Tip of the Month

6/21/2007 Is your Dog Digging Because He Is Too Hot?

During their ABC education, an ABC Certified Dog Trainer learns that dogs dig for multiple reasons –boredom, attempts to escape, searching for a hidden toy or bone, and many more. However, one overlooked reason that dogs dig is because they are too hot. If you aren’t an animal trainer or behaviorist, you may never guess that your dog is covered in dirt or mud because she’s trying to escape the heat. The weather can get very warm in many regions of the country, and many dogs will unavoidably have to spend some time outside in hot weather. So, before thinking that your pooch is digging to China, make sure and consider the temperature of the air outside. Ask your trainer to observe the dog to determine if she is in fact digging for cooling, and ask for training advice on how to stop it.

Digging for cooling involves a dog creating cooling holes to lie in. A dog in the middle of this task typically will not stop digging unless something else is done to cool her off. There are certain breeds of dogs, long-haired breeds especially, that will suffer from the heat the most. All dogs need a place to be cool during the heat of the day. There are several solutions to attempt; ask your dog obedience trainer for suggestions. One recommended solution is installing an overhang or putting up a sturdy umbrella under which the dog can find shade. You might also consider clipping her coat short or purchasing a small wading pool for her to lie in so she can stay cool. With minimal dog training, you can likely get her to step into, wade in, and even lie down in a kiddie pool. Many dogs are content to lie in one or two inches of water in the pool and, although they would be muddy at the end of the day, they would be far less motivated to dig. Misting hoses available at hardware stores are not only good for cooling, but can also keep flies away. These are definitely items worth obtaining to help your dog stay comfortable in this hot weather.

If you provide your dog with several ways to cool off and she still digs, you may need to contact your trainer for some focused dog training sessions. She may be digging for a different reason or for more than one reason. Also, when it’s hot outside, allow her to come indoors several times a day to cool down if possible. Hyperthermia is a danger that can be severely harmful. Again, consult your dog trainer for assistance.

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