Dogs Dig Summer Copyright©2012 by Karyn Garvin
Dogs do dig, some more than others. No matter where you live, the summer months increase the likelihood that your canine companion will be digging. In warmer parts of the country the digging behavior is often motivated by a need to find a cooler place to lie down outside. In other parts of the country it may just be that the ground is no longer frozen and that your dog is outside more.
In order to have a healthy perspective on the subject let us first remember that we love our dogs because they are dogs, and that digging is an innate behavior in dogs. A dog’s natural ability to dig allows it to perform certain rewarding tasks:
- Digging helps a dog hunt for creatures living underground.
- Digging can lead to treasures buried in the ground (for example: those black tubes we call drip systems).
- Digging creates more comfortable living conditions because the ground is always cooler a few inches down, especially near concrete foundations.
- Digging can be a way of escaping an environment.
- Digging lets a dog store something so it can be found later.
- Digging may be purely recreational.
So, what can you do?
If and when your dog’s digging is presenting you with a problem remember that fixing the blame on the dog will never fix the problem. You will feel empowered when you accept responsibility for controlling the environment and managing the behavior.
Ask yourself why your dog digs. What reward is your dog looking for? In spite of what you may think, I promise you that this is not just a covert means your dog has discovered as a way of irritating you. People can be spiteful, but not dogs.
Redirecting the Behavior
- If you know that your dog is digging to find a cool comfortable place to lie down, perhaps you can create such a place. It could be an alternate digging spot where you actually wet the ground down to encourage your dog to dig there instead.
- If you know your drip or watering system is motivating the digging then it may be helpful to change the timer, which may also reduce the temptation.
- Perhaps it’s time to create a cool comfortable place on the porch or in the shade. Hammock style dog beds keep dogs up off of hard surfaces, which is also better for their hips.
- When your dog is digging for treasures and entertainment you could purposely bury some toys or bones in an area you would prefer it to dig in.
- Burying dog stools (lots of dog poop) in areas that are unacceptable to dig in is a natural deterrent to digging for a dog.
- If you believe your dog’s digging behavior is motivated by frustration and boredom then an exercise plan and a daily routine it can count on will help.
- Leaving your dog indoors during the heat of the day could definitely reduce its motivation.
- Installing a dog door gives your dog the ability to get in out of the heat.
- Another popular solution is to remove the temptation by installing an Invisible Fence® Brand solution. This will support you by giving your dog the freedom it needs and protecting those landscaped areas at the same time.
- Know that this too shall pass!
And what shouldn’t you do?
- Don’t take it personally.
- Or … scold your dog in the aftermath.
- Or … let your dog watch you fill in holes that it has dug.
- Or … let your dog watch you plant flowers or bury drip systems.
- Or … let your dog watch the landscaper plant flowers or work on drip systems.
- Or … give your dog access to freshly laid sod.
Arguing with a dog’s natural instincts is arguing with Mother Nature!
You will lose!
The solution is always found by showing good leadership!
You can control the environment and manage behaviors.