Some dog behavior are more frustrating than others, and what can really annoy the heck out of dog owners – especially when the behavior leads to things or property being destroyed. One example of this is digging.
Dog owners that have yards are at risk for having these yards being dug up by their beloved pets. It is easy to get angry at the dog when it does this, especially if you have spent lots of time, money and effort at keeping your yard looking nice and neat.
For a pet owner to see that meticulously trimmed yard with lumps of dirt all around and the flower beds trampled on, the urge to banish the dog might be great. However, you should also know that a dog is not trying to destroy your yard – it is just acting on an urge that is second nature to dogs.
Dogs dig because they are feeling bored, or it may be because they are feeling the need to protect certain possessions and the only way to do so is to bury it in the ground.
Instead of getting angry at your dog and giving it punishments for digging up your yard, what you need to do instead is to find a way to channel such energy into a more productive outlet.
Boredom: A Curse That Dogs Endure
More often than not, the reason as to why dogs will engage in digging is because it is bored out of its mind. Such boredom can progress a lot more quickly in particular breeds. This boredom is also very evident when a dog is quite young and is storing up a lot of extra energy that it needs to release.
As the dog owner, the primary goal you need to achieve is to have many activities for your dog to do to release that energy, keep it engaged and allow it to have fun. When you have enough of these, your dog will forget all about digging up the yard and will look to do these activities instead:
Toys and Doggie Treats
Make sure your dog has enough toys and occasional treats to keep it busy. If you are going shopping for toys, choose the ones that have a more complex design. This will ensure that your dog will stay engaged with the toy for a much longer time.
You should also get toys that are a lot more durable so it will last longer – especially when you are not at home and you want them to be excited and happy with a new toy that they can play with while waiting for you. Kong toys are fantastic options that you can choose from.
Put a dog in training and you will surely be able to reduce your dog’s excess energy in no time. Have your dog complete a series of tasks that will require the use of its physical and mental faculties. The combination is not only a way to shed off excess energy, but it will also reduce the dog’s feelings of boredom.
Make sure your dog gets enough exercise so it will not be inclined to destroy things or your property. Exercise should be done regularly and in various ways: by going out for long walks, playing fetch with a stick in the park, strolling around and interacting with other dog owners – anything that they find entertaining without opening up possibility of being destructive.
Of course, there will be times when boredom is not a primary driving source for digging. You will have to go back to the drawing board and get even more creative in order to stop such a behavior. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can go about doing this.
Block the Dog’s Digging Area
Some physical restraints can be put in place to keep your dog from digging, but the restraints should not be on the dog – rather, it should be in or around the place that it keeps going back to.
You can also block areas that the dog has not thought of digging yet but are very important to you, like a flower bed of petunias that you are currently cultivating. You can cover these areas with some chicken wire or mesh netting, mounted on sticks that are stuck to the ground so the dog cannot pass through it.
Just the mere sight of wire will already be enough to discourage the dog from digging; it will not even make attempts to try. But in case they do, keep an eye out to be sure that they will not get hurt.
These restraints or blocks are but mere temporary solutions to your problem, because your primary concern is to address the boredom issue of your dog. You can also think about giving them their own place in the yard where it is okay to dig. When they claim ownership of that area, they will leave the others alone.
However, even with a special digging place you still need to monitor your dog because there are some who will keep digging and digging as much as they like, and everywhere they like. Sometimes these dogs do not understand the concept of ‘stop’, and can conclude that they will just pause for a while in their digging while you are there and then resume their task when you leave.
If you really need to keep your dog outside so they will be busy while you do your work (or when you aren’t around), trust that at one point they might think about digging. But if you are creative and determined enough to create a small pen, fill it up with some sand or maybe dirt, then they can dig there and ignore your flower beds.
Every dog will have that urge to dig – even just a little bit. This is something that they like to do. While you are not willing to let them have the run of the yard and landscape it to their heart’s desires, you will still have to find a way to help dogs release the urge to dig.
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