Dogs who dig
Megan Brooks CDT
Dogs who dig
Your yard was immaculate before you owned dogs but ever since you added two terriers to your family they have been on a two-pup mission to excavate your entire backyard. Now where there used to be roses there are big holes and it has become quite hazardous to walk through the yard.
Digging is one of those things, like chewing, chasing and barking, that our dogs do that we wished they didn’t.
Keep in mind how natural of a thing digging is to dogs. Dogs dig for a variety of reasons; to make a cool spot to lie down, to relieve boredom and release pent up energy, to hunt underground rodents, real or imagined or just because it is fun.
Digging is a natural canine behavior ingrained deep into all dogs’ DNA. Some breeds are more likely to have the urge to dig excessively. Most terriers as well as Dachshunds were bred to seek out underground rodents and kill them. Arctic breeds like Huskies and Malamutes dig through the snow to make themselves a warm place to sleep. Any breed may have the urge to bury a bone and/or dig up an already buried bone, real or imagined.
The key to solving your dog’s digging problem I going to be management. You cannot train the urge to be a dog out of a dog, no matter how hard you try. This is pure instinct you are fighting against.
“Management” can mean a lot of different things. First of all you can try to determine why your dog is digging. If it is to relieve boredom or it seems to be just for fun you can significantly reduce the urge by draining the dog’s energy on a regular basis. Come up with an activity or two that you and your dog can do together to drain energy and to fulfill your dog’s need to be a dog. Possible activities like bike riding, roller blading or pulling a cart or skateboard behind them. Inexpensive pulling harnesses can be purchased at www.fordogtrainers.com. Even a long game of fetch if your dog likes to play.
Next, management means not allowing the undesired behavior to occur. Do not leave your dog unsupervised in areas that you don’t want him to dig. The more he is allowed to do it the harder the habit becomes to break. If he digs while you are supervising you are able to correct him by distracting him with a loud noise or verbal correction.
Finally, management means to give your dog the opportunity to fulfill the need to dig in an appropriate and acceptable manner. If your dog loves to dig, give him a place of his own where digging is OK. Fill up a kiddie pool with sand and bury your dog’s toys so he has to dig in order to find them. Praise him for digging in the right spot.
Last Updated: Sunday, December 27, 2009