Archive for October, 2019

Why Does My Dog Dig?

QUESTION:  My Siberian Husky has a problem, he loves to dig. He seems to only enjoy digging in dirt and rarely digs in the grass area.

Digging can become a very expensive hobby for you and your dog.  If only you could get him to dig were you wanted, you could hire him out to a landscaping company.  After all, your excavating, landscaping, Siberian husky just needs a job.

Dogs dig for several reasons;

  • Some are hardwired in their breed traits.  We routinely see owners of Terriers, whose backyards look like they have been through a major excavation.
  • Some of them dig because they have nothing else to do, they are bored.
  • Some digging starts when the warm weather arrives. Since the earth is still cooler, a couple of inches down, dogs dig to cool down. They dig a nice cool spot.
  • Some dogs dig for recreation, because it is fun and is a sense of accomplishment.  I always think of children at the beach building sand castles.  It is a lot of fun and also a sense of accomplishment because it stays there after they have left.

When a puppy learns that something is fun, they will continue to do this as an adult dog. This is why it is so important to supervise your puppy or new dog, when they are left outside to their own demise.  The other most important thing is to make sure that you exercise your dog.  Give them physical and mental exercise by doing obedience in the area that they dig.  A tired dog is a good dog. If you get your dog to run as fast as he can for 15 – 20 minutes twice a day and you have stimulated his mind through obedience; then he will be too busy and too tired to dig up your yard.

Dogs do not learn in the same way we learn.  They are more like teenagers; you can no longer tell them anything, they know it all.  Often Teenagers can only learn by the consequence of their behavior. Dogs only learn by the consequence of their behavior, whether it is positive or negative. Positive will increase a behavior and negative will decrease the behavior. This is why if you let the environment correct the dog, they learn very quickly.

One of the oldest procedures and simplest for stopping unwanted digging is do a little poop patrol in your yard and instead of disposing of the feces, deposit it in the hole.  Nothing ruins a person’s walk in the park more than stepping in a pile of someone else’s dog poop, nor for a dog when digging and finding that their paws have a most peculiar odor.  If you catch them in the act of digging, yell loudly “ Aaaah No Dig”, “What do you think you’re doing?”  You can also loudly clap your hands or use any other behavioral interruptible correction, such as a “shaking can” or pet convincer.  Once you have their attention, show them their ball or toy in the yard. Sometimes you just can’t fight City Hall.  For those dogs like the Terrier breeds that were genetically born to dig, it may be easier to just build a sand box and teach them to only dig in the sand box.  In this way you are letting these dogs exude their natural tendencies.  For the rest, let’s teach them not to dig.

For more insistent diggers, you can spread cayenne pepper on the dirt. You can make two layers, the original layer of dirt, than pepper, dirt, pepper and then finally a light layer of dirt. Another option is to pour citronella oil in the hole and surrounding area.  This procedure will also keep the mosquitoes away and make your yard smell fresh and lemony. Digging is just the symptom; the root cause is that you are not meeting your dog’s physical and mental needs.  Give them a job, besides landscaping.



October 2, 2019 at 8:52 pm Leave a comment


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