Why do dogs dig earth and how to wean a dog from digging?
Ekaterina Kastritskaya, psychologist, specialist in animal therapy, consultant on animal behavior and well-being
When leaving, you briefly left the dog in the yard, and when you returned, you were amazed. The dog clearly spent time with benefit: in your front garden a pit flaunts, which can be turned into a small pool. Why do dogs dig earth and how to wean a dog from digging?
Why do dogs dig earth?
Digging the ground is a very natural behavior for a dog. That is what her ancestors did in many cases. But only in modern life, the owners do not always like the ability to conduct excavations. And in order to understand how to wean a dog from digging, you need to know why she digs the ground.
There may be several reasons:
- Hunting instinct. This is especially true for "burrow" dogs: dachshunds and small terriers. And it is likely that your pet sensed "game" (for example, a mouse or mole) and tried to get it.
- Boredom. If you do not pay enough attention to the dog, do not offer optimal physical and intellectual stress, there is not enough variety in the dog’s life, she will seek entertainment on her own. And digging holes in this case is quite an occupation worthy of the attention of the dog.
- Trying to cool in the heat. Dogs in the heat "open" the upper layer of soil to lie on cold ground and cool.
- Create strategic stocks. You treated the dog to a treat, but for some reason she decided to save it for a rainy day. And how else to hide the treat, if not in the ground? And then, perhaps, to consider that the place was chosen not well enough, and to hide.
- Flight attempt. Digging under the fence is a very effective way to gain freedom if the dog is dear to you, and you do not provide enough walks or an unusually attractive object has appeared behind the fence - for example, a flowing female dog.
But it happens that a dog digs not only the earth on the street, but also tries to dig the floor in the apartment. With what it can be connected?
If the dog presses the bedding before going to bed, this is normal behavior, a legacy from the ancestors who pressed the grass to create a “nest”.
Sometimes a dog digs the floor quite nervously, trying to lie down this way or that way. In this case, you should consult with your veterinarian - this behavior may indicate health problems (e.g. arthritis).
How to wean a dog to dig the earth?
- Analyze if the five freedoms of the dog are satisfied, and if not, make changes to her living conditions.
- Give your dog more time, organize full-fledged physical and intellectual activities, teach tricks, suggest search games.
- If it is hot outside, make sure the dog can take shelter in the shade and has access to cool drinking water.
- You can create a special "digging corner" in the yard and bury toys there, and then invite the pet to find them.
- If the dog tries to run away and builds a dig for this purpose, you will have to strengthen the perimeter - for example, dig a metal mesh to a depth of about 50 cm.
- If you are not able to wean the dog yourself from digging holes and you are not ready to put up with this, you may need to contact a professional who can understand what the dog’s behavior is connected with and help to draw up a correction program.