How Can I Stop My Dog From Digging?
If your dog is leaving holes all over your yard, or ruining your garden, it can be a frustrating problem. But it is important to keep in mind that your dog is not being bad or malicious – there are many different reasons why your dog might be digging holes, from boredom to anxiety to genetics. Through positive reinforcement dog training, you can find out why your dog is digging and encourage them to redirect their energy elsewhere. Here is a guide to why your dog is digging, and what you can do to stop them.
Why is my Dog Digging Holes?
When it comes to digging, most owners will just brush it off as dogs being dogs. In many cases this is likely true. Dogs simply like to dig. However, not all dog owners want their furry friends digging up their beautiful backyards. Also, sometimes digging can be a sign of an underlying issue that may need to be addressed.
Some of the common reasons a dog might dig include:
Your Dog is Digging Because of Hunting Instincts
All dogs have an instinct to hunt, so they may resort to digging holes when chasing animals such as rabbits, chipmunks, gophers, moles, etc. Your dog may think you have a pest problem and think they are earning their keep by hunting animals.
How to stop hunting instinct digging
Check for signs of any unwanted animal or pest activity in your yard, and try to remove them in a safe, humane way, such as putting in fences. Do not use any poison or traps that can harm your dog.
Your Dog is Digging Out of Boredom
Your dog may start digging holes simply because they are bored. Maybe they were left alone in the yard with nothing to do, a puppy with too much energy, or their environment does not have enough toys or playmates to keep them busy. They may also dig to hide special items such as food, toys, or treats.
How to stop boredom digging
Make sure you are taking your dog for a walk at least twice a day, and that your dog is getting plenty of play time and exercise. If you are leaving your dog in the yard alone, make sure they have interesting toys to play with. The more activity your dog gets, the less likely they are to dig holes out of boredom. A tired dog is a well behaved dog.
Your Dog is Digging Because of Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a very common problem in dogs and can be the cause of destructive behavior such as digging. If your dog is suddenly digging, this could mean that they are not comfortable being left home alone, and this problem can get worse over time if not addressed.
How to stop separation anxiety digging
According to Purina, There are a few different approaches you can take to reduce your dog’s separation anxiety, including:
- Keeping your dog occupied when staying home alone
- Desensitizing your dog to your leaving cues
- Not making a big deal out of leaving (avoid long goodbye rituals)
- Keeping the radio on when you leave
- Crate training
A certified professional dog trainer can help you deal with your dog’s separation anxiety.
Your Dog is Digging in an Effort to Cool Off
Digging is an instinctual way for your dog to keep cool during the hot summer months. Your dog may dig large holes to lay in throughout the yard, or under bushes and shrubs. If your dog is digging during hot days, this might be the cause.
How to stop cooling off digging
Rover has some additional ways to keep your dog cool in the summer, including:
- Giving your dog frozen treats, and putting ice cubes in their water
- Avoiding walking on hot pavement
- Early morning or evening walks or playtime
- Giving them access to plenty of shade and a wading pool to cool off
Your Dog is Digging Because of Genetics
Digging can be a genetic trait. Some dog breeds, such as terriers, are bred as hunting animals and are predisposed to go after animals that live in the ground. According to Chewy, other breeds that love to dig include dachshunds, beagles, schnauzers, huskies, and collies.
How to stop digging because of genetics
If a dog is genetically inclined to dig, it can be very difficult to break this habit. Research breed tendencies before deciding which dog is best for your family. If your dog is likely to dig or hunt, make sure they have plenty of outdoor space to explore. You can also try to discourage digging by dealing with any of the other specific issues above.
Your Dog is Digging in an Effort to Escape a Fenced-In Area
One of the most common reasons a dog starts digging holes is to escape a fenced-in area. If your dog starts digging near a fence, they are likely trying to get out. It is important to dissuade them from this type of behavior to avoid them getting lost or harmed.
How to stop escape artist digging
Make it more difficult for your dog to dig near your fence by adding rocks or other obstacles along the edge of the fence, or burying the bottom of the fence below ground level.
Should I Let My Dog Dig?
Digging is actually a good outlet for a dog to use all their built up energy, so assuming you don’t mind your dog digging up your yard, you really shouldn’t worry. However, if you don’t want them digging in certain spots, you can set up a designated area in the yard specifically for them to dig in. In order to push them towards this spot, try burying treats and toys to hopefully encourage them to dig in this specific area. If you notice them digging in other spots, get their attention and redirect their focus to the area where you’ve hidden the treats/toys. Over time, your dog should realize “this is a good place to dig” and the rest of your yard will be safe.
If you can’t seem to get your dog to stop digging in places you don’t want them to, it may be in your best interest to reach out to a behavior professional who can diagnose any underlying cause of the digging or a dog training expert who can train your dog to stop their destructive digging habits.
Contact Michael’s Pack About Dog Training in Monmouth County, NJ
Training your dog to stop digging or focus their energy elsewhere can take time and effort. If you want a professional with years of experience to help the process run more smoothly, reach out to Michael’s Pack today. We offer in-home dog training throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, NJ.