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Copyright 2005, Caryl Wolff, All Rights Reserved


If your dog has a problem with digging, chances are you have scolded him, he has felt remorse (or not), and he has continued digging. You have gotten progressively angrier, the scoldings have gotten progressively louder, and the holes have gotten progressively larger and more numerous. You are at your wit’s end and don’t know what to do. Now it’s time for a solution that you can both live with.

Punishment for digging does not work because it is generally done when you come home and your dog does not associate the hole with your unhappiness. To him you are unpredictable and your behavior is unwarranted when you punish him. It can become so stressful for him that he may dig even more while you are gone.

There are general causes for many behavior problems: lack of physical and/or mental exercise, isolating your dog for extended periods of time, boredom, and loneliness. There are general solutions for behavior problems, all of which are important: provide your dog with more and appropriate physical and mental exercise, the right kind of play, and, especially, the right kind of training.

What are the causes for your dog’s digging and when does he do it?

Is he left outside because he cannot behave indoors? Then train him. Does he try to escape? Then he needs more exercise. Does he dig because he is going after gophers or mice? Then get rid of them. Does he dig because he watches you do gardening? Then stop gardening when he is present. Does he dig to cool off in a pit or to get shelter from rain, etc.? Or does he dig because he likes to dig? Then give him a pit of his own to dig in and train him to use the pit.

This is only a partial solution. Learn how to show him acceptable behavior in a way that makes sense to him so you are both working together for a common goal.

And have patience. Habits do not change overnight. Give yourself and your dog a chance.

Article submitted by Caryl Wolff,

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