Why Does My Dog Hide His Bone

Dogs have a fascinating array of behaviors that can sometimes leave their human companions scratching their heads in confusion. One such behavior is the tendency to hide bones or other prized possessions. You might have observed your furry friend burying a bone in the backyard or tucking it away in a corner of the house. But why do dogs engage in this seemingly peculiar behavior? Understanding the reasons behind it can offer insight into your dog’s instincts and provide clues on how to address it.

Why Does My Dog Hide His Bone

The act of hiding bones is deeply rooted in a dog’s natural instincts and behaviors, which have evolved over thousands of years. In the wild, dogs and their ancestors, such as wolves, would often bury or cache food to keep it safe from scavengers and other predators. This behavior served a dual purpose: it helped to protect the food source and ensured that the dog had access to it at a later time when hunting might be less successful.

While domesticated dogs no longer need to hunt for their food, many of these instinctual behaviors remain ingrained in their genetic makeup. When a dog hides a bone or other prized possession, they are exhibiting a behavior that has been hardwired into their brains through generations of evolution.


Instinctual Behavior

The primary reason why dogs hide their bones is instinctual. As descendants of wolves, dogs have inherited certain behaviors related to hunting, scavenging, and protecting valuable resources. Burying food, such as bones, is a behavior that helped their ancestors survive in the wild by keeping their food safe from competitors.

Security And Protection

Dogs may also hide their bones as a way of safeguarding them from potential threats or perceived dangers. In the wild, a dog might bury a bone to prevent other animals from stealing it. Similarly, a domesticated dog may hide their bone to protect it from other pets in the household or even from humans who might inadvertently take it away.

Future Consumption

Another possible reason why dogs hide their bones is to save them for later consumption. Just as wild animals store food for times of scarcity, dogs may bury their bones with the intention of retrieving them when they are hungry or when other sources of food are not readily available.

Natural Chewing Instinct

Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, and bones provide a satisfying outlet for this instinct. By hiding a bone, a dog may be preserving it for future chewing sessions, ensuring that they have a readily available source of mental and physical stimulation.

Territorial Marking

In some cases, hiding a bone may also serve as a form of territorial marking for dogs. By burying their bone in a specific location, they are leaving behind their scent, which can communicate ownership of that territory to other animals.

What To Do

While the behavior of hiding bones is natural for dogs, it can sometimes lead to problems, especially in a domestic setting. Here are some tips on how to address this behavior:

Provide Adequate Chewing Alternatives

Ensure that your dog has plenty of appropriate chew toys and bones to satisfy their chewing instincts. By offering a variety of toys and treats, you can reduce the likelihood that your dog will feel the need to hide their bones.

Supervise Outdoor Time

If your dog tends to bury bones in the yard, consider supervising their outdoor activities to prevent them from digging up the entire yard. You can also designate a specific area where your dog is allowed to bury or hide their bones.

Train A "Leave It" Command

Teaching your dog a reliable "leave it" command can help prevent them from hiding bones in inappropriate places or from attempting to bury items that are not intended for burying.

Rotate Toys And Bones

Rotate your dog’s toys and bones regularly to keep them interesting and engaging. This can help prevent boredom and reduce the likelihood that your dog will feel the need to hide their possessions.

Address Anxiety Or Stress

Sometimes, dogs may hide their bones as a coping mechanism for anxiety or stress. If you suspect that this may be the case, consider consulting with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for guidance on how to address underlying issues.


The behavior of hiding bones is a natural and instinctual behavior for dogs, rooted in their evolutionary history as hunters and scavengers. While this behavior may seem puzzling to us as humans, it serves important functions for our canine companions, such as protecting valuable resources and providing mental stimulation.

By understanding the reasons behind this behavior and taking proactive steps to address it, we can ensure that our dogs remain happy, healthy, and well-adjusted members of the family. Whether it’s providing adequate chew toys, supervising outdoor time, or addressing underlying anxiety, there are plenty of strategies available to help manage this behavior and foster a strong bond between you and your furry friend.