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Why Does My Dog Dig?

Monday, October 22, 2012 - 3:00pm
a dog digging

Some dogs are naturally inclined to dig, and though it is perfectly normal behavior most of the time, it can be troublesome for pet parents who don’t particularly care for holes in their yard and furniture.

So why do they do it? Dogs often dig at the ground and circle before lying down, as though they’re trying to make a softer resting place. Dogs also dig when trying to get warm or stay cool, to entertain themselves, to bury valued items, and when hunting ground-dwelling animals.

What to Do If Your Dog Digs

If Your Dog Digs to Keep Cool or Get Comfortable

Dogs living outside in very hot or cold weather often dig holes to sleep in, especially if they don’t have access to proper shelter, like an insulated doghouse. Even with a suitable doghouse, some dogs prefer to retreat under a deck and dig a big hole.

If Your Dog Digs to Entertain Herself

Many dogs dig for the fun of it. This type of digging is the hardest to treat because the action of digging is rewarding in and of itself. To achieve success, rather than attempting to eliminate the behavior, try to redirect your dog’s digging to an acceptable place.

If Your Dog Digs to Bury Her Stuff

The best way to eliminate this type of digging is to refrain from giving your dog treats, food or chew bones that she will not finish immediately. Alternatively, you can build your dog a digging pit and encourage her to bury items there, instead of in your favorite flower bed.

If Your Dog Digs to Hunt Small Animals

Most dogs love to chase small, fast-moving furry creatures, even if they never actually try to catch them. If your dog digs to pursue small animals like moles, chipmunks and ground squirrels, you can set live traps and humanely remove those animals from your property.

For more information about helping curb your pooch’s digging habit, please visit our Virtual Pet Behaviorist.

Is your dog a digger? Tell us in the comments below.