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Have you been misplacing your precious belongings ever since you got a pet dog ?, and when the T.V remote disappeared from the table next to your sofa while you were on that brief toilet break it spooked you out a bit, didn’t it?
Surprising as it may sound, your cute dog is behind all these harmless robberies. Yes, they are all done in playful, healthy and high spirits.
Dogs are predisposed to bury things that belong to them or otherwise. Ever wondered? Why do dogs dig and bury objects?
It’s a way of life in the wild: When dogs hunt for food they have to keep their booty safe from other animals/dogs. Obviously catching a prey for food requires both time and energy. Also the leftovers have to be preserved for later consumption. Now to prevent other animals from smelling the meat, a dog buries its food. The act of burying serves a dual benefit; it protects the food from predators as well as rotting. When the meat or bones are buried under the earth, this cuts off the sunlight thereby retaining the freshness of the food. Preserving the kill in the soil also adds some tasty and natural flavors to the food.
Domestication does not take away the urge of digging in dogs. Therefore your pet dog will continue to portray a behavior known to its ancestors and wild contemporaries. Here’s why dogs will never give up their burying antics.
It’s a natural urge: Your pet has no competitors and is always well fed, it will still want to hide its tasty bone for future use. It may find a safe spot in your garden to hide its toys too. It could simply hide them beneath a pile of dry leaves and dirt. Pets are often pampered with a variety of dog treats and abundance of toys. They tend to respond to all this excess by saving/ hiding a few things to be used and enjoyed later on.
Excessive digging may also be due to your pet dog’s yearning for a play session with you: The bored four legged chap is just seeking your attention when it flicks one of your bejeweled watches or bracelets and hides it under some cushion or under a big pile of dirty clothes. Your dog will try to target your favorite items like the pair of shoes you wear the most! Usually anything that is shiny will catch the dog’s eye. It just hopes that this action will lead to a fun playtime with you.
Dog parents at some point will want to stop this kind of stashing and storing behavior. Instead of spoiling the pooch for choice amid a pool of toys, offer it a maximum of two toys at a time. You can stack the rest in a place your dog can’t reach. After a couple of days you can offer him two different toys from the stock, this variety will keep him from getting bored. The excess dog bones too should be stored away. Let him savor one bone thoroughly before you serve the next.
When you put a cap on the quantity of toys/bones available to the dog, it will directly impact his urge to hoard by limiting its burying escapades in the yard, outdoors.
You can convert this whole act of burying into a fun indoor game that you play with your dog regularly. You can teach the pooch to bury its toy or bone under a mat/cushion/quilt and take its focus away from valuable items that belong to you. This game will enrich your dog with a new learning of what’s okay to hide and what’s not.
There’s always a risk to your dog’s health when it consumes those preserved bones & treats or chews on the buried toys, after retrieval from the soil. Especially if you use chemical fertilizers/pesticides in your yard or garden soil Contact with these chemicals can cause loose stools, vomiting and upset the stomach. Avoiding serious health issues in your pet will require you to stop it from taking such items outside for burial.