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Dealing with Dogs that Dig

Dealing with Canine Digging

Some dogs just love to get down and dirty by digging and digging. Meanwhile their masters can do nothing but watch as the yard starts to resemble a minefield. What you should do about digging depends on why your dog is scooping up soil by the pawfull in the first place.

Why Do Dogs Dig?

There are a number of reasons that dogs dig. One is a well-founded urge for comfort, particularly on hot days. Dogs do not sweat very effectively and so they don’t cool off as efficiently as humans. Digging into moist soil and then lying in it can provide summer relief. Even if the weather is not particularly hot, a well-appointed hole may be comfortable for nesting. Looked at from that point of view, digging is an indicator of how ingenious dogs can be.

Some dogs dig because they are pursuing an odor of buried food or a prey animal. Breeds, such as terriers and dachshunds, have been bred for the propensity to dig to facilitate their burrowing into the underground dens of small animals.

Sometimes, dogs dig just for the fun of it while others dig out of boredom or frustration. Then again, some dig because they have figured out that they can escape to roam the neighborhood if they can just get under the fence.

On a more tragic note, some dogs that dig may be frightened into a frantic attempt to escape from frightening situations. Occasionally, dogs with separation anxiety dig out of their yards possibly in an attempt to be reunited with their owners. Thunderstorm phobic dogs just want to get away from the storm.
If digging does seem to be the result of a broader behavioral condition, such as separation anxiety or thunderstorm phobia, you should seek help through a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist.

Digging is hardly ever a sign of a medical condition though it sometimes occurs as an obsessive-compulsive behavior and, as such, indicates anxiety superimposed on an underlying genetic tendency. Again, veterinary assistance should be sought if such a condition is even suspected.

Tips to Discourage a Dog from Digging