TIP #1: I'M BORED. CAN YOU DIG IT?
Dogs dig because it’s fun. Dogs love to bury or recover bones, dig out prey like mice and rats, or make a nice cooling pit when the weather is warm. Another reason dogs dig? Too much time spent alone in the yard.
If your dog absolutely loves to dig, create a digging area for him. Make a dig pit or use a large pot with loose potting soil. A dig pit can be a sandbox or a 3-by-6 foot area in your yard. Loosen about 2 feet of earth, and remove any nails or wire or such. A little sand mixed in helps drainage when it rains. Then:
TIP #2: EXPAND YOUR DOG'S TOOLBOX
When your dog has a limited number of tools, he will continue to use the ones that are the most readily available and familiar since those are the easiest to grab. If your dog's behavior toolbox includes impulsive or reactive behaviors and little else, he has no choice but to use the tools that have served him best in the past.
For training to be effective, your dog needs to learn how to handle different situations without grabbing the old tools from his toolbox. Those old tools will always be there, but as you teach your dog that he will be rewarded for calm and relaxed behaviors, those old tools will be buried deep at the bottom of the toolbox under all the new ones, making access to them difficult and unlikely.
- excerpted from Chill Out Fido!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI