Is your dog obsessively filling your backyard with holes? While digging is a natural behavior for dogs, it’s not always convenient for us humans, and can quickly destroy any work you’ve put into landscaping your property. If your dog is an enthusiastic digger, there are some ways that you can get him to stop.
Before you try to prevent your dog from digging, you need to understand that digging is a natural canine behavior. Dogs may dig for a number of reasons. Sometimes dogs dig because your dog can hear or smell rodents or other animals underground. Some dogs find digging entertaining or comforting, so this may become a coping behavior. If your dog is in a fenced-in yard, he may dig in an attempt to escape. And, if your dog learns that you come over to discipline him when he digs, he may choose to dig as a way of getting attention.
If you can pinpoint the reason for your dog’s digging, it can help you to better address the problem.
Techniques for Preventing Digging
First off, start by making sure that your dog receives plenty of exercise and attention every day. Give your dog a way to burn off excess energy by taking him for a long walk and spending some time playing fetch with him. When your dog is tired from exercise, he’ll be less inclined to dig.
Next, make sure that your dog isn’t digging because he’s bored. If you’re at work for most of the day and you only have a bit of time to spend with your dog in the evenings, your dog may start digging out of boredom. Consider taking your dog to doggy daycare so that he receives mental stimulation during the day. You may also want to take up a new sport with your dog, or take him to dog training classes to keep him learning new and exciting things.
It can also be helpful to set up a “dig zone” in your yard. A dig zone is a designated area where it is okay for your dog to dig. You’ll want to make this a very specific area which is differentiated from the rest of the yard – think of it being a “dog sandbox.” This dig zone should feature some soft dirt, and lining the area with old railroad ties can help your dog to recognize it as being separate from the surrounding yard.
Encourage your dog to use the dig zone by buying small treats or toys for him to discover. If your dog digs in other areas of the yard, redirect his behavior to the dig zone and reward him when he uses the dig zone appropriately.
Finding a way to stop your dog’s digging can take a bit of trial and error, but it can be done. Give us a call if you need help training your dog.