Is your puppy digging in the yard every time you turn your head? Is your lawn starting to look like a battle zone? A digging puppy is more than a nuisance. It can be dangerous if somebody steps in a hole and falls down and gets hurt. Is there any way to prevent dog digging?
There are many responses to this destructive dog behavior, but before you can stop dog digging, you need to figure out why your pup is digging in the first place.
Why Dogs Dig
Canines are hard-wired to dig, and some breeds are more prone to this dog behavior than others. Terriers, retrievers, and hounds were all bred as hunting dogs who would go to any extreme to retrieve game, including digging a hole to China if need be. Do your homework and choose your breed carefully when planning a canine addition to your family.
In the wild, canines dig dens, both for protection from the elements, and also as a shelter for their offspring. You may find that your pet digs more in hot weather. The freshly-turned dirt is a comfortable place to lie down and cool off.
Wild canines also bury food to save it for later on. Not only does the cool soil help to preserve it a little longer, it protects it from other scavengers who might eat it before the pack returns.
All instincts aside, the number one reason for a digging puppy is boredom.
A Bored Dog Will Find Something To Do
Keeping your pup occupied will prevent many dog behavior problems from developing. If left to his own devices, a bored dog will find many things to do, including digging holes and excessive barking. In order to prevent dog digging from becoming a chronic problem, you need to take control of your pup’s behavior now.
Dogs often dig to use up excess energy. You can avoid this problem by providing him with plenty of exercise. You may be surprised to learn that your canine needs at least an hour and a half a day of vigorous exercise. A long walk in the morning and another in the evening will burn off some of that energy. If you don’t have the time to do this, consider hiring someone to walk him.
A good option is to provide him with his own place to dig. Keep the soil loose so it’s inviting. When you catch him in the act of digging, clap your hands to get his attention, and say “no” loudly. Immediately redirect him to his digging area. Scratch around to encourage him to dig there. When he does, praise him and give him lots of attention. This does take time and persistence. Consistency is the key here. If you’re not able to supervise him when he’s outside, keep him in the house when you’re gone. Otherwise he may just dig when you’re not there.
Spend time every day training your new puppy. It’s up to you to teach him the rules of the house. As little as ten minutes a day of training will make a huge difference in his behavior. Keep the training sessions short, and make them fun.
Your pup loves to learn new things, and he wants to please you, so take advantage of this. He also craves your attention, whether it’s good or bad, so focus on giving him attention for good behavior, not bad. A good dog training course will give you structure and help you avoid accidentally training him to do the wrong things.
Your goal? Take charge now to avoid puppy digging problems later.