Dogs love to bury things. They bury their favourite toy, they love to bury bones. They bury their favourite food and sometimes they even bury your own things. So many times, you lift up the cushions on your couch to find hidden treasures of things that might have gone missing. Sometimes your nicely maintained lawn may be demolished by your enthusiastic dog trying to bury a bone.

This habit of dogs can sometimes be annoying but mostly adorable. However, it should be fun to find out why dogs resort to this digging business.

Has your dog dug up your garden?

Wild instincts

Generations ago, when dogs roamed the wild in packs, they had to hunt for their food. It often took a lot of time and energy to catch and kill something, and then as soon as they managed to do that, other animals would be after it if they smelled the meat. And, of course, there were also occasions where a hunt might have gone too well and the dog simply wasn’t able to finish his entire meal. What’s was the solution to both problems? Bury the food.

By burying carcasses and bones, dogs were essentially creating natural refrigerators for them. The dirt prevented other creatures from smelling and finding their bounty, maintained freshness longer by keeping away sunlight, and also “marinated” the food with the tastes of the earth.

Entertainment

Many dogs love to dig. Some breeds, like terriers, are more likely to dig than others. But any dog can develop a digging habit. Dogs that dig for fun usually adopt a playful posture and alternate between digging and running around. Sandy surfaces often trigger bouts of digging. If your dog digs for entertainment, you’ll probably see holes located randomly around the area.

Separation Anxiety Digging

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety may dig to get to a family member or to escape from being left alone. 

Escape-Motivated Digging

Some dogs dig to escape from confinement.

Eating Dirt or Other Inedible Objects

Some dogs dig holes to consume soil, roots and other inedible material. They’re usually selective about the soil they consume, so this kind of digging is usually restricted to a small number of spots.

Digging is a normal behaviour for dogs. Certain breeds are more likely to dig than others. Digging out food is a natural instinctFor example, terriers were bred to hunt underground prey, such as rabbits and badgers, so they tend to dig a lot. However, any dog of any breed can develop a digging habit under the right (or wrong) conditions. To deal with a digging problem, you’ll need to identify your dog’s underlying motivation for the behaviour. If you can figure out why your dog digs, you can figure out how to fix or reduce the problem. In some cases, you’ll need to prevent digging in unwanted locations and offer appropriate places for digging instead

You’re giving them too much

The other side of the instinct to bury things has nothing to do with fear of starvation or protecting their food from predators. If you’re overly generous with your pooch in terms of toys or treats, burying them is a way for them to say “Cool! I’ll save this.” Sometimes they may even want to bury items because they’re too good for them to eat all at once — they want to save them so they can enjoy them again later.

It’s a game                                                  

If your dog is bored, lonely, or simply wants to get your attention, it’s not uncommon for them to Dog digging awaybury things to get you to “play” with them. Often, these stolen items will be shiny things like jewellery or watches, or objects they know are “valuable” to you, like shoes or TV remotes.

The best way to curb this urge to bury things is to minimize your dog’s access to the objects they covet and rotate toys to provide variety. If you have trouble stopping your dog from burying things outside, talk to your vet.