Sunday, March 2, 2008

Breaking My Dog Of Digging

There are a lot of reasons why a dog will dig holes, it may be instinct, during the winter the wolf will eat all of the food that he kills, this is because he is unsure of the next time he will eat. During the summer, he will dig a hole and bury part of the kill and return later to finish it off, this is a lot like your dog burying a bone in the backyard. A dog that is outside in the summer may dig a hole to get out of the heat, in the winter he may dig a hole to get out of the cold.

They may also dig because they do not get enough exercise, it is a great way to relieve that extra energy. Have you ever watched how much energy a dog puts out when he digs a hole? This is usually because the owner doesnt realize how much energy a dog has, and doesnt give him the amount of exercise he needs. Yelling and screaming only reinforces the activity with negative attention, any attention is better than no attention, just ask your dog.

Boredom. Bored dogs need a job to do, something rewarding and interesting, to help the time pass by. Digging is often the ideal solution for a bored dog. It gives him a sense of purpose, and distracts him from an otherwise empty day. The need for broader horizons. Some dogs are just escape artists by nature no matter how much exercise and attention they get, it is nearly impossible to confine them. For a four legged Houdini, it is not the digging in itself that is the reward, it is the glorious unknown that exists beyond the fenceline.

When you give negative support, you only make the problem worse, more holes are a real problem. If you are one of the lucky few and your dog digs in front of you, just telling him no, may solve the problem. However, most holes are not dug in our presence, especially if the dog digs from boredom, because when you are there, he isnt bored. One way of stopping this habit is to put a wooden stake in the center of the hole he has dug, tie him to the stake with his lease and leave him there for about 20 minutes.

Separation anxiety. To a dog that is seriously pining for your company, digging under those confining walls represents the most direct path to you. Separation anxiety is an unpleasant psychological issue relatively common among dogs but because it is so complex, we will not be dealing with it in details now. It will take a few more holes, but after you have several holes with stakes in the middle, he will relate the stake to the hole and being tied to the stake and the hole digging will stop.

Obinna Heche: Los Angeles- California

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