If your dog can relax in the back yard for the afternoon and not find a good reason to dig at least one hole, then congratulations, you are one of the lucky 17% of dog owners who is not spending the weekend repairing your yard. For the rest of you, welcome to my world.
The most dangerous time for humans around my house is at dusk because of the dim lighting and long shadows. So when I get home from work and walk across the yard, say to move the sprinkler, I am assuming that the ground is all still right where I left it, this morning. Hmm, not so. Evidently while I was busy at work so was our family dog (who should be named Digger by the way). Awfully proud of herself in the twilight as I throw my hip out stepping in a hole, she is bounding along beside me (I thought she was a little too excited about moving the sprinklers!)
She seems happy enough, but refilling these holes is really getting old, so I need to figure out what in the world makes a dog dig with such zeal, and more importantly what makes her stop.
Well, after digging and digging (sorry, I couldn’t resist!), I soon discovered there are two very strong instincts that move a dog to start excavating. The first instinct that drives a dog to dig is their survival instinct, and it includes the following:
Pregnant females dig dens.
Dogs use earthen dens to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Dogs look to live in a protected area, frequently a den, and they will bury surplus food or bones for leaner times.
Dogs frequently dig to explore.
Some dogs are bred to “go to ground” to hunt little critters.
If the preservation instinct is what is causing your dog to dig, then make sure that they are properly spayed or neutered and have an adequate shelter where they feel safe and comfortable. For the digging breeds, allocate one part of the yard as an approved “digging zone” where you can bury treats for her to discover. Now any unwanted digging can be redirected to the approved area.
The second instinct that frequently translates to digging is a dog’s social instinct, which hearkens back to her roots as a pack animal. The social instinct includes the following:
Social Interaction –
Dogs dig to get out and expand their social circle.
Not being able to find their proper place in the pack (or family) can leave a dog frustrated.
Some dogs become anxious when they are in either an overcrowded or solitary situation, or if they perceive a threat or have experienced a trauma.
Dogs with too much energy and nothing to do.
If the social instinct is what is causing your dog to tear up the yard, there is a simple solution, lots of exercise. Your dog needs to play and get adequate exercise and social interaction to help round out her world. Trust me, a sleeping dog does not dig holes. If exercise is not solving the problem for your aggressive or anxious dog then a trip to the vet may be in order. Spaying or neutering may help with aggression, and some cases of anxiety are severe enough to require medication.
As for my little lady, we used to go on a nice little run in the morning, but I have been working a lot lately so we have been skipping them. Now we’re going to go back to running, because even if I am working a lot, it takes less time and energy to take my dog for a run in the morning than it does to fill up all of the holes in the evening!
People’d be heartbroken to meet a person who’s never heard of cat litter. So, what of the puppy litter? You may have assumed that cats would be the only individuals with the luxury of having a container to be doing their work. Although due to the invention of dog waste — as well as Best Dog Litter Boxes— canines may now reap the benefits of this comfort.