Most dogs are natural hunters who love to dig. All dogs from time to time will instinctively and naturally dig for food, prey or out of boredom, discharging excessive energy or for fun.
Dogs also dig out of habit and survival rituals. Dog digging is natural and it is a physical expression of their instincts.
If you give a dog a bone or even a plastic chewy type bone they may bury it and then dig up again later, chew it and then bury it in another hole.
This ritual is connected to survival. If they had to survive in the wild after eating off a bone feeding off the meat on it they may have to save it later in order to survive by burying it, not only is this a way of hiding the bone from other predators, it is a way of disguising the scent of the flesh. It’s a doggy thing!
Dogs are also very curious animals and sometimes may dig holes in order to re-enact a bone retrieval process and may even be digging in the wrong place to where they thought they put it hence making more mess than they needed to.
Some dogs dig more than others and some have very destructive digging behaviour which can include making holes throughout your garden lawn or vegetable plot if you own a dog in a residential setting.
If you’re an avid gardener your dog may dig a hole next to you as you are digging so they have a natural inclination to dig and in doing so they turn the soil over and bring up various aromas which only a dog can smell from the ground.
There may be other reasons dogs dig that we don’t know about yet but what we do know is dogs need to dig.
If your dog is digging on your property and causing damage to your garden lawn then you should look at the reasons why your dog is digging there so often. Professional dog training should be looked at to discover causes.
Some dogs like to dig holes in the summer when it’s hot in order to lie in the cool or moist soil to cool their overheating body down; therefore you could try providing the dog with a cool sheltered area to put their bedding in.
Alternatively provide some kind of water pool for them to play around in as dogs loved to play in water and this will certainly cool them down.
Another reason why dogs might dig holes is out of the build up of energy that hasn’t been discharged like it is when they go for a walk or run.
The energy dogs develop comes from food which is converted into calorific energy and gets stored up in a dogs system.
Dogs don’t have any other way of discharging this energy other than running around barking or digging holes and the more energy that gets pent up then the more destructive ways they find to channel the energy out of themselves.
We humans have many ways of expressing ourselves to discharge the energy that we build up inside us that dogs do not therefore it can lead to inappropriate behaviours or habits because it has to come out one it is stored up.
If this makes sense to you then provide the dog with more exercise and see if that reduces the digging activity.
Again boredom or solitary confinement could be another reason why they turn to digging for self amusement, a form of self-fulfilment.
Digging holes is a great way to occupy, play and discharge that build-up of energy.
Have you ever seen dogs running around with explosive speed in figures of eight, going around and around suddenly and unexpectedly, this behaviour must give them a thrill and rush?
This could be the result of the need to discharge their pent-up energy. When their energy builds, the dog turns to its natural instinct on its list of erratic behaviours on what to do next.
The dog suddenly and unexpectedly charges into the ground and frantically digs holes as if it were possessed, it is possessed with an overwhelming amount of energy they need to discharge and it conveniently finds the nearest and most natural expression and by doing so puts some fantastic holes in your lawn.
Has your dog got any toys or dog chews?
As a tip: You could wrap up some delicious food inside a small cardboard box and tape it up and then put that cardboard box inside another tightly wrapped up cardboard box.
Your dog will enjoy tearing it apart to get into the treat which is another way of occupying its mind and applying that pent up energy to something less destructive but more stimulating. Wrap it up tight with several layers; don’t make it easy to tear apart.
According to canine psychology research, investigations show that dogs develop certain self entertaining and self-fulfilling behaviours if left alone for long periods of time without any attention, socialising or toys.
Unacceptable behavioural oddities in their behaviour may be the result of mental and physical deprivation or natural stimulation so it finds its own way of having fun.
Some types of digging can be excessive and frantic and just by watching it you can see how extremely disorderly it is.
Is your dog confined in a small space, do you think it could be trying to escape that small confined garden space?
Sometimes the behaviour fits the environment that the dog is in!
As a rule of thumb, give your dog lots of chewy toys, games or stimulation, exercise, runs or long walks along with the correct diet of healthy nutritional foods before you engage in any behaviour modification techniques or treatments.
Some behavioural problems like excessive digging is initially the result of something in their environment which may become habitual and repetitive.
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