We all know it’s in a dog’s nature to DIG right? At least if we don’t we ought to KNOW that…it’s sort of a duh ya know! What I have always done – well after Shadrach came along that is lol – is have a place in my yard where they CAN dig.
At my former home I called it the Digging Garden lol. To help my dogs learn they can dig there but not dig up the grass is I just stop them in the act. Then I take this dog over to the place where they CAN dig and start digging using their paws – seriously I that is what I do!
Dogs are smarter than we often give them credit for – they always figure out quickly it is okay to dig in that area so they do. Sometimes almost to China LOL!
Now where I live we have an upper yard that is landscaped and a lower yard (a gate divides them) that is all natural flora, fauna and sand/dirt. My dogs are allowed to dig there anywhere – and they do.
My Great Dane Meshach dug a trench once so deep that when he laid down in it, it the equivalent of what the guys in the military dig. He would lie in it and all you could see was the top of his head. He would watch all the prey animals intently while lying in there. I thought it was pretty cool he did this and what he did while in it. He got to be a dog in other words. I like letting them be their carnivore predator selves as much as possible.
Here is an article you can read on how to stop your dog digging, but my premise is to find a way they CAN dig rather than trying to stop them from being what they are – DOGS!
Let me share with you a snippet from my book, Animals Taught Me That, Chapter 26, “Shadrach the Neo Mastiff…nuthin’ but the dog in him!“, page 192 published in 2009:
“We had our ‘yard challenges‘ as well. He thought hose nozzles and hoses were great fun to destroy, but we corrected that behavior right away by switching to metal nozzles and teaching him that the hose was off limits – except for summertime bathing which he loved as a puppy. I eventually found the best fix later – but I’m getting ahead of myself. Shadrach also thought digging up our nice lawn in the backyard was great fun. As soon as I caught him at it, I’d stop him with a firm, ‘NO!‘ and then take him over to a portion of the yard reserved for his ‘digging‘, take hold of a paw and begin digging with it. I’d say, ‘Dig, dig, dig!‘ with a high-pitched tone of voice so he’d know that the intention was fun. He quickly got the message that it was okay to dig as much as he liked there, but not in the grass. When he had a ‘wild hair up his behind‘, such as dogs behave when excited, he’d run over to his ‘digging spot‘ (aka digging garden) and dig nearly to China! It was the funniest thing to watch, and Shadrach enjoys it to this day – actually he has a much larger digging garden now at our new desert home.”
While Shadrach is no longer with us (he passed away April 5, 2011) what he taught me on allowing dogs a way to relieve their need to dig naturally, has lived on with us and each subsequent dog that has graced our home (3 all together since he passed with two of those still living).
Since then I’ve shared this information on podcasts and in my writings in the hopes that some would provide dogs a way to indulge their need to dig without destroying our yards. It coincides in much the same way with people having Catios built for their cats to be able to be outside, climbing and being in the fresh air but without the danger of them roaming.
If we are going to have them in our care, in domesticity, then we need to find ways to allow them their nature as outlets. This makes for a LOT happier and healthier dog – mentally, emotionally and physically. It is our privilege to have them so it ought also be our obligation in joy to provide them these simple pleasures as much as we are capable.
Can you DIG it?!
Until next time…
Have a pawsitively tail waggin’, NATUROPATHICALLY healthy day!
Kim Bloomer, V.N.D., N.D. is an animal naturopath as well as being certified in small animal nutrition, with years of experience in animal wellness. Dr. Kim is a published author, writer, blogger, host of the DOGgone Truth podcast and Founder of the online distance learning school, Kingdom School of Natural Animal Health. Copyright ©2005-2023 Aspenbloom Pet Care, Dr. Kim Bloomer, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author/Publisher. This article is intended to be educational. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a qualified animal health professional. Dr. Kim Bloomer and Aspenbloom Pet Care, do not assume any legal responsibility for misuse of the products discussed in this article. The only essential oils referenced on this website are Young Living.