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Dealing with a dog that digs

If your dog is transforming your garden or yard into a cratered moonscape, the first step is to identify why.

Several possible reasons for the digging are:

  • Predatory instinct
  • To bury bones or toys
  • Instinctual behavior to hide food from other predators
  • A nesting instinct, particularly if your dog is pregnant
  • To expose cool earth and create a small shelter during hot weather
  • Attempt at escape, especially if he digs by a fence or door
  • To alleviate boredom or just for fun
  • A genetic predisposition to dig; for example, dachshunds and Scottish terriers are notorious diggers

Once you know why your dog is digging, the behavior becomes easier to correct, but persistence will be necessary.

Could it be wildlife? If your dog is chasing wildlife, you need to find a way to keep them apart. If your dog simply seems to be trying to work out pent-up energy, try more frequent exercise. Learn more about effective exercise, correct nutrition and fitness.

Lastly, never punish for digging unless you catch your dog in the act. Even if you bring your dog to the dig site, he will not be able to make an association between previous digging and punishment.

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