Dogs have a lot of loveable natural qualities, but they also have some not-so-cute behaviors. Digging is one of the latter, but it can persist as they bury bones, create impromptu shelters, and just feel the dirt between their paws.
While it is a natural instinct in dogs, digging can be detrimental to your yard and to your dog’s discipline. How can you get your living breathing shovel to stop?
Why does your dog dig? Does he just like the action and feeling or is there another reason lurking underneath? Figuring out why your dog is engaging in this undesirable behavior is the first step in correcting it.
However, there may be other reasons including lack of attention or stimulation, storing food, or he's building a den to cool off or stay warm. Alternately, he may be attracted to freshly turned earth or the scent of fertilizer.
If you can determine why your dog is digging, you can take appropriate action. For instance, do you notice your dog digging when it is very hot? He could simply be seeking some shelter from the sun. Remedying the situation by getting a doghouse or taking the dog inside will most likely stop the digging. Dog training collars can help to change bad habits.
If the problem persists, try one of the following:
3. Unpleasant sensations can also help keep your dog from digging. Bury some chicken wire just below the surface of the ground. When his claws scratch the wire, he’ll often hate the feeling so much he’ll stop.
4. Spray him with a hose. Dogs hate being sprayed, especially in the face. Make sure if you do this that you have caught him in the act of digging or he won't know why you're spraying him.
Digging doesn't have to be a part of your dog's normal routine. With a little work and training, you can get past this behavior and have a hole-free yard. Just like with puppy potty training, mischievous habits can be corrected.
Clicker Training – A Great Training Technique
You want to teach your dog acceptable behavior in a gentle, humane way. Many people have found success with the clicker method.
Operant conditioning is the repetition of a behavior when a reward is given. This is the premise behind clicker training. How does it work?
You will need a clicker. This is simply a handheld plastic box. A metal strip is attached. Depressing the strip causes a sharp click.
Ask your dog to perform a command, such as sit, stay, heel, etc. When he does, click right away and give your dog a treat. You are pairing the clicking sound with the treat.
Your dog will connect the clicking sound with the behavior he just performed. Since that behavior earned him a treat, he’ll want to repeat it. As the training progresses, you can stop using the treat. The click will be sufficient reward. Soon, you don’t even need the clicker either.
You can often train dogs with clickers faster and more effectively than with other means. Clicking is immediate, so your dog quickly learns that his behavior is producing the treat. This encourages repetition of the desired behaviors.
Dogs want to make you happy, and performing commands is a great way for them to do this. And get a treat in the process. The clicker is a great training tool for encouraging good behavior.
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