Foraging is an innate behavior in dogs. To forage means to hunt or gather food so for most animals, foraging is a natural behavior. I am sure most of us have witnessed this behavior in our own dogs. Have a dog that counter surfs, that gets into the garbage, that finds food in unlikely places? We are usually quick to label these as behavior problems but are they really? The behavior itself is an innate, natural behavior, the problems are the dangers they can present to our dogs and the mess they make in our homes. Dogs have an innate desire to seek out food and feeding in bowls is unnatural so for a lot of dogs they will engage in foraging or seeking food regardless of how well fed they are.
In our enriched environment, we allow dogs to forage and to forage in groups. It is natural for them to want to forage socially, it has been widely studied in wolves and in street dogs. Because our group of dogs is consistent and they have learned to trust and work together they are able to forage together. They are not truly hunting together as there is only kibble involved and not prey but they do get to engage in seeking, sniffing and consuming together. The activity engages the mind, the senses of smell, sight, touch and taste. It builds problem solving skills which leads to more confidence and it builds stronger bonds within the group.