HELP – my dog is landscaping the backyard!

Dogs dig for several reasons including to bury or retrieve bones, keep cool, escape confinement, to flush out rodents or because of odour or sounds that attract them beneath the ground. Digging is also an activity undertaken by dogs that are left home alone without sufficient mental stimulation.

It is important to firstly understand why your dog is digging. Simply preventing your dog from digging can cause new behavioural problems such as barking or chewing to occur.

Here are some ideas:

Digging to keep cool:
Long coated breeds (such as malamutes) that dig to keep cool should be provided with a cool resting place and lots of fresh water.

Digging to retrieve bones:
Create an area where the dog is allowed to dig. The digging pit can be as simple a child’s wading pool filled with sand. Bury things in the sandpit each day that your dog would like to find such as pig’s ears, kong toys and treats.

Attracted by sounds / smells undergrounds:
If your dog is digging in an inappropriate area peg chicken wire over the area for a few weeks while you encourage your dog to dig in his new sandpit.

Digging to escape confinement:
If you are having trouble confining your dog you should seek the urgent assistance of a behavioural dog trainer.

Remember dogs don’t realise that digging is wrong and they really are just doing what comes naturally.

Provided by Nicole Beasley of Planet K9