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Welcome to Diana Guerrero's Ark Animals Training & Therapy. This section is dedicated to pets, companion animals, and topics related to their care and training. This Ark Animals article discusses the topic of destructive digging. You should get professional help for pet problems. You should always seek professional help for pet problems.

Pet Behavior Problems: Destructive Digging

Got a digging dog? Do the holes in your yard make you feel like you live in a mine field? The first step to solving any behavior problem is understanding what the motivation is behind it. Most people wait too long before they will try to extinguish a behavior problem.

The time to act is immediately. If you delay taking action the behavior that could have been eliminated quickly and easily, becomes entrenched and so will require a lot more time & energy to resolve.

Dogs will dig for a variety of purposes. Find the reason and you can identify the right approach to stop the behavior. Reasons dogs dig include:

  • Boredom
  • Lack of activity or exercise
  • Escape behavior
  • Heat
  • Breed traits
  • Denning instinct
  • Storage or "caching"
  • Mimicry

Animals left alone outside will have about 60% more behavior problems than other animals. They often experience a lack of attention or activity, and will often be bored. Digging solves both challenges because things dug up may smell good or taste divine. The exertion is a good fuel burner too. So if you have this situation, there are some simple adjustments you are going to need to make.

Escape behavior may first surface as holes around the perimeter fencing. Unaltered or bored animals are prone to be motivated this way.

If you are in an area where the heat gets to be fierce, then digging might be something your pet does when the summer weather hits. Target areas are usually anywhere the underlying earth is moist and cool!

Breed traits will also contribute to tunneling problems. Arctic breeds tend to burrow more, terriers and other hunting types will also dig if there are burrowing animals around..

Some creatures will have more of a predisposition to want to establish a den. Critters with more of an instinctive urge may become involved in this behavior. I do not encourage wolf-dog hybrids for many reasons and they are one of the types of animals that will dig in this way.

Pregnant bitches will sometimes destructively dig. Storage of toys, chew items, or edible goodies is something called "caching." This can be another instinctive behavior, but it is common in many animals.

Mimicry can complicate this behavior problem. You could trigger the behavior by gardening or digging post holes! Other animals can also teach their buddies to do this too.

Solving a digging problem will depend on why the animal is excavating, the household routine, other animals, and environmental influences. Extreme cases can usually be addressed within an eight to twelve week period with only one or two behavior sessions.

If you are experiencing this behavior problem help is just a phone call away! Hire Animal Expert

About the columnist: Since 1978 Diana L. Guerrero has worked professionally with both wild and domestic animals. Guerrero has been affiliated with, and certified by, a variety of animal programs in the USA and Europe. Based in California, she writes, consults, and speaks. Information on her animal career programs, training courses, and her books {What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality (SkyLight Paths, 2003), Blessing of the Animals (Sterling, 2007), Help! My Pet is Driving Me Crazy (Guerrero Ink, 2007), Animal Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners & Pet Professionals (Guerrero Ink, 2007)} can be found in this web site and in the shop. Questions for Guerrero should be submitted via the blog comments or membership forum.


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