Does your dog love to dig? I mean, really, really love to dig? It could be the garden, sofa, floorboards or your freshly cut grass?

Whilst not every dog exhibits digging and burying trait, it can be a frustrating behaviour to try and change. But understanding what drives this natural behaviour can help you identify the best way to curb digging and burying.

Why do dogs dig and bury?
According to Christine Dahl, author of Good Dog 101 (page 202) “Digging is a hardwired biological drive…Early in dog history, those who could dig or hide food survived better than those who lacked digging skills.” Couple this natural drive with the fact that digging is also a really enjoyable activity, and it’s easy to see why so many dogs love to bury chews, bones, socks and toys.

The drive to bury these treasures is equally as strong. The urge to hide food for future consumption is so engrained in a dog’s brain, that it takes only a physical stimulus to trigger this natural instinct.

So it’s no surprise that to reduce this behaviour, that is so engrained and natural to a canine, will require some hard work and persistence.

How do you curb this behaviour?
There are three main steps to control digging and burying behaviour:

  1. Eliminate access to areas your dog typically digs and buries:
    • Close doors, put up gates around veggie patches or use gates in and outside your home.
  2. Give your dog a ‘safe’ zone to dig and bury.
    • Inside your home, it may be a set of cushions or blankets.
    • Outside your home, it may be a set area in the garden (Dahl recommends an area that is at least 3ft by 3ft), filled with sand or soft soil.
    • If you want to stop digging and buring behaviour entirely, you don’t need to follow this step, however you will need to put in more energy in step 3, below!
  3. Redirect their energy and attention
    • By curbing this natural canine behaviour, your dog will need to spend energy in other ways, and will need to direct his energy by showing him which toys are ok for him to play with.
    • Use soft toys, puzzle toys, balls or rope to stimulate and play with your precious pooch.

With patience, imaginative play and determination, you and your dog can overcome frustrating digging and burying behaviour!

For more information about how to curb digging and burying behaviour, speak to our knowledgeable staff at reception.

Resource: “Good Dog 101” by Cristine Dahl, published by Sasquatch Books.