Tips To Stop Your Dog Digging

  • 09/10/2017

Falling into holes when you walk through your backyard? Your dog might be responsible With the warmer weather of spring and summer, your dog is probably spending more time outdoors. Hopefully, he won’t spend his time digging up your new tulip bulbs or burying bones in your planters.

Digging is an innate, natural behaviour. Dogs don’t dig simply to frustrate you. They have a purpose or a goal, whether it is for play, escape, or to create a cool spot for a nap.

If digging is a problem, try these tips:

  • Provide sufficient walks, exercise, play and training sessions. For dogs with high energy levels, consider swimming, agility or flyball.
  • Accompany your dog into the yard to provide companionship and play. If you observe your dog beginning to dig, interrupt your dog and redirect him to an
    appropriate action immediately. You will need to reinforce this lesson often.
  • When your dog is alone, offer entertaining food toys. Use your dog’s hunting skills to forage for food by stuffing desirable food inside a toy.
  • Provide shade, fresh water and a cool area to relax.
  • Bury unpleasant material in holes your dog frequents – try rough rocks or cayenne pepper. However, while this may stop digging in a specific area, your dog may simply move to a different spot.
  • Modify the surface where your dog digs by covering it with gravel, concrete or patio stones.
  • Fence off or restrict access to garden areas that are a priority for you.
  • Recognize that some dogs are natural diggers. These dogs might need to be given an area for digging. Confine your dog and bury treats and favoured toys in this area to encourage digging.

What not to do:

  • Never physically punish your dog! Don’t even scold or reprimand your dog unless you catch him in the act, preferably within the first few digging strokes, if you want to make a lasting impression. However, this may only teach your dog not to dig when you are watching.
  • Prevent unsupervised access to freshly turned dirt or fertilizer.
  • Avoid leaving your dog unattended for long periods of time in the yard. Dogs need activities or companionship to keep them occupied. 

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