Digging is a behaviour that most dogs LOVE. Their parents – not so much. I’m often asked how to stop dogs from digging. This is often the case with activities that dogs find inherently enjoyable. Dog-centric activities and behaviours are usually considered inappropriate or unsafe and are often discouraged.

Other dog favourites are:

  • chasing things (including people)
  • stealing or scavenging
  • chewing on all kinds of stuff
  • sniffing
  • rolling in mud
  • ripping stuff up

Most dogs love to do these things – it’s part of what makes dogs, well, dogs. Unfortunately, most of these behaviours are viewed by people as not appropriate. Some can even be dangerous if left to the dogs to decide.

Luckily for everyone, people are coming around to the importance of these behaviours and the positive impact they can have. This is why sniffing has become such a popular activity in recent years. We are now finding ways to offer or allow our dogs to do fulfilling activities that are appropriate and safe for both the dog and the people.

So, let’s focus on digging. You don’t want your daisies dug up or ankle-breaking holes in your yard. I get it. But you can provide safe and appropriate ways for your dog to dig.

In your yard:

Choose a specific spot for your dog to dig

Picking a location that is not heavily trafficked and won’t create an eye-sore can make this a simple choice in some yards.

Get creative

If you have someone that is handy, you can build an actual digging box.

dog digging pit

Kiddy pool

Repurposing a kiddy pool by filling it with dirt, or sand or even balls (much cleaner options) is a fast and easy way to make a sanctioned pit that will spare your yard.

ball digging pit

Whether your dog already has a digging habit in your yard or not, teaching them to choose the sanctioned spot and stick to it will require some care and attention on your part. You will need to use management to prevent your dog from continuing to dig wherever they feel like it. Directing them to the desired spot will help build a new habit. And burying something valuable in their new digging area will reinforce them choosing that location.

Off-property digging

If you don’t have a yard, or having a pit there is not feasible, you still have options. Going to a sand beach or finding an appropiate spot off the trail in the forest are both great options. Just be sure that it is a safe spot and fill in the pit when your dog is done, if necessary

Indoor digging

You can even provide a fun chance to dig in your home! Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you bring sand inside. You can use a kiddy pool and fill it with balls. Or you can just pile up a few towels or blankets. It’s a super simple and tidy option. And a great choice if you don’t want your dog to get dirty!

So trying to stop your dog from digging altogether isn’t actually the best solution. Teaching them how to dog appropriately is. And whether you have a spacious yard or live in a condo, setting up appropriate digging opportunities for your dog IS possible. They will love you for it!

Learn more ways to support your dog and have a joyful life at hipPUP.ca