had to hid from predators and scavengers; and they had to, well, you know, ‘cook it’. That’s right, the dirt worked as mother nature’s refrigerator, keeping buried bones fresher longer and tastier too.
Think dogs are the only ones with this behavior? Think again! Squirrels gather enough nuts to last through the winter, and camels store enough food and water to last for several days in the desert. This process is known as caching or hoarding.
So next time your dog raking up the garden with a piece of rawhide clutched between their teeth, or you find their favorite toy hidden under your pillow, try not to be angry at your furry friend. It is hard to fight more than a thousand years of instinct and history. That’s a long time remembering something! I can’t even remember what I buried a couple of days ago!