When you peer out a window and see dirt flying in the garden, this can set in motion a frantic race to save the plants from a digging dog. The sight of a dog happily destroying a prized rose may even cause a serious gardener to have nightmares. Dogs dig for a variety of reasons, and stopping the behavior can be difficult. The best place to start is to figure out what is motivating your dog to dig, and then try to find a solution.
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Terrier breeds were bred to hunt and follow burrowing vermin underground, but most dogs picking up the scent of a mouse, mole or other small animal hiding in a hole will likely dig to find the critter. It’s a natural instinct that’s hard to control. Some dogs enjoy digging and others learn that they get attention for doing it, i.e., they get yelled at. Negative attention is better than none at all, in their mind. Random holes in an area are a good indication that your dog is just trying to entertain himself, especially if he’s in an area with sandy or loose soil. Read More »
When asked to name the benefits that pets provide, common answers include things like unconditional love and acceptance, companionship, laughter, happiness and fun. Pets offer numerous health benefits as well, including reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, encouraging us to get more exercise, and helping us cope with pain. Although most of us don’t adopt a dog or cat thinking they might save our life one day, many do just that! Stories abound of hero dogs and hero cats who alerted their owners to fires, gas leaks, venomous snakes, marauding bears, cancer and other dangers. I should think that for all of us, having our life saved by a pet would certainly qualify as an unexpected – but much appreciated – benefit.
A diabetic scientist discovered by accident that his dog was able to detect low blood sugar. The dog alerted him before he suffered a seizure, which led the scientist to form an organization that trains diabetic alert dogs. Another unexpected benefit many pets provide their owner is teaching important life lessons that we didn’t even know we needed to learn, such as how to be more tolerant, patient or trusting of others. Sometimes, pets teach us how to open our hearts just by providing a safe and loving presence. They show us how to slow down, live in the moment and savor even the smallest pleasures life has to offer. All great things to be sure, but not usually things we expect from our pets!
Years ago I experienced an unexpected benefit from a pet that I’ll never forget. It wasn’t even my pet, but it was a great help to me nonetheless. I was renting a country cottage that sat on several acres in Northern California. As a longtime gardener, it was the perfect place for me. I created my own private paradise with a large vegetable patch, a beautiful rose garden and several flower gardens. I built raised beds because the gophers who called this field “home” had no respect for my garden (imagine that!).
The landlord’s house was also on the property, and they had two dogs. The dogs viewed the field as an extension of their territory, and quite often I’d see them patrolling it. I’d also see the small dog furiously digging holes out in the field. Terriers are known to be fond of digging, and Pepper was true to her breed. She never dug holes near my garden though, so her digging didn’t really bother me.
Dogs dig! Puppies dig, middle aged dogs dig, and even old dogs dig if they’ve never been taught not to. Some dogs dig even if they know better. Trying to stop your dog from digging up your yard may just end up being a test of wills.
There are a few tips and tricks you can use that may help your case, but in reality it’s hard to break centuries of nature. Dogs smell things constantly and will often dig for the item they smell. This comes in handy if your dog is an Avalanche Rescue Dog – like the CANIDAE-sponsored Scout, who works at Colorado’s Copper Mountain Ski Resort – but if his digging place is your flowerbed or the center of your lawn you may not appreciate it quite as much.
I have a digger. My dog digs up roots and usually eats them. She’s not a puppy and she hears the word “no” quite often when she is digging. After trying all the methods below I’ve finally given up. Instead of trying to change her and make her stop digging, these days I just make sure she has an area to call her own where she can dig without messing up my flowerbeds or the lawn.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.