Digging is normal canine behavior and thoroughly enjoyable for dogs. Dogs love to bury or recover bones, dig out prey like mice and rats, or make a nice cooling pit when the weather is warm. Another reason dogs dig? Dogs that spend too much time alone in the yard will find a way to self-entertain and digging is fun!
Digging is often a symptom of boredom. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and interaction. If you know your dog gets plenty of exercise and time with you, but still loves to dig – give him a place to indulge his hobby.
What to Do
1.Break the habit. Keep your dog from digging in the wrong places by preventing her access to them. Use temporary fencing, an exercise pen, or your patio furniture to block off her old digging spots. If your dog has yet to dig up your roses, don’t wait for her to discover how much fun it is. Teach her where to dig from day one.
When you cut off access to your dog’s favorite digging spots, she’ll look for another interesting place to practice this same behavior. Prevent her from starting to dig up your vegetable garden by making those areas inaccessible as well.
2.Create a digging area. Choose a spot in your yard specifically to indulge your dog’s love of digging. A dig pit can be a 3-by-6 foot area in your yard. Loosen about two feet of earth and add little sand to help with drainage. You can also make a dig pit out of a sandbox or kiddie pool. The pit can be raised or you can dig out a spot and place the kiddie pool inside the hole so it’s level with the rest of your yard. Fill the area with loose dirt, sand, or a mixture of both.
Once you’ve created your dig pit, let your dog see you barely hide a Kong, Nylabone or other treasure. Encourage her to find the toy and praise her when she does. Repeat the game, gradually covering her toys with more dirt every time. Keep praising her for finding them! Once she’s figured out where she’s supposed to dig, keep her coming back for more by occasionally hiding something new and exciting.
3.Supervise and interrupt mistakes. Early on, don’t allow your dog out in the yard alone. Give your dog ample time to learn where she is allowed to dig before you leave her unsupervised. Otherwise, it is too easy for her to make mistakes. If you need to leave your dog alone, use her confinement area inside the house and give her plenty of chew toys for entertainment.
If you catch your dog digging in an unauthorized area, calmly interrupt the behavior, then lead your dog to her appropriate digging spot. This means you need to be around when your dog is playing outside until she knows where it is okay to dig and where it isn’t.