DOGS BEHAVIOR

how to prevent my dog from digging holes in the garden?

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Your dog digs holes everywhere, here are the steps to understand and follow to resolve this behavior problem!

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Understand why the dog digs holes

For each problem its solution but above all its cause, let’s see why your dog may have to dig holes in your garden (or elsewhere) :

  • Cause n ° 1: It’s a dog… And yes, this behavior is quite natural in dogs (especially to hide / store resources: toys or food)
  • Cause n ° 2 : He is bored in his garden and this behavior allows him to occupy himself
  • Cause # 3: He spends his energy digging holes because it is not spent enough on a daily basis
  • Cause # 4: it looks for freshness when it’s too hot
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Meeting the dog’s needs

As we have seen, a dog that is not exercised enough will be able to let off steam from its excess energy through activities that are generally not really appreciated by the owner.

So, the solution here is to spend your dog’s energy well, and to do so, here are 4 things to offer your dog as regularly as possible:

  • Physical activities: A walk for at least 30 minutes, outside the garden, must be offered to each dog, whatever its breed. In addition, playful but above all educational games sessions must be offered regularly.
  • Social activities: dogs are social animals, they need to meet their fellow creatures as often as possible. However, meetings should be controlled, secure, positive, and regular.
  • Mental exercises: To tire a dog, nothing better than a good obedience session or educational game to stimulate him mentally and promote his thinking.
  • The olfactory exercises: This is by far the most important of all since the sense of smell is the most developed sense in dogs. Tracking exercises / games can then be offered and we will make sure to let the dog smell the odors of his friends during daily walks.
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If, on a daily basis, you stimulate your dog sufficiently through these 4 axes, you will already be able to notice a reduction in the holes in the garden quite simply because your dog will have only one desire: to rest!

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An element is often forgotten in the education process

Educating your animal is good, but it is imperative to think about Doing it the right way.

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Keep your dog busy when he’s in the garden

We have also seen it in the different causes that may explain that a dog digs holes: it’s boredom! Boredom is by far a dog’s worst enemy and it’s up to you as a handler to make sure your dog doesn’t get bored and gets stimulated as often as possible.

In addition, be aware that after 15 minutes, a dog will naturally move on. So, if you leave your dog alone in your garden for too long, don’t be surprised that he finds occupations which, of course, you dislike, but which have the advantage of keeping him well occupied.

Keeping your dog occupied in the garden is to make the garden super cool and super attractive by distributing, for example, treats, croquettes or other delicacies all over the place so that your dog is stimulated in an olfactory way and that he is more concerned with seeking rewards rather than digging holes.

Teach your dog an indication to quit

The most important thing in resolving this behavior which you find to be troublesome will be not to punish your dog. Indeed, punishing a dog for behavior which is natural and which, in addition, is caused by mistakes on your part would be the most inconsistent thing to inflict on your animal.

Warning: it will be just as inconsistent to punish your dog for a “stupidity” (here digging holes) if it has not been done in your presence, and then several hours. Your dog will not understand why he is being penalized. So always respect (in any situation) the following rule: not seen, not penalized.

In fact, catching your dog in the act and giving him an order to quit is not punishing and it is above all the right thing to do.

So, teach your dog a quit indication such as “no”, “stop” or whatever word you choose, as long as it is still the same for that specific situation.

To positively teach your dog a quit command , he needs to associate that voice command with something positive when he gives up.

Clearly, we must put in the dog’s head, through a positive and above all repeated association, that to give up is to win. And to do so, I suggest that you first associate the indication that you have chosen to simply getting a treat.

So, do the following exercise several times in a row:

  • Step 1: Say “stop” and give your dog a treat immediately so that he associates this word with getting a treat.
  • Step 2: Once the association is well established for your dog, you can test to use it in situation but with a distraction of average value for your dog (do not start with his favorite toy for example) .
 

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Be careful, learning must be progressive, if you go too fast you will not be able to obtain a clear and immediate renunciation! So respect your dog’s learning pace!

Then, one of the important elements in this work will always be to anticipate your dog’s behavior as much as possible because it will be much easier for you to stop an intention to do rather than an action already in progress.

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Divert your dog into another behavior

Then, when you ask your dog to give up, you must always divert him towards a more appreciated behavior because giving up in order to give up will absolutely not interest your dog.

Know that the dog is an opportunistic animal: he will therefore go towards what is pleasant for him. If he gives up his favorite activity of the moment for .. nothing (even a punishment) he will certainly prefer to continue to occupy himself by digging holes. While if you offer him another activity that is even better for him, he will really understand that giving up is winning!

Find alternative solutions

Finally, to prevent your dog from making holes, you can find alternative solutions:

  • Accept that your dog digs holes but in demarcated places where you have previously hidden all kinds of toys and/or treats.

To teach your dog to dig only in a demarcated area, we will encourage and reward him to do it in the chosen location and as soon as he digs elsewhere, we will put in place the indication of renunciation and we will accompany the dog where he can dig as he pleases.

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  • Of course, protect the areas of your garden that you don’t want your dog to damage.
  • Finally, the solution that can help solve your problem will be to put your dog’s droppings in the holes he makes. Since the dog is a clean animal, it will not play where its droppings are.

What you must remember :

Final words and important recommendations

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  • Digging holes is a natural behavior in dogs
  • Excessive digging can translate to boredom or excess of energy in your dog, so be sure to rebalance this
  • Keep your dog occupied when he’s in the garden and don’t leave him alone for too long without occupations
  • Protect sensitive areas of your garden
  • Teach your dog to dig only in a limited area
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