4 Reasons Why Your Dog Digs and How to Stop It
Learning how to stop dogs from digging starts with an understanding of the four different reasons why they have this behavior. It can be as simple as boredom or as a means of seeking a more comfortable shelter. Whatever the reason, pet owners should know how to address such a behavior.
Dogs do not only need physical exercises. They also need mental stimulation. This is especially true for canines that have high energy and intelligent. Dogs need an outlet for them to “spend” this energy. It is very easy to imagine how easy it is for them to get bored if they are left with nothing to do. Your backyard offers a lot of opportunities for them to do something. One of them is to dig.
Members of the herding group have very high energy levels. They are always on the go. Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are bred for work. They do not mind working all day long. Not giving them enough things to do will leave them with no other choice than to dig.
How to get a dog to stop digging? This is easy if it’s because of canine boredom. You only need to provide your pet with plenty of activities. Walking your pet remains one of the most important ways to put a stop to the behavior. There are pet parents who may already be walking their respective pets every day. However, it may not be enough for their pet. Try increasing the duration of the walk to help your pet spend more energy.
Playing with dogs also helps. Pick activities that your pet loves. Most of them love playing a game of ball fetch. Teaching them commands also gives pets a purpose. It makes them feel more alive. They will not get bored this way. Enlisting your hound in a training class can also help.
Anxiety can be a real issue in dogs. Loud noises have the tendency to spook even the bravest of dogs. They may not feel safe within the confines of your home. There are some pets that will try to dig under the fence as a means for them to escape whatever is spooking them in the house.
There is also the issue of possessiveness. Some dogs are more possessive of their “items” than others. They don’t want to share these “items” with other dogs. Digging is the animal’s way of “hiding” its possessions, so that other dogs will not be able to get the items. It makes dogs very anxious if they cannot hide their possessions from other pets.
The same is true with food. There are dogs that love to bury bones and other foodstuffs. This also has its roots in canine anxiety. The dog may already be full with its meal. Given that food is a valuable resource, the pet must do everything it can to protect it for future use. It may need to dig so that it can bury the food item.
So, how to keep dogs from digging? Determining the exact cause of the pet’s anxiety can help. One can always employ the services of a pet behaviorist to identify the cause. The determination of the cause of the dog’s anxiety can take time, however. As such, it would be best to observe other things to address the digging behavior of your pet.
Exercise can reduce the energy level of an anxious dog. Playing, training, and other activities are also beneficial. You may also need to reinforce your fence. Place large rocks along the edge of the fence. This will discourage your pet from digging. It is also wise not to let your pet bring its toys and food outside.
Need for Comfort
If you see your dog digging hole one hot summer day, it could be because it is trying to cool itself down. It is very common for animals to dig a shallow hole in an effort to make themselves comfortable. The same can be said during the cold winter months. There are dogs that dig to feel the warmth of the earth. The Malamute and the Siberian Husky are examples of these breeds.
Bringing your pet inside the house is the easiest and the best way to provide comfort for your dog. If it’s not possible, then one should provide them with an appropriate shelter in the backyard.
The dog house should have adequate protection from the elements. It should provide cooling comfort for the animal when it is hot outside. The shelter should also bring warmth to the pet when the temperature drops. This is the only way you can put a stop to your pet’s digging tendencies.
We mentioned above that there are dogs that have a knack for digging. This is related to their strong prey drive or hunting instincts.
Dachshunds are one of the most prolific diggers in the world. They do this because of their strong instinct to hunt badgers, rodents, and other prey. Dogs in the Terrier group are also excellent diggers. They love to burrow to hunt for rodents and rabbits. Other notable hunter-diggers of the canine kingdom include the Beagle, the Miniature Schnauzer, and the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
You will know that your pet’s digging behavior is related to its high prey drive if it digs only in one specific area of your backyard. You may also notice holes around the bushes and the trunk of trees.
It is possible that your canine friend saw a rodent somewhere in your yard. Make sure to eliminate the pests by using nontoxic remedies. Commercially available rodenticides and pesticides not only get rid of these creatures. Such products can also harm your beloved pet. Thus, use only natural, pet-safe remedies. You can also improve your perimeter fence. This will help reduce the chances of rodents and other pets from entering your backyard.
Why do dogs dig holes? It could be because of boredom, anxiety, high prey drive, or the inherent need for comfort. Putting a stop to the behavior requires addressing these possible reasons.