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My Dog Won't Stop Digging - What Can I Do?

Lonely, bored, tired of eating that same old stick, then maybe you would like to dig yourself a hole.

When it comes to the canine thought process this could be the reason why Scraps keeps tearing up your finely groomed lawn. This article will help you find the behavioral reasons why your dog digs and offers some suggestions on how to stop your companion's pesky habit.

First and foremost as an owner don't go placing blame on your good friend until you are sure it is their fault. A good way to find out if your dog has been digging is to check its paws and nose for soil or pica. This is a good indicator to see if they have been eating dirt. In this case consult a veterinarian because there are all kinds of nasty bacteria in dirt that can affect your dog's health. Another full proof method to find out if your animal is the culprit is to hold yourself a stake out and catch it in the act. Don't start correcting the problem until you are sure it is your animal causing the problem. Otherwise you might cause the dog more anxiety than it has already endured from watching some other animal dig up its master's lawn.

Once you have assessed that it is your dog doing the digging then you need to find out why it is digging. It is instinctual for dogs to dig for a number of reasons: boredom, loneliness, animals in the yard, to cool down, or just for fun. First you can judge by the nature of the whole and where it is located why your dog is digging. If your dog is digging next to the house or in shaded areas then it is probably too hot for it. If it continuously digs up the same spot in the yard then it is most likely a foreign animal and you should thank it for the early warning-gophers and moles can be a gardener's nightmare. If the placement of holes is sporadic then it is not receiving the stimuli or attention that a dog needs.

After you've come to a conclusion why your dog is digging then you can try some of these suggestions to help thwart its efforts. If it is an animal causing the problem then you should call an exterminator or animal control to handle the matter. Building a dog house or adding a pet door can give the animal the comfort level it needs while you are away. The more difficult digging scenario to mend is the digging out of boredom or digging for fun case. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, physically punish your dog as this will teach the animal nothing except disrespect for humans which can lead to biting and other misbehavior. If your dog is digging out of boredom try giving it a tasty alternative such as a rawhide bone. It is a common misconception that dogs bury their bones. More likely if they are digging for a bone it is because they can't remember where they left. So give them the treats where they can find them easily. If toys and chews don't work then try exercising your animal more often throughout the day. It could be that they aren't expending enough energy and need some kind of outlet. If these simple methods do not work then you might have to get creative. One method is to bury a piece of chain link fence where the dog has been digging-it will not like this rubbing against its paws. You can also bury a balloon or sneak up on it with a paper bag; the popping will work as shock therapy. Other suggested methods are burying the dog's feces, mousetraps, or moth balls to deter the animal.

In my own personal opinion the best way to keep the mischief down in an animal is to give them more love than they know what to do with. When you leave them alone they will more curious as to when you will return than with anything else.

Stephanie Hetu
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