How Do I Stop My Dog’s Digging?

12 12 2008

dog-diggingRecently, one of my friends “across the pond” sent me a question about her dog, and his affinity for digging in many spots inside the house, including her couch and her bed.  During a trip to the vet, their discussion led to no resolution other than a healthy dog.  This is where I come in.

Is your dog an unhappy one?  Heck no.  He sure is awful grateful for all the cool areas to dig in.  This goes back to the denning nature of being a dog.  My brother, Tax, digs a lot, too.  He is a digging fool.  In fact, when mom gives him a new blanket, he takes it into his crate and spreads it out like a carpet.  What a weird dog!

Sometimes, Tax likes to dig on the sofa.  Mom just tells him to STOP, rather firmly and usually he does.  However, there have been times that he did not STOP.  Mom had to remind him that she is the ultimate alpha, and she showed it by showing Tax his place on the floor.  Most dogs do not like to be banished from the “good places” like the sofa or the bed.
There was also a  time when Tax liked to dig at the carpet.  Mom did not have a good place to take away, but she put a stop to that by sprinkling that area of the carpet with a small amount of black pepper.  It sure was funny the next time he went sniffing out his favorite inside digging spots.  Let’s just say that Tax moved on, and he has not dug carpet in some time.

A lot of dogs have this “digging” problem.   Some people refer to it as “fixing the nest”.  If your dog wants to spend hours and hours “fixing his nest” on his own bed, then let him do it.  But if “fixing his nest” is on your bed and it is bothersome to you, then you must banish him from the bed.  As I said before, most dogs do not like to be banished from all the good, comfortable sleeping spots, and if you banish him every time he “digs”, he will learn NOT to “dig” in your bed.

Remember, your house is a pack.  And you better be the lead dog in your pack.  And as the lead dog, you are letting a lower member of the pack know that he is not welcome if he insists on this behavior.  You cannot do this once or twice, you must be consistent in banishing him from the bed when he digs, or he will not understand why he has been banished from your bed.

Mom rules our pack by the following rules:

  • My bed, my rules
  • My house, my rules
  • My car, my rules
  • My trash, my rules
  • My sofa, my rules
  • My chair, my rules

You see how that works, right?

Tax still likes to dig, and Mom encourages it as long as he does it outside.  So Mom bought a few bags of sand and poured them in the back yard.  She took several bones and some toys out and buried them.  Tax had a good time finding all those goodies and adding them to his collection.  Do not buy too many bags of sand, because cats will invade your yard and use the sand as a litter box.  Tax did not like to find the “kitty treats”.

Now, if you find that his outdoor digging is inhibiting your garden’s potential, or your dog is digging under your fence, you are going to want to try this to deter it from happening.



One response

12 12 2008

Great post! When I was puppy I loved to dig, but outgrew the urge.

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