Train FurKeeps Q&A: Why won’t my dog stop digging?

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In January, Petfinder held a live Q&A on Facebook with pet trainers Andrea Arden and Mychelle Blake.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting some of our favorite questions
and answers here on the blog. Have a pet question? Check back regularly
for news about our next live Q&A!



Q: How do you stop a dog from digging? I have toys there. I have tried burying water balloons, chicken wire mesh, spray, etc. [Editor’s note: Trainers sometimes suggest putting toys at the digging spot to distract dog, or burying mesh wire or water balloons so the dog encounters something unpleasant when he digs.] — Elisabeth M.

A: Digging is such a normal and natural part of being a dog, I think it is unrealistic to expect that it is something they will never do if given the opportunity.

I would suggest the following:

  • If you don’t want your dog to dig in the yard, then you will need to supervise him while he is outside. Call him to you to redirect him away from spots he might be inclined to dig in.
  • Alternatively, you could provide him with a designated digging spot — sort of like a child’s sandbox. If you choose this route — which I am sure your dog would greatly appreciate — take him to the area in question and let him watch you bury a few toys (not too deeply) so he can have a treasure hunt! [Watch this video on how to teach your dog to treasure hunt.]

Andrea Arden, CPDT
Andrea Arden Dog Training
New York, NY

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From our library:

Stopping Dog Digging

Video: Treasure Hunt with Your Dog