Keep Your Dog From Digging
Dogs dig for multiple reasons, such as boredom, attempts to escape, hidden toy or bone search and many more. However, one overlooked reason dogs dig is because they’re too hot. If you aren’t a dog trainer or animal behaviorist, you may never guess 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 your dog is digging to China, make sure to consider the temperature of the air outside.
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Digging for cooling involves a dog creating cooling holes to lie in. A dog in the middle of this task typically won’t 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. Hyperthermia is a danger that can be severely harmful.
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How to Stop Your Dog From Digging
Purchase a Small Wading Pool
One way to cool off your dog is by 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. 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.
Fill the Holes
Another solution you can try is filling the holes. Without your dog seeing you, fill the already-created holes with pieces of her stool and lava rocks. Then, cover the poop and rocks with about one inch of dirt. Dogs will often dig in the same general area so when she goes to dig there again, she’ll find it unpleasant and either stop immediately or move to a new spot. If she moves to a new spot, just continue to fill the new holes. The dog should stop within a period of no more than two weeks.
Make sure to not let your dog see you planting or working in the garden. In addition, don’t let her see you filling in holes she has already dug. If she sees you digging, it is only natural for her to assume it is acceptable behavior and mimic you.
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Reinforce Positive Behavior
When you see your dog out in the backyard engaging in proper behavior (e.g. chewing on his toys, sunning himself, etc.), praise that behavior. Remember that to effectively train dogs, the more you positively reinforce a behavior, the stronger that behavior is going to be and the greater the likelihood the dog will engage in it, both when you are there and when you are not. Work on obedience with your dog on a daily basis. The more you master as a team, the better her behavior will be. You are not only his dog owner, but his best friend too.
If you provide your dog with several ways to cool off and she still digs, you may need to contact your dog trainer for some focused dog training sessions. She may be digging for a different reason or for more than one reason.
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