Dog Problems: Digging

Part of: The Most Common Dog Problems.

Digging is a natural behaviour for dogs.  They bury bones “for later”, hunt edibles by digging, and dig shallow holes in sand to lie in when it’s hot.  Of course, when they live in a human community, their digging can be inappropriate.

Causes of inappropriate digging may include:

  • Boredom
  • Isolation and confinement
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Lack of mental exercise
  • Long hours alone
  • Self-rewarding amusement
  • Breed-related.  Many breeds (especially terriers) are bred to dig.

To help your dog, yourself and your garden … TRAIN, DON’T COMPLAIN!

  • If the dog digs in your presence, don’t punish.  You’ll simply create a dog who digs only when you’re not present.
  • If the dog digs in your absence, don’t punish.  The dog will not relate the punishment to the “crime”, and will learn to fear your “unprovoked” attacks.
  • Provide a sand pit or a specific part of the garden for “sanctioned digging”.  Praise/reward for digging in the pit.  If she digs in the garden, call her to the sand pit and reward.  Bury treats, toys and other delectables in the sand pit.  Play with her in and around the sand pit, so that it becomes a fun, fascinating place to be for her.
  • Spend some time in the garden with the dog, rewarding her when she is not digging.  When she digs, offer her an acceptable alternate behaviour – and praise/reward that one.
    • While you’re re-training, you may want to deny access to specific areas where the dog’s digging creates real damage.  Use temporary ‘fences’ – or, where practicable, lay chicken wire on the ground.  Dogs dislike the feel of chicken wire under paws.



Has this page helped you and your dog?

If so, please tell others about our website. That’s all we ask!

Gina & David

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts

  • Coping With Puppy Mouthing & Biting

    Puppies learn from Mum and siblings how to take care with their mouth when interacting with others. This is called bite inhibition. Experts in puppy training use the following methods to help your puppy learn to be gentle: Management and Prevention The more excited and aroused a puppy is, the more they are going to…

    Read more

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.