Stop My Dog Digging



dog digging hole - stop my dog diggingWatch me excavate your yard!


“I can’t get my dog to stop digging!”  If your dog has a problem with digging, chances are you have scolded him, he has felt remorse (or not), and he has continued digging. You have gotten progressively angrier, the scoldings have gotten progressively louder, and the holes have gotten progressively larger and more numerous. You are at your wit’s end and don’t know what to do. Now it’s time for a solution that you can both live with.

Punishment for digging does not work because it is generally done when you come home and your dog does not associate the hole with your unhappiness. (For punishment to work, it must be done while your dog is digging or two seconds after he has stopped — and *he* has to associate the punishment with the digging, not with your being upset!) To him you are unpredictable and your behavior is unwarranted when you punish him. It can become so stressful for him that he may dig even more while you are gone.

There are general causes for many behavior problems:

  • lack of physical and/or mental exercise
  • isolating your dog for extended periods of time
  • boredom
  • and loneliness

There are general solutions for behavior problems, all of which are important:

  • provide your dog with more and appropriate physical and mental exercise,
  • play with him in the right way
  • and, especially, give him the right kind of training

But to specifically answer your question, which is, “How can I get my dog to stop digging,” you first have to think about:

What are the causes for my dog’s digging and when does he do it?

  • Is he left outside because he cannot behave indoors? Then train him so he can stay indoors.
  • Does he try to escape? Then he needs more exercise or he is afraid of something in the yard.  Determine what it is and fix it! Give him some dog toys to play with while he is in your yard.
  • Does he dig because he is going after gophers or mice? Then get rid of them.
  • Does he dig because he watches you do gardening? Then stop gardening when he is watching you.  (It’s called allelomimetic behavior, in other words, he’s a copycat.)
  • Does he dig to cool off in a pit or to get shelter from rain, etc.? Then take care of his physical needs.  Get him a doghouse!
  • Or does he dig because he likes to dig? Then give him a pit of his own to dig in and train him to use the pit.

These are only partial solutions. Enroll your dog in a no-force, reward-based training programLearn how to show him acceptable behavior in a way that makes sense to him so you are both working together for a common goal.

And have patience. Habits do not change overnight. Give yourself and your dog a chance.

Read more about solving Dog Behavior Problems.

I’d love to hear what your comments are. How have you stopped your dog from digging? Please share your experiences with your dog or ask a question so we can begin a dialogue to help each other.

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Disclaimer: This article is for information only.It does not replace a consultation with a dog trainer, dog behavior consultant, or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.
If you need help with dog training or puppy training in Los Angeles, please contact us. We would love to work with you!


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