Why Do Dogs Hide Treats or Bury Bones?
Detective Murphy Murpherson seeks the answers to Riley’s weird behavior.
The other day I was helping Linda rearrange living room furniture and behind the couch was another hidden stash of Riley’s biscuit treats! I have found his special treats in almost every room of the house, even in my own bed! And it’s not like their really buried or hidden very well; usually just tucked in a corner, under a pillow, or behind furniture. I’m starting to get a little worried cause it seems like weird behavior to me; especially since we always have plenty of food in our bowl. Riley is my hero and if he’s heading off the reservation with his mysterious behavior of hiding treats then I need to get professional help for him!
Donning my favorite hounds tooth hat (now there’s a mysterious word I should investigate, uh later….back to Riley) I paid a visit to Dr. Sichund Freud, the famous dog Sighchologist, to get to the bottom of Riley’s ailment.
“Thanks for seeing me today Dr. Freud, my best buddie O’Riley seems to have a fetish with stashing food around the house. I’m quite worried about his behavior and was hoping you might explain.” Dr. Freud thought for a moment, then let out a sigh.
“Well Detective Murphy, there are many reasons as to why dogs hide bones and treats around the house or in a yard. It is a survival habit that dates back many, many years to our ancestors. In the wild, dogs roamed in packs hunting for their daily meal, and if the kill was large, the members satisfied, leftovers would be buried for a later meal; (sigh) a food deposit you might say, to feed the pack if the next hunt was unsuccessful. The bones were often buried next to the lair, again this cache could provide nutrition in times of food shortages”.
“Bones were used as Cash? As in greenbacks, dinero, you know……mullah, to buy food with?” I said in total amazement. Maybe Riley was building a cash reserve……… “No! No! No!” said Dr. Freud. After a very awkward pause and another big sigh he continued.
“Cache means to store or hide a supply of things or valuables in a secret, safe place. Caching means to bury for later consumption and in the wild that usually means under dirt, leaves, or snow. Many dogs still bury bones in the backyard, but, and as in the case of your friend Riley, when in the house they will find the next best substitute such as blankets, rugs, pillows, or behind furniture!”
“But Doc”, I said, “With all that burying of bones and hiding of biscuits isn’t it easy to forget where the treasures are hidden?” Dr. Freud stared at me a minute, a blank stare with a raised eyebrow, like Riley does. He then leaned towards me and let out a huge sigh as he spoke very slowly.
“Detective Murphy, you are after all a dog, are you not?” But before I could answer he continued. “All canines tend to use a visual marker when considering the perfect spot to bury a bone or hide a treat. A marker can be anything like a conspicuous tree, rock, fence, or room furniture. And along with this visual marker all canines tend to have an acute sense of smell, therefore they can detect the location of a bone in the ground or a treat hidden away in a room by using their nose. Of course there are some dogs who forget where the bone or treat is located which can lead to unwanted digging, and that may become a reward in and of itself. By the way Detective Murphy we DO have excellent programs here for those in need, so…., if you have no further questions I assume you can find your way out!”
On my way back home I thought to myself, Riley and Dr. Sichund Freud have one thing in common; they both sigh a lot when talking to me…….maybe Riley is a Sighchologist too! I pondered a lot about what the Doc had to say, but it just doesn’t apply to Riley. Riley’s really smart, I know so cause Linda always refers to him as a “wise guy”. He doesn’t stash his biscuits to eat later cause he’d be a little porky by now! I know he remembers where they’re at cause I took one from an out of the way spot and he paw slapped me! And I know he’s not hiding bones in the yard, too many squirrels………and I know………wait a minute…….gotta check something……..yep there it is……..I’ve got it! I’ve solved the mystery of Riley’s weird behavior. Boy that Riley is sure a smart pup, taking the lessons learned from squirrels and bankrolling them into a future retirement stash! No mystery to his mysterious behavior, guess that’s why Riley is my hero! We can all learn an important lesson from Riley and those squirrels!
Now on to the mystery of the hounds tooth hat……….I wonder why they call it a hounds tooth, there’s no doggie teeth in my hat!…………hhhmmmmm………..