Digging holes

There are few things more frustrating for a dog owner than to come home and find yet another large hole where your flowerbed used to be. What can you do?

In the Cybervet forum, animal behaviourist, Karen Gray-Kilfoil, made the following comments:

  • Dogs dig for a reason. Puppies often dig one or two holes out of curiosity, but soon grow out of it. However if your puppy is digging excessively then it may be that he is bored and needs some stimulation, other than digging.
  • Make sure your dog is taken for a 20-minute walk every day on a long loose lead, outside of your property and allow him/her to sniff and meet other dogs along the way.
  • A young dog will also need to go to training at this age, which will help with general obedience and keeping its mind occupied.
  • Get the dog lots of chewy toys like cowhooves, rawhide, ostrich sinews etc. and a few "smart toys". These include Congs (can be stuffed with food), Buster Cubes (put his dog pellets inside), Treatballs or homemade versions of these. You can take a large plastic Coke bottle and put some of his pellets inside. The dog then has to roll it around to get one out every now and then.
  • Give your dog new toys every day, by rotating them. All dogs need company most of the day (another dog/cat/human), access to the house and a view out of your property.
  • You can put his own faeces in the holes to deter him, but you will have to decide (at least in the beginning) where he will be allowed to dig.
  • A digging pit is a good idea and to encourage him to dig there, instead of in the flower beds or lawn, you can bury some of his chewy toys in the pit every now and then.

- (Health24, December 2008)

Last updated: June 2010

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