The Root of the Behavior
Let’s explore your dog’s ancestry for a moment. In the past, canines lived in the wild, which required them to have a variety of skills to survive. One of those skills was digging holes. This was required when dogs needed to cool off from hot temperatures, to hide from predators, to give birth to puppies, and to comfort themselves when they were sick. Today, most dogs are domesticated and don’t need this superior skill to survive but sometimes it kicks-in when the natural instinct is triggered. If your dog is digging holes, there is a reason behind the behavior that you need to discover. Ruling out sickness and injury is your first step. Dogs that dig holes to comfort themselves due to illness or pain often take a long time to dig the hole and most of the time they don’t finish due to feeling weak or unwell.
Domesticated dogs may attempt to dig a hole in the yard but they also hide under furniture and other objects indoors that provide a cozy place that is dark and has a cool temperature. They prefer to stay there for long periods of time and often don’t eat or drink water. If your dog is showing this type of behavior, you need to take him to the veterinarian immediately for an exam. Anxiety can also play a part in the cause of this natural behavior. Separation anxiety specifically is a popular reason dogs dig holes in a domestic environment. They feel nervous and anxious when left alone without the guidance and supervision of their pet parent. If your dog is digging holes while you are away from home but never attempts to do so in your presence, chances are they are experiencing separation anxiety. There are a variety of things you can do to resolve this type of anxiety in dogs.
Encouraging the Behavior
Discouraging your dog from digging holes due to separation anxiety takes patience and understanding. Your dog misses you and feels lonely so you need to find ways to comfort him while he is alone. Providing your dog with a dog crate where he can feel cozy and safe along with a specially made doggie sweater that is known for making dogs feel calm and comforted is an excellent place to start. If you don’t want to use a dog crate you can find an area in your home to designate to your dog. Use this area only for your dog and make it comfortable by including a dog bed, blanket, toys, water, and food.
Providing your dog with interactive toys that requires him to retrieve a treat out of the toy will keep him busy for a while and distract him from missing you. It cuts down his level of anxiety to an extent. Some dogs have separation anxiety no matter how cozy you make their area. For difficult cases, you can invest in a doggie camera that uses an app on your cell phone to communicate with your dog during the day while you are out of the house. You might find that your dog is extra special when it comes to solving separation anxiety that requires the assistance of a professional dog trainer.
Other Solutions and Considerations
The cause of digging holes can be related to a variety of issues. If you are not able to determine the cause on your own, you need to consult with a veterinarian. This should be your first stop on the road to discovering the cause because you need to rule out the possibility of an illness or injury. Once you receive confirmation from the veterinarian that your dog is completely healthy, you need to consult with a professional dog trainer. Experienced trainers observe the dog’s behavior closely to pinpoint any behavioral issues and the triggers that cause him to dig holes excessively