Digging is a normal behavior for dogs. They will dig in search of food, to investigate sounds and smells, to improve their shelter or to escape. Boredom, stress or a diet deficiency can increase the likelihood of digging. There are many things you can try to stop the digging, but because all dogs are different; what works on one dog may not work on another. A combination of training, prevention and safe deterrents is the most effective approach. The following are additional successful strategies to try:
- Begin by assessing when and where your dog digs, and the size, shape and number of holes. This may help you to determine why your dog digs.
- Fill in the hole and place dog droppings just under the surface of the hole (make sure they are covered). This is mainly for dogs that return to the same holes. You may need to persist for a while.
- Place a sealable sandwich bag filled half way with water just under the surface of the hole. This is not to scare the dog but to give him a “surprise” as he disturbs the surface. Make sure the weather is not too cold out, or the water will freeze. Also make sure your dog does not take the bag and uses it as a toy
- For concentrated areas, spray Bitter Apple or citronella over the ground and in and on the hole, or bury in the hole a rag soaked in either product. These will need to be replenished daily. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- For big holes, peg chicken wire deep into the ground. Provide your dog with a sandpit where he can dig, and fill it with dog toys.
Training your dog correctly and regularly will keep him mentally stimulated and help to decrease his overall level of stress. You may correct your dog for digging only if you catch him in the act; correcting after the event is pointless.
Most dog toys are for fun and require owner participation. Food-motivated toys, however, can keep your dog occupied. The best are Kong’s and Buster Cubes because they are safe and practically indestructible, unlike bottles, containers or cooked bones that can splinter and lodge in your dog’s gums or digestive tract.
Never use physical correction because it may trigger aggression. Never show your dog the hole after the fact because this has the potential to create other behavioral problems. Diet is another important factor. A healthy, balanced natural diet can assist in reducing digging.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery county and northern Chester County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
© Copyright 2015 Bark Busters USA All Rights Reserved