Dog Training

Digging – How to Train a Dog Not to Dig

There are many different reasons as to why your beloved dog may want to start digging, everywhere or at anything. It could be that Woofer is bored in the house, or he may think there is a tasty treat under all that grass and soil. Or he very well could have buried something in the past and now can’t remember where he buried it, so why not try digging in more than one area? Finding out if there is a problem could be a step in the right direction to help your dog to stop digging, or to get him to start digging in the right or designated place.

This is one of the most challenging problems that dog owners try to get rid of. Also try to remember that digging is a quite enjoyable pastime and a natural tendency for dogs. If your dog loves digging, provide him with his own digging pit just as parents would provide their child with a sand box. Take some of his favorite dog toys and let him watch you make a fuss over burying them. Call your dog over and help him dig things up. Once your dog understands that digging in his pit is an acceptable and enjoyable activity, you can teach him that digging elsewhere is forbidden.

The first step is to teach your dog to stay completely off the flower and vegetable gardens. Each time he gets close to the wrong area, quietly warn him by saying “Off.” If he stays away immediately praise him, and he will learn not to go near those areas (unless there is really truly something interesting under those bushes). If Woofer continues to dig everywhere and even tears into the rug or couch in the house, it could mean something more serious is happening, that he may be stressed or even bored. If you cannot easily discern the reason for your dog’s digging, you can try and observe them without them knowing that they are being watched. If a dog thinks he is left to himself then it will go about his usual routine and that includes his digging. You can usually find out then what could be the source or cause for him to dig.

Your dog needs to be mentally challenged daily and if he is not given one, then be assured that he will create one. Your dog may dig to seek entertainment, attention, comfort, escape, prey, or protection. (Despite how you might feel sometimes, your dog won’t dig out of spite, revenge, or a desire to destroy your yard.) Please keep in mind that if your dog is digging in order to escape or protect themselves (and by that I mean from the elements, heat, water and cold) then make sure they have a sturdy doghouse that is insulated for the appropriate weather, that they have a big sturdy water dish that is always full and that you are keeping an eye on them to avoid any problems. I know that people will go so far as to bury bricks and chicken wire under the fences if their dog is prone to always trying to dig under fences and other things. If you are going to do that, just make sure that the bricks are placed over the wire so that your dog cannot hurt himself if he happens to dig to it. One doesn’t want to find that Woofer has cut his paw by doing that, to the point where a trip to the dreaded and expensive vet is needed.

One thing to also keep in mind if you see your pooch digging is that certain breeds are natural diggers more so than others. Terriers are an excellent example of this; they are born to “dig” after rodents and the like. Another thing to keep in mind that despite all the training you can perform with your dog or put him through it, some dogs are just going to continue digging, and perhaps not in the area that you have designated for that very purpose. You will also have live with your wonderful dog running up to you now and again, completely covered in mud from a fun time of digging and slobbering and then going to have a nice drink of water, but what can you do? Sigh loudly and then take him off to have a bath. Regardless of how this turns out, remember that you just have to love Woofer the way that he is.

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