Behavior Tip of the Month
Can You Dig It?
Damp pungent dirt, delicious animal smells, fun exercise, buried treasure and mental stimulation. What have these in common?
To your dog, these are the rewards of digging. Besides the above attractions, all dogs are hot-wired to dig like their wolf ancestors. Wolves bury their extra meat so they won't starve when food is scarce. They need cooling and warming holes as well as dens and these are created through digging.
Our domesticated dogs don't need to hunt or bury their food and we provide dens. I find it humorous to see my toy dog digging in the linoleum or couch. However, dogs still have some wolf-like instincts and these don't just disappear.
So, do we just have to watch our yards, trees and plants destroyed by our pets? No! There is hope. Since dogs need to dig, make your pup his own custom-made owner-sanctioned Digging Pit. He'll be the envy of every pup in town!
You can cordon off a dirt-filled area or simply fill a kiddie pool with sand.
Water the pit each night.
Buy squirrel or opossum scent at a sport hunting store. Nightly, sprinkle a few drops on top of the sand. If your K9 thinks an animal lives in the sand, he'll feverishly dig in his pit.
Daily, bury dental chews, a food stuffed hollow rubber toy, a Bully stick, tiny pieces of hot dog, etc. in his pit. We want your dog to think, Digging Pit = Buried Treasure. Why should I dig anywhere else? I
love to dig in my Pit!
In addition to giving your K9 the opportunity to dig in an acceptable place, here are some anti-digging suggestions to minimize his digging in unacceptable areas.
1) Keep his nails short
2) When you garden or water, keep him in the house. Don't let him watch you dig. Keep him inside until all is dry. Otherwise, he'll finish what you started.
3) Fence Fido out of your prized Petunias. Use chicken wire or portable fencing. He can have ¼ of the yard and you can have your precious plants in the other ¾.
4) Repellents. Most dogs sniff before digging so try to make off limit areas repulsive to them.
1) Plant his feces where he's likely to dig. Only do this if he doesn't eat his poop. This is a normal activity for many canines but absolutely disgusting to humans.
2) Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper on top of his holes. He'll sniff, sneeze and "skidaddle".
3) Fill holes and flower beds with rocks and pebbles.
4) If desperate, cover the ground over holes, flower beds and plants with chicken wire.
If you try these suggestions, I hope digging in illegal locations will no longer be in your pet's "digtionary". Your lawn and garden will look "fantasdig"!
mucho woofs & wags,!
Best Friend Behavior Counseling and Training
San Diego, Ca.
"Positively teaching pets and their people since 1977"
Do you have a question for Carole? You can reach her at this email address - firstname.lastname@example.org Perhaps she will use it in an upcoming article on this Web site.
The information contained on this site is in no way intended to replace that of proper veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.