If your dog has the habit of digging holes all over your yard, then you can have a real problem on your hands!
But in this guide, we’re going to explain the reasons why your dog engages in this behavior, and how you can help them by redirecting the behavior in more constructive ways.
By the time you’ve finished reading, you should have a good understanding of why your dog likes to dig, as well as what you can do to stop them from digging in places you wish they didn’t, so let’s take a closer look.
Why Does Your Dog Dig?
While some dogs simply enjoy the activity of digging, in many cases, they’re only digging out of boredom.
Additionally, certain breeds of dogs tend to be predisposed to this behavior (terriers especially and dogs with a lot of energy in general).
Remember: Your dog is never digging up your garden or your plants out of spite. Some owners may think their dog is being vindictive, but in reality, this is impossible, as dogs simply don’t think in this way. However, there is a chance that they’ve seen you working in the yard or planting in your garden, and they may be copying you!
Dealing With Boredom
The problem of boredom can be serious for many dogs who are left alone for large periods of time during the day. This is especially true when the kids are at school or the adults are at work, and the dog is left on its own with no company and nobody to play with.
If your dog doesn’t have anything exciting to engage with (people, toys, activities) then they’re more likely to turn dig to pass the time, especially if your dog has a lot of energy to spare.
Does Your Dog Need More Exercise?
A good way to reduce the chances of your dog digging is to keep your dog tired. It requires a lot of energy to dig holes all over the yard, so if they’ve recently had a long walk, they simply won’t have the energy left over for destructive behavior. What’s more, the walk should be entertaining itself, so your dog will be happier overall.
If it isn’t possible for you to take your dog for extra walks in the day, it’s well worth hiring a dog walker who can take your dog out, possibly with other dogs, which also gives your dog the chance to socialize as well.
Approved Digging Areas
It’s true that boredom often leads to digging for many dogs, but there’s always going to be those dogs who just love to dig, no matter what you do to stop them. In this situation, it’s best to give your dog a ‘safe digging area’ where they’re allowed to dig to their heart’s content.
Encouraging your dog to dig only in this area can be tricky, but the key is to make this area more fun than other areas. A good way to do this is to have the earth recently turned over (making it easier and safer for your dog to dig through), and you can also hide some interesting treats and toys in there for your dog to find.
This should make the safe digging area far more interesting and rewarding for a dog to explore.
Above all, realize that boredom often leads to the digging behavior, so do what you can to keep your dog more engaged. Give your dog attention and human contact, so they feel more occupied and entertained. While it’s possible to train the behavior out of them, it’s likely to come out in the form of a different destructive behavior if it’s fuelled by boredom.
Keeping interesting toys around, giving lots of exercise and spending time with your dog are all essential for reducing the likelihood of boredom-fuelled behavior. If none of this works, then providing a safe area to dig is usually the safest idea for now