Digging is a perfectly natural dog behavior that is oftentimes seen as problematic. Whether they’re digging up your couch cushions or digging in your garden, digging is a normal and often hard habit to break. So the question is, how do you stop your dog from digging? But also, should you?
Dogs have been digging long before they became domesticated and teamed up to live in our human world alongside us. Oftentimes, we find these natural dog behaviors to be a nuisance, after all- having Rocket dig up your brand new tomato plants isn’t exactly desirable. But what if instead of looking at this behavior as an issue of right/wrong and started looking at it from a perspective of canine needs?
Most problematic behaviors stem from a dog’s biological and natural needs not being met. From chewing to chasing, these behaviors are instinctive to all dogs and become more prevalent when they are frustrated, tired and bored.
If you are noticing an increase in “problematic behaviors,” especially digging, consider trying these instinctual enrichment based activities to give your dogs a safe and designated outlet to meet their doggy needs.
Provide a Designated “DIG ZONE”
A dig pit is an inexpensive and quick solution to providing your dog their own outlet to express their digging needs. You can use a raised plant bed or plastic pool and some sand to build a doggy sandbox where they can hide and bury all their treasures. Sand is easier to dig in and more enjoyable for your dog. PRO TIP: Use a tarp to prevent auxiliary digging next to the dig pit and for easy clean up!
Build a Ball Pit!
Don’t have access to a yard to build a dig pit, try building a ball pit instead. Ball pits are indoor friendly, create minimal mess and are easy to clean up and store. Toss treats or your dog’s food into the ball pit for a fun foraging game. You can buy a ball pit here.
DIY Digging Enrichment Game
This simple game lets you upcycle your delivery boxes and your old towels! Simply save a large delivery box (big enough for your dog to put their front feet in) fold/or roll treats into an old towel and place in the box. Voila! Let the digging, scavenging and foraging begin! Total cost: 5 minutes of your time.
Purchase a Dig Toy
Have you heard of the Idig? It’s the world’s first digging toy for dogs. With two options available this toy is suitable for dogs of all sizes and weights. Perfect for small living spaces with no access to the outdoors. This self contained toy can hide treats and toys inside for hours of fun digging for your dog.
You’ll find that adding in instinct based enrichment not only minimizes the appearance of the targeted unwanted behavior but of additional behavioral anomalies that are actually the result of under stimulation and boredom. What other behaviors do you see that you think you could replace with appropriate outlets? Follow us on Instagram and show us your digging enrichment!
Have more training questions? Schedule a consultation with one of our certified training experts today. With virtual sessions available, we can help you and your pup wherever you’re at!