Tuck the Siberian Husky has created a landscape reminiscent of the moon in his owner's backyard. Tuck’s owners previously had a terrier that used to dig up their yard, but they didn't think their Husky would follow in his footsteps. Why are Huskies so prone to digging holes too?
Huskies dig as part of their natural behavior to seek shelter, because they have a lot of energy, and because of a high prey drive. This makes your Husky a triple threat in the digging department! In the Arctic, a Husky would dig a hole in the snow and curl up inside, using the hole he dug as a den. Snow is an excellent insulator, and a hole would protect your Husky from windchill and trap body heat. While he may not have snow to dig in now, your Husky is still just as likely to use your flower garden to dig holes to fulfill his natural excavating instincts. You may not appreciate this, so training your Husky not to dig will be necessary.
Not only is your Husky highly motivated to dig holes to look for other critters, make a den for himself, or just because he is bored, but he is highly efficient at it. His big, sturdy, webbed paws and strong nails make excellent digging tools! He can dig a hole big enough to swallow a small truck in record time. You will want to discourage your Husky from digging up your backyard by managing energy and boredom and giving him alternative choices to entertain himself. Supervision and teaching a 'leave it' or 'stop it' command you can use when your Husky starts digging can also be effective. Some owners resort to negative consequences to correct digging behavior. Because digging is a natural instinct for your Husky, punishing him for it, or creating frightening negative consequence, can be confusing for him. However, your Husky may be putting himself in physical danger from digging, if he is digging under fences and escaping, or digging so deep he uncovers utility lines. In some cases, negative reinforcement may be required.
To train your Husky not to dig you will want to provide your dog with alternate methods of entertaining himself; chew items and toys can provide useful distractions. You may also need to spend some time supervising and correcting your Husky so he breaks his digging habit. Supervising your dog while outside to provide direction may be necessary. Burning off extra energy your Husky may be channeling into his digging projects is also useful, but will require time and effort on your part to provide exercise through walks, play and perhaps by giving your Husky a job to do.
Digging all the time and just don’t know what to do
Hello Jade, Is pup trying to dig outside in your yard? Does pup live outside or is this just happening when you take them out to go potty and run around? Is pup digging in one particular area, or everywhere in the yard? First, assuming the digging is outside in your yard, if pup lives outside all the time, the digging is likely because pup is bored and their need for mental stimulation and physical exercise isn't being met, and there is no one there to teach them not to dig - so they dig for entertainment. If that's the case I would change a few things in pup's day. First, I would have pup spend more time inside, crated when you can't be home to supervise pup. With you, supervised but uncrated to have more human interaction. I would spend time teaching pup something like fetch or Heel and use those as ways to give pup exercise. As well as spend some time throughout the week teaching pup commands to help with behavior, mental stimulation, boredom, communication, and simply make being with pup less stressful and more fun for you too. A trained dog is more fun to interact with and be able to do things with. Practice teaching pup Leave It and Out, and when pup goes outside with you, or if pup is already only doing the digging behavior when you take them outside, and they are an inside dog mostly right now, then take pup on a long training leash right now - 20 foot to 30 foot long. Whenever pup attempts to dig, tell pup "Ah Ah" calmly, and Out or Leave It. If pup obeys, praise and reward if pup doesn't return to the digging. If pup disobeys and digs, quickly reel pup in to you, away from the area, interrupting each digging attempt until pup starts to pay attention to your "Ah Ah" and Out or Leave It better and can be rewarded for obedience instead of having to be reeled in. Pup's access to the yard will need to be moderated for a while, until the habit is broken and pup becomes interested in doing something else each time they go into the yard to play, like chewing a safe chew toy (which I recommend providing in the yard) or playing fetch with you in the yard. If pup is digging in just one particular area, like your garden bed, you can also use an outdoor pet barrier device and corresponding collar to keep pup away from that area, once you have done the preliminary Out and Leave It type training. The barrier device needs to be done as part of the training I covered and just just by itself though, or pup is likely to just dig in a different location instead. Some people also like to create a sand box type area where pup is allowed to dig, and train pup that they can take their digging to that location, while prohibiting digging in other locations. This will still require a whole lot of supervision. I only recommend doing this if you plan to be super consistent about monitoring pup only digging in that box. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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