One of the worst behavior problems that a dog can have is digging. As an outsider, a person might not see this as a huge problem, but as a dog owner, you will only learn how much of a real problem that digging is. Not only will your entire yard get torn up, but your dog will get dirty in the process, which means bathing your dog daily, sometimes multiple times a day, and so much more.
I always like to start at the beginning, which this time is…
Why do dogs dig?
Many dogs just like the act of digging. They find it a fun way to pass the time. Other dogs do it out of boredom. This is similar to how some humans doodle. Digging is also another symptom of separation anxiety.
Your dog may be trying to get out of your yard.
He may be following a scent, such as fertilizer.
Your dogs breed itself, may be the root of the problem. Some breeds such as terriers, Labradors, Beagles, and Basset Hounds are prone to digging.
Dogs sometimes dig to make themselves a bed or sheltered area.
If your dog is outside during a thunderstorm they may dig out of fear.
The typical reason that we see dogs dig on TV is to bury a bone. Yes, some dogs really do this.
Now that you know some reasons on why your dog might be digging, let’s talk about stopping the problem.
If you can identify the cause of the digging, try and remove it. If your dog only digs when you give him a bone, stop giving him the bones. If your dog only digs after your lawn service has fertilized your yard, don’t let the dog out in the back for a few days. Take him on his walk around the block instead.
If the cause cannot be identified, or if you cannot make the changes without a complete lifestyle change here are some other ideas:
- Don’t let your dog out without you or a leash.
- Ensure that your dog gets enough exercise to burn off as much energy as possible.
- Make a loud noise, such as clashing two pots together as soon as he begins to dig.
- If your dog is digging holes under the fence, you may need to fill these with concrete to stop him from escaping and running away.
- Bury some sandpaper or something else rough in his favorite digging spot. Once he starts to dog, he will not like the feeling on his paws, and you will see that he stops digging there. Do not be surprised if he picks another location in the yard to try out. You may be burying the sandpaper in several spots, before he begins to think that it is everywhere and does not find digging to be appealing anymore.
- If you have been through your obedience training, you can try your command “Leave It.”
- If you want to let your dog to continue to dig, but want to control it, then create a doggie dig area. Fill it with sand and some favorite dog toys. This can be a fun area for your dog to play in. You’ll just need to make sure that you keep it clean, as stray animals (cats) may use it as a liter box.
Digging is a really hard habit to break if you allow your dog outside without you, as many owners will do. In order to break this habit, you must stay on top of your dog at all times until the problem is under control.
image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sparker/446888764/