Why does my dog love digging?

Why does my dog love digging?


What’s a more quintessential dog trait than digging a hole? You tell me! Veterinary professionals say that this behaviour comes down to one simple thing, boredom. It’s not uncommon for dog owners to underestimate the amount of physical activity our furry friends need in a day. And unfortunately, that daily 20-minute walk is sometimes just not enough!

Some dog breeds are naturally predisposed to digging, and it’s in their nature. Some examples of breeds in this category are terriers and dachshunds (as they were originally bred to dig for badgers). For owners of these breeds it can become quite hard to tame your digging pup, however there are a few strategies that can help tone it down. They are as follows:

  • Create a special zone in your garden where your dog is allowed to dig, making an extra effort to keep your garden as unappealing as possible by using ground cover plants and less open dirt patches.
  • When filling holes that your dog has dug, try putting lava rocks (charcoal rocks typically used for BBQ’S, these can be found at hardware stores and most supermarkets) the smell and texture should deter them.
  • You can also try filling the holes with your dog’s stool or an inflated balloon.

Other tips to help stop this habit, is to start reinforcing good behaviour. Say your dog is playing in the backyard and is doing his appropriate dog activities, praise him! The more you increase the praise for all the good things he does the higher the chance your dog will continue to do these activities. Other examples include when your dog is playing with a ball or a chew toy or just lying in the sun.

If you have tried filling the holes with lava rocks, stool or balloons and he has moved on to a new hole digging spot, continue to fill in those holes as well. It is essential that your dog does not see you filling in these holes as if he does he will assume that since you can play in the dirt so can he!

Some more tips to stop your dog digging:

  • Give your dog adequate exercise and play time, and don’t forget some dogs need more than one walk per day!
  • Give your dog toys and chews that he can spend his time eating such as pigs ears or rougher dried chews.
  • Sometimes dogs dig to cool themselves down, especially on those hot summer days. Creating a cool and shady area in your yard where he can escape the heat may be of benefit.

About The Author

Dog Food Specialist

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