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Answers from vets about your dog:

Why Dogs Dig

My dog is digging his way to China. What do I do?

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Why do dogs dig holes? Oh, let us count the reasons:

  • To regulate their body heat if sufficient shade or warmth isn’t available.
  • To hunt . . . oh the mice, moles, beetles, and bugs that live in the ground!
  • To hide their treasures . . . bones, toys, and other precious items go into the ground, naturally!
  • Boredom . . . they are bored, and digging is fun if you’re a bored, frustrated dog.
  • You dig, why can’t they? They learn from their leaders, so if you dig in the garden, they will, too!

First, talk to your veterinarian to rule out any medical reasons for your dog’s digging, including separation anxiety.Unfortunately, sometimes your dog's tendencies to dig aren't compatible with yourlife, can be disruptive, and so on. So what can you do to manage your dog’s digging?

  • When you catch your dog in action, interrupt his digging with a loud noise or command; if he stops, provide a positive reward, such as an edible treat. 
  • Make sure your dog has plenty to do and gets lots of exercise. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog
  • If your yard has unwanted pests, identify the best way to control them—or your dog will!
  • Make sure your dog has plenty of shade and water during the warm months, so he won’t dig a hole in the ground where he can stay cool. 
  • If your dog goes back to the same spot to dig, consider burying something unwanted in the hole, such as his own waste. Usually, he won’t want to dig in that spot again!
  • Consider giving your dog an area he can enjoy digging in without consequences.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

 

Posted December 27, 2011 in Dog Behavior

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