Its downright infuriating to look out the window and see Buddy digging another hole in the yard. You yell out the window; he may or may not even acknowledge hes heard anything; then back to the digging. This dog behavior has got to stop.
WHY DOGS DIG…..
Did you ever stop to think WHY Buddy digs? (except to make you mad!). This is the real trick to figure out why hes digging in the first place, the motivation behind the dog behavior. Then you can take dog training steps to discourage it, redirect that energy and possibly stop it completely.
1. IM BORED!
Location: Digging along the fence lines and at the gate.
Why? He is bored and wants to get out for some action.
Solution: Provide more exercise for your dog, both physical and mental. The more exercise the better, according to your dog. A tired, happy dog will rest nicely between great outings.
2. IM HOT!!
Location: Digging along the edge of the house or shallow “pits,” especially in the heat of the summer.
Why? Your dog is most likely creating a cool spot in the cool under-earth. If under the porch, hes creating a den.
Solution: Check to make sure you are providing fresh cool water throughout the day and night.
Is there adequate shade to protect your dog from the hot sun? Is good air circulation available or possibly a nice breeze? Or is the space filled with stagnant air?
Provide plant life (trees, bushes) for shelter from the hot sun. Cool grass keeps the ground heat down.
3. ITS JUST MY NATURE!
Sometimes its the breed of dog, not so much the environment. Some breeds tend to be burrowers — hounds, huskies, malamutes are a few examples.
Solution: If this is the case, work with your dog to agree on a place he can do his thing and camouflage it with something like plants or fencing.
4. I LIKE IT!!
Some dogs just like to dig, and dig they will, no matter how much you yell and scream.
Solution: Create and help them with the ideal digging place — a sandy blend with hidden treasures that reward digging at that spot. Having a prepared area encourages the digger to focus the digging to the area you set up in an out-of-the-way place. Remember to keep the area stocked with assorted treats and toys.
TO FILL OR NOT TO FILL ….. EXISTING HOLES
The second part of the story is…..
What to do with the holes that keep reappearing, no matter what you do? Have you back-filled holes dug by your dog only to find them dug again, over and over?
When this happens, the next stage of hole-filling is called for.
You might think this next step it involves yelling at your dog, or rapping on the window. Nope. Are you really going to stand and stare out the window hoping to correct the situation while its happening (which would be the only way to really correct it using this method)?
TECHNIQUES FOR “FILLING” HOLES
There are two better techniques to encourage your dog to rethink digging that hole.
The easier of the two is to fill the hole until almost full. Mix the last portion of dirt with dog poo, pinecones, moth balls, or other repelling non-harmful substance. The next time your dog arrives for the big dig, he quickly finds the game has changed. Most dogs quickly change their behavior.
The second method is more time consuming but effective. Cut a section of chicken wire or similar to cover the hole plus 8 inches or more. Dig a hole a few inches deep that surrounds the hole and will fit the wire shape.
Fill the hole and then press wire in place and cover with dirt. Pack the area well, particularly around the wire edges. When your dog returns, the wire will stop his digging progress.
If along a fence line, secure the wire to the fence along the inside of the fence, just a short distance from the ground. When the wire gets to the ground, keep going vertically a short distance underground. Then bend the wire so the bottom is perpendicular to the top (forms an L). Bury the horizontal part underground inside the fence, pointing away from the fence. When your dog digs he is stopped by the wire and his weight on the earth helps keep the wire in place. The result is the dog gives up on that area.
Pretty cool, huh?!
We humans see digging as bad dog behavior. Dogs dont, and they dig for different reasons. If you can figure out why theyre digging, you can put dog training steps in place to stop it. Some dogs dig, thats what they do. Set them up a space to dig and you both win!
Try these dog training techniques to change unwanted dog behavior. They seriously work.
O?Neal Hendrix is a premier professional dog trainer in Atlanta, GA. Considered a “miracle worker” by clients, vets, groomers, and even other dog trainers, she has helped many human clients create loving and respectful relationships with even the most difficult-to-train dogs. She has a wealth of knowledge about dogs–check out her dog behavior blog, http://www.dog-supplies-dog-accessories.com for her advice and opinions on everything dog!