How Do I Stop My Dog from Digging?

Keeping dogs from digging can be tricky -- dogs dig because it's fun! Learn how to curb or redirect this pesky behavior.

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Digging is normal behavior for your dog – she's probably playing! Dogs also dig to bury bones or other treasures – a behavior that dates back to the days when dogs hunted their food and buried leftovers in a cool place to keep them from spoiling. However, some dogs might dig due to anxiety or to escape.

If your dog is tearing up your yard or an area in your home, try these tips: 

First, give your dog with plenty of regular exercise and provide appropriate toys to keep her occupied. Food puzzles or toys stuffed with peanut butter or are stimulating.

Second, set up an appropriate area in your yard to dig, like a sand pit in the corner, and teach your dog to dig there. Don't punish or yell at her if she digs elsewhere – instead, redirect the behavior toward an appropriate activity. To discourage digging in other areas, place chicken wire under the soil, fence your gardens, or use a cinder block or paving stone.

Third, crate your dog or create a dog run outdoors if she's going to be unsupervised for a long period. While some people see confinement as cruel, it really is safer if your dog could dig her way out of your yard. Most dogs can easily be crate-trained and will come to enjoy their own space.

Finally, try a buried electronic fence to block off areas where you don't want your dog to dig. She'll quickly learn to avoid the area when she hears the warning tone from the collar. Just be sure to provide proper training. It's not fair to your pup to install the fence, apply the collar, and leave her to learn the ropes on her own – especially a timid or fearful dog!

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