Dog Digs Holes in Backyard, to Owner’s Chagrin

The dog trainer is in to answer your questions. Alexandra Macias, CPDT-KA owner and operator of the Long Beach-based Alex Macias dog training, will be sitting down and answering readers’ pet-related questions.

Dear Alex,

My Lab puppy, Clinton, loves to dig holes in our backyard. How can I stop him?

Amber

Hi Amber,

What a stinker Clinton is! I have found the most effective way to curb digging is to put our dog’s fresh poop in the hole. Dogs in general don’t like to dig up their own waste, so this should help.

Dogs tend to dig when they’re bored, and aren’t getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. I would suggest upping the number and duration of walks every week. Since Clinton is a Lab, he needs at least five one-hour walks every week. Walks are not only physical workouts, but they provide much-needed mental stimulation for your dog. When a dog is mentally tired, he or she is much less likely to perform nuisance behaviors such as digging.

If the walks are not enough, you may also want to try putting a backpack on him when he goes on walks. You can weigh it down with bottles of water, or plastic baggies of dry rice. The extra weight will add to his physical workout, but more importantly, the backpack will give him a job to do. This will add to his mental stimulation, which, again, will tire him out more, and help prevent digging.
Hope this helps! Good luck! WOOF!

– Alex

Alexandra (Alex) Macias,  CPDT-KA, has been a certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist since 2008, and is the owner of Alex Macias Dog training, a Long Beach-based dog training company. To ask Alexandra questions for a future article, leave them in the comments below, or email her at  [email protected]

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