Why Does My Dog Dig?

By  |  0 Comments

Dear Mary,
Could you tell me why dogs dig and how I can keep my pooch from ripping my flower bed apart? Thanks!
Dogs can make a minefield out of your yard for a number of reasons:

They’re Bored: Left alone in a backyard, some dogs dig as an outlet for frustration. Digging provides something to do when an active, intelligent dog is bored out of his mind. Confined dogs will also often dig to get under a fence. There’s a big wide world out there and the dog wants to see it.

It’s In Their Genes: Some breeds — terriers in particular — are go-to-ground dogs who dig to find moles, lizards, mice, bugs, and any other critters in the hunt of the day. So they are doing what they feel genetically compelled to do.

To Cool Off: Dogs who are outside in the heat will dig to expose cool earth that they can lay on to lower their body temperatures.

For Storing Treasure: Dogs who like bones often bury them for safekeeping and to dig up later.

If you better understand why your dog has this habit, you will have more ideas about how to handle it. For example, the best thing you can do for a bored dog is provide mental stimulation through daily play and training sessions. The AKC Canine Good Citizen Program is a great place to start training all dogs and owners.

You can also manage your own frustration — and focus your dog’s desire to dig — by designing a digging pit in your yard so there is a designated place for your dog to tear into. If you bury bones there for him to sniff out, it will help your dog learn that this place is an approved digging area.

Finally, in warm weather, bring your dog inside so that he doesn’t have to handle the heat on his own. If you don’t want to give your dog access to your whole house while you’re gone, a designated climate controlled area with water and toys will be much appreciated by the canine member of your family.