Free Day!
Free Night!

Pet Resources - Dog Behavior and Training

Back to Article Index

Does Doggy “Dig” Digging?

"dog"They can’t help it; dogs dig. Digging is an innate behavior that satisfies basic needs. Some breeds, such as terriers and Huskies, have a stronger digging urge than others. But, say Best Friends professional dog trainers, if you take the proper steps, your yard doesn’t have to look like the surface of the moon.

Why they do it
Dogs dig for one of three reasons: to hunt, to provide shelter, or to defuse stress or boredom. Discovering which one of these motivates your excavator is the first step in solving the problem.

  • Hunting – If there are critters residing underground in the yard, your dog’s predatory (or protective) instinct will tell him to unearth them. Hire a professional to rid your property of moles or pests, and the dog may stop burrowing.
  • Shelter – In hot weather, some dogs (especially large breeds) dig a hole for lying in to cool themselves. Likewise, in colder temperatures, the earth offers warmth. Providing a shady, protected spot or keeping your pet indoors during extreme temperatures may help.
  • Boredom — Make sure your pooch has plenty of exercise and attention. Take him out for walks. Have toys and balls available for him to keep him occupied when he’s outdoors on his own. Your local Best Friends pet care center offers plenty of toys suitable for outdoor play.

Start with basic training
Obedience training is the foundation for solving almost any behavioral issue. Training helps define the proper relationship with your pet, and is the perfect communication tool.

In order to stop an unwanted behavior, Best Friends professional trainers say, you must catch the dog in the act. When the dog begins to dig, interrupt him with a command or loud noise. When he stops, praise him. This method may involve constant supervision while Pooch is in the yard until the behavior is modified.

Teach your pet the "drop it" and "no digging" commands. Make sure you praise him for stopping the behavior when he’s told. Always end a teaching lesson with praise.

If you can’t beat ‘em…
Many trainers recommend actually creating a "doggy digging center" in a remote area of the yard. This will allow the pet to satisfy his instinctive need, while preserving your lawn and flower beds.

Mark off a shady spot and fill a large, deep hole with sand. Sand is preferable to dirt since it won’t become muddy, it dries quickly, and it shakes off better than dirt. Bury treats, bones and toys in the hole. Walk your dog over, start digging with your own hands, and encourage him to do the same. Praise him when he digs and make a fuss when he finds his "treasure." Do this on a daily basis, and soon your little digger will learn where the fun lies – or is buried.

For more information on professional training, contact your local Best Friends Pet Care center.