Walking in the Rain With Your Dog

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Does Your Dog Like the Rain?

Some dogs love being outdoors, especially in the rain. They love exploring the world and the next street corner. You might be tired of the same scenery day after day, but your dog doesn’t care about that. Your canine might go through the same street over and over again and they won’t mind, because they focus on the smell.

Sniffing in the Rain

Dog’s most powerful tool is their nose, and they use it to get familiar with space, people, and other animals. Thanks to their ability to sniff, they can find their way home. So, any walk – no matter how short it may be – is a real adventure to your canine. Plus, walks are mandatory to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Exercise

“It’s starting to RAIN!!”

On top of that, walks are a great way to give your dog the exercise they need. Some days are better for a calm stroll than others are.

There are dogs that really love water and won’t mind running in the rain, while there are those who can’t stand a single drop of water on their back.

Some Dogs Dislike the Rain

“Why does it have to be raining?”

They are so against walking in the rain, that they would hold on and miss potty time for hours.

Yet, this isn’t a healthy habit, and your dog should be taught to go out even on rainy days at least for a few minutes to do their business.

Here is how to make walking your dog in the rain a practical and fun experience.

Walking In The Rain Tips

Dog owners know that once you get a dog, you need to do whatever is in your power to keep them happy and healthy. That includes walking in the rain. Therefore, most dog owners will have no issues walking their dogs all year round.

You may love the rain or hate it, but you can’t avoid it as a dog owner. Here is how to stay dry, all year round.

Weather-appropriate Clothing

You shouldn’t avoid rainy days. Yes, rainy days are more challenging when you have a pet, especially if your pet has a white coat like a Pomeranian or White Swiss Shepherd.

“I already took a bath in that mud puddle!”

Although you should think about cleaning their paws and stomach, you shouldn’t forget about your own outfit first.

You shouldn’t get sick. Who would take care of your dog if you can’t leave your home?! Think about that and dress well. Make sure that you invest in weather-appropriate clothing for both you and your dog. There are many models to choose from raincoats and rain boots for your canine. These items are carefully designed to keep them dry and happy.

Plus, they really look adorable with a raincoat on.

“I need a better raincoat. My legs are still getting wet!”

Take Extra Care of Paws

Dog boots are great gear when it’s snowing. Dogs’ paws are sensitive and industrial salt spread on the streets can harm their paws. They may become inflamed, and a strong feeling of irritation can occur, that must be treated with specific medications.

To avoid this, veterinarians recommend using winter/rainy boots when their is snow.

Yet, some owners choose to put boots on their dogs even when it’s raining. Before you decide to do this, know that dogs prefer their paws free of extra clothing.

Coming In From the Rain

Once you return from your walk, make sure that you clean the paws properly and dry them well. It’s best to use a soft cloth. For extra protection and healthier paws, you can shop paw protectors.

For muddy paws, this is an easier alternative.

Think About Visibility

It would be hard to see this woman with her dog!

Rain usually comes with bad weather. The lighting is often non-existing when it rains, plus it can be challenging to see clearly outside your car when heavy rain pours. With that in mind, you should think about visibility. In fact, visibility is one of the most important aspects of walking dogs in rain.

If you and your puppy are protected and easy to spot, you are in fact safe from a potentially unsafe situation. Have at least one cloth item with reflective strips on your gear, to make sure that you are visible in traffic.

For your dog, you can have a light up collar or a vest with reflective straps on.

Make The Walks Short and Sweet When There’s Rain

“I hate this crap!”

Long walks are usually reserved for warmer days of the year, so you don’t have to force them during the rainy ones.

Your dog’s safety and comfort come first, so if there is heavy rain, shorten the walk. It should be long enough until your dog wishes to go inside. It’s usually enough to let them go to the toilet. Then they will be ready to be a couch potato for the rest of the day.

Inside Games When it is Raining

“You better not trick me!”

Since dogs love playing, on rainy days you should focus on indoor games. There are great ways to keep your dog entertained indoors as well.

Be Nice When it Rains

Human: “You just have to potty right there and come back in.” Dog: “I better not get wet!”

As a general rule, you should monitor your dog’s behavior and respect their wish and never force them to stay outside longer than needed.

If your dog is uncomfortable with the conditions, make enough place for their safety and health.

Go to the Dog Park (By Car)

“I love running around with friends in the rain.”

If you want to reduce exposure to the rain as much as possible, you should ride in a car. You can give your dog a ride to the dog park, have fun there, and head home to a dry and warm place.

While in the dog park, you can probably find a sheltered area. It tends to be muddy in the dog park, so bring enough towels to clean your canine before they jump back into the car.

Don’t forget to use a car seat covering when heading to a dog park on a rainy day. These seat covering should trap the hair of dogs that shed a lot, and save your time from washing your car. Coverings are washable and reusable, making them a must-have dog gear.

Beware of Puddles

Dogs love messy areas. In fact, the bigger the puddle, the more fun they will have. To you, drinking out of a muddy puddle can seem disgusting, but for them it’s perfect. To avoid a complete disaster, keep your dog on a short leash when walking past puddles.

Rain brings debris, dirt, and oils and they join the water and end up in stagnant puddles. This can make them very sick and will need to see a veterinarian immediately. In some cases, dogs can contract leptospirosis (an infectious bacteria disease) or other diseases. (There is a vaccine for leptospirosis.)

Keeping Your Car and Home Clean and Dry

As mentioned earlier, always have a towel for paws and body cleaning. You need to dry those paws and legs, and probably the stomach area, properly. If your dog has long hair, you might think about blow-drying if your dog allows it. It’s important to dry your dog as soon as you come home.

Think about house rules. Where can your dog can go when their fur is wet? You should train them not to jump on the couch until they are completely dry. Blocking other areas can be helpful as well, like blocking access to bedrooms.

The Bottom Line

Dogs are happy to spend time with their owners, regardless of the weather. As long as they feel loved and comfortable they won’t mind walking in bad weather.

