THE ANNOYING DIGGING DOG
WHY do dogs dig? IN MOST CASES FROM SHEER BOREDOM! Play with them more, take them out more, for walks and/or car rides. Give their lives more purpose and often digging from boredom can be brought under control. Perhaps they dig because they are a type of breed, bred to dig out animals such as rabbit, fox, ground squirrels, and vermin. Terriers fall in this category. They dig down to find damp earth to lay in when they are hot, particularly when they have no cool shade to escape the summer heat. Pregnant females close to giving birth will dig to make themselves a den to give birth in. Intact male dogs will dig along their fence line in hopes of escaping to go meet some ladies. Even intact females may dig along the fence line when in season and looking for a mate. Dogs who get teased from other dogs or annoying humans on the other side of the fence, may dig in hopes of getting at their tormentors. Dogs dig to relieve Mental Stress.
But mostly they start for any one of the above reasons and find out it is fun. Then they do not want to stop. Fun is Fun to any dog. And they ignore your shouting, swatting and temper tantrums to make them stop. BASIC OBEDIENCE TRAINING is the first step to stop them. Sorry, but in order for your dog to actually hear you (not tune you out) and respect you enough to actually listen to you, he/she must be trained to listen to your commands. Oh yes, he does listen to you now, but only when he wants to please you or because he fears a reprisal if he doesn’t listen to you. Stopping digging, well he doesn’t want to please you that much after all. Stopping digging because he is going to get hit for it or because he fears you isn’t going to work either because no animal trained through fear will give up a fun past time out of fear. Instead they will just get sneakier about it, in hopes of not getting caught. They may even dig more just to relieve the mental stress, you may be placing on them for digging in the first place.
BASIC OBEDIENCE CLASSES for both you and the dog. At these classes, the dog learns much more than, Sit, Stay, Heel, Down and Come. They learn to actually listen to your verbal commands and obey them, each and every time without question. They still love you, but now they also RESPECT you.
A dog who respects his master is a happier dog than one who only loves his master. He now fully understands his place in his pack made up of humans, instead of other dogs. And you learn through the classes how to properly give verbal commands, how too properly discipline a dog without hurting it, in a way that the dog understands the discipline. Now you can nip the digging in the butt, by teaching him another verbal command to stop it. Let’s say you already use No, Stop It, Quit and all those other words, so pick a word for stopping digging he does not associate with any other misdemeanor. Let’s say, you don’t use the word "ENOUGH". This will become the one word verbal command for digging. Just like he learned in class, Sit, Stay, Heel, Down and Come, he will now learn what "Enough" means.
Fill in holes along fence lines or anywhere in the yard with large rocks. No dog will dig in rocks. Later, you can add fresh dirt over top the rocks and replant lawn grass. To prevent escaping under fence lines, fences should be installed several inches down below the ground surface. If you aren’t into building new fences, then neatly lay planks of wood along the fence line, at least ten inches in width. Paint to match the fence or some people, paint them to match house trim or the same shade of green as the lawn grass is. I have yet to see a dog who figured out he now has to tunnel down, then under the planks and fence and tunnel back up on the other side to escape. Do fill in his holes though before he becomes a canine convict and learns to tunnel, down, sideways, and then back up. If he has one favorite digging spot, consider allowing him to burn off energy digging there, but no where else. Consider placing decorative fencing around places he should stay out of, such a flower beds and gardens. The fencing does not have to be high or particularly strong, just a barrier he must learn to respect, by teaching him he is not allowed anymore in these spots.