Your dog tears up your yard, leaving dead plants and unsightly holes in their path of destruction.
Dogs don’t care about property value. They don’t care about tracking dirt in the house. Digging is a dog’s natural passion, particularly for short legged terriers and dachshunds once bred for hunting tunneling animals such as rabbits, rats, mice and prairie dogs.
Even so, there’s many pain-free ways to get dogs to quit digging. Having a diggy dog does not mean you have to have an ugly lawn.
Why Dogs Dig
Your best cure to your dog’s digging habit depends on their motivation. Dogs dig for many different reasons.
Because They’re After Underground Prey
Your dog is hypnotized by the scurrying sounds and scents of irresistible creatures that live below your soil. It’s nearly impossible to call your dog off when they’re hot on the trail.
Allowing your dog to hunt wildlife is more than just a digging problem. Even effective hunters can get scratched or bitten if their prey fights back.
Your best option might be to get rid of the pests. It’s tough to find a solution that is safe for dogs. Avoid poisons and traps that might not be dog-safe. Repellents that give off an odor pests hate can be effective without being poisonous to your dog if eaten.
If your dog enjoys tracking scents, they might enjoy nosework, barn hunts and other dog sports.
Because They Need A Place To Nap
Some dogs dig dens to escape the weather. When it’s blistering hot outside, freshly dug soil is cooler than the soil that has been under the sun.
Every dog needs proper shelter. They should not be left alone outside all of the time. In hot weather, dogs can easily get heatstroke, whether they dig holes to lie in or not. If your dog must spend time outside, provide them with a dog house filled with straw or blankets.
Because That Bone Isn’t Going To Hide Itself
Dogs dig to hide tasty foods that they’re not yet ready to eat. Bones and other tasty treats become rancid underground, and could make your dog sick. Use trading games to teach your dog to willingly give you their uneaten food instead of burying. Or, just avoid giving your dog long-lasting treats when they’re not hungry enough to finish them.
Because They Love To Dig
Even when there’s no prey underground, the soil is brimming with interesting odors and textures. Your dog might just revel in the simple joys of digging in specific types of sand and dirt.
You can create a designated digging area for your dog. It’s Dog Or Nothing blog writer Kelsie McKenzie created a simple sandbox for her Great Pyrenees with a gardening kit. You can bury treats or toys in your dog’s digging area to make it more rewarding to explore than the rest of your yard.
Because They’re Bored
Many dogs become bored, stressed or lonely when they’re alone in their yard. Giving your dog something acceptable and productive to do can control their need to dig.