Dogs dig for one simple reason - they love to dig. digging is fun and a great way for them to relax, explore, and spend time with you.
Some breeds are more notorious for digging than others, but the reason is not hard to find. Dogs dig for one simple reason - they love to dig.
Every now and again, we'll see a proudly owner announce that "my dog doesn't dig." Of course they don't, but if you ask a few questions, you'll quickly find out why.
Excessive digging usually occurs when a bored dog is left alone in the yard for long periods of time with little or no interaction with their owners. Simply providing them with a few entertaining activities, such as hiking, swimming, fetching, agility training, or even obedience training can sometimes counteract the negative behavior and in turn make your dog a more contented dog.
Dogs are also very territorial, so digging is a way for them to protect their home and yard.
Here are a few other reasons dogs dig:
- Dogs are predators and they have an instinct to dig - out of boredom, to get ready to hunt, to seek shelter, etc.
- Dogs have been bred to dig for hundreds of years (or possibly thousands of years depending on the dog breed). dwarf breeds, such as Yorkshire terriers, often develop a habit of digging as a result of this selective breeding.
- Dogs dig to find a cool spot to lay in the hot summer months, or to bury bone marrow or other prized objects.
- Some dogs dig to find a companion, or just to "relieve themselves."
- A dog may dig to escape, due to fear or loneliness.
- A dog may want to get your attention.
- A dog may want to gain access to a special area of the yard.
When you come home, if your dog has dug holes in your yard, do not punish him. If you catch him in the act, say "no," pick him up and put him outside. Do not attempt to punish him at this time.
If you don't catch him in the act, you must try to determine the reason for his digging. If he's digging because he's bored, take him to a park or to a friend's house for a little exercise. If he's digging because he's looking for a companion, you must spend some time with him in the yard to help him relax. After awhile, he'll associate the yard with a special place where he can dig to his heart's content.
Don't try to suppress your dog's natural instincts. If you do so, you'll be digging holes for him and he'll be alright. His dog instinct is powerful, and he'll eventually find a way to cope with it. If you want to save your yard from becoming a hole hunter's paradise, you must suppress his desires for a while.
Once you determine why your dog is digging, you can take the proper steps to make it stop. If he's digging because he's hot, turn up the air conditioning or turn the water down in the hot months. If he's digging because he's bored, invest in a fun toy with which to play and stimulate him. If your dog is hunting for a companion, you MUST try to spend some time each day with him.
In sum, your dog is a bundle of emotions and needs to be given an opportunity to express them...to become a balanced and well-adjusted pet. All it takes is a bit of your time and effort, and you'll soon see the difference in your yard.