Sunday, April 5, 2009

Giving the dog a bone...

We were wondering what happened to Dasher's bone. We gave him this huge hokin' steamship round one day and he sat happily on the front porch knawing away. About an hour later, we realized he was just relaxing in the sun... no bone to be found!

How could this huge thing have disappeared in one hour? It was impossible! We figured another dog or curious kid came by and took it... although the fact that we heard no growling or other disturbance was a little unusual.

A few weeks later we got him another bone. Same size... huge. This time, we kept an eye on him. We watching him drag it to different areas of the yard. But, we had to go to dinner. We figured he'd be safe in the backyard with the bone... no other dogs... no kids.

But wouldn't you know it, the bone disappeared once again. This time, however, we had evidence. A few little smudges of dirt on his nose and paws told the story. He had buried it!

"What in the world?", we said. Why is Dasher buying his bones? Do dogs even do that anymore? Apparently so.
This article from confirms this natural instinct:

Although dogs have been around for millions of years, they have only been domesticated for a few thousand years, and they spent a lot of time developing behaviors that helped them to survive. Being carnivores, dogs might sometimes kill a prey animal large enough to feed the entire pack, like a moose or a mammoth. Alternatively, when small prey animals were abundant , they might kill many of these bite-sized creatures. Either way, they often found themselves with more food than they could eat at once. However, they could never be sure when they would be able to find and kill another prey, and much time could pass – sometimes weeks – without them finding another meal. So to be on the safe side, they carried the bones, which were filled with nutrient-rich marrow, back to their lair, and buried them nearby. When food was scarce, they could always rely on the bones to keep them fed.

The article concludes with the question: "So, why do dogs bury bones in the ground? Because it's in their nature."

We've since discovered his secret burying place: a small corner of the garden beneath a pile of leaves. I don't want to disturb it to see if both bones are resting there, lest he choose another place in the yard, but it will be inconvenient when we plant our vegetables this year. Perhaps what he really needs is his own lair. We'll have to look into that...

1 comment:

Donna said...

How cute! Dasher's just doing what dogs do.