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- Why Does Your Dog Dig?
- Here are a few reasons why
- Solutions to these issues
Don’t you just love it when that furry member of your family is bounding about in your yard, happy as a lark? Your instinct as a paw parent is to let them have the time of their lives. This will allow you to catch up on some work that you were to do, or even get some time and just be by yourself.
Recently though, you’ve noticed something weird. Your yard isn’t a sea of green that it used to be. Well, it still is, it’s just that some additions have been made to it that have changed the aesthetic. All across the yard, some pockmarks have been added to the general texture, and various textures of red and brown have been added to the green.
Well, you aren’t planning on adding bushes to your yard, and your human children may have been away, or even occupied with other things to even think about digging such holes. This only leaves one culprit; your goofy dog.
Yes, dogs evolved from the wild to live with humans. This doesn’t mean the instincts that are ingrained in their DNA will disappear. Although it is instinctual for them, it is actually quite destructive to your yard. Some dogs may have even experimented with digging right under the fence and performing jail breaks to a level similar to Michael Scofield and company.
You need this behavior to stop, you just need to find out how. However, to get insight into how to stop the dog from digging under the fence, it would be prudent to look at the reasons why they are digging the fence. Your dog may be experiencing different things.
Why Does Your Dog Dig?
The answer to this question is the key to stopping your dog from turning your yard into a replica of the surface of the moon. Some paw parents may consider it art, but it could be an indication of something else that is going on in your dog’s life.
Here are a few reasons why
1. That’s actually what they are meant to do
It’s no secret that the world we live in today is quite a drastic change from what people lived 150 to 500 years ago. Whereas today people will live with the dog as just a pet, that wasn’t entirely true for the people who developed the breeds.
Each purebred dog was meant to do a certain job. Malamutes and huskies were to help their people survive in the bleak weather up north, German Shepherds and Border Collies were as sheep herders, and Terriers and Hounds as hunting dogs.
Dogs have a phenomenon known as prey drive. This is an intrinsic motivation to seek out prey, and this is something that Terriers and Hounds were bred for. Similar to how a Border Collie will instinctively herd animals and children even though they’ve never been on a farm, Terriers and Hounds will dig for prey.
In this case, it would be better to redirect their digging efforts rather than attempt to stop them from doing what they were bred to do.
2. Your dog may be experiencing anxiety
Dogs are meant to live in packs. While it may not be with other dogs, you the human are its pack. Dogs develop anxiety when they are away from their pack for any given amount of time. This is one of the reasons why dogs become destructive when left in the house.
The specific type of anxiety that a dog will usually exhibit is separation anxiety. When you leave them in the yard, they will proceed to dig holes. All this will be an attempt to find ways to reach you, rather than stay in the yard by themselves.
Classic signs of separation, apart from digging holes are barking incessantly and also pacing around. Developing aggression is the next step if the issue is not trained out of them as early in their lives as possible.
3. Your dog may be looking for entertainment
Although we love our pups for their ability to make do with what’s available, that won’t always be the case. Playing along in the yard can be quite boring in the long run. This is especially true if the dog doesn’t have anyone or anything to keep it engaged.
The type of dog you have with you can tell you whether they are digging for fun. Dogs that require a lot of activity, such as German Shepherds, Huskies and others will need to channel all their energy into something. Since digging comes naturally, that is what they will do.
4. Trying to keep cool
The yard is the place the dog would spend a lot of time in. This is especially true in the hotter months of the year. However, if you don’t have any fixtures where the dog can rest and cool off, it will attempt to create one for itself.
This is where the dog will try to find its own way to keep cool. If it does not find some corner to squeeze in, the next “logical” thing it will do is to dig a hole to crawl in. But that’s not the only reason why your dog would be digging holes. It could also be to look for shelter from the cold, or if there are strong winds, and even rain.
5. They just want your attention
A dog is a lovely pet to have. They, however, can be quite needy and clingy to the point they want to follow you everywhere you go. This is especially true for a good number of Bernese Mountain Dog owners not getting any room to themselves as soon as they walk through the Door.
If your dog isn’t getting the attention they need from you, they will try to find a way to get your attention. If it’s not chewing the tissue paper, your pillows or the couch, then it’s just a matter of time before they start digging in your backyard.
6. Getting away from the yard
Another good reason a dog might choose to dig holes is to try and escape the yard. This is
especially true if the digging is along, or under a fence. The reason is they could be scared of something in your yard, or something that goes on in your yard.
Solutions to these issues
You now have a clear understanding of what it is your dog may be experiencing. These are the most common reasons why your dog is digging holes, and now it’s time to find out how to stop them.
1. Using a sandbox
In certain cases, such as those of terriers and hounds, it would be difficult to stop them from digging completely. What you can do instead is redirect their digging to an acceptable place. This can be done by providing them with a sandbox where they can dig as much as they like.
2. Add some entertainment
While your yard is the perfect place for them to run around in, it still doesn’t offer long term entertainment. You can get over this by adding a few toys into their routine. Toys are a great way to keep them engaged, especially if they realize there will be a treat inside the toy that they can get to.
To keep things fresh, you can get various types of toys, and then rotate them every few weeks just to keep things fresh.
3. Exercise them
While running around in the yard can count for exercise, it doesn’t really do much for the dog. This is why dog parks exist. Taking your dog with you while you go for a jog is an excellent way to engage them physically.
Dogs are natural sniffers and letting them go on a sniffing journey is a guaranteed way to tire them mentally. They won’t think about destroying your yard when their brains are almost out of energy.
4. Lay barriers beneath the fence
This works best for the dogs that love to dig their way out of the yard to go for an adventure. This is something that should be discouraged as your dog might end up getting injured, or even get lost.
The first thing you can do is lay large stones around the bottom of the fence. Your pup won’t be able to bore through the stone. If that doesn’t work for you, you can use chicken wire.
All you need to do is nail chicken wire to the bottom of your fence, and bend it to form an L shape. If you are afraid you will injure your dog, you can dig a few inches and lay the chicken wire, then lay the earth over the chicken wire.
5. Use lots of positive reinforcement
If you do decide to manage the behavior of the pup, positive reinforcement is your best option. This is especially true for attention seeking dogs. Learn to reward the dog‘s good behavior by petting or offering treats.