It's bad enough to fall into a pit every time you walk around in your backyard (your pup's been digging again). But to add insult to injury, your four-legged pal gets himself injured in the process. Excessive digging isn't only a nuisance -- it can actually be very harmful for your dog.
He or she can cut up his paw pads, swallow rocks and get bitten by pests that are lurking below the earth. You'll need to head to the vet clinic if your pet is already injured. Before you let him or her out in the backyard again, talk with your veterinarian about stopping that digging problem to prevent any future injuries from occurring.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
Before attempting to cure your dog's annoying digging habit, you'll need to figure out why he or she does it -- with your vet's help. Sometimes digging is tied with severe separation anxiety. If he or she's glued to your side when you're home, he or she could just be feeling anxious when you're away and finds digging to be soothing.
Other times dogs dig to bury their prized possessions, to create a cool spot to sleep on a hot day, or to chase after burrowing animals they hear beneath the surface. Of course some dogs dig just to dig -- out of pure boredom.
Ways to Stop Digging
Often the best way to stop your dog's digging is to wear him or her out as much as possible. Get up an extra 20 minutes early in the morning and take your dog for a long walk before work. If he or she's food motivated, put their breakfast kibble in a treat ball. Your dog will have to push it around to get all of his or her food out, which will keep your friend active and get out some of his or her pent-up energy.
Before you leave your dog alone again, move big rocks or potted plants in the areas he or she normally digs as a deterrence. Talk with your veterinarian, too. Sometimes medications can help if your dog is going through anxiety-related digging.
Lastly, you may have to designate a digging area in your yard if you have one of those dogs who digs for no apparent reason. Take him or her over to that area every time they start digging. Praise your comrade for digging in the right spot with treats or a toy. Your veterinarian can help you find a trainer to assist you with working with your dog to find the best solution.