While digging is a natural part of dog behavior, it can get
annoying quickly, especially when you need your dog to stop digging
in dirty or dangerous places. And if you’ve tried to get your dog
to stop digging, you know it’s not easy. While our little furry friends are
adorable, excessive digging can cause issues for both pups and
their parents alike (raise your hand if your dog has ever dug up
your backyard or created a mess from digging through
To help understand more about this very common canine trait and
how we can prevent them from going overboard with it, POPSUGAR
spoke with a pet expert to gain some very valuable insight.
Why do dogs dig?
Cathy Madson, certified dog trainer and behaviorist at Preventive Vet, explained that dogs may dig for
all different kinds of reasons. “Dogs dig to create a nice and cool
place to settle in and relax, to file their own nails, to escape an
enclosure, out of boredom, or because they smell something
interesting that they want to investigate,” Madson said. Not to
mention, specific dog breeds, such as dachshunds and terriers,
were actually bred to dig for small creatures, including rats or
rabbits, that burrow deep beneath soft surfaces. “It can be a very
fun and rewarding activity for dogs and is a natural canine
instinct,” Madson added.
Can digging be due to emotional or psychological stress?
Madson added that although dogs may sometimes like to dig for
fun, digging can also be a sign that your
pet is stressed. “If your dog is digging to try and escape
their yard or is digging out of boredom, they need more enrichment
in their environment and might need more exercise as well,” Madson
said. Madson also advised that if your canine is digging constantly
and persistently, it may be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder
or another anxiety. Although rare, this behavior should be brought
to a vet or certified canine behavior consultant’s attention to
help remedy the issue.
How much digging is too much?
Even though digging is considered usual canine behavior, when
does it become worrisome? As it turns out, it depends on their
breed mix and how much they like the actual act of digging. “It’s
too much digging if they dig despite hurting their paws or nails,
or if they can’t seem to stop digging,” Madson advised. “This can
be a sign of an underlying anxiety issue.
How can you prevent a dog from digging?
Thankfully, there are a few easy tips you can follow if you
notice that your dog has been getting too busy digging. For
instance, Madson suggested that you should make sure your dog is
not only getting enough physical activity but is also exercising
their brain as well. “Providing lots of enrichment activities and
puzzles can help a dog practice acceptable behavior instead of
resorting to digging to burn their excess energy,” Madson said.
Because digging is a natural canine behavior, another good idea is
to designate a specific “dog digging area” where your dog can have
free rein to get digging. “Some dog owners block off a special area
for their dog in the yard,” Madson said. “You can also fill a small
swimming pool with dog-safe sand or dirt and bury special treats
and toys for your dog to find.” Doing so may save certain parts of
your backyard – such as your flower bed or vegetable garden – from
getting torn up.
Source: FS – All – Food and Nutrition Blogs
What to Do If Your Dog Can't Stop Digging, According to a Dog Behavior Expert