Digging is one of many natural behaviors that dogs would perform in the wild. In this case, it is important because they will dig up den space for their pups and to hide food from other predators. So, when a dog digs, it is because of a deep-seeded need to do so.
Most often, dogs enjoy it, and at times, they can become obsessive. Digging itself is not harmful to your dog and in some cases it can be therapeutic for them, if properly channeled.
Unfortunately, whether your dog is getting a great deal of enjoyment out of digging or not, he is likely destroying your flower garden or your backyard in the process. So, you’ll want to find a good balance that will minimize the digging behavior without stifling your dog’s desire to play and use up energy.
It is clear from this video that this dog is really enjoying digging a hole but it is also clear that he knows that he probably shouldn’t be doing that.
The way he tries to cover up his handy work is hilarious. post a comment if you have had similar experiences with your “best friend”.
The first thing to do is determine why your dog is digging. In many cases, digging is a result of excess energy and boredom ¾ a messy combination in many dog breeds.
Common family dog breeds, such as Labradors and Retrievers, will often be full of excess energy. If they are not walked and played with often enough or if they are locked up in the backyard without anyone to keep them busy, they may turn to digging as an outlet for that excess energy. Dogs don’t watch TV or read books when they’re bored; they tend to destroy things, channeling their instincts into something they enjoy.
Breaking the Habit
Before attempting to change your dog’s behavior, first spend some time determining what you can do to minimize the causes. Find more time to walk your dog, spend some time in the backyard exercising with him, and make sure you are attending his needs at all times. If you toss your dog in the backyard all day and leave him be, don’t expect to find a pristine lawn when you return.
Next, protect any areas you don’t want dug up. You can cover the areas that your dog likes to dig with something they cannot dig through, such as rocks or tarps. Your dog wants soft dirt to dig up, so if you can minimize the areas that he can access, you’ll be able to cut him off easier. Another good trick is to sprinkle natural dog repellents, such as red pepper flakes, pennyroyal oil or citronella, all readily available.
Finally, you need to give your dog something solid to think about other than the destructive behaviors he has picked up. For many high-energy dogs, simple training or obedience school can help with this. Because you’re giving your dog commands he needs to think about, you are replacing the urges and desires he has to dig with constructive actions that you can control.
Finally, if you really must leave your dog in a place where he can dig excessively, provide him with a toy or an alternative way to burn off that excess energy. Toys, bones or a second dog with which to play are all good ways to reduce the excess energy that gets unleashed on your poor peonies.
Creating a Special Digging Space
Another trick that works well for many dog owners is to provide the dog with a dedicated digging area that he is allowed to play in. Take a kiddy pool and fill it with dirt, possibly even with dog treats buried in the dirt.
Then, when your dog wants to dig, let him dig there. If you find him digging in your lawn at all, simply clap your hands and attain his attention. By doing this, you can claim the backyard as your space and tell your dog that he is not permitted to dig in it, but that he has his own space in the kiddy pool.