Healthy Outlets for Dogs Diggingby Shellie Alyssa
Hunting prey, boredom, entertainment, comfort, protection and escaping are common reasons dogs dig holes. Dogs have a natural instinct to dig; some dogs like to exercise this ability more than others. Pet parents may find their yard filled with holes due to the extensive digging habit of their dog. Providing a designated digging area and toys is recommended to curb your dog's appetite for digging and destroying the yard.
Digging Zones and Sandboxes
Designate an area of your yard that is specifically used for your dog to dig holes. Build a sandbox or purchase a children's sandbox and place it in the desired area of the yard, filling it with sand. Bury toys in the sand to entice your dog to dig in the sandbox. Place several toys in the sandbox at once to keep your dog occupied. Sandboxes allow your dog to use his digging skills and keeps his attention focused on the sandbox instead of the rest of your yard. Sandboxes help discourage digging, but in some breeds, such as a terrier, they may be inclined to chase prey and continue to dig holes in the yard. For this reason the sandbox is not a permanent fix, however it is a useful technique used to deter your dog away from digging holes in the yard.
Toys that Provide Entertainment
Dogs who spend time alone in the yard with a lack of entertainment will find other sources to keep them busy, including digging. Provide your dog with plenty of toys in the yard. Toys that are puzzle boxes and treat dispensers are positive distractions and keep your dog occupied while trying to retrieve the treat from the toy. Puzzle toys capture your dogs attention by allowing them to interact with the toy using their skills. Their ability to use their paws, nose and mouth to dislodge parts, slide moving parts and push pegs in the puzzle toy will keep them occupied, distracting them from their desire to dig holes.
Playtime in the Sprinklers
Dogs who enjoy being in or near water will benefit from experiencing sprinkler fun. If your dog is left alone outdoors during warm weather days, running through the sprinklers will entertain him and keep him cool, preventing heat stroke. Set the timer on your sprinkler system to turn on for 10-minute intervals about two or three times while your dog is confined to the yard. Dogs who relish in being in the water will run, jump and play in the sprinklers, keeping them engaged in the activity.
Safe Dog House
Dogs who dig holes for comfort or to seek protection from elements will find having their own dog house useful. Rather than digging a hole to lie in, your dog can retreat to his dog house, according to the United States Humane Society. Make the dog house more enjoyable by adding your dog's favorite toys. Insulated dog houses are recommended for cold weather climates. Place the dog house in the shade during the summer months to provide shade. Insulating the dog house is not recommended during warm weather.
- Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images