Before stopping your golden retriever from digging holes all through out your garden and yard, you should be knowledgeable of the reasons behind digging, by knowing the reasons you can best address this behavior and control it.
Keep reading and we will list and address a number of reasons that can be motivating your golden retriever digging.
Digging can be motivated by many reasons, in the following list we will discuss what motives are there, and how you can stop golden retriever digging:
- Boredom and/or Lack of exercise – Golden retrievers are a very active and energetic breed, who requires daily exercise in order to spend this energy, and since digging is hard work, your dog could very well be digging just to spend some extra energy. Providing extra exercise is the most effective way to stop golden retriever digging.
- Attention seeking – Golden retrievers like human companionship and attention, more than most other breeds in general. Picture this situation: you and your dog out in the yard, your dog is playing around with his toys and you aren’t paying too much attention or none at all, he may become interested in some smell or sound coming from the ground and starts digging, then you go and stop him from digging, he stops and you walk away back to whatever you were doing. This is more common than you might think, and be sure your dog probably realized how effective this was to get you attention, and will likely try it again when he wants your attention.
- Saving food – Depending on how much and how often you feed your golden retriever, he might very well be digging a hole because he doesn’t fell too hungry at the moment and decided to save a few bones for those rainy days. One of the days you either forget feeding him or aren’t home to feed him, or simply you haven’t feed him enough food you will see him digging out these bones again. Determining the ideal amount of food your golden wants is the best way to stop golden retriever digging, when is it motivated by saving food purposes.
- Temperature control – It is common to seek cooler places in hot days, because of this dogs will dig holes roughly their size, in the shade or under something that provides cover from the sun to cool their body temperature. Golden retrievers have a fairly protective coating for the cold, but this sometimes becomes a problem in those hot days, and since a few teen to fifteen inches deep can provide an average five degrees Celsius cooler than outside, I wouldn’t be surprised if your dog would dig for that reason, specially if fresh water and good shade isn’t close by.
- Hunting instinct – Golden retrievers were bred to retrieve ducks and other small animals during hunting season and games, although this activity is usually initiated upon command by the hunter and owner of the dog. There are some however, who will exhibit these characteristics and dig holes where mice, gophers, voles and other animals of this kind have their holes or nests, this is motivated by the dog’s desire to maintain his ability and have a feeling of purpose.
- Den instinct – We all know dogs are driven in large part by instinct, and one of these instincts motivates dogs to dig holes under or facing shelter.
- Anxiety – Very much like us, dogs also experience anxiety triggered by many reasons, an expected walk on the park, a bowl of delicious treats, or on the negative side, some traumatic experience whose feelings were triggered by some recent event. In order to relieve it some dog will engage in repetitious behaviors because they often relieve stress.
- Escape or fence fight for territorial assertion – Dogs sometimes dig holes along side the perimeter and corners of fences, this is often motivated by one of two things, your dog can have the desire to escape and go see what else is outside and experience new things, the other one is about territorial issues, golden retrievers place their family and space on high priority and sometimes they aren’t too found of newcomers on the neighborhood.
As you see there are many reasons capable of motivating your dog to begin digging all over the place, some reasons are easier to resolve and make sure such need no longer is a motivating factor, however other reasons aren’t so easy to solve and address. Either way, as general rule of thumb there is techniques and training to stop golden retriever digging. They focus on partially or completely removing the motives behind digging, and most importantly, adjusting your dog behavior with simple training and positive reinforcement so that he no longer sees digging as an positive and rewarding behavior.
Stop digging might not be an easy task for you to accomplish alone without proper training and knowledge, if you find you aren’t making progress, it would be a good idea to find a professional trainer or a good guide.
The most effective and easier approach to stop your golden retriever from digging is to direct his energy to other interests, they love to play games, ball throwing, fetching are among their favorites, join with your dog on these activities and others of this kind. Golden retrievers are very energetic and don’t like to be bored, these games and other activities like running, walking and swimming if you can, are great to occupy your golden enough that he will no longer dig anything else because his too tired and satisfied with all the activities he did.
Although if after all this you still find your couldn’t stop golden retriever digging, you might want to consider the following course of action. Don’t allow your dog on the yard alone, whenever your dog is out in the yard, play with him and the toys he likes, or you can do some obedience training, and whenever he starts to dig again, simply say “No” calmly and remove him from the yard, bare in mind not to give him any sort of attention afterwards for a while. After some times like this, he will learn that those times in the yard mean fun and playing, but not digging.
Other things you might try is to fence the most sensitive parts of the yard, gardens and vases with flowers. You can also spray the areas he commonly chooses to dig, some people use the strongest pepper they can find instead, others plan a special kind of plant which smell is too strong for dogs to handle.
Out off all the approaches possible to stopping golden retriever digging it is best to exercise and have fun with your dog, playing games and walking or running, making sure he isn’t bored and full of energy to spend, coupled with a bit of authority whenever necessary, a perfect example of this is how we advised you to say “No” remove him from yard earlier.
Whatever way you pursue remember digging is typical and natural of dogs, just apply what you learned by reading this article and try not to become angry and don’t be too hard on your dog.