By Anton Kal
Beyond barking and loving a good scratch behind the ears, one of the most common dog behaviors is digging. It almost defines some of them. Sadly, this very normal behavior is one that can get man’s best friend into a lot of trouble.
As it is with barking, one of the best ways to curtail the digging issue is to find out why a dog chooses to dig. Is she trying to make her own cool spot in a backyard devoid of shade? Does he want to get out and meet the neighbor’s fully intact female? Is she bored?
Dogs tend to dig for a few major reasons. These include the fun of it, to find prey, to seek attention and perhaps even to escape so they can roam and explore. How to handle the digging problem will likely hinge on the reason for the digging.
If a dog is bored, digging can be a great way to pass the time. To help break this habit, consider offering the dog some outdoor toys, make sure the dog gets some solid play time every day, go to a professional trainer or just appease them and teach them where it is okay to dig.
Dogs are natural born hunters. If he’s digging up the rose bushes to get at a critter, try to remove that critter. Be certain not to use means that might also be toxic to the dog. Trapping is the best bet if it is at all possible to undertake.
Dogs who need a little comfort or attention might also choose to dig. For the comfort seekers, try adding a dog house or other shade for hot days in the sun. Fix the attention problem by making sure your pet gets at least one block of time a day dedicated to playing with you or even training with you. The one-on-one attention is often all he or she needs.
Escapers are another issue all together. If he’s trying to get out to roam the neighborhood or meet the new poodle down the street, reinforce the fence and discourage digging. If a dog is still intact, consider paying or neutering to lessen the roaming urge. Make sure any measures to reinforce the fence line don’t hurt the dog.
Digging is a perfectly natural dog behavior. Unfortunately, it can sometimes get out of hand. If it’s a real problem, consider why the dog is digging in the first place and try to tackle it on a situational basis. If you fear he will get out, or already has, reinforce the fence line and work hard to break the habit. A loose dog is one that can get in trouble, or worse, hurt.
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