Is your canine making your yard look like swiss cheese? Now, before you judge or punish your pooch, know that it is in your dog’s nature to dig. Your dog is not digging out of spite. The Humane Society of the United States says that dogs dig either to try and entertain themselves, to seek out prey, to find protection or comfort, to try and escape, or to seek attention. In order to get your dog to stop digging, you need to determine why they have picked up the habit in the first place.
Keeping Themselves Entertained
Some dogs dig for no other reason than they are bored. If a dog is left by himself for a long time in the yard without anyone around, they may be trying to entertain themselves. Dogs that don’t have any toys to play with or any canine playmates may belong to this category.
If this sounds like your dog, the first thing for you to do is be certain that they are getting plenty of exercises. Taking your dog on a walk twice a day may be a big help. When you catch your dog digging, try a redirection activity such as throwing him a Frisbee or playing fetch.
Your Dog Is a Hunter
Some dogs find themselves focused upon hunting down little furry animals such as moles, squirrels, and chipmunks. If you see your dog digging at tree roots, or digging at one specific area of the yard, he may be hunting for prey. It might be a little tough to get your dog to give up digging if he is hunting prey, as dogs find it very exciting. If this is why your dog is digging, focus upon utilizing safe and humane tactics to keep the little critters out of your yard.
Desiring to Feel Protected
When the temperature rises outdoors, some dogs dig holes so that they can lie down inside of the dirt where the temperature feels cooler. Conversely, if it is raining, they may be digging to try and escape the moisture. If your dog is digging, for this reason, try to bring him inside more often. When he needs to be kept outdoors, why not provide him with a doghouse where he can feel safe and secure?
Whether you are giving him praise or negative feedback, attention is attention. This means that even when your dog is misbehaving, he receives his reward of getting the attention he wants. Do your best to ignore his bad behavior when he has been digging and give him praise when he does something you approve of. Be certain that you are spending enough time with your dog.
Attempting an Escape
Is your dog digging along your fence? If so, he may be doing his best to try and escape your property. Your dog either may be trying to get away from something, or get to something. There are several things you can try to get your dog from escaping your yard. One thing you could try is placing large rocks near your fence, and partially burying them. If that doesn’t work, you should think about installing an electric dog fence. Your dog wears a special collar and if he attempts digging near the wire, he will receive a harmless static correction through his collar.
What You Shouldn’t Do
No difference why your dog has decided to dig, punishing him after he does is a mistake. A dog won’t be able to make the mental connection of why you are punishing him now for something he did hours ago. Even if you take him to the hole and scold him, it is only going to upset and frighten him.
A Last Resort
What if no matter what you do, your dog is still digging? The Humane Society suggests creating an area somewhere in your yard where you allow your dog to dig with your approval. To make this happen, cover your approved digging area with loose soil or sand. Show him it is okay to dig there by placing toys in the soil for him to find. Praise your dog when he digs in that area. If he tries to dig in another area of the yard, clap your hands and say “no-dig.” Then lead him to his designated digging area.