Walking in the rain shouldn’t become a dramatic problem. It’s all about how well you train your dog.

Take it slow, step by step. Have the right rain gear that your dog is comfortable in. With all that, walking in a rain shouldn’t be an issue.

Walking a dog in rain is a mandatory part of being a responsible dog owner, and getting outdoors is beneficial both for you and your dog. Regular walks are mandatory if you want to have a healthy pet. Enjoy every rainy walk!

Puppy Potty Training At Night

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Should You Wake Your Puppy up to Potty at Night?

“I’m having a pee dream.”

It’s easy for most pet owners to potty train their pups for the daytime. Pet owners usually know the drill. They take the puppy out when they wake up in the morning, once they have eaten, and any other time they start to get a little too sniffy. The main issue starts when night arrives. And you have to remember that puppies are, after all, babies. So are you wondering should I wake my puppy up to pee at night? Then you have to remember that potty training puppies do mean more work and less sleep. This will ultimately pay off when you see that your dog is conducting most of their business outside. So read on to find out why and how you can train your pup for overnight potty sessions.

The Details To Night Time Potty Training

Most pup owners are yet to comprehend the fact that it takes a huge load of work to raise a puppy. You need to carry out the potty training and command training in tandem. In the meantime, you need to ensure that your puppy has enough chew toys so that they leave your shoes alone. Your puppy is a bundle of energy, and if you are still not sure if you should wake your puppy up to pee at night, then be rest assured you need to wake up at night to take them out as part of the potty training.

It’s All About The Age

If you are an owner of a young puppy, then it must be under your serious consideration to take your pup out to pee at night by waking them up. You must know that puppies that are below four months are not well capable of controlling or holding their urine throughout the whole night. At some point in the night, they will get the signal to pee from their bodies. If they aren’t trained, be prepared to find a mess in their crate or on the floor in the morning. So add it to your task list to take your puppy out to pee at least once during the night.

Setting Up The Crate

You should not give in to the urge to get a crate that is too large for your dog. A dog normally does not want to soil the area they sleep in. You should look for a crate that is big enough for them to just turn around in. As they grow bigger, you can get larger crates. This added expense will be worth it when you consider a better experience for the potty training. You need to wait until your dog is completely trained and has grown fully before getting the bigger crate that you always wanted for your dog.

There are some crates that you can buy that has a divider that you can put in while they are small, then take it out when they grow into the crate.

Get Prepared For Bedtime

Ensuring that there are no untoward incidents the whole night with your pup requires more than just setting the alarm. The bedtime needs to be prepared for by taking all the required precautions that warrant an accident-free night. The best practice is to feed dinner to your puppy at least 4 hours before they go to bed and pull up their water a couple of hours before bedtime. To some, it might seem like a cruel practice. But in reality, you will not be dehydrating or starving your puppy.

In fact, if you feed your pup early and pull their water a considerable amount of time before bed, you will be ensuring that your puppy will finish their business well before they go to sleep. To make this happen, you need to take them out right before you put them to bed. So if you are still thinking, should I wake my puppy up to pee at night? Your question can be answered by feeding your pup early.

Set The Alarm for Night Potty Time

The alarm should be set for just after 4 hours of your pup going to bed. You must be sure to follow this, especially for the youngest puppies. You need to get the timing just right enough for your pup to have enough in their body to do their business, but not late enough so that they cannot get out the door. If you notice that the pup has already soiled the area, you need to set the alarm for 3 hours instead of 4 for next time. And if the crate has not been soiled, then set it for 15 minutes later than the previous time.

“HURRY UP!!. I GOTTA GO!!”

By shifting the times around according to the situation, you can reduce the likelihood of a re-occurrence. The main objective of the whole process is to make sure that your pup does not go inside the house under any circumstance, no matter what.

Going To The Night Potty Area

“I’m half awake, but I really needed to potty. Thank you!”

Once your furry friend is up at night, you need to calmly take them to the area that you have designated for potty. Be sure not to do anything that might give them the impression that it is now time to play. Your dog must realize that potty time is for business only, not for playing or anything else, especially if it’s at night since you do want to get some sleep afterward. If they start to sniff around, quickly ask them to go potty. Once your pup has finished doing their business, you should praise them in a calm and quiet manner. Be sure to not let any situation get over-the-top during the alarm potty sessions of nighttime, or none of you will get any sleep afterward.

Going Back To Bed

“Now back to dreaming.”

After your dog has finished their business, do not waste any time and take them right back inside the house to their crate. Just part with them with a “good pup” and quickly go back to your own bed. Do not stay back with your dog for any period of time, as this might result in un-training the sleep routine you tried so hard to enforce in the first place. The whole target of the process should be to minimize night time disruption and get the business done as quickly as possible.

Summary of Potty Training at Night

You might be concerned about should I wake my puppy up to pee at night? There is no alternative to waking up at night with your puppy for the night time potty training to be successful. If your puppy is really young, you might need to get up twice every night. But their bladder will grow as they get older. You will come down to waking up once every night soon. And then eventually you will not need to get up at night at all. You have to be patient and persistent throughout this whole process if you want the training to be successful. So follow the tips mentioned in this article to get the best results for potty training.

26 Helpful “Dog Chart” That Owners Should Have Around

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“Dog Chart” to Help You Take Care of Your “Fur Baby”

Scanning through long posts can take hours to find what you are looking for. I’ve found the best chart for each dog problems and questions people regularly have. Go ahead and print these out for guidance and sharing!

