Do you have a digging dog on your hands? Canine behaviors such as digging up your flower bed or burying toys may be confounding (not to mention extremely annoying), but it usually all boils down to instinct. Once you know why they’re doing it you can help redirect them.
Can we really stop dogs from digging? Absolutely!
Scratch the Surface
Dogs dig for entertainment, to cool down on a hot day, when hunting for small, burrowing prey, to escape, or to simply grab their owner’s attention. The important thing to remember is that dogs aren’t doing this to upset you, they simply cannot help it.
Born This Way
Some dog breeds have been bred specifically to be good diggers. Terriers and Beagles know exactly how to find small prey beneath the ground, for instance.
Also, working breeds that don’t have enough “work” to do may end up throwing themselves into the job of digging, among other things.
Stop Dogs From Digging
It is really important to keep your dog as active as possible. When they are bored or idle they may take up this common canine behavior. Mental stimulation and strenuous physical exertion keeps a dog happy and healthy.
If your dog spends too much time alone without the company of other animal friends or people, they may look for an outlet in all the wrong places.
Doggie day care, dog walkers, or pet sitters can provide extra opportunities for engagement when you’re working. When you are home, be sure to give your dog at least 2 walks a day, time playing with brain games, or take up agility or obedience training.
Hot Diggity Dogs
If your dog is obsessed with gophers, moles, and other burrowing animals, try to eliminate them from your property in a way that doesn’t expose your dog to dangerous poisons or traps. You might try specific fencing options to keep them out of an area just for your dog.
Harness the Potential
Since digging is a behavior that feeds their senses and answers canine instincts you might want to set up an area of your yard that is just for this purpose. Train your dog to only dig in the back corner, for instance, that isn’t visible from the house. Bury some of their toys there to make it a game.
Similarly, if your dog digs because of the weather be sure to provide extra cool places for them to relax in. Shade, cross-ventilation, and access to water is ideal. Breeds like Huskies or Malamutes dig in the snow to stay warm, and owners might see this breed carving out a burrow during the colder months.
Dogs Will Be Dogs
To stop dogs from digging try not to overreact or punish them as this can have the opposite result. Fill holes with water or position large rocks along the fenceline where they’ve dug previously. Place chicken wire or install fencing to redirect them.