Why is my dog digging holes all of a sudden? A helpful and useful guide
I can’t remember the number of times I have been asked the question “Why is my dog digging holes all of a sudden?” It is another of those strange and annoying habits that for no reason your dog may suddenly start doing. However, just like all strange dog behavior, it can be stopped quickly and naturally. Just follow this link and have a free look at how this can de be done.
Dog digging holes is not uncommon, most dog owners will tell you. In fact, almost all dogs will have the need to dig holes in his life. However, this does not mean that we should encourage the behavior. Why do dogs dog holes? and how can I stop it?
Why do dogs dig holes?
You may have noticed your dog coming back home a little dirtier than usual. It is because he is probably having fun in your yard, or during one of his escapes as you walk. There are several reasons why your dog is digging holes all of a sudden;
Your dog may want to escape your home due to several reasons. In order to do so, your dog will try to escape in different ways. One of the most common ways of escaping your home is by digging holes. For instance, if you let your dog in the yard, he may see an opportunity to leave your household. This could be as a result of curiosity to explore the outside, as in the wild.
You should investigate and find out why your dog is trying so hard to escape. Your dog may want to leave your household when he feels threatened. For instance, if you have always had one dog and you recently introduced another one. This might affect your dog, especially if the new dog is bigger. Also, if your dog has had trouble socializing, he is going to feel uncomfortable.
It is amazing the number of dogs that do not know how to socialize with others. This is also as a result of domestication, whereby we are able to adopt only one dog in a household. This means that your dog is accustomed to the human company more than he is to other dogs. Sometimes he will consider other dogs a threat and thus provoke the flight or flee reflex.
In the case the new dog is bigger, your pup may feel threatened and want to flee from home. In order to do so, he may dig his way out and leave. The same case may happen with the new dog, especially during the first few days. Bringing a new dog will have him trying to adjust from his old home. This is common in adopted dogs from the shelter.
Getting a dog from the shelter feels like a great idea, right? You will get a pet for yourself and also helping the poor animal. However, the dog is not aware of all this. In fact, he is probably wondering why he has to move from place to place.
Newly adopted dogs, especially from a shelter may want to leave your home to go back. This is because of the anxiety that comes with the change from a shelter to a new home. Your dog may also feel lonely if he is used to having other pets around.
Your dog will start digging holes as a way of coping with anxiety or trying to escape like discussed above.
This I another common behavior in dogs! They love attention and once they do not feel like you are giving it to him, they react. You will leave your dog in the yard to go take a glass of water only to find him digging holes. However, you should monitor him for some time to determine why he just started the habit.
By giving your dog the attention he seeks, you will be encouraging the vice. For instance, when you shout at him to stop or even look at him as he digs.
Dogs are scavengers and wild animals that still retain their instincts. Your dog may feel the need to dig holes as he would in the wild. This, however, is usually motivated by several factors like hunting for prey or hiding food.
In the wild, a dog is responsible for their own survivals. In order to live, they have to hunt for food, which may include rodents, squirrels and other burrowing animals. A dog may be able to sniff a prey from underground and dig it out.
Burrowing animals may live in your yard. These animals will prompt your dog to dig in your yard. Even if your dog does not hunt, this is just a natural response to these animals.
It can also be encouraged by boredom in that your dog will find something to do. Confining your dog is not exactly recommended and so people leave their dogs free to move around. However, when he gets bored in the yard, he may end up digging in the yard.
You can be able to curb this habit by keeping your dog busy all day. We shall discuss dealing with boredom in dogs later on.
To cool down
During hot weather, your dog may feel the heat a little more than expected. This will make him want to cool himself down, especially if your house is not humid enough. During summer, you may find your dog digging in the yard to lie down.
This is also as a result of his natural instincts. In other words, digging is one of the natural ways for dogs to cool down.
Getting your dog a chew toy is helpful in curbing digging. This is especially when your dog is bored from being all alone at home. These toys will keep your dog busy instead of digging up your yard. It is important to understand that dogs are prone to boredom when they are left alone.
You will have to monitor your dog to make sure that he is digging out of boredom. Often, dogs will engage in unwanted behavior when they get bored. Chewing provides a distraction from digging and thus curbing the behavior.
It is essential to exercise your dog because it offers him mental and physical stimulation. Failure to provide this kind of stimulation may lead to boredom. For instance, your dog might get bored when you are away from home all day. Due to domestication, you will have to confine him in the household.
