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Digging is common behaviour in many dogs, much to the worry of garden proud owners.

Wild dogs and the ancestors of our domestic dogs all dug dens in which to rear their litters and also dug to bury food which they could not immediately eat - a practice many of todays domestic breeds still follow.

Some types of dog are much more likely to dig than others, for instance the terriers, Dachshunds, Siberian Huskies etc.

The terriers and Dachshunds were developed to "go to ground", that is to follow the quarry into the underground den and to dig or drive it out. The Siberian Husky in his native country dug cavities in the snow for protection and in a suburban backyard he can still be an enthusiastic excavator.

Many dogs are simply attracted by the smell of freshly turned soil and may only be tempted to dig in the flower or vegetable garden.

Young puppies often learn to dig by watching their gardening owner and what may seem like cute playful behaviour at the time is not so amusing when the dog become a compulsive digger destroying lawns and flowerbeds.

It is always easier to prevent undesirable behaviour from the puppy stage than to try and alter a bad habit once it is developed. Young puppies should be reprimanded with a firm "no" when they are caught digging, followed by praise when they stop. A small fence around garden beds will be sufficient to keep young puppies away from freshly dug soil.

Older dogs which are diggers must be confined to areas where they cannot dig (concrete) and allowed access to the lawn or garden only under supervision so that the dog can be reprimanded when it digs.

A dog associates your displeasure at digging only when the reprimand is given precisely at the time the dog digs.

Dogs left alone at home all day are often the worst offenders.Bored dogs often dig under fences to escape. In these cases the fence lines must be secured or the dog must be confined to prevent escape and possible injury on the roads until his inclination to escape has been overcome.

Dogs which dig through boredom should be given walks and more human contact, all of which is nothing less than any dog should expect from its owner!

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Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 18/04/08 11:26 Views: 4076

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