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Why Dogs Bury Bones: Unveiling Canine Instincts and Natural Behaviours

The dog's predatory instinct What happens in practice? Guided by its powerful sense of smell, the dog explores the ground with its nose, going deeper and deeper until, in order to reach the 'sunken treasure', it starts digging.

Few actions in the intricate tapestry of canine behaviour pique human curiosity, like the instinctual habit of dogs burying bones. Whether it’s a cherished treat or a makeshift toy, dogs often find solace in hiding items within their surroundings, echoing ancient behaviours ingrained within their genetic makeup.

Understanding why dogs exhibit this behaviour requires a journey into their evolutionary past, where survival instincts dictated resource management and preparedness for lean times. By delving into why dogs bury bones, we unravel a quirky habit and a profound connection to their ancestral roots. Let’s find out why.

Secret reserves

Who hasn’t seen Fido, grappling with a bone or another treat, suddenly run off to the garden and bury his precious ‘treasure‘?

Who hasn’t seen Fido running to bury a bone in the garden?

Sometimes, the carefully accumulated ‘stockpiles’ can remain hidden for a very long time, weeks or even months, until, perhaps in a moment of languor or boredom, our four-legged darling brings them back into the light. Without a garden, Fido might try to ‘bury’ food behind furniture or in other ‘hiding places’ in the house.

Natural behaviour

Many dogs have an innate predatory instinct and will dig for prey to which their sense of smell has alerted them. It is clear that they are unlikely to find badgers or foxes in their backyard, but a few rodent nests perhaps do. Piles of earth left by moles also invite the dog to dig.

This behaviour might seem bizarre. It is an entirely natural impulse linked to its ancestral origins. We must not forget that the dog is descended from the wolf, an animal that lives essentially by hunting.

Just as with the wolf, the ancestors of the modern domestic dog lived off what they could prey upon. Therefore, there were times of plenty and others when food was scarce or lacking altogether.

Precious nourishment

In this changing environment, in which survival could be jeopardised by more or less long ‘lean’ periods, it became essential to have food reserves that could be used during the hardest of times.

This led the ancestors of our favourites to store supplies, mainly bones, underground. Why bones? They were the most durable parts over time and could be stored in good condition for longer.

Although less perishable than, for example, soft tissue, bones are still rich in marrow, a source of valuable nutrients. This is why they represented an excellent ’emergency’ reservoir to draw on in the most challenging periods.

A ‘larder’ always at hand

A direct descendant of the wolf, the dog has preserved in its DNA this particular propensity to bury things, especially bones. The difference from his ancestors is that today’s dog is rarely exposed to periods of food shortages, so he almost certainly does not need to resort to the supplies he has so providentially accumulated.

The carefully accumulated “stocks” can sometimes remain hidden for a very long time, weeks or even months. Then, perhaps in a moment of languor or boredom, our four-legged favourite doesn’t decide to bring them back to light.

Sometimes, however, Fido draws on his secret storehouse, perhaps in a moment of boredom (or, who knows, maybe because he is surprised by a sudden ‘hole in his stomach’). With the help of his proverbial nose, he unearths some of his ‘treasures’ for a nutritious snack off the agenda.

Ancestral reasons

One reason may be their desire to find more excellent shelters to shelter from the heat or to take refuge when they feel in danger. On other occasions, dogs may dig in the garden because they have sensed something under the ground and, therefore, want to be able to reach it.

If our pet then tries to ‘hide’ the leftovers of his meal in the garden, there is no need to worry. As mentioned, it is a perfectly natural behaviour linked to its origins.

Sometimes, Fido also hides other objects, perhaps reminiscent of parts of the prey, such as warm or ‘furry’ fabrics or ‘soft’ objects such as slippers. In many cases, this behaviour can be traced back to the same ancestral reasons that drive it to hoard food scraps. Scoring or punishing our pet would not be correct if we were faced with such a phenomenon.

The help of a professional in dog training and education can be beneficial in understanding our friend’s behaviour even better and in understanding how to behave to respect his specific characteristics and ethological needs.

Q&A:

Why do dogs bury bones?

Dogs bury bones as an instinctual behaviour inherited from their wolf ancestors. This serves as a means of storing food in times of scarcity.

Should I be concerned if my dog buries items in the garden?

No, it’s a natural behaviour rooted in their ancestry. However, monitoring what they bury is essential to ensure safety and prevent damage to your garden.

How can I discourage my dog from burying items in the garden?

Alternative activities like interactive toys and regular exercise can help redirect their instincts. Consistent training and positive reinforcement can also discourage this behaviour.

Is it harmful if my dog digs up buried items?

Depending on what they bury, it could pose a risk, such as consuming spoiled food or damaging plants. Supervision and training can minimise these risks.

Takeaways:

  1. Dogs bury bones as an instinct inherited from their wolf ancestors.
  2. Understanding this behaviour can strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
  3. Providing alternative activities and consistent training can help discourage excessive burying.
  4. Supervision is essential to ensure your dog’s safety and prevent damage to your garden.

Solutions:

  1. How to avoid the dog digging in the garden: Implement training techniques to redirect your dog’s behaviour and provide alternative activities.
  2. Tips to prevent your dog from digging in the garden: Offer interactive toys, provide sufficient exercise, and create designated digging areas.
  3. Protect your garden: Use barriers or fencing to restrict access to specific areas, supervise outdoor time, and remove temptation by keeping garden tools and food out of reach.

Comparison Table:

AspectDogs Bury BonesSolutions to Prevent Digging
BehaviorNatural instinctTraining and redirection
PurposeFood storageEnsuring garden safety
RiskPotential hazardsMinimizing garden damage
ApproachUnderstandingPositive reinforcement

Conclusion:

In the modern landscape of pet ownership, the enigmatic behaviour of Dogs Buried Bones poignantly reminds us of our primal instincts and ancestral heritage. While the need for such practices may have diminished in the age of abundance, the echoes of our evolutionary past continue to resonate in our everyday actions.

Pet owners can forge deeper bonds with their canine companions by embracing and understanding the innate drive behind why Dogs breed bones. They can respect their inclinations while providing a nurturing environment honouring their ancestry.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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