Destructive Behavior: Digging

In last week’s installment on overcoming bad puppy behaviors, we discussed How to Stop Excessive Puppy Barking. This week, we will discuss another common destructive dog behavior: digging. 

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Digging is a natural behavior for dogs, just like chewing. In the wild, dogs dig to alleviate boredom, search for food/prey (i.e. field mice or moles), and to cool off. For instance, Siberian Huskies will frequently dig themselves holes during the summer months to cool their double-coated bodies. Dachshunds and Terriers are other common breeds that dig because they were originally bred for hunting in-ground game. For many dogs, digging is an inherent way of life.

Overcoming Inappropriate Digging

  • Provide a Digging Area
    Ultimately, a dog that has a natural drive to dig cannot be trained to ignore this urge. One of the best ways to harmoniously coexist with a digging dog is to create an area in your yard where digging is allowed, such as a sandbox. Anytime your dog digs in an inappropriate area, redirect him or her to the sandbox. 
  • Provide Mental Stimulation
    If installing a sandbox or other appropriate digging area in your yard is not an option, redirect your dog’s attention with an interactive toy. Provide your pet with a mentally stimulating item such as a peanut butter filled KONG or treat puzzle.
  • Provide Plenty of Exercises
    One reason that dogs dig is because they are bored or under-exercised. If your dog develops a bad digging habit, give your pet an additional exercise every day to see if this solution remedies the problem. After all, a tired dog won’t have extra energy to destroy your yard!  

    Additionally, some dogs dig to receive attention, especially if they have been punished for the behavior in the past. For many dogs, even negative attention is preferable to no attention at all. If your dog is continually digging, ask yourself whether your pet’s emotional needs are being adequately met!
  • Be Vigilant Outdoors
    Overall, it is difficult for a dog to dig in the yard if left outdoors alone. If your dog must be left outside, particularly during the summer months, you should provide an appropriate environment. For instance, a kiddie pool filled with cool water will be more satisfying to a hot dog than a freshly dug hole. Always be vigilant of your dog in the yard, especially because efficient diggers can easily wriggle their way beneath a fence in no time at all. 

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Please note: all dogs should be treated as individuals. The Actijoy™ blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only. In the case of emergency, always seek qualified healthcare from a local veterinarian or emergency facility. Actijoy™ blogs are not designed to treat, diagnose, or prescribe medication for your pet.

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