Shih Tzu Buries Bone in Sofa

The breed’s ancient instincts are responsible for this behavior.

Q. My Shih Tzu keeps burying a bone that was bought at the pet store. Instead of chewing it, he buries it constantly in the cushions of our sofa. He never tries to chew on it, but he'll go find it periodically and bury it in another spot. Why does he do this?

A. Even the most un-wolflike dog can retain the ancestral instinct to bury such treasures as bones. Burying a bone can have several benefits. The pet store-purchased bone might be too hard for your Shih Tzu to enjoy, so he follows his instinct and buries it. Buried in the earth, meaty tissues clinging to bone will soften and become more edible. Of course, burying it in the sofa won’t accomplish that. This may be why he periodically checks on it and, noting that it’s no softer than before, re-buries it.

Your dog might also be burying that bone to keep it safely hidden – just in case a wayward pack of wolves might happen to carouse through your living room on a hunting foray. Some ancestral wisdom from deep in the roots of his family tree tells him if someone else finds that bone, it will never get soft enough for him to eat. As to why he keeps moving it, he probably just thought of a safer spot to hide it – a spot where those carousing wolves wouldn’t think to look – so he moves it to the new hiding place.

Your Shih Tzu might enjoy chewing on smaller or softer items than that bone, so go ahead and try out some different chewies for him until you find one he likes. He’s probably enjoying the mental and physical exercise he gets burying and re-burying his bone, though, so let him keep it so he can continue playing his Brave Wolf Tzu game with it.


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Erin   Warrenton, Virginia

1/20/2015 3:40:22 AM

My shih tzu just did this with a chew treat two days ago! He stuffed it between the sofa cushions and then went wild scratching to dig it out. He also puts balls and other toys under the sofa on purpose and then tries to dig them out... I think he thinks it's a game.

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Lola   Bessemer, Alabama

6/4/2014 9:46:50 PM

Love what I am learning.

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Geraldine   Rockford, Illinois

2/3/2013 8:17:45 PM

I have 2 Shih tzus a month apart in age but from totally different parents. The older,smaller one hides or tries to bury every treat,but then she lays down by it as extra protection knowing that if she gets distracted or walks away her "sister" will Grab and eat it. They never fight over the treats its more like a game.

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Rene   Simpsonville, South Carolina

10/12/2012 3:45:27 PM

I have a Shih Tzu, he is adorable, but stuborn.....he is 5 years old and once in a while he still poo's in the house? Also I cannot find a dry food he likes.....he will go for days not eating?

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