Table of Contents
- 1. Dogs are idle
- 2. They are pursuing their prey.
- 3. They’re building a shelter
- 4. They’re becoming colder
- 5. They are attempting to flee
- 6. DNA
- 7. Relieving Stress
- 8. Key Takeaway
Your dog may occasionally have an oddly dirty nose when they come inside from the yard. They have mud all over their paws when you look down at them. That can only indicate that there is a new hole in your lawn.
Dogs naturally dig, according to Jennifer Abrams, an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB), though it can be frustrating.
Dogs may also dig as a means of play or exercise, as a result of their strong prey drive, or as an attempt to create an enjoyable escape route.
Understanding the reasons behind your dog’s digging will help you provide them a different way to express their needs and learn how to stop them.
We’ll go into great detail about everything dog digging below, including the causes of this behavior that damages lawns and solutions for pet parents.
1. Dogs are idle
Veterinarian and seasoned dog trainer Dr. Sabina Kong notes that dogs typically dig because they’re bored. Dogs who dig can find great satisfaction in it, and it’s also A great method to capture your interest!
While it’s not always simple, the solution to boredom digging is simple: give your dog plenty of exercise and make the most of their chances to engage in cognitive activities.
How to stop digging in boredom
- Schedule an additional walk because a weary dog is less likely to dig, which is where exercise comes in handy. If you don’t have time for an additional walk, consider hiring a dog walker to help your pet get some exercise.
- Make energy-burning games a priority. Active games like fetch and frisbee are good for people who are easily bored. Don’t worry if you’re exhausted; your dog can be entertained with self-moving toys and automatic ball launchers.
- Include puzzle toys in your dog’s everyday routine: Simple slow-feeders are among the many difficulty levels of puzzle toys available. Dogs must learn to take apart the game pieces in order to get to the treats in these.
2. They are pursuing their prey.
According to Abrams, “digging behavior is ‘hardwired’ into some breeds of humans.” Breeds like Afghan Hounds, and Greyhounds, and Jack Russell Terriers whose original purpose was to chase and follow small animals into their burrows, are excellent examples of this phenomenon, according to her.
When these dog breeds are hunting, they frequently have a strong urge to dig. Our dogs are able to see the tiny creatures, even though we may not be able to. They won’t stop excavating until they have their target.
How not to dig for prey
Games for prey-seeking behavior: Dogs who are food-motivated will often find satisfaction in traditional puzzle toys, but you want something that also appeals to their prey instinct. Snuffle mats and other toys that prompt a dog to dig or chase are good examples of toys that can fulfill this purpose.
Flirt poles: For dogs with a high prey drive, flirt poles are an excellent alternative. These interactive toys are made so that parents can play with their dogs in a way that encourages them to follow their instincts.
3. They’re building a shelter
Certain dogs might dig up your yard in search of a quiet, comfortable hiding place to use as a den. Your dog is probably building a den if you frequently find them lying in the hole they dug or if they dig holes in the same spot frequently.
How to avoid digging dens
- Dog houses: If your dog enjoys spending time outside, a dog house is a great option for satisfying their cunning instinct. If your dog will be outside during the winter, think about getting a heated one.
- Cave beds: Since they provide cover and a ton of soft material to dig into, cave beds are an excellent option for puppies who enjoy digging tunnels. However, because of their tendency to be soft and cuddly, they might be a better fit for an indoor den than an outdoor one.
- Dog tents: Designed for outdoor use, dog tents provide shade and weatherproof cover during the warmer months. Many of them are simple to take down and reassemble as needed, so they don’t have to be a permanent yard feature.
4. They’re becoming colder
Many dogs dig to stay cool, especially during the warmer months. A freshly dug hole is a great place to relax because the dirt below the surface is cooler than the warmer top dirt. It’s likely that your dog is digging because it’s hot if they are creating shallow pits in your yard and then laying in them.
How to keep cool by ceasing to dig
Fortunately, a range of products are available that can assist in keeping a dog cool when they’re outside, such as :
- chilly jackets
- Gel-filled mats for cooling
- Dog areas
- Water-based games
- Cold toys
5. They are attempting to flee
Some dogs dig to get out of an enclosure, which can give pet parents some unsettling moments. Stopping an escape artist from digging can prevent them from fleeing or becoming lost if you have one.
How not to dig an escape
Does your dog need to stop digging? Install barriers that penetrate the soil where your dog likes to burrow in order to get away. Dig Defence-style barriers are a superior option. One excellent method of containing areas where a dog might reasonably dig an escape is to place a series of strong metal stakes in the ground just in front of your fence line. The bars come in packs of four, ten, or twenty-five sections.
I Want to Stop Digging; Should I See a Dog Trainer?
Redirecting a dog’s attention to something constructive is the best way to stop them from digging, but sometimes that doesn’t work. Abrams advises seeking help from a behavior specialist if you’re having trouble coming up with solutions that work for both you and your dog or if you think your dog is digging excessively.
Search for dog trainers by contacting reputable, well-established groups such as the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists. Alternatively, you could schedule a meeting with a behaviorist in veterinary medicine.
Digging is just one example of how genetics play a major part in our dogs’ temperaments. A lot of hunting dogs, like small hounds and terriers, were developed with the purpose of extracting their prey from their burrows. Your dog is probably going to dig to get at any gophers or other small animals that roam your yard. It’s possible that your yard looks like Swiss cheese because some dogs actually like digging to find food!
7. Relieving Stress
Dogs can enjoy digging, which makes it an excellent stress-relieving activity. There are a few different ways to generate stress, but the majority of active diggers are either incredibly bored or experience separation anxiety. When dogs are left alone for extended periods of time and have nothing to do, they frequently start digging.
Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety can become quite obsessed with digging and need a way to redirect their negative energy into something constructive. Digging stimulates the mind and body, which is important for reducing feelings of anxiety and boredom.
8. Key Takeaway
Punishment is an ineffective way to stop a dog from digging, even though it can be a frustrating behavior. In fact, it might make them feel more anxious and inclined to dig.
Redirect your dog’s attention in a constructive manner (such as through interactive play or a walk) if you see them digging in an inappropriate area. It could just be as easy as guiding your dog to the appropriate spot to dig if you are using a sandbox or other approved digging area.
Applying a no-dig spray is an additional method of stopping digging. The somewhat well-liked herbal option SufesNews Off Limits is used to keep pets away from particular outdoor areas.
Give them lots of praise and encouraging feedback when they do shift their attention and exhibit a different behavior!