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behavior for a dog.
Dogs may dig for any of the following reasons
They are bored
They are hot
They are trying to escape
They are lonely
They have excess energy
You have put nice smelling (to a dog) fertilizers in the garden
If you can find out the reason for your dog's digging then you can
usually find a solution.
To stop the digging try to alleviate the
If you leave your dog alone in the yard for long periods of time provide
him with something to do. Leave him with bones to chew or toys to play
with. Food dispensing toys are available or you can use hollow bones
which you can fill with a tasty treat. Kong toys, hollow bones and
such can be stuffed with a bit of spread cheese, spread meats, cheese
cubes, hot dog chunks, semi-soft dog treats, canned dog food, kibble etc. Buster
Cubes and similar toys have various compartments inside that hold kibble. Your
dog has to roll them around or manipulate them to free the kibble. The dog
has to work and chew to get the treat out. If you hide these toys, the
dog also gets to enjoy the hunt and seek for a reward. Sturdy chew toys such as
hard-pressed rawhide are also popular.
The Lonely Dog can be a digging dog.
It's no fun being left alone most of the day. Dogs are pack animals
and crave company. If you work long hours or are away from home a lot
consider hiring a professional dog walker. Ask around your neighborhood
as often teenagers will be grateful to earn a few dollars.
Try not to leave your dog alone in the back yard for hours on end.
Boredom will surely set in. Bring him inside and let him be part of the
The dog is digging to keep cool
In hot weather many dogs will dig a cool hole to lie in.
Ensure that your dog has a cool place to retreat to during the heat
of the day or bring him inside. Make sure that he has plenty of water.
Another idea is to supply him with a kiddies wading pool. Many dogs just
love to splash and play in these and after cooling down will find no
need to dig a hole.
The dog is an escape artist
Dogs may dig under fences and gates in order to escape. They usually
want to escape because they are bored and things look more interesting
on the outside. If your dog is not
spayed or neutered he/she may be
trying to escape in order to mate. Read more about
Let your dog have a designated digging area.
Some dogs such as terriers and hunting dogs have a very strong
instinct to dig. Perhaps there is one part of your yard that you will
permit digging. Alternatively you could make him a sand pit. The dog
will have to be trained to dig in the designated area, not in the
To stop dog re-digging existing holes
Use dog poop! Place some of his own poop in the hole. For some reason, dogs
will not dig where they have pooped. Be sure to use fresh poop.
Lay chicken wire over the hole.
Blow up balloons, put them in the holes then cover them back up with dirt. When the dog digs one up,
POP! Hopefully this stops the digging once and for all
Sprinkle Cayenne pepper or chili powder in the
spots where your dogs likes to dig. Then when he/she tries to dig/sniff
it gets a big nose full of it, very discouraging!
If you catch your dog in the act of digging reprimand him! Don't let
him get away with it. Speak in a harsh voice and let him know of your
displeasure in no uncertain terms. Don't smack or use physical violence.
A strong verbal reprimand is all that is required. Remove him from the
digging area immediately.
Some people suggest using mothballs in the holes but I wouldn't
recommend this as mothballs are poisonous. Naphthalene is the active ingredient found in mothballs.
The most common signs of
mothball ingestion include vomiting, anaemia, lethargy and seizures