Help! Can’t Stop Dog Digging
If your dog is digging holes in your yard or destroying your garden, he’s not doing it out of spite. Chances are good that he’s simply bored, lonely, or anxious. If you want to stop the digging, you’ll need to determine why your dog is doing it before you can alter his behavior.
Is Your Dog Bored?
Digging is an entertaining activity for dogs; sticks and roots move in the soil, dirt flies in all directions, and bugs may scurry around under your dog’s nose. If your dog is left alone outside during the day, especially if he is a young dog with no playmates, he may be tearing up your yard to ward off boredom.
To prevent digging due to boredom, take your dog for frequent walks, spend more time actively playing with him (fetch is a good game), and place toys around your home and yard to entertain your pet while you are away. If you are unable to spend extra time with your dog, hire a pet sitter to come in for a couple of hours during the day or consider adopting a second dog.
Does He Need Attention?
Sometimes, dogs dig for attention. If you think your dog might be lonely, if he digs when you are around, or if you’ve recently started spending more time away from home, give him extra attention to curb his negative behavior.
Praise good behaviors and avoid punishing bad behaviors. Punishment is a type of attention, even if it is not the most desirable type, and a lonely dog may misbehave in order to get a reaction from you. Spend more time with your dog, take him for regular walks, and consider basic training to improve his behavior.
Is He Anxious?
Anxiety, stress, or overheating may all cause a dog to dig in the dirt. In the summer heat, dogs may dig in order to reach cooler soil to lie in. This is likely the cause of your dog’s digging if his holes are near your home’s foundation or a source of water. Anxious dogs may dig holes of varying depths around your yard, especially during thunderstorms or other stressful events. Some dogs may also dig in an attempt to escape their yard. Holes used for escape attempts are generally located under or along fencing.
Make sure your dog has plenty of shade and water during hot weather to prevent digging due to overheating, and bring your dog indoors during thunderstorms, fireworks, and other stressful occasions. To prevent escape attempts, partially bury large rocks along your fence line, bury chicken wire in the soil at the base of your fence, or lower your fence several feet into the ground.
Dealing with Digging Dogs
Regardless of why your dog is digging, the appropriate response is to address the underlying cause of the behavior; punishing your dog will only reinforce negative behavior and interfere with the relationship you have with your dog. If your dog seems to enjoy digging just for the sake of digging, give him a sandbox or dedicate a section of your yard to the activity. Some dogs simply have an overwhelming urge to dig in the dirt, and it is easier for everyone if you allow him to satisfy those urges.
This helpful information for dog owners was provided by VetDepot, an online retailer of wholesale pet supplies.