Digging

DiggingSome dogs dig to bury their bones. Some dogs dig cool pits to lie in when it’s hot outside.  Many dogs dig because they’re bored or frustrated when left alone. Digging is an engaging activity that calls for concentration and dexterity, and it comes naturally for many canines. But when your dog has done his own kind of cultivating in your flowerbeds, or if he’s working on an escape route under the fence, it’s time to put a lid on the backyard destruction-and help channel your pet’s anxiety elsewhere. Does your digging dog get adequate exercise? A dog who’s receiving enough mental and physical activity is not as likely to dig as a canine with excess energy to burn. It’s a good idea to take you pet on a long walk, or engage him in his favorite game, for at least a half-hour every day.  Hungry dogs tend to be more active, too, so be sure your animal companion is well fed.  Feed him in the morning or twice a day if he’s going to be alone for any length of time. Be sure to leave him with a chew toy, so he’ll have something fun to do. Has your dog been digging a tunnel under your fence? Your pet may be trying to escape and mate. Sterilization may stop both these desires, so make that appointment to have your pet spayed or neutered if it hasn’t already been done. Because digging is so instinctual for dogs, some may not want to give it up so easily. If you have the space, redirect his natural inclination to dig by providing his own special place for it, such as a sand pit. A space about three feet wide by six feet long will work well; make sure it’s in a shaded part of your yard. Keep your dog on his toes by burying a few of his favorite toys, and watch him go at it!  For added protection during your dog’s retraining, you can discourage him from digging in inappropriate places by covering them with heavy cloth weighted down with bricks or heavy stones or chain-link fencing, laid flat over the areas where he digs. Fencing around the area will work, too, but be sure it is high enough so that he can’t jump over it. With patience and persistence, you should be able to do away with destructive digging. And always remember, your dog is not trying to seek revenge by bulldozing your backyard because you left him alone. It’s his way of telling you he’s anxious and frustrated.