So your dog has turned into a digger and has destroyed your garden in his new-found hobby. This is a very annoying canine behavioral problem but it can be stopped. i,ve often been asked "How can i stop my dog from digging" and i always say the first step to solving any issue is to find the reason behind the behavior from there you can the remedy.
The main reasons for dogs digging
- Hunting Prey
- Trying to escape
Every dog needs attention they crave it and thrive from attention. Any form of behavior can Credit: flickr commons licensebecome attention seeking behavior if your dog learns that he's going to receive attention from you by engaging in this activity. Remember even being punished is a form of attention. Your pooch may be seeking your attention if:
- He only gets limited interaction opportunities with you or other family members
- If he's digging whilst your present
How to deal with it
When your dog starts to dig in front of you divert his attention immediately, call him over make him sit or lay and praise him give him a treat for this. Increase your interaction time with your dog, go for longer walks, play ball, Go through basic dog obedience lessons with him again, this will all help your dog seek positive attention which is good.
dog hunting for prey
- Digging at the roots of shrubs and trees
- Diggs at specific sections of your garden not around the perimeter
- Digging in a line
How to deal with this
Time to put your tracker hat on and look for signs of burrowing animals then use humane methods to get rid of them i would not recommend using poisons for this as your dog may very well get hold of this or indeed other types of innocent wildlife.
Digging for entertainment
Some dogs dig just for fun to entertain themselves especially if they find that roots and stones "play back." Your dog may be digging for fun if:
- He's spending long periods of time in the garden by himself without his "pack" ie. you of Credit: flickr commons licenseother members of your family.
- His environment is boring to him-no toys or other playmates
- If he,s under 3 then he's probably got boundless amounts of energy
- A breed of dog that are bred to dig such as a terrier
How to stop this kind of digger
For this i would up his exercise longer walks maybe some where you can take him off the lead and run wild let him tire himself out. Lack of vigorous exercise is the root of most dog behavior problems. Make his environment fun to be in footballs are great for this so long as the ball is too big for him to get his teeth into, many dogs will spend hours chasing a large ball to try and bite get other types of interesting toys such as kong type toys filled with tasty treats and busy-box toys work great aswell. Spend more time practising the training he's learnt all this will help keep your dog's body and mind active and serve to tire him out. As the old saying goes a tired dog is a quiet dog.
Seeking protection or comfort
If it's cold and wet your pooch may be seeking shelter and protection, he may also dig to find comfort in the cool soil if the weather is to hot for him. So your dog maybe digging for protection and comfort if:
- He has no shelter to protect himself from the elements be it hot or cold
- The holes will often be found at the base of large tree's or buildings and maybe near a water source
- He lays in the holes he has dug for himself
How to deal with this
Give your dog protection from the elements he requires, give your hm a comfortable kennel to protect him from the elements, and make sure there is a source of fresh water available.
Is your dog trying to escape
- He's digging along and under the boundary wall/fence
How to deal with the escape artist
Ensure your dog has his needs met by making sure he is well entertained with toys, lay chicken wire along the line of your boundary fixed to the base of your wall or fence and then anchored down with rocks if your dog tries to dig through the wire he'll find he can't and he wont be long stopping this behavior.
A digging area
Some dogs just love to dig,so maybe set aside a small area just for your dog to play. Fence the area off and make it clear to him where that digging area is. Make the area fun for him by burying some toys. When he digs in his digging area praise him and give him a few treats, if your dog tries to dig elsewhere in your garden reprimand him with a sharp "No" then immediately take him back to his digging area .
Make the areas of your garden that are unacceptable to his digging uncomfortable for him, by laying chicken wire down and weighting them with rocks this will keep your dog from digging there ,after a short period your dog will gravitate to his digging area only and you can remove the wire and have your garden back.
Remember do not punish your dog by shouting or violence this never solves any kind of behavior problem,try the methods above that are practical for you to try, and if your dog is still digging then seek the advice of a behavior specialist in your local area .