October 8, 2016 Photos by: nikos/Bigstock
Digging up your yard might be one of those dog habits you don’t dig! But is there any way you can cover up this natural dog behavior?
One of the most common behavior problems dog owners face is digging. A small hole in the yard may not be a big problem, but what do you do when your dog destroys your flower beds and leaves dozens of craters all over the yard? Let’s go over the basics about why dogs dig and how to curb this behavior.
Why Does Your Dog Dig?
Each dog is an individual but most dogs share a few common traits or behaviors – one of them is digging. Some dogs only dig in certain areas where it won’t do any harm, but others will completely destroy your yard, covering it with holes and destroying your flower beds. Before you can attempt to stop your dog from digging up the lawn, you first need to understand why he does it. Many dogs dig simply for entertainment – you may already be familiar with the saying that a bored dog is a destructive dog. Digging is a perfect example! Sometimes dogs will dig for comfort or protection as well; they may dig a hole in the ground then curl up inside it for comfort or to escape the heat. In some cases, dogs dig for attention or they may be chasing after some kind of prey.
Tips to Stop Your Dog from Digging
Digging is a completely natural behavior for dog. Even so, it can become a problem if your dog exhibits it at the wrong time or in a way that you don’t like. The important thing to remember is that you should not attempt to completely eradicate natural behaviors like digging or chewing – your best course of action should be to redirect these kinds of unwanted behaviors toward a more appropriate outlet. Here are 5 tips to help you put an end to yard digging:
- Supervise your dog outdoors. In many cases, dogs dig out of boredom or as a means of seeking attention so you may be able to curb this behavior simply by keeping an eye on your dog while he is outdoors. Let him outside to do his business but don’t let him dally.
- Make sure your dog is properly exercised. For many dogs, digging is a means of working up pent-up energy. One of the best ways to discourage destructive behavior as a whole is to make sure your dog’s needs for exercise are met on a daily basis.
- Provide shade for your dog. Some dogs dig holes in the yard as a means of escaping the heat during the summer – the dirt is cool so they dig a hole and curl up in it. To prevent your dog from digging for this reason, just make sure your dog has a comfortable, shaded place to rest outside.
- Create a safe digging space. For many dogs, digging is not just something they like to do – it is something they have an instinct for. If your dog comes from a breed that was developed to flush small game, it may be an ingrained behavior. Try setting aside a small area of your yard where digging is allowed and encourage your dog to use it.
- Redirect digging behavior. When you find your dog digging somewhere in the yard where you don’t want him to be, clap your hands or make a loud noise to startle him so he stops. Once you have your dog’s attention, lead him to the safe digging space and encourage him to dig there. Once he does, praise and reward him – it shouldn’t be long before he learns where he is and is not allowed to dig.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor’s degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.