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Digging

How to Stop Basic Digging

Dogs love to dig, some breeds more than others. It is important to accept that the animal you have loves to dig and to completely take this love away from them is not the most loving thing to do. Understandably, however, you do not want your entire garden continually excavated every evening before sunset.

In the wild dogs dig to build a den, find food, find a cooler place, for fun and many other reasons.

There is much stuff that we ought to do to eliminate some key reasons that your puppy is digging before we look to redirect the digging into one specific area… The digging pit!

Is your puppy stressed or hyperactive?

If your puppy is stressed or hyperactive, then you may find that it has much nervous energy and is not calm when you leave it. Digging could, in fact, be a symptom of your dog having separation anxiety and may be even trying to escape. If this is possible then make sure that you read through the dog problem section Separation Anxiety and follow the 5 Golden Rules carefully.

Too hot – looking for shade?

In the wild dogs will dig dens to protect from the cold but also to keep them cooler in the hot sun. If your dog is digging for this reason, then a shade cloth or sun umbrella could do the trick. Just ensure that your dog has a place they can lie down and cool off. Check the water and if possible a little paddling pool may cool off and distract them!

Is your puppy getting enough workout?

In case your puppy isn’t doing enough exercise, then it will find a way of using its energy up, possibly by digging! See if by taking your puppy for a nice walk before you leave it in the garden the digging decreases.

Is your puppy bored?

Are you leaving it for very long periods at a time with little to do? Make sure that your puppy has plenty of interesting chew toys to play with when you leave him If none of the above reasons seem to be the cause of the problem and your puppy seems very happy to dig even when it is calm, relaxed and you are home then it would appear that you have a digger! Building a digging pit is probably the best option to manage the situation.

Toys and distractions:

There is limitless to the number of distractions that you can use to keep your dogs mind off digging. From food to toys here are just a couple: A paddling pool is a great way to waste time for many dogs, jumping in and out and cooling off! Simple foods such as ice-cubes with peas or dog biscuits in the middle can waste much time.

Stop the behavior as soon as possible.

By dropping stones or rocks into the hole that your dog can’t dig out or around you are breaking the habit. This can be important as once a real habit is formed it can become much harder to stop. Sometimes chicken wire pegged down over the top can really help deter the dogs digging.

Building a digging pit

A digging pit is simply a dedicated area where you encourage your puppy to dig. It is best if you can make it a clearly defined area by maybe placing down a few pieces of wood that show your puppy where the digging area starts and finishes. It is also best if there is softer soil or sand for the puppy to dig in. There is a variety of the way to inspire your dog to start digging in this area.

  1. Firstly you can use a spade to start a hole.
  2. Suddenly “FIND” an amazing bone or toy down in the hole.
  3. When your puppy brings out the bone or toy praise them with gusto!
  4. Before you leave the area, put the bone back down the hole or another hole and encourage your puppy to try to find it.
  5. If your puppy starts to dig in the wrong area simply take the collar, lead him over to the digging pit and then encourage him to dig.

Key points to focus on

Make the digging pit in an area that the dog is going to be happy in….not at the very bottom of the garden. Digging in the wrong place can be discouraged by placing large rocks in the holes Be aware that tasty plant fertilizers such as blood and bone can be very appealing to a puppy’s senses! Chicken mesh buried under the topsoil in the veggie patch can be a great way to put a puppy off digging in that area and encourage them to try the digging pit!
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