Often, people who visit Rocky’s Retreat ask whether we’re going to get rid of what looks like a sand pit in the back yard and replace it with grass, even artificial grass. To that we give a resounding NO!
Many dogs LOVE to dig! They dig for many reasons, like they’re hot and want to cool down, or because they’re bored. And as long as you can control it by teaching your dog where he’s allowed to dig, it’s a fine thing to do. Plus, it’s a great exercise for the forelimbs. That’s why we encourage our boarding and daycare dogs to engage in digging activities, and why we’ll never replace our wonderful back yard sand pit with grass! Plus, our moms and dads report that because we allow digging, their dogs have no interest in digging at home. Another plus!
To teach your dog where he can dig, first set up a sand box or designated area of the yard where he’ll be allowed to dig. Bury something he will treasure, like a bone, and let him see you do it. When he digs it up, praise him. Do this repeatedly until he learns. You can even teach him to dig on command!
If he starts to dig in another area of the yard, take him back to his allowed digging spot, and praise him. Do this consistently until he gets the idea. Instead of punishing your dog for inappropriate digging, spend the time to teach your dog what you want him to do. You’ll have a healthier and happier dog in return!