Dealing with Your Dog’s Enthusiastic Digging Behavior

Dogs dig for a wide variety of reasons.  They may be bored and looking to find a way to entertain themselves.  They could also be looking for a way to get your attention.  Digging is also a natural behavior that has several uses for animals in the wild.  There are some breeds of dogs that just have the behavior hard-wired into them.  They may be digging to make a den for themselves, or to create a good hiding place for some treat or treasure.

Amos digging pot

Amos digging pot

Basically, it is normal for dogs to dig and there are a lot of reasons they do it.  If this type of behavior is becoming a problem for you though, there are several easy and effective ways to deal with it.

Pop ‘n’ Stop

One sneaky way to stop your dog from digging is to scare them out of it.  Try blowing up some balloons and burying them in the area of your yard where your dog likes to dig.  Popping a balloon while they’re digging is not an experience your dog is likely to enjoy at all.  If they repeat the experience even just a few times, your dog is probably going to make enough negative associations with digging that they won’t want to do it again.

Another variation on this technique is to bury chicken wire or something similar in the area your dog likes to dig.  The experience of hitting the wire in the process of digging a hole can lead to the same kinds of negative associations as the popping of the balloon.

Wear Him Out

Your dog may simply be digging because he is not getting enough physical or mental stimulation.  Making sure your dog is getting enough attention and exercise can be all it takes to put his digging plans on hold.  This will also work if your dog is digging to try and get your attention.

Giving your dog a reasonable amount of attention by playing with him and walking him frequently can help stop unwanted digging behavior and take care of some other problems too.  In fact, a lot of bad behavior is a result of a dog not getting the attention or exercise they need.  Some dogs are naturally more high energy than others and so can require a bit of extra stimulation and exercise.

Make Him a Sandbox

Creating a special digging space for your dog can be a great way to give them what they need and still keep your yard, garden, and flower beds intact.  Cordon off an area and fill it with soft sand or soil that is loosely packed and easy to dig in.  Bury some of your dog’s favorite treats or toys in this area and encourage your dog to dig them up.  It should not take long for him to realize that this is his digging area and that digging here is much more beneficial than digging in other parts of the yard.

Bad behaviors put a huge strain on the relationship between you and your dog.  It doe not have to be that way though.  Taking a few simple steps to address an unpleasant behavior may be all it takes to improve your relationship with your dog and allow you to enjoy each other’s company again.

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Claudie on September 16th 2010 in Dog behavior, training Tips

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