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Tips to get your dog to stop digging

Audrey June 18, 2012 Behaviour, Dog
Tips to get your dog to stop digging

If your dog loves tearing up holes in the ground, he’s not that unusual. Dogs dig because they’re bored, they’re looking for an escape, they need more attention or they just haven’t been trained yet. However, before you can stop him from digging in the dirt, you need to understand why he’s doing it.

If he’s bored….

Take him for a walk. Introduce him to other dogs, or perhaps getting him a brother or sister to play with. Make sure he gets a lot of activity and attention each day. A dog wants to naturally expend his energy. Help him find healthy ways to do it. When he’s worn out from a day full of activities, he won’t have the energy to dig!

If he’s trying to escape…

Make sure your dog has sufficient shelter, food and safety. Sometimes dogs will try to dig holes in order to get away from something as mundane as the heat or as scary as a predator. In other cases, your dog may be smelling something that he thinks is food. Make sure he’s getting enough to eat and that his shelter keeps him out of the sun and away from the cold. Once his environment gives him what he needs, he’ll stop digging.

If he needs more attention…

Dogs love our attention so some dogs think digging will get it. They might start digging when they see you walk into a room of the house, hoping to get your attention. Best thing is to give them attention but in a way that it develops into a routine so they know that you will regularly play with them. Develop a 5 to 10 minute routine that the two of you participate in. Whether it’s throwing a ball, a stick, favourite toy or tug of war, spend quality time at regular intervals with your dog. They’ll love you for it and leave the ground alone.

If he hasn’t been trained yet…

Firmly tell him “no” each time he starts digging. It may take a few weeks of constant reinforcement, but he will eventually get the message. Puppies especially benefit from guidance and training.

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