How To Prevent Destructive Digging
Inactivity and long periods of isolation in a yard, garage or other enclosure can contribute to a variety of behavioral problems, including
destructive digging and chewing, nuisance barking, hyperactivity, extreme neediness for attention, and indiscriminate and inappropriate aggression (ie: towards children, innocent passers-by, and other dogs).
Causes of Destructive Digging
- Inactivity and insufficient exercise.
- Boredom and lack of stimulation
- Isolation and loneliness
- Frustration, and prey-drive or territorial aggression.
- This is a common reaction to seeing dogs, other animals, or people
(including children that tease or run by) on the other side of fence.
- Attempts to escape, in order to roam or play with neighborhood dogs
- Genetic propensity. Terriers are especially prone to dig
- Prey drive and hunting instint (digging for moles, rats, gophers, rabbits, etc.)
- Digging into the cool earth in order to escape hot temperatures
- To explore or find something new or interesting
- Natural denning instinct
- To bury bones, toys, food or other objects.
- To look for "hidden treasure", good smells, etc.
- Because digging is fun.
Solutions for Destructive Digging
- At least 1 to 2 hours of active outdoor exercise (yard exercise is not enough!)
- At least one long (45-90 minutes) leash walk per day
- Play dates with other friendly dogs (unless your dog is dog-aggressive)
- Create a digging pit (at least 5' x 5') filled with dirt or a sand-clay mixture.
- Sufficient daily companionship
- Other contructive outlets such as: obedience training, agility, flyball,
flying dics, trick training, retrieving, tracking, Schutzhund, SAR, etc.
- Filling holes with dog feces to discourage your dogs from enlarging holes.
(This will not prevent your dog from digging new holes however.)
- Squirting a light water spray (with a water pistol or hose) towards dog just as s/he begins to dig a hole. (Obviously, this is NOT recommended during winter or cool weather.)