Dogs like to dig. Really, it's just that simple. They like to dig and bring the cool dirt to the top so they can lay on it. They like to dig and burry their bones. They like to dig under fences so they can go exploring. Some breeds are also natural diggers and burrowers. The Alaskan Husky will dig out a hole in the ground so that he can stay warm in the winter. Dachshunds will dig because they like to hunt small animals. There are various reasons that dogs will dig and training them to stop can present a challenge.
The first fact that must be realized is that dogs will generally dig because they are bored. They let their natural instincts come in and before you know it your yard has a lot of potholes. There are several natural ways to stop your dog from digging. The first is to give him a lot of attention. Give him bones to chew on and toys to play with. Often this will keep your dog occupied and he will not want to dig. Some people provide a sandbox for dogs to dig in, but this will only reinforce the bad behavior and you want to avoid that. Yelling at your dog will also not do you any good, as you will only be teaching him to dig when you are not around. Dogs are usually less destructive when they get ample exercise. Often, a simple walk on a regular basis will keep your dog from destroying things. They also dig to make themselves a cool bed in the summer. Provide your dog with plenty of shade, water and perhaps a wading pool. These items will encourage your dog to use them and not dig.
Another interesting way to stop your dog from digging is to place feces in the holes. Many dog breeders, trainers and owners have found this to be very useful. Many dogs will only use the bathroom in one part of the yard. When you go to scoop the dog feces out of your yard, place some in the holes where the dog has been digging. Dogs do not like the smell of their own feces and will stop digging. Eventually, the dog will run out of places to dig and they will not go back to the old places.
There are certain spices that will also deter dogs from digging. These include cayenne and paprika. The spices are not pleasant for dogs and they will make their nose itch. The dog will not go back to digging. Spices can help stop the dog's bad behavior because they experience a negative reaction to something they have found enjoyable in the past.
Turf-Block is another option to keep dogs from trying to dig under fences. Turf-Block is a concrete block that is lattice shaped. The blocks keep the dogs from digging under the fence while still allowing water permeation in the soil. Turf-Block can be effective in keeping your dogs in the yard, but not as effective as stopping the behavior.
Many people do not mind if their dog digs, they just don't want them to dig in certain areas. If your goal is a manicured lawn, then provide your dog an area of his own. Many owners will fence off the side of a house and give it to the dog. The dog has freedom to play, dig, and destroy that part of the yard all he wants. You should never punish a dog for digging in his own area, but you should punish him for digging in your area.
Training your dog not to dig depends on your goals. There are numerous ways to make the experience of digging unpleasant for your dog and those should be explored. Dogs generally only do things they enjoy; they are sort of like people in this respect. They will quickly learn that it is not fun to get sprayed by the water hose when they are digging and this will encourage them not to dig for fear of the hose.
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