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How to Stop Your Dog from Digging

How to Stop Your Dog from Digging

     

    stop dog from digging
    Flickr: Zeus, Digging For China

    How to Stop Your Dog from Digging

    However, the motivations for the practice are diverse. Your dog may dig for a variety of reasons, including entertainment, warmth, escape, prey, or defense. (Regardless of how you feel, your dog will not dig out of malice, vengeance, or a desire to wreck your yard.)

    And just as you think you've outsmarted your dog by figuring out how to make the area where he digs unappealing, he'll start digging in other places or engage in other undesirable behaviors including chewing or barking.


    Addressing the cause of the digging is a more successful solution to the problem. Here's how to find out why your dog digs—and what you can do about it.


    Seeking Entertainment

    When dogs learn that roots and soil “playback,” they can dig as a form of self-play. If your dog is digging for fun, it's possible that he's doing so because:

    - He's left in the yard alone for long periods of time, with no chances to engage with you or others.

    - His surroundings are sparse, with no playmates or toys.

    - He's a puppy or teenager (under three years old) with no other way to spend his time.

    - He's the kind of dog raised to dig as part of his "work" (such as a terrier).

    - He's a high-energy dog that needs a high-intensity job to be satisfied (such as a herding or sporting breed).

    - He saw you “playing” in the dirt recently (gardening or working in the yard).


    Recommendations

    Increase your dog's "people time" by expanding his world in the following ways:

    - At least twice a day, take your dog for a walk. It's a healthy mental and physical workout for both of you!

    - Play with your dog as much as possible, teaching him to catch a ball or Frisbee®.

    - Teach your dog a few tricks or commands. Every day for five to ten minutes, practice these commands/tricks.

    - Take a dog training class and put what you've learned into practice on a regular basis.

    - Keep fun toys in the yard to keep your dog occupied while you're not there. Treat-filled Kong® toys or busy-box dog toys work particularly well.

    To keep the toys fresh and fun, rotate them.

    - Provide an "appropriate digging field" for committed diggers. Choose a spot in the yard where your dog can dig safely and cover it with loose soil or sand. 

    If you see your dog digging in an inappropriate place, make a loud noise and yell, "No dig." Then drive the dog to his assigned location right away.

    area for digging Reward him with encouragement when he digs in the designated area. Set rocks or chicken wire into the ground to make the undesirable digging spots unappealing (at least temporarily). Make the appropriate area appealing to him by burying safe things for him to find.


    Seeking Prey

    Dogs can attempt to chase down burrowing animals or insects in your yard. If any of the following apply to your dog, he or she might be chasing prey:

    - Instead of digging along the yard's edges, the digging takes place in a particular location.

    - The digging is done around tree or shrub roots.

    - The digging is being done in a “path” pattern.


    Recommendations

    - Look for signs of burrowing animals or insects, then make your yard inhospitable to them. Avoid using any techniques that may be harmful or poisonous to your pets or other species. If you're looking for tips on how to deal with wildlife in a humane manner.


    Seeking Comfort or Protection


    Dogs can dig holes in the hot weather to lie in the cool soil.

    They can also dig to protect themselves from the elements, such as cold, wind, or rain, or to locate water. If your dog digs for warmth or safety, 

    it's possible that he's doing so for one of the following reasons:

    - The holes are near building foundations and have a lot of shade.

    trees, or a source of water.

    - Your dog is either without a shelter or his shelter is exposed to the hot sun or the cold winds.

    - Your dog is laying down in the gaps he creates.


    Recommendations

    Provide the warmth or defense that your dog craves:

    - Assemble an enclosed doghouse for your pet. Make sure it provides wind and sun cover.

    - If your dog still likes to dig in the dirt, create an "allowed digging area" as mentioned above. 

    Make sure the permitted digging area is in a weather-protected location.

    - Make sure there's plenty of fresh water in a bowl that won't tip over.


    Seeking Attention

    Any behavior will become attention-getting behavior if the dog knows that engaging in it results in him receiving attention.

    (Pay attention to the fact that even punishment is a source of attention.) 

    If your dog is digging to get attention, it's possible that he's doing so for one of the following reasons:

    - In your presence, he sinks his heels in.

    - Other than that, his chances of interacting with you are tiny.


    Recommendations

    - Don't pay attention to your dog if he's digging. It's important to remember that even punishment attracts attention.

    - Ensure that your dog spends enough time with you on a regular basis. He won't have to resort to "misbehaving" to get your attention this way.


    Seeking Escape

    Dogs can flee in order to reach something, get somewhere, or flee from something. If your dog is digging to get inside, it's possible that he's trying to get away from you.

    - He digs around the perimeter of the barrier.

    - He excavates under the barrier.


    Recommendations

    To keep your dog in the yard while you focus on the behavior changes outlined in our handout "The Canine Escape Artist," use the methods mentioned below.

    - Chicken wire should be buried at the base of the fence. Make sure the rough edges are rolled away from your lawn.

    - Place big rocks along the bottom of the fence line, partially buried.

    - One to two feet below the earth, bury the bottom of the fence.

    - Make it difficult for your dog to walk near the fence by laying chain-link fencing on the ground (anchored to the bottom of the fence).


    Regardless of the Reason for Digging, We Don’t Recommend

    - Punishment that occurs after the reality. This will not solve the underlying cause of the behavior, and will, in effect, exacerbate any fear or anxiety-driven digging. 

    Punishment can also make dogs that aren't afraid feel anxious.

    - Staking a dog near a pit he's dug or filling the hole with water are both bad ideas. Neither the origin of the action nor the act of digging is addressed by these techniques.


    Finally, if you've done anything else and still can't get your dog to stop digging, confine him to the house with you and supervise him during bathroom breaks.


    tag: how to stop your dog and puppy from digging holes when you're not home up carpet and up plants in the garden or in the yard or out of the fence.







    anzit
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    writer and blogger, founder of Our Dogs Are Loved .

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