Digging is a natural and common behaviour in dogs.
Any of the Dogs closest ancestors, and many of his closest relatives still dig dens to raise their young or to escape heat or cold. Dogs and wild canines also dig to hide things they find valuable, like food, bones and other objects. Many dogs dig for the sheer fun of it!
Creating a Dig Pit can be a great way to enrich the home environment that your dogs lives in and also can provide a solution for dogs that naturally like to dig up your garden.
Because digging can be self rewarding in dogs & they find it so enjoyable, digging can prove difficult to control or stop. One of the best ways in which to approach to saving your garden is to give your dog a place where he is encouraged & is allowed to dig. Rather instead of you trying to stop what your dogs finds truly enjoyable, lets shape his behaviour & teach him to dig in a preferred position / place by creating a dig pit for your dog.
Locate an area in your yard to set up your dig pit. I prefer to use the “calm shells” that are designed for children’s sandpit/swimming pool or similar.
Fill the area with loose dirt or sand. A combination of both can be very attractive for your dog to dig in.
Encouraging your dog to use the Dig Pit
To encourage your dog to use his new Dig Pit, Hide & bury his treats, bones and toys—just below the surface of the dirt. You may need to show your dog how to uncover one or two treats hidden under the surface. Reward your dog with praise when he uncovers a treat by himself.
When your dog’s a pro at uncovering buried items, you can try burying his things deeper & even hiding treats inside of PVC tubing, Kong’s etc for your dog to dig up & then work on getting the treats out of the second “obstacle”
To keep your dog interested in the Dig Pit, you should replenish the hidden treasures buried on a regular basis.
By encouraging & rewarding your dog for digging only in the Dig Pit (via the hidden treats), your dog should automatically start to dig solely in his new pit.
Clam shells also make great splash pools for dogs on hot days.
I have a number of people ask “doesn’t that just encourage my dog to dig”? Yes it does but in a control place, why would your dog want to dig anywhere else in the garden if there are no treats to be found or praise received from his owner.