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Why dogs dig

Digging for dogs is as innate as swimming is for fish! When you look closely at

your dog's anatomy, you will notice powerful forelimbs that are reinforced by strong nails. Essentially, they are designed for digging. Some breeds are more genetically prone to digging, for example, terriers, hounds, and even sporting breeds. Despite their domestication, many of these breeds will still have the urge to dig, and, it may be to bury a treat or toy in your lounge. 

 

Some breeds are born to dig

There are numerous reasons or needs for dogs to dig.

  1. to keep cool
  2. pure enjoyment
  3. hunting or following a scent
  4. boredom
  5. to escape their yard and roam
Can you prevent digging behaviour?
While it's difficult to stop a dog from digging, there are things that you can do to help improve the situation.
  • Have your dog desexed
Dogs that are desexed are far less likely to dig  out and wander in search of a companion!
  • Manage the situation
Where ever possible, modify the area that the dog is digging in. If this is your vegetable garden, try to fence the area off from your dog. There are deterrents that you can sprinkle around your garden that have a strong smell that will repel your dog. These can be successful with some breeds.
  • Work with your dog
Many dog owners set aside an area in the backyard where the dog can dig! These are known as 'digging pits'. Often a child's clam style wading pool filled with sand makes the easiest and quickest digging pit. You could also use railway sleepers for the same effect. Bury treats, toys, or bones in the digging pit to encourage your dog to use this area. With some encouragement, this will redirect the digging behaviour.
  • Prevent boredom
Regular exercise and engagement can help reduce boredom in dogs. Some
Deer antlers make long lasting chews
dogs need that early morning walk to burn up energy as well as an afternoon walk! If you can't get out for a walk, make sure that you are providing exercise for your dog through games of fetch or tug-of-war. Puzzle toys, puzzle food mazes, chew toys, and deer antlers can help in addition to exercise. Always rotate toys to ensure that your dog maintains interest in them. 
  • Give your dog a bone

Bones are traditionally treated as something of value or a trophy for dogs. May will bury them immediately to save it for later.  By feeding your dog raw meaty or air-dried bones, you are stimulating another natural behaviour - chewing! The chewing process in turn helps with dental health and will assist with keeping your dog occupied. Whether your dog chews for hours on a bone or buries it, you have mentally stimulated them by triggering an innate  behaviour dating back to wolves.

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