1. This dog body language translation chart to help you decode your pup’s many strange behaviors!!!


2. This chart on how much exercise your dog’s breed should get every day.


3. This incredibly insightful chart on how dogs sleep (FACT: Dogs don’t follow a binary sleeping pattern like we do!!!)


4. This adorable chart on where the world’s dog breeds are from originally!!!


5. This graphic on dog breeds and their many varying characteristics


6. Benefits of positive reinforcement training!!!!


7. This chart on how dogs age, with Tom Hanks as the reference, naturally


8. This quick lil’ dog leash etiquette lesson


9. This how-to on the Heimlich maneuver, aka how to help your dog if they’re ever choking on something


10. This potentially lifesaving info on heat stroke


11. This handy-dandy dog barking decoder


12. This infographic on the most common health issues for popular breeds


13. This fascinating chart on wolf-to-dog evolution!!!!!!


14. This VERY important guide on car safety for pupperinos!


15. This brief chart on puppy dog eyes, among other things!


16. This helpful chart on which fruits your dog can and can’t eat


17. And this guide on lots of other safe and not-so-safe foods!


18. Easy-to-digest chart on the different types of service dogs, for anyone who might be a little confused


19. How to do CPR on your dog (in case of emergencies)


20. Which over-the-counter meds should be OK to give to your pup (but be sure to double-check with your vet, just to be safe!)


21. How to *properly* clean your stinky one’s ears


22. This guide on how to train your dog with hand signals


23. Of course, I had to include a tail translation guide!!!


24. Need more info on dog behaviors? How about facial expressions and noises?!


25. This Chew-o-meter for anyone who needs help picking out a new chew for their fur baby!


26. And lastly, this sweet lesson on filling your dog’s “emotional cup”

I hope these simple guides help you build a wonderful bond with your fur baby!

How to Communicate With Your Dog

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When communicating with our dogs, it’s not just what we say. It’s how we say it and more importantly, what we do. They observe our visual and verbal cues and both cues need to be sending the same message. We become more aware of the signals we send to our dogs and how they perceive them. We can cut down the number of everyday frustrations and communicate more clearly to our dogs.

The Dog Head Tilt

Does your dog ever give you a blank stare when you ask them to follow a simple cue such as “sit”? Do you want your dog to play with you, and you do everything to get their attention. Do they don’t seem to get it. There are fascinating studies about how best to communicate with our dogs and why cues and signals. How they are given can enhance how our dogs to understand us.

How Dogs Interpret Communication With Humans

Let’s start with how dogs might interpret signals to play with us. In a paper, Do dogs respond to play signals given by humans?” lead researcher Nicola Rooney, University of Bristol in the UK, wanted to know what play signals are the most successful.

So they filmed 21 dog/owner pairs playing—or at least, attempting to play. In what could surely have been billed as a comedy. Owners patted the floor, barked, bowed, shuffled their feet, slapped their thighs, crawled on all fours. Anything to get their dogs to romp with them.

The researchers videotaped the sessions and meticulously catalogued, recorded and identified common actions used by owners to solicit play. They then tested to see which signals actually worked.

Bowing in a human version of a dog play-bow, as well as lunging while verbally encouraging the dog, usually elicited play.

Other gestures like:

  • tickling the dog as though they were a human infant
  • or stamping one’s feet as though dislodging last week’s dried mud from hiking boots

That just earned blank looks. And surprisingly, patting the floor and clapping were less than 50 percent successful. What’s more, while barking at, kissing or picking up the little pooches probably brought on laughs from the researchers. Most dogs failed to find these actions amusing.

“I thought humans were suppose to be smart and the alpha.”

As interesting as these findings were, the real message—one that stayed with me—was what came next. Upon analyzing the data, the researchers found that some actions tended to instigate play while others resulted in silent stares. The frequency with which the owners used the signals was unrelated to their success. In other words, owners tended to use unsuccessful gestures even after they were demonstrated not to work. And there I had it, scientific proof: Dogs are smarter than humans!

Dogs Learn By Trial-And-Error

Well, at least in some ways dogs top human because dogs are champions at trial-and-error learning. They have all day to try things out and see what works.

“Please pay attention to me.”

For instance, want to play fetch when your people aren’t interested? Grab a tennis ball and drop it at your human’s feet. Then bark until they finally pick it up and toss it. Getting the silent treatment? Bark longer and louder—you’ll eventually get a response. Or, choose the right time, like when your human’s on the phone. That’s when they’ll do anything to get you to shut up.

While dogs are masters of this style of learning, we humans are hindered by our much-vaunted cognitive abilities. Armed with the wonderful capacity to observe and imitate, we copy the behaviors we see, whether they work or not. Clouded by our preconceptions of the techniques we’re supposed to use, we forget to stop and evaluate whether our actions or methods actually work.

This might seem like fun and games when it’s just us dancing around trying to get our dogs to play. At worst, when our pooch refuses to romp, we attribute it to them not being in the mood. But when it comes to something more important (like coming when called or sitting on command) a dog’s failure to perform can result in them being labeled “stubborn” or “stupid”. Because what else could it be?

Dogs Learn Visual Vs. Verbal Cues Better

Well, according to a series of research studies by Daniel Mills (veterinarian and researcher in Behavioral Studies and Animal Welfare at the UK’s University of Lincoln). With play signals, much poor performance could be attributed to dogs’ inability to decipher our signals. It turns out that even if our dog responds to our commands some of the time, they may not know what they mean as well as we think they do.

According to Mills, a number of factors determine how well our dogs perceive the message we intend to give. One is whether the signal is verbal or visual. We humans are used to communicating by talking. Mills’ research indicates that this may not be the best mode of communication with dogs. In an experiment to test which signal type takes precedence, Mills and his colleagues trained dogs to respond to a verbal right and left cue as well as a visual pointing cue for the same behaviors. To guard against bias that could be created by the order of teaching, half of the dogs were initially trained using verbal cues and the other half, using visual cues.

Testing Ways To Communicate

Then they tested the dogs by placing a treat-holding container on either side of the subject. One box on the right and one on the left. When they gave the “left” cue, the dog got the food reward if they ran to the box on the left. If they ran to the wrong box, they received no reward. Once dogs consistently responded correctly to verbal and visual cues alone, the cues were given together, with a twist. The researchers gave a verbal signal for one direction and a visual signal for the other to see which one the dogs would follow.

