How to Stop a Dog From Digging: Vets Reveal 4 Easy Ways to Stop the Behavior for Good

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Having a dog is entertaining, but some dogs are obsessed with digging. This leads to backyards riddled with holes, making owners wonder how to stop it. Dr. Sabrina Kong, the veterinary contributor at We Love Doodles, reveals that digging could be part of their instinctual behavior, stemming from their ancestors living in the wild. Vets have revealed other reasons why your pup might be digging and provide tips on how to get them to stop.

They Feel Too Hot

If your dog feels way too hot and wants to do something about it, one of the ways, as per Dr. Alejandro Caos, is through digging. They create holes, and, exposing the dirt below the surface, the dogs find a good, moist, and untouched place that functions as their own natural coolers.

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If this is why your dog digs, you can stop this behavior by simply providing them with cooling places like a kiddie pool or shaded areas where they can relax. Use the classic reward trick to get them to adapt to these options instead of digging.

They Are Securing Their Valuables

Just as we use safes and lockers to keep our prized possessions safe, dogs use holes. Whenever they find something they see value in or just want to make sure nobody else can take it, their instinct is to dig a hole. This, Dr. Linda Simon says, has been carried down from times in the wild when such behavior proved useful in times of scarce food supply.

In domesticated dogs, this behavior comes up when they have treats that they want to eat later. The best way to deal with this is to provide them with a digging spot and make them habitual to it through positive reinforcements, training, and alternatives.

They Are Just Bored

As per Dr. Caos, sometimes dogs dig just out of boredom or to use their pent-up energy. Through digging, they get a mental and physical release that makes them relaxed enough to go back to calm down. Sometimes, your dog might smell or hear something underground and is simply curious about it.

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If this is the reason your dog is digging, you can prevent this by coming up with alternate options to keep them busy and entertained. Dr. Kong suggests increasing mental and physical stimulation through training and playing.