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Why Do Dogs Bury Their Toys? 10 Possible Reasons

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on July 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

English beagle burying dog toy in the sand on the beach

Why Do Dogs Bury Their Toys? 10 Possible Reasons

Have you ever been taking a walk through your backyard only to find a freshly dug mound of earth hiding one of your dog’s favorite toys? If you have, you aren’t alone. This is a common experience for many owners. Canines love to bury toys, food, and other items throughout their territory, mostly because of instinct. Whether they choose an ideal spot is another issue.

Let’s take a look at the reasons that your dog may be burying their toys. This will help you better understand your pet so you can decide whether to get involved in the situation.

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Why Do Dogs Bury Their Toys?

1. Instinct

Burying is a natural action for dogs. This behavior goes back to their ancestors, as wolves, coyotes, and even wild dogs bury items they feel are special or may be needed at a later time. These can be items or food. When it comes to your domestic dog at home, they may feel the need to bury toys and food too. In some cases, it’s simply a call back to their history.

2. Too Many Toys

Another reason you may find your dog enjoys burying their toys is abundance. This behavior also reflects their connection to their ancestors. Wolves are known for burying excess food. They do this to keep it safe from scavengers so they can eat it when needed. Your dog may look at their toys in the same way. If they have too many to play with, they may bury them for use later.

dog bed with toys
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

3. Negative Past

It’s possible that your pet had a bad experience with toys in the past. Perhaps their breeder, other dogs in the house they once lived in, or even people they’ve interacted with didn’t allow them to play with their toys when they wanted. If that’s the case, your dog may be burying toys so no one takes them away.

4. Possessiveness

Possessiveness can be a real issue when you have multiple dogs in a household. If there are certain toys your dog favors, they may try to bury them in the backyard to keep the other dogs away from them. If you notice growling or any type of aggression when toys are being played within your home, a possessive dog could be the reason for the burying behavior.

aggressive black dog protecting the bone from black puppy
Image By: Zadranka, Shutterstock

5. Desire for Novelty

Dogs are more like kids than you might realize, and just like a child, your dog may get tired of the same old toys. If you notice your dog taking an older toy out to the backyard and burying it, this could be the reason, especially if they continue to play with newer toys. Burying could be your dog’s way of telling you they need new toys.

6. Desire for More Activity

Another reason your dog may be burying their toys is that they want more of your attention or more activity throughout the day. When your dog comes to you and instead of taking them for a walk or spending time with them, you simply toss their toy, they may start to expect this kind of reaction from you. If your dog feels they aren’t getting enough physical activity, they may bury their toys so you can’t try to distract them.

black and white dog covered in sand with a ball on the beach
Image By: Andrew Pons, Unsplash

7. Anxiety

Dogs show nervousness, stress, or separation anxiety in multiple ways. One of these ways could be by hiding their toys. Perhaps they hope you won’t leave if you can’t find the toy, or perhaps they want the toy tucked away safely for when they are alone. Pay close attention to when your dog buries their toys to better understand if it’s due to anxiety.

8. Desire for Attention

Your dog will do various things to get your attention. This includes burying things. These things may be their toys, but they could be other items. You may find that when your dog really wants you to pay attention to them, they will start burying random things, including things of yours or other family members.

brown and white dog digging in the sand to bury stick
Image By: Oleksandr Horbach, Unsplash

9. Boredom

Dogs, like us, get bored of the same old things every day. This doesn’t mean they don’t like their toys anymore, but they may just want something else to do. Going out to the backyard and burying one of their toys could be your dog’s way of staying occupied when they’re having an especially boring day.

10. Protection

Your dog may feel the need to protect their toys. If a toy is a special favorite of your pet, you may find that they want to bury it to keep you or other animals away from it. In most instances, they will go back and get it when they are ready to play with it. Many owners find this kind of behavior cute, but sadly, the dog may become upset when the toy is no longer able to be played with.

dog dig a hole
Image By: sanjagrujic, Shutterstock

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There are many reasons your dog may be hiding and burying their toys, so it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. Unless your dog is showing signs of distress or aggression, it’s okay to allow them to play with their toys on their own terms. In most cases, you can sit back and watch your dog’s antics without any issues.

Featured Image Credit: IRINA ORLOVA, Shutterstock

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