For anyone whose dog competes seriously in agility, the results were a no-brainer. The dogs consistently followed the visual pointing cue and ignored the verbal cue. This dynamic plays out on every agility course. A dog will usually go where the handler’s body is pointing rather than where the handler might be verbally trying to send them.

Giving Dogs Mixed Signals

This bias toward the visual as opposed to the verbal can pose problems for dogs even in everyday life. Mills says, “This simple example emphasizes that when training dogs, we have to realize that dogs may be reading signals we’re not aware of”. So when your voice tells the dog to do one thing but your body tells them to another, they’re not being stubborn. They may just be reading a different message than the one you think you’re sending.

“I’m not sure what you’re trying to tell me. Am I supposed to be doing something?”

Even when we’re purposefully sending visual commands to our dogs, such as in the obedience trial ring or field trials or other long-distance work, there’s more to the signal than we might think. Says Mills, “In a similar study, we looked at the dog’s response to different visual right-and-left cues. We compared eye movement and head movement to the right or left with pointing right or left, but keeping the eyes and head looking forward”. Using six dogs, they found that dogs found the hidden food source faster when the two signals were presented together. Which, Mills says, suggests that “Dogs are taking in the whole picture of what’s going on”. That is, they don’t look at our hands or our head, they look at our entire body. As a result, if all signals are not consistent, dog can become confused.

Pronunciation Matters To Dogs

Do these studies mean we should scrap verbal commands altogether and focus on the visual signals? Obviously, dogs can learn verbal commands, because we use them all the time and some dogs respond correctly on a regular basis. But perhaps even those who respond don’t know the cues as well as we think. Mills and his colleagues performed a series of studies to test this, too. First, they tested slight variations in the commands to see if dogs recognized them as the same words. They taught dogs to stand and stay. Then, from five feet away, the trainer gave either a “come” command or a “sit” command.

“Are you speaking proper English?”

Once the dogs were reliable about responding correctly, the researchers changed the command words slightly. In place of “sit,” they used “chit,” “sat” and “sik,” and in place of “come,” they used “tum,” “keem” and “kufe”. The results? In general, dogs did not respond as well to the similar-sounding words. Taken from another viewpoint, they were able to recognize that the similar-sounding words were not the same as the commands they had learned. This sounds like no big deal. But, Mills says, “From a practical point of view, due to slight differences in how handlers pronounce words, obedient response to one handler’s commands won’t necessarily transfer to another unless the phonemic characteristics are mimicked.”

Do Dogs Respond To Recorded Cues?

“No matter how many times I listen, I still don’t understand.”

You might think you could get around this by tape-recording the command and just playing it back. Mills found that dogs don’t respond to tape-recordings as though they were a real-time human voice. In yet another experiment, a “come” or “sit” command was given in one of four conditions:

  • from a person sitting in a chair
  • from the same person wearing sunglasses to prevent visual cues
  • both conditions
  • command from tape recorder behind the person

Mills reports, “Dogs made many more errors when the tape recorder was used.”

“Slow down. I’m trying to read your lips.”

Such errors could be attributed to the dogs distinguishing a difference between the tape-recorded and live voice command. Another hypothesis is that dogs also rely on lip movement or some other indication that the human is speaking to them. In fact, in a fifth variation, the handler uttered the “come” or “sit” cue while looking away from the dogs. They again made many errors, indicating that orientation of the handler is important.

By now, it should be clear: Be aware of visual signals, as they may override the verbal commands. Make sure all of your signals mean the same thing. Your message may look more like a dubbed version of Godzilla than a clear-cut cue. When you do use verbal cues, make sure everyone says them exactly the same way. Also you can train your dog that slight variations mean the same thing. And if you plan on your dog responding correctly to your verbal commands when you’re out of sight or facing away, you’ll have to specifically train them to do so.

Communicate: Emotional Expression of Cues Count to Dogs

And that’s not the end of it. Turns out that the emotional content of your message is important too. Mills’ group trained dogs to reliably come or sit when a handler was standing five feet away behind a screen. Then they tested to see how dogs responded to different emotional contents. The commands were uttered in a neutral tone; a happy tone, with the inflection ascending; an angry version, with the tone descending; and a gloomy version, in which the handler sighed first. Dogs responded more predictably when the tone was positive. When the command was said in an angry or gloomy manner, there was more variation in their responses.

Communicate Clearly

So what’s the take-home message? The one your pooch is dying for you to learn? Here it is: Perhaps when your dog gives you a blank stare after you utter a command you think they know, they have a good reason. Because when communicating with our pets, it’s not just what we say. It’s how we say it and whether our visual and verbal cues are sending the same message. We become more aware of the signals we send to our dogs and how they perceive them. We can cut down the number of everyday frustrations and open clearer lines of communication with our four-legged friends.

Paws: Is Your Dog Left Or Right Pawed?

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Does Your Dog Use Their Right or Left Paws?

If you are cooped up indoors right now, you might be looking for ways to keep your dog engaged! May we suggest some brain games using your dog’s paws?

Here is a super easy one to help you discover if your dog is right pawed or left pawed: 

  1. Fill a small wobbly toy (maybe a kong) with some yummy treats and leave it in front of your dog.
  2. Give your dog a release command indicating that they can go play with the toy.
  3. Observe from a short distance away, and keep a count of how many touches they make with each paw.
  4. You can stop counting when they have touched it at least 20 times.

Did your dog touch the toy with their right paw more frequently, or their left? Or was it about even … meaning they are ambi-dexterous?

What does paw preference tell us?

Studies have shown that ambidextrous dogs are great problem solvers, while dogs who show a paw preference (whether left or right) are explorers who love new experiences. 

By asking our dogs to use their paws, we also ask them to use their brains. Dogs use all parts of their brain all the time, but some areas get recruited more depending on what they needs are and this is reflected in their behaviors.

Playing Games With Chloe

I like to play the game “Which Hand” is the treat in. She has to choose which hand is holding the treat. At first, I would just hurry and put the treat in a hand and hold it out to her to choose. I made her figure out that I wanted her to use her paws. She would instantly smell and choose the correct hand with her left paw. Then I later put the treat behind my back and switched the treat around so both hands smelled of the treat. She usually smells both hands and you can see the wheels in her brain trying to choose which hand. She still usually gets it correct always using her left paw!

Zoomies: Why Does a Dog Run Around Crazily?

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Why Do Dogs Run In Circles?

“I’m getting that weird sensation to run really fast?”

Dog zoomies are periods of frantic activity in which a dog runs around in circles, and seems to be unaware of their surrounds. Zoomies are more common in puppies, but can happen in dogs of any age. They do it without noticing what’s going on around them, what they break, or who they knock over in the process.

When the zoomies happens indoors, it can leave the rest of the family in quite a state. But is this behavior dangerous, beyond the risk to your furniture and ankles? Why do dogs run in circles?

And what can you do to stop them getting so out of control?

Let’s find out what causes the dog zoomies, why dogs do it. Also how you can reduce or manage your dog when they run around like crazy.

Is This the Dog Zoomies?

  • Does your dog suddenly run madly around the house like a wild animal, low to the ground with legs bent?
  • Do their eyes look a little crazy?
  • Is their butt tucked underneath them?
  • Do they appear to have no regard for their own safety or your best china?

If so, you’re probably watching a case of the zoomies dog in action

The word ‘zoomies’ really does sum up this crazy behavior very well.

What Do Dog Zoomies Look Like?

A dog with the zoomies isn’t just clumsy or restless. The behavior is quite distinctive, as is the posture of the dog.

It’s almost a squatting kind of run. Difficult to describe, but you’ll recognize it once you’ve seen it.

You may also see play bows interspersed with the running.

Another feature is the sudden way that they start. A dog with this case will break into a flat out gallop from a standing start.

Sometimes right in the middle of your living room!

There is often very little warning!

Why Does My Dog Run Around Like Crazy?

“Must go as fast as possible.”

People often use the word “crazy” to describe the zoomies dogs do.

The dog will be oblivious to any damage, often crashing into tables and knocking chairs flying.

If they are outdoors in your yard, they will often race in a big circle at break neck speed, leaning right over to turn as tight as they can.

And perhaps stopping on occasion to spin around and set off in the opposite direction.

They may well not hear your pleas to “Stop” or “Look Out”.

The zoomies don’t last long. But they can leave a trail of destruction behind them. And for a new dog owner, they can be quite shocking.

  • So what exactly is going on here?
  • Has a dog with the zoomies got a problem?
  • Or is the problem all yours?
  • Why do dogs run in circles like this?

Let’s discover what the scientists say.

F-r-a-p Dog Behavior

Of course, biologists have come up with another name, so you’ll also hear zoomies referred to as ‘frapping’

Frapping dog is not an expletive (though you might feel inclined to use one)!

Frap is an abbreviation:

F = frenetic
R = random
A = activity
P = period

And it’s a pretty self explanatory one.

Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies?

So why do dogs run in circles like this?

We don’t know exactly why some dogs are prone to frapping and other dogs aren’t.

We do know that the frapping dogs do are more common during time periods when a dog is full of energy. In other words They haven’t been exercised for a while, or has been shut in the house for a few hours. Sometimes you’ll see a play-bow before the frapping start!

Some dogs never get the zoomies, no matter how full of energy they are, and others get them frequently. So that isn’t the only explanation.

Some dogs may have a particular trigger or triggers. Such as after grooming, a game or a bath. Though if this is your dog’s only trigger, this may not be a true case of the zoomies.

Why Do Dogs Run Around After a Bath?

If your dog races around after their bath, they might not have the zoomies. They may just be expressing their delight at the bath being over.

Other dogs will zoom around with their head on the ground and their butt in the air after a bath, as they try to rub themselves dry on your carpets.

Again, it isn’t quite the same as the frapping, which involves that distinctive posture I describe above.

And a dog that is just drying themselves will be more responsive to you than a dog frapping.

So how can you tell if your dog is about to get the zoomies? Is it possible to recognize the signs?

Frapping – Dog On the Brink!

Zoomies are most common in dogs that are puppies or quite young, that haven’t had much exercise in the last few hours, and that are starting to get a bit excited, or playful.

Play bows can be a sign.

If your dog has had the zoomies in the past and starts to play bow indoors, there is a good chance you are about to see a case of the zoomies.

While dog frapping is not in anyway linked with aggression, occasionally a young dog will start nipping during frapping behavior.

Dog Zoomies – Biting

If your dog is nipping or biting during an attack of frapping, you need to change the way you manage them.

Avoid physically handling them and stop any game you might have been playing. They need to have a chance to calm down.

If you can open a door and let the dog outside to burn up some energy in your yard, then do so.

Are the Zoomies Harmful to My Dog?

Dog zoomies are not intrinsically harmful. They won’t give your dog a seizure or take them into some kind of permanent emotional melt down.

Despite the clumsiness of dogs that get the zoomies, they don’t usually hurt themselves in any significant way, especially outdoors.

The zoomies is also not usually a sign that they are sick.

If your dog has had the puppy zoomies on a regular basis since they joined your family, this is just ‘normal for them’. It’s how they let off their extra energy. You don’t need to worry. Except about your good china!

However, if a previously very calm dog suddenly starts to run in circles on a regular basis, consider having a chat with your vet. Especially if nothing has altered in the family routine that could have caused them to have some extra energy to let off.

This change in behaviour could possibly be a sign of another problem.

Are the Dog Zoomies Dangerous?

As we’ve seen above, zooming dogs are not usually a danger to themselves. But do be extra careful if you have a dog at higher than usual risk of injury.

If your zoomie-prone dog has had stitches for any reason, for example, you might want to avoid any known triggers for their zoomies.

And to consider how to safely give them enough exercise, to reduce their pent up energy.

Dogs with the zoomies don’t usually crash into each other.

