Some dogs have a natural drive to dig holes, but it can be annoying if you’re trying to cultivate a beautiful garden. He might dig to bury his toys, or because he is bored or anxious, but it could also be a natural thing for his breed to do. In some instances, a dog might even dig a hole under the fence to try to escape out of the yard. There are various reasons why dogs dig holes.
There are a few things you can do to try to prevent the vigorous digging. But, if you have tried it all, then it might be worth your while to consult a behaviourist who can work out a plan specifically for your dog.
1. Mental stimulation
If boredom is the reason why your dog digs holes, you can distract him by offering him a variety of puzzle toys in the house, and in the garden when he is outside. Toys that dispense a treat will occupy him for a while. The more toys he has, the more distractions for him. To keep it interesting, rotate his toys often.
2. Play games
Play games with your dog in the garden, like fetch or tug-of-war. If you give him enough attention, he won’t need to look for other ways to get attention. Not only will you strengthen your bond with him, but you will also provide him with some mental stimulation and a way to burn off some excess energy.
Another way to channel his energy is through dog sports or a walk in the park, which will offer various sniffing opportunities and a change of scenery. If your dog is active and enjoys taking part in dog sports, it will also release some energy. Don’t overdo any from of exercise when your dog is still young, or if he suffers from any illness. Speak to your vet for some exercising ideas that will suit your dog.
4. Digging patch
Why not create a digging patch dedicated to your dog? Corner off a section in the garden where he can dig as much as he wants to. Bury some of his favourite toys in the sand for him to discover. Rotate the toys to keep it interesting for him. If he finds his favourite chew toy in the patch, he might forget about the digging and chew on that instead.
If your dog’s digging is getting out of hand and he becomes compulsive about it, then it might be time to consult a behaviourist. He or she will find the reason for your dog’s digging and advise you on how best to handle the situation. You can find a behaviourist in your area on www.animal-behaviour.org.za or www.coape.org.
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