Digging can be a symptom of a dog suffering from boredom or anxiety.
Initially you need to consider: Is my dog getting enough stimulation through exercise, walking and toys? Or, is my dog uncomfortable being alone or in the yard?
If digging only occurs when you’re not with the dog, you need to consider the above, that is, treating the boredom and/or anxiety.
If your dog is burying bones or food, you may be over-feeding the dog, causing it to instinctively store it for later.
However, some dogs just love to DIG, and young dogs often go through a “digging phase”!
They might dig to get food, bury food, get to cool soil, try to find something new, or try to escape.
Without the use of any form of punishment, the best way to deal with problem digging is to provide the dog with an area that it is allowed to use for digging. You may want to get a children’s clam shell (we’ve used this one before) and fill it with dirt or sand. The digging area should be somewhere cool and in the shade if you have an open yard. Show your dog that it is allowed to bury its toys, bones or dry treats in the digging permitted area.
Hopefully your dog will enjoy digging in this area so much that it will leave the rest of your yard alone.
Other tools that may deter dogs from digging include: spraying/covering the area they like to dig in daily with something undesirable such as their own poo, citronella spray, bitterant or chicken wire.
If you are using any of the deterrent methods, please be careful and do so under some form of supervision. In the case of deterrents such as chicken wire or spray, a dog may potentially become distressed or hurt themselves, or they may have an allergic reaction to something you have used.