But if you have a second dog in the house who is frail, elderly, injured or sick, you may want to protect them from a zoomie-inclined companion.

For example, escort them to safety when the zoomies begin!

And equally, a dog with the zoomies could knock down a toddler or an elderly or unsteady adult. This isn’t common, but it is something for owners of high energy dogs to be aware of.

What To Do When Your Dog Gets the Zoomies

Don’t be tempted to chase your dog when they get the zoomies, indoor or out. Chasing them is likely to excite them even further.

Move them outdoors if at all possible

You can have a lot of success with simply opening the back door and waving the dog outside the instant the zoomies begin. (As long as you have a fenced-in yard or you know they won’t get away.)

If the zoomies dogs are a big problem for you, think about what might have triggered them so that you can work on preventing or reducing them in the future.

How to Prevent Dog Zoomies

Because dog zoomies is normal behavior you don’t need to do anything. You can help your dog learn to express this behavior in your yard, rather than around your coffee table.

But, you may find that offering your dog more ways to dispel their energy helps to reduce frapping episodes, or even stop them from doing it altogether

Exercise will help to prevent the zoomies. Dogs won’t normally zoom when they are physically tired.

Mental stimulation helps too. Dogs may be more prone to the zoomies when they are bored. A couple of training sessions each day will help to exercise your dog’s mind

Most dogs are more likely to have the zoomies when they are already in a playful of excited state. So learning how to calm a puppy or an older dog will help you.

Dog Zoomies – Summary

A dog with the zoomies is not going mad. Nor are they bad or dangerous.

Apart from the risk of tripping over something or smashing up the furniture, the zoomies isn’t harmful for dogs.

Frapping or zoomies is a normal dog behavior but if it’s causing you a problem, there are steps you can take to reduce it. Increases in exercise and training are the most effective solutions.

Dogs can be taught that zooming is only appropriate outdoors. And if you are alert to your dog’s triggers, you can anticipate most cases of the dog zoomies and move them into your yard.

Frankie’s and Chloe’s Way of Zoomies

“MOM, did you see me running up and down the hall as fast as I could?”

Little pug Frankie would always get excited when playing and would tuck his little butt and start running at full speed up and down the hallway. I could never get a picture because he was always a blur! After his episode of zoomies, he would then blow all his snot out his nose!

“Wanna see me do zoomies in the snow?”

When Chloe was younger, she would get the zoomies and go flying up and down our stairs! I do not recommend having your dog do this because Chloe tore both her CCL joints (knee joints like ACL in people). That was an expensive surgery!

Now she just does zoomies outside (usually after a poo! LOL) and when we are getting ready for a walk.

Whose Ball This Is I Think I Know (Playing Fetch)

“I swear I just found it!”

Whose ball this is I think I know.

I make him throw and throw and throw.

Some will, no doubt, think him a fool

To play the role of dog-whipped wretch

And expose himself to so much drool

As he makes me fetch and fetch and fetch.

How to Teach Your Dog to Fetch

“Gimmee that ball!!”

While some dogs love to play fetch, and for dogs like retrievers the game comes very naturally. Other dogs may find the idea of fetch foreign. Some dogs don’t have much interest in toys or aren’t naturally inclined to bring toys back after being thrown. Similarly, some rescue dogs may not have had experience playing with toys as puppies and just don’t know what to do with a toy. Fetch is a game that most people want to play with their dog and it can be frustrating if you throw a toy and your dog just sits watching you or goes and gets the toy but doesn’t bring it back. Although fetch doesn’t come naturally to every dog, it is a skill that can be taught!

Supplies Needed to Teach Fetch:

Toys

When teaching a dog to fetch, I like to have an array of toys available. This will let you get a feel for what kind of toys your dog is going to like. Some dogs are ball lovers while others prefer plush toys. If your dog is really not toy motivated (especially if they are a rescue dog who didn’t have a lot of exposure to toys as a puppy) it can help to find toys that have a velcro compartment to put food in can be very helpful. I’ve even used fun fur pencil pouches filled with smelly treats for teaching fetch to dogs who are especially reluctant to put something in their mouth.

Treats

For teaching your dog to fetch you want to have a lot of small pieces of high-value treats.

Clicker

If you use a clicker to train your dog, have it ready. Clicker training can be especially useful to help you communicate with your dog in the early stages of teaching the trick.

Step 1: Teaching Hold

The first step to teaching your dog to fetch is to teach hold:

Teaching Hold

  • Sit on the floor with your dog facing you, while holding a toy show it to your dog.
  • When your dog goes to investigate the toy praise/click and treat. At this stage, you want to reward any interest in the toy.
  • Next, increase the criteria slightly. Wait until your dog sniffs the toy click/praise and treat. Next wait to praise/click/treat until they put their mouth on the toy.
  • When your dog is regularly putting their mouth on the toy, start building duration into the trick by not immediately clicking/praising the instant they put their mouth on the toy. Wait a moment, and while their mouth is still on the toy click/praise and treat. Build up very slowly, adding just a half-second and then a second before you praise/click and treat.

Going very slow here will pay off later.

When your dog is constantly keeping their mouth on the toy for a couple of seconds before you click/praise and treat you can begin introducing a verbal cue like “hold.”

  • Once your dog is keeping their mouth on the toy until you click/praise and treat you can start adding in more time. Again, go very slowly building with fractions of a second of time you are asking your dog to hold. You can also begin moving your hands off of the toy. Then quickly put your hand back on the toy before your dog drops it. Praise, take the object, and give them a treat.
  • Keep your dog successful by working at their pace building the length of time they are asked to hold very slowly. It’s much better to do many repetitions of short holds then asking for one very long hold.
“You’ll give me back my ball if I let you have it, right?”

Step 2: Teaching Fetch

Once your dog has mastered “hold” it’s time to start teaching fetch!

