Digging can come from variety of reasons

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 21, 2010

With spring upon us, it soon will be time to plant the garden and get the flower beds ready.

There is nothing Fido likes more than to dig up your prize flowers or your favorite vegetables.

If you do not want him to make your beautiful garden look like a strip mine, it is time to treat his digging problem.

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There are seven types of digging: boredom, cooling, escape, genetic, burying toys and bones, hunting, and separation anxiety.

The first step in dealing with digging is understanding that digging is really not the problem at all- it is the symptom.

Dogs dig because they have a certain amount of energy to release each day.

This type of digging is boredom digging. If you can provide an alternate source of release, such as long walks, the less energy your dog will have left to dig.

This is probably one of the most common reasons for digging. I hear all the time, “I don’t walk my dog, because I have a large back yard.” Just because your dog is in the back yard, does not mean he is exercising. Most likely he is standing by the door wanting quality time with you or he is turning to mischief.

On the average, one 20-minute walk per day should suffice most breeds; two 20-minute walks will be required for working and active breeds.

If your dog digs a hole in the yard to cool himself, he will not stop digging unless something else is done to cool him off.

Some examples of cooling cures are creating a patio type of cover for Fido, getting him a summer haircut, buying a doghouse, or having a small wading pool available for the dog to lie in.

If your backyard has become a place of banishment and punishment, your dog may begin an escape attempt by digging.

To help eliminate this type of digging, try to make the yard a place of enjoyment. Play fetch and spend time with Fido in the yard.

By helping Fido to make positive associations with the yard, it will stop this type of digging.

Some dogs are bred to dig, this is genetic digging. Terriers and Dachshunds are two great examples. Dachshunds were bred to dig after badgers.

Because of this they have a very strong predisposition to dig. These types of dogs will need an increased amount of physical and mental stimulation.

One way this could be accomplished is by teaching your dog to dig in an acceptable place. A small wading pool filled with sand would be such a place.

Many dog like to bury their bones and dig them up later. Exercise is the best treatment for this type of digging.

Your pet could also be overfed and just wanting to save his treats for later or your dog may be digging for hunting.

For example, your dog may be digging for gophers in the yard. Most likely, if this is the problem, the only way to end the digging is to first rid the yard of gophers.

If your dog digs because of separation anxiety, digging is not the problem, the anxiety is. If your dog begins to dig after only 15 to 20 minutes of your leaving, it is most likely because of separation anxiety, which can be a complicated issue itself.

Digging can be a very frustrating, but with patience and consistency it can be overcome.

For more assistance in treating you dog, consult a professional trainer. Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop