Just like their wild ancestors, dogs are expert diggers and, due to a variety of factors, your canine companion may sometimes decide to excavate your backyard. If this happens, don’t get angry; your dog isn’t trying to destroy anything, he’s just acting on his instincts. After you determine the cause of the digging, a little dog training can help fix the problem.
First, though, you must figure out why your dog is taking to the terrain. Here are some possible reasons why your dog is digging:
- Boredom: If your dog is spending hours in a backyard without anyone to interact with or any dog toys to play with, he may become very bored. In these instances, your dog may turn to digging for something to do.
- Breeding: Your dog may be trying to get out of your yard in order to pursue a mate. This is a possibility if your dog is not spayed or neutered.
- Relief: One reason dogs dig is to create a nice resting place out of the cooler, subterranean dirt.
- Hiding Treasure: Your dog may like to save snacks and dog toys for another time by burying them.
- Hunting: Your dog may be digging to try and catch small animals like moles.
- Other Factors: There are a few other things that can contribute to digging problems. Terriers and other similar dogs were originally bred for digging purposes, and it will be more instinctual for them than other dogs. Other dogs bred to work also need more outlets for their energy and will use digging to do this. The same is also true for energetic puppies and young dogs.
There are a few things you can do to stop a dog from digging. First, if you suspect that your pet is digging out of desire to find a mate, spaying or neutering your dog should help.
After this, the first thing you should do is make sure your dog’s area in the backyard is equipped with plenty dog toys to play with. If you think your dog is digging for relief from the heat, make sure your backyard has plenty of cool, shady places where he can rest.
If you’ve done this and your dog continues to dig away, you can begin dog training. First, find a place where you will allow your dog to dig. Encourage him to dig there by hiding a treat and praising him when he gets it. Repeat this enough that your dog makes a habit out of digging there. If you see your dog digging anywhere else, say “No,” then bring him to the special digging area and encourage him to dig there.
If you’ve done this and your dog continues to dig, you can try some other solutions, such as sprays that work to make gardens undesirable to dig in. Other strategies include placing rocks or chicken wire under the dirt that your dogs dig in, in order to make it disagreeable to dig there.