If you ask a group a people to imagine a dog doing a common activity, many people will think of a dog burying a bone.
Although your dog may not bury bones in the yard, burying things is a common activity for many dogs.
It's a natural thing for dogs.
It's an instinct that can be traced back to the days when dogs were wild and hunted in packs. Sometimes a large animal would be killed that provided more food that the pack could eat. Sometimes a wild dog was able to kill several smaller animals and had more food than he needed.
In either event, there was food left over. Since the wild dogs never knew when they would have another meal, they would hoard or cache the extra food. Burying it in the ground was the perfect answer for many reasons: the kill was hidden, the dirt masked the aroma of the food, and the cool ground helped slow decay. The soil even added an extra layer of flavor to the buried food.
It makes sense that dogs would have needed to bury food when they never knew where their next meal was coming from.
But why do dogs bury things still today?
Most dogs today live in homes with loving owners who keep them well-fed. Their meals are delivered at regular intervals right to their bowls.
It could be that you're giving your dog too many treats or new toys too often. He might bury one or more treats or toys in his bed, under the cushions on the couch, or in the pile of dirty laundry so he can enjoy it at a later time.
Some dogs may bury things as a response to being bored or lonely. This is particularly true if your dog buries things of yours, such as the remote, a shoe, or a cell phone. He could be hiding them as a way of getting you to interact and play with him.
Regardless of why your dog buries things or what items he buries, it's not a good idea to let him bury things outside he will later eat. There are too many chemicals in today's soil that can cause him an upset stomach or diarrhea. If he does develop these symptoms after digging in the yard, take him to the vet to be checked out.
Otherwise, try to enjoy your dog's games of hide and seek. If you get tired of hunting for the remote every time you want to change channels, you can put it out of your dog's reach. Or you could try playing with your dog more. Burying the remote in the seat cushions might just be his way of saying if you played with him more, you wouldn't need to watch so much TV.
You can talk with your vet about ways to curb your dog's habit of burying things if it really bothers you. As far as your dog is concerned, though, he's just acting naturally.
Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.