Dear Labby, Why Does my Dog Bury Things?

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Dear Labby_oldDear Labby,
My dog buries thing all over our yard – his toys, treats, shoes, anything he can get his jaws on, he buries. Why does he do that and how do I get him to stop?

Dear Buried,
Your dog is just following his instinct. When dogs were first becoming domesticated, they were fed scraps from the humans. They didn’t necessarily get two nicely prepared meals each day, they got what was left over and they didn’t always know when that would be, so they took to storing surplus food. The dirt would hide it from predators and also help keep it fresh.
Our dog Tino used to bury everything too. When we first rescued him and his brother Bernie, we gave them some pig’s ears as treats. They didn’t even eat them – they buried them. After awhile, when they realized they were going to get fed regularly, they stopped burying them and ate them, but Tino continued to bury his toys for years. I’m sure there’s still buried toys out in our backyard from him.DIGDOG

Our favorite Tino story about burying things was one day Steve lost his wallet. He had it earlier in the day and then that night, it was just gone. He called and cancelled all his credit cards and resigned himself to the hassle that went along with losing your wallet…then he noticed dirt on Tino’s nose…a sure sign he’d been digging because he always used his nose to help cover his treasure.
Sure enough, he went out in the front yard and there in the flower bed was some freshly mounded dirt…and his wallet.
There’s not much you can do to get them to stop other then limit what they have access to. They usually only bury “surplus”, so don’t give them multiple treats or bones, don’t give them a basket full of toys, only give them one. And as for your things – the best plan is to just keep them out of reach. Keep the closest door closed, the remote out of reach and the coffee table clear of keys and wallets!
Additional Resources:
Why Dogs Bury Things
Why Does My Dog… Bury Objects?

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  1. Oh boy not the wallet. Of course Tino would go for something valuable, he knew he had a real treasure 🙂 I’m glad you were able to find it with the help of his dirt covered nose. I’ve always found dogs instincts amazing; we’ve domesticated them so much but they still have these deep imbedded behaviors that keep us on our toes.
    Jen Jelly recently posted…Stiggy’s Dogs – Helping Dogs & Veterans Come TogetherMy Profile

  2. This post seems so timely since Morgan just came back to stay with us again and the last time he was here he kept burying things… under blankets, pillows, beds, crate pads, etc. It’s a hilarious (and less messy than outside) habit!
    Bethany recently posted…The Good, The Bad And The Opposite Of UglyMy Profile

  3. I wonder if the person created a special digging area if that would control the burying–at least limit it to one spot?

    Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.
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  4. Mom is knocking on wood because we have never been interested in digging or burying things. Maybe we should give it a try, just to keep her on her toes! BOL!
    Miley’s Daily Scoop recently posted…Miley and Her Terrible, No Good, Dirty Rotten BrotherMy Profile

  5. Our dogs don’t bury, but they love to dig things up.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Tip on Stopping Incessant BarkingMy Profile

  6. LOL – Steve’s wallet! Our dogs don’t bury things, but Tucker used to hide things all over the house. We’d find dog treats and toys, things we thought we’d lost, in all sorts of places.
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  7. Ha! So interesting!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
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  8. Neither Doodle is/was a digger. No one ever buried anything either. I’ve never stopped them, they’ve just never did it. Wonder if it’s a Doodle thing?

  9. I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time, but I’m cracking up over that wallet story!

  10. Thankfully Kilo isn’t much of a digger. Great post, thanks Labby 😉

  11. Omigoodness! My mom’s little dog is a burier. She comes in face covered in dirt. And it’s both treats and toys. If my Chewy is over, she seems to be hiding the treats from him.
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  12. Seems Tino was the only one who buried a real treasure, lol I buried all things I found, even clothes or shoes… till I broke my toe while digging on my world tunnel. I’m on short-time work now, but still a Mole (that’s my nickname)
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  13. Mom is quite happy that none of us bury stuff. We have all had a small dig here and there, but it was always short lived.
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  14. That’s a great idea not to give them a surplus of items that they might decide to bury! I’m glad the wallet was easy to recover, lol!
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  15. Dear Labby: I like to bury treats and toys all over the house. Most recently a toy monkey I found at the park, in the comforter and clean duvet on the bed. Love Dolly
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  16. That is too crazy that he would bury Steve’s wallet! What a panic ☺ I’ve never had a dog bury anything. Pierre does continually dig, but it is to catch moles.
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  17. Oh no, not the wallet! Too funny. I’ve never had a dog actually bury stuff… Only do the fake burying thing. Both our last pups would fake-bury things in the sofa, and then push “dirt” over it with their heads. Too funny to watch.
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  18. We have never had a dog who buried things. Sometimes they dig, but not too much. Funny story about the wallet!
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  19. Tino, you silly boy good thing he had the evidence on his nose or you might not of found it.
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