Written by Anna Hollisey
Holes are appearing all over the garden. Plants are uprooted. Your favorite shoe is sticking out from a heap of dirt. So you got a digger? We feel your pain… Here’s some of the best advice for stopping your dog from digging!
Honestly, there’s no single answer. The canine compulsion to dig can be strong. We believe that the domestic dog’s ancestors dug for shelter, prey, and hiding food. Today’s dogs have none of the same requirements!
In any case, there are several supposed reasons for this digging:
We shouldn’t punish our dogs for digging. They’re enjoying a natural behavior which (to their minds) has a purpose.
Of course, ceaseless digging ruins yards and tests patience to its limits. Not to mention causing a potential danger if they manage to tunnel their way to freedom.
Distraction can be a good technique. If you suspect that your dog is bored, supply them with other interests. You can purchase challenging puzzle toys – ideal for intelligent dogs to spend time solving.
Teach your dog the ‘leave’ command so that you can halt digging as soon as it starts. Ask them for a positive behavior in its place (such as bringing you a toy or ball), and reward them with a quick game of catch.
If your dog is digging to escape, preventative measures may be necessary. Build a sturdy boundary from posts and chicken wire, digging down to extend it underground. Ensure that the boundary is high enough to deter jumping!
If your dog is a truly determined digger, you could consider providing them with a digging space. It could be a pit filled with sand (easy to dig – and to backfill again afterwards). If you live near the beach, take your dog for a digging spree to satisfy their urges.
Did you know that there are certain plants which could deter dogs from parts of your yard? Learn more about the plants that dogs don’t like. If you suspect that your dog is digging for stress relief, read our comprehensive guide to dog anxiety. We explored the historic reasons for burying food and other treasures here.