Has your dog ever gone on a digging spree in your backyard? It’s not uncommon for a well-loved pup to decide that the lawn needs some serious excavation. After all, dogs dig for many reasons—some of them appropriate and others completely inappropriate behaviors that you’ll want to do away with as soon as possible. I’ll explain why dogs dig in the first place, how to tell if it’s a bad or good habit, and finally, how to stop them from doing it.
1. They want to play.
- They want to play: Dogs enjoy digging and burying things, like toys or bones. Digging can be a great way for your dog to exercise and have some fun at the same time! If you don’t want your dog bothering the yard with their digging, try playing fetch with them instead.
- It’s instinctual: Digging is one of those instinctual behaviors that dogs do naturally because it helps them feel safe in their environment. When they dig their own holes, they know where they are when they’re outside so it makes them feel more secure than if they were just walking around without any sort of markings on the ground showing where their home base is located at all times throughout each day/night cycle when moving back and forth between indoor areas vs outdoors locations where there’s no fence surrounding everything either–such as when living out in rural areas near farms etcetera (that’s why most farmers hire guard dogs such as Great Pyrenees breeds).
2. They’re bored.
A quick search on “bored dog” on Google will yield millions of results, proving that boredom is a real problem for dogs. Dogs can become bored if they don’t have enough mental stimulation or physical exercise.
It’s important to know that just because you think your dog isn’t bored doesn’t mean they aren’t! You might think your dog has plenty of toys to play with and lots of time outside, but this may not be enough for them. There are ways you can help curb their boredom, though; by providing more toys, engaging them in new games and activities together (like agility training), or simply giving them more attention than normal when you’re home so they get the one-on-one attention they crave.
3. They’re stressed.
There are a lot of things that can make your dog stressed, but the most common ones are loud noises, the weather (especially thunderstorms), and the presence of other dogs or people.
If you’re having a party and your dog is digging in the corner instead of socializing with guests, consider what else might be making him uncomfortable. Maybe there was an intense thunderstorm earlier in the day? Or maybe he just really wants to play with one particular person who keeps ignoring him?
It’s important to figure out what’s causing stress so that you can nip it in the bud—before it turns into an anxiety issue for your pup!
4. They’re trying to escape from something or someone that they fear.
If you’ve ever seen a dog digging in their backyard, it may be because they are trying to escape from something or someone that they fear. For example, if your neighbor has a scary dog that is constantly barking at your pup, and the neighbor doesn’t seem to care about how stressed out your dog is becoming by this situation, you might see them digging in order to try and get away from that particular spot on their property.
This type of digging can also occur when a dog is trying to burrow under debris because they feel like they are trapped somewhere. For example, if your cat hasn’t been able to escape from underneath his owner’s bed yet but he knows there are holes in the frame which he could squeeze through into an adjacent room—he will likely dig until he finds one! This behavior can become extremely frustrating for owners who have no idea why their pet keeps doing this and what they should do about it (it’s important not only because cats are notorious for getting stuck in small spaces but also because cats will often scratch themselves bloody when trying desperately enough).
5. They’re looking for a cooler spot in warm weather—or a warmer spot in cold weather.
If you’ve ever seen your dog digging, there’s a good chance that they were doing it to get somewhere cooler or warmer. As you know, dogs don’t have sweat glands, so they can’t cool themselves off by sweating like humans do. Instead, they must rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. In warm weather, that means finding a place where the ground is cool enough to keep them comfortable—and in cold weather, it means finding a place where the ground is warm enough to keep them from freezing.
6. They’re looking for food or bones that they buried during more plentiful times, but have forgotten where they are now.
Most dogs dig for food, bones or just for fun. The most common reason is that they are looking for something they buried during times of plenty but can’t remember where it is now.
If you think this may be the case with your dog, try giving him some treats or a bone regularly throughout the day so he doesn’t have to go digging around in your yard for his favorite snack.
As you can see, there are many reasons for your dog to dig. In some cases it’s a sign that they have a specific problem such as boredom or stress, whilst in other cases it could mean that they are trying to escape from something that they don’t like. Understanding which of these issues is causing the digging will allow you to address them and make sure the behavior doesn’t continue any longer than necessary.