Does Your Dog Dig?
Understanding and Controlling Dogs Who Dig
As homeowners, we try our best to keep our homes in top notch shape. But, between life, children, pets, and other factors sometimes it’s hard. So, it’s quite common to see dog owners cringe when they see their dogs digging holes in the back yard. Especially when their lawn was just freshly manicured.
Some dog owners may often wonder why their dog feels the need to dig. They may think their dog must be tired of doing it. That’s very true if they’ve already dug many other holes in the yard. Dog owners are even sometimes faced with a dog who digs at flooring. This behavior can destroy carpet and rugs fast.
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Digging goes back to a dog’s natural instincts. This is something they do in the wild. That’s why it’s natural for them to do it in a home setting, too. We are the ones who have domesticated dogs. Humans are the ones who teach them how to survive outside the wild. So, if we’ve never tried to eliminate the digging habit, they’ll continue to do it.
There’s many reasons why a dog may dig. They often do this before they lay down. This is their way of making their sleeping area more comfortable. It’s also a way for them to adjust the area to either keep them warm or cool. They are trying to make their sleeping place as comfortable as possible.
Some dogs dig out of pure boredom. They want to find entertainment. That’s when they start digging. They find it fun and it releases excess energy. So, to many dogs, digging is a form of pastime. Dogs find enjoyment in it. They may trust this behavior so much that they do it to bury things that are important to them.
It’s quite obvious that dogs in the wild don’t have humans giving them kibble. They had to find a way to get nutrients. Most wild dogs are known hunters. In fact, they’ll dig to hunt animals who live under the ground. Animals such as moles, groundhogs, badgers, and shrews.
Getting a Handle on Digging Dogs
As you can see, your dog may be digging up your yard to rid it of pesky intruders. But, there are some places you don’t want your dog to dig. It can be hard for your pup to resist though. As digging is a normal behavior. It’s something they think they have to do. The best way to get a handle on digging is by preventing it.
The best way to prevent digging is to actually give your dog an acceptable area to dig. This area will be the area you redirect your dog to every time to find them digging. It will be an area that you are comfortable with them digging their heart out. Also, you’ll want to make sure this area is far away from anywhere you don’t want your dog to dig.
Another thing dog owners shouldn’t do is punish your dog when you find them digging. We all know humans normally respond well to punishment. Most of the time we’ll fix our error as fast as we can. But, dogs don’t always understand what we’re saying. Punishment can actually send a dog into major stress. Then, if digging is a way for your dog to relieve stress, the behavior may continue. It may actually end up being worse
Refrain from punishing your dog when he or she digs. Instead redirect them to the area you have designated for digging. Hopefully your dog will start happily digging at the new area. If so, make sure you have training treats on hand. You’ll want to reward your dog for digging in this area. This will make your dog realize it’s okay to dig here. That he or she will actually be rewarded for digging in this area.
It may take a few times redirecting your pup for them to get the picture. It’s important for you to continue to repeat this behavior. You should do it every time you find your dog digging in an unacceptable area. For a while, it will be important to reward your dog every time they dig in their designated area.
The most important thing to remember is to be consistent. Sometimes it may seem as if none of your attempts are working. Eventually you may need to reach out to a dog trainer. Once you do this you may question why you didn’t do it sooner. Dog trainers can really help save you a lot of headaches. They won’t just help your dog learn polite behaviors. They’ll also teach you the skills you need to continue the training at home. Because, while the dog trainer is teaching, what is learned must continue on at home.