Exercise will also expose your dog to interesting things and places. These are memories he is going to treasure and think about all day. It is also likely that your dog will want to take a nap right after exercising.
Most dog owners also prefer incorporating exercises with play. You may consider getting a tennis ball for your dog to fetch as you exercise him. This provides him with an opportunity to learn new things through exciting experiences. This will curb boredom and anxiety that may result in your dog digging holes.
Treat Separation anxiety and fear
Separation anxiety refers to extreme fear your dog may experience for being left alone. Most dogs will experience this at some point in their life. As a result, your dog may develop unwanted behavior as a coping mechanism. This might include digging holes in your yard and basically, everywhere he can.
To be able to stop your dog from digging, you will have to be sure of the underlying cause. For instance, dogs that dig out of separation anxiety will need more examination. One of the signs of this behavioral vice is the way your dog reacts to you leaving the house. He may even start barking or expressing aggression and sadness as you leave.
Separation anxiety can also be as a result of new surroundings or even change in the household. A new baby can affect the way your dog feels. He may feel ignored as the baby will get most of the attention. Death of the dog owner or family member is also a possible cause of separation anxiety.
Once there is a change in your household, your dog may start digging holes all of a sudden. This can be examined by a pet behaviorist but you can also monitor your dog for a few days to determine his source of separation anxiety. Exercise and play prior to leaving the house are important in eliminating the vice.
You can also train your dog how to be alone even when you are at home. This way, he will adapt to doing so, and you can assist by providing him with options. You can leave him in the living room with the TV on or with toys. You may start by keeping him in a different room for a few minutes. Each time he does not exhibit signs of separation anxiety, offer him a treat. This will reinforce and catalyze the training process.
This is helpful especially in dogs dig as a result of natural instincts. It is difficult to make a dog stop digging when he is doing it because he feels the need to. Instead of trying to stop him from digging, you can provide an alternative. You may consider making a sad box for your dog to dig up whenever he feels like it.
However, you should first make sure that the need to dig is not driven by the presence of burrowing animals. You should treat your yard with pesticides and fence well to keep these animals away. To make the activity as exciting as possible, you may also consider burying treats in there. This way, your dog will feel rewarded and also keep him occupied on a daily basis. This can also help in curbing boredom.
If your dog is digging in efforts to escape your home, chicken wire can solve this problem. Often, dogs know that the only way you leave your household is by digging up your yard into the fence. To prevent him from escaping successfully, you may consider burying chicken wire underground. You will be making another fence so as when your dog digs, he cannot escape.
New dogs will want to escape your household and you may have to confine him in the yard. This is especially for dog owners who do not like dogs in their house.
However, you may also prefer plastic wire over steel. This is because steel can hurt your pup’s paws as he digs.
This is an important point to dog owners with yards. This is because burrowing animals may live in your yards which will prompt your dog to dig. Treating your yard with pesticides is important but it can also be harmful to your dog.
Some dogs are allergic to pesticides which means he might develop itchy paws. It can worsen if your dog loves to eat grass. If he happens to ingest grass with chemicals, he may fall sick. This will be fatal and costly to treat.
Once you treat your yard, it is important to restrict your dog from accessing it. You may keep this up for a couple of days until the chemicals wear off.
Planting thorny plants in the yard will keep your dog away from digging. If you are looking to stop him from escaping, you can plant thorny plants like roses along the fence. Your dog knows the stings hurt and thus this is an effective method.
However, you should always be careful to make sure that the thorny plants are safe. Some thorns may be poisonous to your dog which may risk his life.
Owning a dog is one of the best things on earth. However, we cannot forget to take care of our dogs which means paying attention to him. You have to constantly maintain a close relationship with your dog. This way, you will be able to notice any behavioral vices.
Dogs are also accustomed to attention. Whenever he feels ignored, he will do anything, usually unwanted, to get your attention. Play and plenty of exercises are helpful in keeping your dog healthy and happy.
It is also advisable to always make sure that you provide both physically and mentally stimulating for your dog. This will keep him from boredom and thus curb behavioral issues. Treat dispensers that reward your dog with treats is also a great way to keep him busy.
Domestication requires us to provide the best care to our dogs. We also want that, don’t we? Spending time with your dog is important. This is because you will be able to create a special bond with him and also monitor him.
You will be able to observe any behavioral changes in your dog. This way you can stop the behavior as early as possible, or provide better alternatives to the unwanted behavior like digging. The cause of this unwanted behavior is key to determining the best way to curb it.