More often than not, we hear of dog digging as a tremendous problem. Owners gripe and complain about this unwanted dog behavior and wonder how in the world they can get their pups to stop digging. Many efforts are made to stop the behavior, and no consideration is given to the fact that digging is simply something that dogs love, and many do naturally. Making them stop completely is usually fruitless – you will become more and more frustrated as your dog doesn’t stop and as your perfectly sculpted yard gets more and more torn up. So, what’s one to do?
Don’t Stop The Digging, Redirect It
One of the best ideas you could possibly incorporate is to teach the dog to dig on command. That’s right, you will be teaching them to do something that they already love and know how to do. The catch? You’re teaching them to do it when you want it and where you want it.
It’s no fun to keep a dog from having fun, especially when they don’t necessarily understand why they shouldn’t be doing it. When it’s a behavior that comes naturally to them, why choose to discipline it when you could turn it into a positive situation?
The End Result
By training the dog to dig on command, you’re essentially allowing them to have fun and do what comes naturally to them, but you’re dictating where it is that they do it. While you’ll probably never fully eliminate digging in the yard where you don’t want them, you can limit it significantly by working with them on this.
The idea is that at the end of training your dog, you’ll have a plot of land or space outside that solely exists for the dog to dig in. It can be a big plot of land, or it can be a small space – either way, your dog will be encouraged to dig there before he or she chooses to dig elsewhere.
How It Happens
Simply make your plot of land, and define it with boundaries – a fence, or some large pieces of wood (similar to how you would define a garden). Encourage digging in that area by rewarding it, and discouraging digging elsewhere by using the clicker training method. Eventually, you’ll want to plant toys and bones and fun puppy finds in your digging plot for your pup to find. Do this a few times, and you better believe the next time you go out together and he wants to dig? He’s heading right to the spot where he usually locates his treasures.
Sometimes we get caught up in how to stop an unwanted behavior, when really the best, most fair and efficient option is simply to redirect it.