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How to Stop Your Dog From Digging

How to Stop Your Dog From Digging

Though there may be some rather drastic thoughts in your head when the frustration kicks in from a dog who digs�and digs�there are – thank goodness – very effective ways to nip that terrible habit in the bud, and save yourself a great deal of frustration and insanity.

Digging is one of the most complained-about behavior problems from dog owners. Unfortunately, there is no one answer to solving this problem; however, fortunately, there are many! The trick is to find out why your dog is digging, and then tackle the problem at its root.

In many cases, your dog is digging out of simple instinct through his breed heritage. Dogs have been bred for centuries for many different specific tasks, from the close attraction toy breeds have for their owners, to the sporting dogs who have more energy than they know how to deal with in their physical activity. Nordic dogs – just like their arctic wolf cousins – dig holes in order to cool themselves. Terriers (whose name comes from the Latin “terra,” meaning earth) have been bred to dig underground for rodents and other small game. Dachshunds were developed specifically to chase badgers out of their holes.

However, while some dogs come by it honestly, others are inclined to dig for reasons other than heritage. Other than breed specifics, loneliness is the next primary cause for digging. If you leave your dog in the yard for a long period of time, your dog may begin digging to relieve his boredom. After a while, he may discover that this is better than doing nothing, and they learn the habit.

While companionship is the primary reason for having a dog, not everyone lives up to the full amount of companionship that their dogs expect from them. From a dog’s point of view, companionship involves a deep bond that includes regular play and exercise with you. Without this social stimulation with you, dogs will may turn to digging and other destructive behaviors to alleviate both boredom and pent-up frustration.

Digging dogs may also be behaving this way for reasons beyond breed instincts, boredom or frustration, and may be acting out other problems. For example, a dog that is sent outdoors for having misbehaved inside may simply continue this misbehavior in the yard by digging. Instead, the inside problem should be dealt with inside, and unacceptable digging outside should be dealt with on the spot.

Dogs who are left alone for long periods of time may be acting to the absence of family members. The solution to this cause is to work with your dog to help him or her cope with gradually longer absences. Your veterinarian will be able to help you formulate a strategy that is customized to your lifestyle for this kind of behavior modification training.

Dogs may dig holes in the summer months in order to cool themselves. If this is the case, consider providing a shade umbrella for your dog, or keeping him or her inside the house or basement when it’s hot out. If your dog is housed outside, make absolutely certain that shade is available at every hour of the day, and fresh drinking water is always available. Some dogs enjoy using their own wading pools, so some fresh cool water in a kiddie pool may be a simple solution for your pooch.

If your dog is digging to try to escape your yard so he can roam, either put up a fence that is tight to the ground – or even buried a few inches under the ground – or sink boards around the perimeter of your fence to prevent your dog from crawling or digging his way out.

If your dog is trying to escape, try to find out what is making him or her want to leave home. Is it an issue of boredom? Is your dog male, and there is a female in heat in your neighborhood? If either of these is the case, neutering will generally calm your dog and decrease the desire to wander.

If you feel you’ve tried “everything” and your dog insists on digging, consider providing him or her with a specific “digging area”. Mark it off so that its boundaries are obvious, and reward your dog when he digs in the right place, while conversely giving a firm “no” when your dog attempts to dig outside the area.

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