Do you have a dog that likes to dig? Perhaps you’ve seen those magical little mounds of earth that seem to arise from nowhere? If so, you can get rid of these little gems if you wish, by teaching your dog not to dig.
Why do dogs dig?
Dogs dig for a lot of reasons. Most dogs simply like to. It's entertaining, and they may be trying to keep themselves from getting bored, especially if they're left alone when they'd rather be with you.
In some cases, breeds are meant to dig. Terriers are one such breed.
Puppies and younger dogs often dig simply to explore and to use up some of that boundless energy. Or sometimes, dogs may dig to create a hole that will give them some cooling or warming shelter from the sun or snow.
No matter why your dog does it – to be busy, to be happy, because it is bored, to fill some purpose, or simply because it thinks it's fun – you can stop or at least direct the behavior.
How do you stop your dog from digging?
• By providing appropriate shelter
If you've noticed that your dog is digging to seek shelter from wind, rain, snow or the sun, provide a doghouse or keep your dog indoors during inclement or particularly hot weather.
• By paying more attention to your dog
Dogs often do things simply because they're bored, including digging. You can stop the destructive behavior simply by engaging your dog in another activity and giving it some much-needed attention. Play Frisbee, play catch, or simply cuddle on the couch or in a hammock in your backyard for some good snooze time. Attention is key – and once your dog receives some affection, it will no longer be bored or frustrated and thus will no longer dig.
• By providing alternative fun
Provide your dog with other toys, games or activities besides digging to occupy its time. Remember that above all, your dog wants to spend time with you. Engage your dog in playing games, going for walks or jogs, and you'll soon find that digging is much less attractive to your canine friend.
• You may not be able to stop the digging – but you can redirect it
If your dog loves to dig – and especially if it is of a breed that digs – you may not be able to stop the behavior entirely, but you can redirect it. Provide an area that you train your dog to go to when it wants to dig, like a sandbox or another container filled with loose dirt.
You can also make digging a game of sorts by burying prizes like toys or treats that your dog can “discover” in its designated digging area. Your pet will certainly appreciate this – and your garden, lawn, or flower bed will thank you.
• Don't punish
If your dog does happen to dig after you’ve forbidden the behavior, don't punish. Dogs have short memories and your pet likely won't remember why you're mad. Simply redirect the behavior as you did previously, provide more attention, and digging should soon be reduced so that it's no longer such a nuisance.