Dog Behavior – Bad Habits: Digging Holes

Boredom and Separation Anxiety

While their human ‘pack members’ are at work, or otherwise away, some dogs might develop a form of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety usually stems from the dog’s belief that they are being left, that their Alpha isn’t going to return.

And, consequently, some dogs might take their frustration out on doors (their ‘pathway to you’), furniture, or by digging holes.

Fenced In Yard

This can especially be a problem if you keep your little digger outside while you are gone. Normally that would be fine (if the weather is good)- but if he digs out of frustration, he might just not only dig a hole in your lawn, but dig an escape route underneath your fence.

Keep in mind- some breeds were bred specifically for their affinity to digging, some to actually pursue prey down burrows (like Jack Russell Terriers), and some are well known to become somewhat destructive if they don’t receive enough stimulation! If you think you might have one of these breeds, do some background research!

Simple Boredom: If the problem is simple boredom, your solution is easy! Provide distractions, mentally challenging games (imaging a puzzle your dog has to solve in order to get a treat; many of these are sold at pet stores), ‘Kongs’ with treats inside they have to work at to get, chew toys, etc.

Separation Anxiety: This becomes a psychological problem, and can take a bit longer to cure. Don’t hold it against your dog; they are just nervous because their ‘pack leader’ left them! Monitor your dog's behavior 24/7 with our The Actijoy Health & Activity dog tracker.

Don’t shower your dog with abnormal amounts of attention upon leaving or returning, but rather act like nothing is different.

Don’t call your house or leave your TV on while you are gone; whereas we humans understand, your dog will have no clue where the voices are coming from or what this magical box with images is.

If your dog digs wholes while you are gone, and you are worried about him burrowing underneath your fence, try not to leave him outside if you can help it.

    Burying Valuables

    Burying valuables is instinctual; an old trait passed down from a time when Wolves needed to bury leftovers to protect them from scavengers. To prevent your dog from burying things in your yard, try providing extra exercise and stimulation! Also, try not to steal their ‘finds’.

    How many walks to you go on, and how long? Consider the breed of your dog; some breeds maintain a higher energy level and require more exercise to stay happy and satisfied!

    Note: Spaying and/or neutering might help eliminate habits like digging holes and burying objects!

    How much activity is your little one getting? Is it enough? If your answer might be no, why not track it by the Actijoy!

    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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