Dog digging is a common problem among pet owners. Fortunately it is a solvable problem. Some solutions for dog digging are easier than others, but that depends on the reason for the digging.
Remember, dog behavior problems are usually symptoms of something lacking in the dog’s life. As with many problems, lack of exercise is the first issue to confront. Is the dog getting enough exercise? If not they will expend their vast sums of energies doing things like digging.
Throwing a ball for the dog, or taking him on a walk easily fixes this problem. Develop games with your dog, play hide and seek, swim in a pond with him, take him to a dog park. It’s fun for both of you and doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
Another common reason for dog digging is simple boredom. If your dog is in the backyard all day alone, he will find ways to entertain himself. Incessant barking and digging are the two most common.
If you have to leave the dog for long periods of time in the backyard be sure to leave toys for him, chew toys, tennis balls, anything he’ll play with. There are even toys you can stuff with treats which will take him hours to finish.
Another remedy for boredom is leaving another dog in the yard with yours. Make sure they meet and are cordial before leaving them alone. This doesn’t mean you need to purchase a dog. Call up a friend or neighbor and set up a dog play date. You wouldn’t only be helping your digging problem but would probably be doing the neighbor a favor as well.
Dogs are social animals. They evolved in the pack and still relish being around other dogs.
Other less common reasons for dog digging are:
- Means of escape: the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
- Means of cooling off: dogs will commonly dig to get to cooler wetter ground
- Den making: female dogs will often dig dens for their young, even if they’re not expecting
- Getting out to procreate: non-neutered or spayed dogs will try to get out of confinement in order to do the nasty…don’t think your dog’s above it, it’s a strong instinct
- Burying treasures: dogs love to save things for later, particularly bones
- Breed specific: some dog breeds are bred to dig
If your dog digging problem is not one of boredom or lack of exercise the best way to get him to stop the behavior is to make a corner of your yard a designated digging zone and train him to dig only in that spot.
A good way to do this is to bury a treat in the designated area and have the dog dig it up. While he is digging say the word “dig” over and over, then praise him. When you catch him digging somewhere else say “no” and take him to the designated area and repeat the treat burying process. This may take some time before he finally gets it.
If that doesn’t work as quickly as you want, there are products you can spray around areas you don’t want digging to occur. The sprays smell bad to a dog and he will avoid the area altogether. Be careful not to spray the scent in areas that you have already taught him to potty. You definitely don’t want to reverse that training.