Why is my dog digging and how to stop my dog from digging?

Some dogs love to dig and some simply aren’t diggers, for many it’s an innate desire of something they absolutely love and it’s actually good for their bodies to stretch while doing so.

 There are many reasons your dog can be digging, lets go over some of those now:

  1. To cool off. Often dogs will dig in dirt or sand to get to a cooler surface to cool themselves down. 
  2. Genetics and innate desires. Many dogs simply love to dig, just like some of us love to listen to music – it’s something they enjoy doing. Digging is part of being a dog, like sniffing and barking. Some breeds are actually bred to dig as part of their job.
  3. Boredom. And while you may be walking your dog this is often not enough for most breeds, they need mental and physical enrichment and hence your dog has given him (or herself) a job of digging.
  4. Hiding things. Some dogs dig to hide things! If this is the case you’ll see them with a bone or toy they find special they are trying to bury for later.
  5. Getting out. Some dogs are digging to get out, maybe they are bored and looking for entertainment, if they are not neutered or spayed then the outside world is enticing to go look for a mate, or perhaps they are bored and looking for new things to do.

How to stop my dog from digging?

It can be frustrating to have a dog that digs, from your garden to your couches it’s not what you want happening to your home. So how do you stop your dog from digging? First of all, don’t reprimand your dog for digging. This often creates more frustration and will cause them to sneak away and do it which is harder to correct. 

Now what you can do:

  1. Getting cool. If your dog is digging due to heat consider getting a cooling mat or an elevated pet bed. An elevated pet bed allows air to circulate under the bed and hence a cooler area to lay down. There are mats that just cool, you don’t have to do anything to do them. They seem to last about a year and then you have to replace them. I also use Cool Beds 4 Pets from Etsy that you soak in water and seem to stay a bit cooler than the previous kind and remain cool for days.
  1. Genetics. Dogs love to dig, it’s an innate desire and we shouldn’t reprimand them for that. Instead, give them a specific area to do that. You can buy a toy made just for digging, the iDig – this is my dog’s all-time favorite toy we have the ‘iDig stay‘, when he’s done I pick it up and put it down again the next day, keeping the toy super exciting! You can also make one yourself by getting a kid’s swimming pool or a box and fill it with sand, or felt strips or even towels and blankets to give them a specific area to do. If you find your dog dig digging simply bring them over to this new area and entice them to dig. I love hiding a toy or treat under these layers to teach them this is a great place to dig!
  1. Boredom. This is one of the easiest reasons that dogs dig to fix. Try taking them on some adventures like hiking to meet those needs, do some training – trick training is always fun for everyone, or get some mental enrichment toys to keep that mind and body happy. – maybe even consider an iDig as mentioned above. I bet you’ll see a change soon.
  1. Hiding things. If your pup likes to hide things consider giving him an area to hide things such as a kid’s sandbox or pool you can fill it with sand or felt or perhaps a box filled with towels or blankets (big enough to move around in).
  2. Escaping. If you have an un-neutered dog that is trying to get out consider spaying or neutering. If your dog is trying to escape ensure they have access inside to shade, water, and food, that they are getting enough mental enrichment (see #3), and perhaps do your outside visits on a leash to ensure your pup can’t dig out of the yard.
  3. Redirect. You can redirect to other activities. When you see your dog is starting to dig call them over for a game of fetch or some trick training together. The more you redirect you can prevent digging.

Remember dogs love to dig, it’s part of who they are and we shouldn’t reprimand them but instead find ways to supply them with whatever they are trying to achieve. 

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