Why do some dogs dig holes?

Many dogs love to dig for various reasons. Some do it to find a cool spot to lie in; others are digging to unearth prey like moles, for example; others may just dig for fun. If they are digging as a predatory behaviour, the only way to stop that would be to get rid of the prey. If you feel your dog is digging for a cool place to sleep, you can provide a bed in a shady spot or maybe a paddle pool (Labradors usually love water). If your dog is digging just for fun, there are a few things you can try. Providing the dog with a dedicated digging area could help if you have the space. You can encourage him to dig in a specific area by hiding treats only in that area. This will also involve a bit of management on your part, as you will need to keep a close eye on the dog, and if he starts digging in another area, you will have to distract him. This will hopefully allow him to learn where he can and cannot dig.

The other option is to give him toys to play with. Toys filled with food work well. Freezing tinned food inside a Kong can keep him busy for a long time. You can also take an empty 2ℓ plastic bottle and cut holes in it, and then fill it with regular dog pellets so the dog has to roll it to get the treats out. Just remember to factor the food you give as treats into the daily food requirement so that you do not overfeed your pet.

Dr Vanessa McClure, veterinarian


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