If you spend a lot of time beautifying the lawn and garden, then you can understand how important it is to keep things growing and looking great. Now is definitely the season for bringing in new plants, shrubs, trees, and maybe even trying your hand at a vegetable garden. So you can imagine the horror of coming home to several potholes dug by yours truly, the family Fido. 

Unfortunately, digging dogs is a common complaint we hear about from dog owners. If you’re wondering how to stop a dog from digging, you’ve come to the right place!

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Digging, much like barking, is a behavior that occurs in most normal dogs. There are several reasons for this urge to uproot things. In order to prevent your dog from digging, you must understand why they do it.

  1. Instinct – Your dog is a descendent of the wolf and this ancient lineage includes the instincts and behaviors related to their DNA. In the wild, dogs survive by being true omnivores, eating a wide variety of things like animal protein, vegetation, roots, and tubers. Digging up something to eat is a powerful driver for most dogs.

  2. Boredom – If your dog lacks socialization and mental stimuli, such as games, your attention, and things to do, they may resort to digging. This is also true if they are left alone for long periods of time.

  3. Anxiety – Separation anxiety and stress in a pet can produce a range of negative behaviors, such as howling, chewing, and digging. Separation anxiety is often a result of lack of socialization or lack of stability and safety during a dog’s early years.

  4. Escape – If your dog wants to get out of the backyard, then the result may be chronic digging. A pet escape artist can be frightening, especially when there is a high risk of them getting out and becoming lost. This is probably true if your pet is only digging around the fence or gate, or has made attempts to escape in the past.

  5. Nesting – Believe it or not, your pet sometimes digs in order to make a bed or small den. This is another age-old instinct that allows a dog to feel safe and secure. If they’re creating a divot in the earth and lying in it, they’re making a little place to relax.

How to Stop a Dog From Digging

If your dog is no longer a puppy and is beginning to dig, or has been a digger for a long time, then you will need to take some steps to redirect the behavior. The first and most important step is to know what your dog’s motives are. You may want to consult your veterinarian if this is a new behavior that came on suddenly, just to rule out any health conditions.

To stop your dog from digging..

  1. Give them plenty of things to do, like playing a game of fetch, going for a walk, engaging in challenging puzzles and games. 
  2. Exercise your pet each day for at least 20 minutes.
  3. If they are digging out of anxiety, consult your veterinarian for ways to modify behavior and treat the underlying anxiety
  4. Supervise your pet while outside.
  5. Give them their own digging area by purchasing a sandbox or a kiddie pool which you can fill with sand and dirt. 

For More Information

If you have additional questions about how to stop a dog from digging, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us! The friendly, professional team at Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital is here for you and all of your pet’s needs.