Have you ever noticed your dog hiding or burying their favourite treats and toys? This is an example of an instinctual and natural behaviour called CACHING.
It’s normal for animals to hide or bury food and other high value items, so they have access to them later. In general, a wild animal’s food availability fluctuates, so caching can be an attempt to ensure a more stable supply of potentially life-saving long term sustenance. Some animals may also cover their food under piles of leaves, twigs, or other debris to prevent other animals from taking it. You may have seen your dog burying their Kong in the garden or hiding that special toy down the back of the sofa - it’s the same principle.
Caching is an innate, instinctual behaviour. Innate behaviours can occur without having to be learned, and are usually related to basic survival activities. And sometimes when your dog’s instinct kicks in, although it doesn’t quite make sense in a present day context, the behaviour remains.
Interestingly, not all dogs do this - some seem to be more keen on caching than others. Dogs that are anxious or prone to resource guarding might hide their favourite things more often, but it might also be a simple case of over feeding - if your dog isn’t hungry they might just be saving their snack for later! Generally speaking it’s a harmless behaviour, but some dogs do become anxious about their precious items and worry about them being uncovered. If this is the case, vigilance and careful resource management are key to helping your dog feel secure around their favourite things. 🐾