Expert Q&A

My dog is an incessant backyard digger, especially now that it’s summer. Why do you think my dog is doing this, and how can I get it to stop?

My dog is an incessant backyard digger, especially now that it’s summer. Why do you think my dog is doing this, and how can I get it to stop?

BY: The Dog Daily Expert

Dogs dig for a number of different reasons. The iconic bone-burying image demonstrates how canines dig to store coveted food and other objects. They will also dig to explore underground sounds and scents, often left behind by other animals. In your case, I think your dog is digging in an effort to stay cool. How can exerting itself lead to coolness?

Once your dog has created a hole big enough for itself, it can lie in it. The moist soil surrounding your pet can then help to disperse heat. Some shade may also result. Just the opposite can happen in winter, when holes can serve as beds that will conserve your canine’s body heat.

I therefore advise that you do two things. First, be sure to provide your dog with plenty of cool water and shade in your backyard. If the weather is very hot, don’t let your pet stay out there unsupervised. Better yet, keep it indoors where you might have the air-conditioner on.

Second, if space allows in your yard, consider building your dog a sandbox. Arden Moore describes how to do this in her wonderful book Happy Dog, Happy You. Basically, all you have to do is dig down about 18 inches and fill the hole with sand or soft dirt. Tuck treasures for your dog to find within this space. A few treats on top will clue your dog in on the fun that awaits it.


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