Teaching Fetch

  • Hold the toy out to your dog in your outstretched palm and ask them to “hold”. If your dog takes the toy click/praise and treats. If they don’t take the toy that’s ok. Just practice the above “hold” skills a little more.
  • When your dog is successfully taking the toy from your outstretched hand place the toy on the floor in front of them. Ask your dog to “hold” the toy and when they pick it up immediately praise/click. This is where having gone slowly with building understanding with your “hold” cue will really pay off with your dog being able to generalize the skill to a new location. At this point, you can start to introduce your new verbal cue like “get it” or “fetch.”
  • When your dog has been consistently successful picking up and holding the toy, start moving the toy slightly further away from you. Start with the toy right next to you.
  • Start to very slowly increase the difficulty/distance away from you the toy starts just a few inches at a time.
The goal is to break down the retrieve into very small behaviors. Your dog can become successful instead of starting with the toy next to you and immediately moving it across your yard. That would be too much for a dog just learning the skill.
  • Continue increasing the distance you ask your dog to go to get the toy. As your dog gains understanding in the game, you can begin to alternate between asking your dog to get a toy that you have placed away from you and throwing the toy. It’s a good idea to also vary the toy you are asking your dog to fetch. Practice with balls, plush toys, rope toys etc.
  • Continue to build distance very slowly and keeping your dog’s rewards very high value. You will be building a lot of value in the hold/retrieve game.
“Hey, I was the one that was suppose to fetch that ball!”

With a little patience and consistent practice, the finished skill will be a smooth cued retrieve of any toy. Just remember that for dogs, you teach to fetch the reward isn’t the game itself. Be sure to continue to reward the fetching behavior with treats.

I Hope You’re Having Fun (Biscuit on Nose)

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Training your dog to balance a biscuit on their nose is a great bonding experience. Your dog may not be so happy to wait for a treat that is right on their nose though!!

“Come on, you know this kills me to perform this trick.”

Your lack of kindness–it shows.

Your imagination? Not fecund.

You’re not the owner I would have chose;

My hate for you deepens and grows

With every single second

This biscuit stays on my nose.

Training Your Dog to Balance a Biscuit on Their Nose

With some practice and a lot of patience, you can teach your dog the treat on nose trick.

Let’s teach your dog a trick that reinforces patience with food!

Try the following steps to train the Treat-On-The-Nose trick!

(Brush up on your sit-stay before you attempt this trick.)

Your dog has to sit perfectly still to hold the treat! This trick requires a lot of patience on both parts. Be prepared to stay calm and not get frustrated. Remember this is something fun for you and your dog, not a requirement!

  • Start with a sit-stay directly in front of you while you sit in a chair. Their head should be slightly resting on your lap.
  • Put one hand under the dog’s head and raise its nose until it is level to the floor.
  • Place the treat slowly and gently on the flattest part of their nose.
“You better let me play in the mud after this!”
  • While you rest their muzzle in your hand, alternate praise with the phrase “Hold It!” in your command tone.
  • After a few seconds, release him, praise him, and let him flip the treat off his nose and eat it.*
“Finally I get the biscuit!!”
  • Repeat this process five to ten times per day for several days.
  • As your dog begins to hold their own head steady, begin to remove your hands slowly from their muzzle to let them do it alone.
“I could just roll this biscuit into my mouth!”

*Dropping the biscuit

Some dogs will drop the treat on the floor and pick it up. Others will flip it into the air and catch it. If you want the flip method and your dog is a “dropper”, immediately command them to “leave it” if they drop it. Let them take it if they flip it.

With consistency, this will condition the dog to flip it. If they do not catch it on the first flip, praise the effort with “good dog!” so that they do not give up. When they do catch it, praise vigorously!

Have fun!

“If I could just get my tongue on that biscuit!”

Why Do Dogs Chase Squirrels? National Squirrel Day!

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Why Dogs Chase Squirrels

“I’m going to get you little squirrel!”

A walk in the park or a stroll down a country lane can turn into a frenzied hunt for squirrels for some dogs and their owners! A flighty little dash of fur and suddenly your pup is off on the chase. Their prey drive kicks in and there is very little you can do when this happens.

Hunting, chasing and rushing off after small animals are a worry if you are out walking and trying to enjoy some exercise. Everyone wants to feel safe to walk in a park or open country environment with their dog.

Chasing squirrels is particularly common for breeds of dogs with instinctive desires to hunt. They get the scent of a little critter like a squirrel and Mother Nature takes over. Small breeds of dogs, like Terriers, are natural born hunters. In many situations, uncontrolled chasing can have unhappy consequences. Overcoming instinctive reactions is challenging but not impossible. Armed with patience and some helpful guidelines, you will be able to make a difference and curb this behavior.

The Root of the Behavior

Hunting

“I’m going to get you this time! That’s the last time you poke fun at me.”

Hunting is a natural behavior of animals like dogs that have descended from wolves. Nature has equipped dogs with a strong sense of smell and a desire to chase smaller creatures. Their brains are wired to respond to an animal running away with a chase reaction. Add to that some breeds are bred to track and flush out game. They are driven by the scent of the animal they are chasing and an innate prey drive response. When your dog gets into this instinctive mode, it is difficult to change their mind without some prior intervention and coping skills.

Sense of Smell

“I know I can smell a trail of squirrels around here somewhere. Can you smell them?”

A dog’s keen sense of smell is the key issue. Dogs have a sense of smell that is between 1000 to 10,000 times more powerful than ours. Some dogs, like Beagles, are incredibly scent driven. Dogs also have a large olfactory center in their brain where they can store all the information about smells they know. The scent of squirrel is probably high up there on the list of scents to remember. In some cases, long after the squirrel has disappeared, your dog will carry on the chase just because they still smell the scent of the squirrel.

Squirrel: “Maybe if I just act like a dog, he won’t notice me.”

The hound group of dogs is especially scent driven. It is a good idea to find out about a breed and it’s instinctive behavior before you contemplate having them join your family.

Positive Reinforcement Obedience Training

A good place to start correcting the behavior is with some basic obedience training. If you are aware that the breed you have is a member of the scent hound division, then keeping their focus on you is going to be very important.

