Dogs dig for a variety of reasons. It’s a behavior with multiple possible explanations. Digging is as natural to dogs as breathing, and it’s not just something they do when we’re not watching. If your dog digs in the backyard, chances are that he or she will continue to do so until they unearth something interesting like a rodent burrow, an old bone, or maybe even (gasp!) a piece of fresh steak from last night’s dinner. Dogs dig for many different reasons which often makes them as happy as dogs with two tails and owners growling like junk yard dogs. Lets go over some common reasons why dogs like to dig.
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Why Dogs Like to Dig
Dogs will dig for many reasons. But primarily, they do this to release pent-up energy and for stimulation. Besides that, dogs might dig to find food, mark territory, or seek shelter. For example, puppies will often dig to relieve themselves from anxiety. They may also dig to find a place to sleep. Adult dogs may also use digging as a way to release energy. If your dog is excessively digging, it’s possible he’s bored and just needs more mental stimulation. If your dog is digging in your yard, first determine what his purpose is. For example, is he looking for something buried? Or is he trying to make a place to sleep? Once you know what your dog’s digging habits are, you can then try to keep him engaged and entertained so that he doesn’t have the urge to dig anymore. Your dog maybe even burying food for later.
Dogs Dig for Fun
Dogs dig for fun and plain old boredom. If you have a dog that is constantly digging up your lawn, turning the digging into a game by putting some toys in the dirt for them to unearth may help to curb that behavior. If your dog is digging in your house, put a toy in the dirt for them to find and dig up. If you’re walking your dog and they start to dig in a new area, try to redirect that behavior by doing something else with them. For example, if you and your dog are walking through a neighborhood and your dog starts digging, find a park or patch of grass nearby for them to play in.
Dogs Dig to Mark Their Territory
Dogs that are trying to mark their territory may decide to dig in the dirt. If there’s a specific area where your dog is digging, try moving their house there. If your dog is digging in one specific area of the yard, try putting something that smells like you in that spot. If your dog is digging in your house, you may want to look into getting a cleaning service to come and clean the area thoroughly. You may also want to look into getting your dog an indoor house.
Dogs Dig Because They’re Bored
Dogs that are bored will often start to look for things to do, and digging is one of the most common ways that they let you know that they are bored. Dogs that are bored may also start to chew on things or bark more frequently. A bored dog may be anxious or depressed, or they may have a case of senior dog boredom. You can help prevent your dog from getting bored by providing them with plenty of toys, exercise, and social interaction with people and other animals. If you catch your dog digging in the dirt in your yard, play with them in that area for a bit and then encourage them to play in an appropriate indoor space.
You can try out different puzzle toys, like the Dog Brick Puzzle Toy, for example, which can be a fun and challenging way to keep your dog busy. You can also try engaging in interactive games with your dog. Try playing fetch or hide-and-seek indoors, or you can even create an obstacle course in the house that your dog can enjoy.
Exercise May Help Your Dog to Forget to Dig
If your dog’s digging is due to a lack of exercise, there’s a good chance it will die down as soon as you introduce more activity into his routine. However, you’ll need to make sure he gets plenty of exercise every day in order to end the digging for good. While you should always walk your dog on a leash, you can also add in fetch, or let him play with other dogs in the park. You can even engage in a game of fetch inside with a ball designed for indoor use by making sure your dog is getting plenty of activity. Make sure you’re giving your dog the proper amount of exercise for his age, weight, and breed. Dogs who don’t get enough exercise may develop health issues like obesity, joint pain, and diabetes
Dogs Dig Because They’re Confused or Scared
Dogs that are confused or scared may start digging as a way to release their anxiety. You may notice this type of digging in puppies, particularly if they were taken from their mother and littermates at an early age. Try giving your dog additional attention and affection to help combat this behavior. If you catch your dog digging in the dirt in the yard, try putting a toy in the dirt for them to find. This can help to redirect their attention and make them less anxious. You alleviate this stress by providing him with a safe spot to relax, like a dog crate, which will offer him a sense of security. You can also try cuddling with your dog, which is a great way to help calm him down.
Dogs Dig to Find Food and Treasure
Dogs that are digging in certain areas may be trying to find food that they buried there in the past. You may notice this behavior in dogs that have been fed on a free-feeding schedule. You can help curb this behavior by putting your dogs on a regular feeding schedule, and cleaning up any food that falls on the ground. If you catch your dog digging in the yard and they’re close to unearthing something you don’t want them to eat, try to call them away with a toy or other distraction.
Train Your Dog to Stop Digging
If you’ve ruled out all of the reasons above and your dog is still digging, it may be time to let him know that his behavior isn’t acceptable. As with any dog training, start out gently and don’t get angry or frustrated when your dog is digging. For example, if your dog is digging near the sidewalk, start out by calling his name and giving him a treat whenever he looks your way. Then, extend the reward by letting him know that he can dig in another area of the yard, such as a sandbox. Keep redirecting your dog to the sandbox whenever he’s digging in the wrong place, and eventually he’ll learn to go where he’s supposed to.
If your dog likes to dig, it’s important to know his digging habits so that you can try to correct the behavior. You can do this by observing what your dog is doing while he digs. For example, if there’s a hole in your lawn and your dog looks like he’s trying to make a place to sleep, try putting a dog bed in that hole so he has a place to rest.
If he likes to dig near the sidewalk and has turned up fertilizer, try putting the fertilizer in a different location so that your dog doesn’t go digging for it. Dogs have a natural instinct to dig and will often do so to release pent-up energy, explore their surroundings, or mark their territory. If your dog is constantly digging for one of these reasons, there are plenty of ways you can try to redirect his digging habits so he doesn’t destroy your yard or end up in trouble with the neighbors.
If your dog is constantly digging up your yard and you’ve ruled out a lack of exercise, a health problem, or boredom, it’s possible he’s trying to find something to eat, like your lawn fertilizer or garden vegetables. You can try putting down a food puzzle toy like the Outward Hound Burrowing Dog Toy, for example, to keep him busy and away from your porch plants.
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