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Why do dogs dig?

It's not unusual to see your dog digging holes in the garden or nosing their way through piles of laundry. Although it can be destructive to your lawn or to your home furnishings, there are very good reasons why your dog may feel the need to dig.  

 

Burying food 

Burying things is a natural instinct for your dog. Items such as food are buried for preservation – just in case food supply could be short in the coming days. Just because your dog lives in a nice warm home with you, doesn’t mean they’ve lost the natural urge to dig, so don’t be surprised if you find some little treats they’ve buried while you’re mowing the lawn. 

Maintaining temperature

  Dogs will often dig when the temperature either becomes too hot or too cold. They will usually dig holes in the ground under shady spots, such as under trees to cool themselves down when the weather gets warmer. 

Entertainment

Most dogs will attempt to dig at some point in their lives, with a few breeds of dog being more likely to dig than others. One reason your dog may decide to dig is due to boredom. When your dog becomes bored, they may dig to keep themselves amused or to release some pent-up energy. When your dog is happy and active, digging can be something they do to keep themselves content. 

Anxiety or frustration

When a dog is scared or anxious, one way they try to find solitude is by digging in the garden or hiding underneath items in the house. Loud natural sounds such as thunder or wind can scare your dog, so they might try and dig themselves somewhere to hide to try and protect themselves.  

Tips to stop your dog digging

Although your dog is only doing what comes naturally to them, digging can be costly and time-consuming for you. Here are a few ways that you can try and prevent your dog from digging. 

  • Purchase a few toys that can keep your dog entertained. 
  •  Give your dog somewhere they can hide and can shelter from the weather, such as a doghouse. 
  •  Take your dog for longer or more frequent walks to keep them well exercised and prevent boredom. 
  •  Provide your dog with an area where it’s OK for them to dig. Teach them this is their area by leading them away from digging in other areas. Make the digging area attractive by burying treats or toys and covering with loose soil or sand. 
  • Give your dog plenty of praise and attention for good behaviour. Remember – punishing unwanted behaviour could make the situation worse, as dogs learn by positive reinforcement.

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