Your dog should focus on you while on walks when you notice something that may trigger your dog to misbehave.

Attending obedience classes and learning the basic commands of sit and stay will give you more control. Reward your dog for listening and being focused on you. Little treats that they really love will give the message that you have a better reward to offer than the squirrel in the tree. Correcting instinctive behavior is challenging. While you are trying to correct the behavior walk on a leash or even use a Head Collar to have control over lunging and pulling.

Avoid areas with lots of squirrels while you are training. Start your obedience activities a fair distance away from the squirrel zone and move closer as you see your dog being more focused on you and less on the squirrels.

Prey driven behavior may need the help of an animal behaviorist if you are not able to deal with this yourself.

Encouraging the Behavior

Squirrel chasing is always going to distract your dog on a walk as it buys into their prey drive instinct. The natural sequence of predatory action is:

  • search
  • stalk
  • chase
  • grab

It is important to watch out for the initial stages of this sequence and intercept before the chase begins. Try to watch your dog and anticipate the beginning of the sequence and intercept with a distraction. A noise distraction is often successful as this will draw attention away from the squirrel even if it is just for a moment. A tin full of coins to shake or loud whistle could be the noise distraction.

Join a Group For Tracking Dogs

The prey driven dog or scent hound may actually bring you a lot of joy if you recognize their natural ability and join groups of other dogs and their owners participating in tracking events. Training with other dogs and rewarding your dog for the behavior they were bred to do could be great fun for both of you.

Find dog tracking groups at: https://www.akc.org/sports/tracking/getting-started/

Scent Game at Home

Learn how to play scent games at home or in your backyard.

Start with a few bits of kibble or a treat and let your dog search for the treats. Say ‘find it’ or ‘go fetch’ as a command and then build on the experience by hiding treats in more difficult places. You will be rewarding your dog for using their natural instinct and challenging their mental and physical abilities. Although chasing squirrels is not to be encouraged, participating in scent trail groups and organized activities is a great idea.

Search and rescue activities and agility are all the kinds of dog outlets that will go a long way towards enjoying the instinctive nature of your dog as a true blue hound.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Your dog’s safety is always of paramount importance and therefore encouraging random chasing in public places poses dangers to the dog and other citizens. Starting obedience training early on in your dog’s life will help enormously to give you the upper hand.

Trying to break the pattern of a prey drive instinct will require patience and determination. You will always have to manage your walk with care as you look out for the instinctive signs of a chase mode. Getting your dog to focus on you is the important behavior you are looking for.

Remember the chase is enjoyable for your dog. They are having fun while you struggle to get them under control. Some breeds are more driven to chase than others, so take that into consideration and find activities to allow for this instinctive desire to chase. Your prey driven dog will thank you!

Patience Will Pay Off

“I know I’m not suppose to chase after that squirrel, but he’s been mocking me!”

Preventing squirrel chasing could be almost impossible with some breeds of dogs but you may be pleasantly surprised when some of your patience and time spent training pays off. Imagine how you and your dog will feel after a round of ‘find it’ in the park when you have a moment of success.

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Fido.

Fido who?

Fidon’t catch that squirrel, I am going to go nuts!

Chloe LOVES Looking For Squirrels

“What kind of creature are you?”

Chloe loves squirrels. Whether it’s sitting inside looking out the window for squirrels or walking and catching a glimpse of one before I redirect her attention. She’ll try sneaking on them if she’s in the backyard, but she’s not very good at sneaking!

She’s only caught one squirrel that had an injured leg (squirrel was too slow!). Chloe only had it gently in her mouth, then dropped it when I yelled at her to drop it! The squirrel wasn’t injured by Chloe and ran away.

On walks when she sees one, she’ll start whining and do her little jumpy dance. I just have to redirect her with a little “Ah, ah” and she will stop with a little huff. (She gets mad that she can’t play with the squirrels!)

How To Stop A Dog From Digging

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Why Do Dogs Like to Dig Holes?

“There has to be some treasure here somewhere!”

Do you need to know how to stop a dog from digging up their yard? Just why do dogs dig holes? And how can we keep dogs from digging under fences and in flower beds?

If your puppy has been digging holes in the flower bed every time your back is turned, or every time you try and plant something in the flower bed, you are probably wondering how to stop them.

To stop a dog from digging effectively, it’s important to understand why they are digging holes. Dogs dig holes for lots of different reasons. Once you know why your dog digs holes in the yard, you’ll have a better chance of stopping them effectively, without conflict.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your dog might be digging. And what you can do to prevent him from digging.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Digging?

There are two possible ways to stop a dog from digging. One is to prevent access to the area they like to dig. The other is to work out why they are digging, and then tackle the root cause.

Erecting a fence to separate your dog from any area that they could potentially dig is something that you could consider. If your puppy is still small, then you could use a puppy pen to prevent them from getting access to their desired area.

However, most people do not want to fence their backyard. They would rather enjoy spending time in it with their dog – but without fear for their rose bushes!

So let’s look at alternatives to fencing your dog out of their favorite digging zones.

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

To understand how to stop a dog from digging, your first step should be to establish why they are doing it.

There are a lot of possible reasons that your dog could be digging. These include enjoyment, prey drive, accidental reinforcement from the owner, excess energy and even escape efforts!

Let’s look at each of the potential reasons in turn, and what you can do to help stop your puppy digging in each scenario.

“Where did I put that bone?”
  • Temporary Changes: Stress-Related Digging
  • Digging For Fun
  • Digging to Hide Food
  • Dogs That Have Learned to Dig
  • Dogs Digging to Solve A Problem
  • Energetic Dogs That Dig
  • Dogs Digging Under Fences to Escape

Temporary Changes to Your Dog’s Situation

Pregnant bitches can dig when they wouldn’t ordinarily, due to instincts to create a place for their pups.

Likewise some dogs dig when they are anxious. This stress can be caused by a new environment or change in lifestyle. For example if you have gone on holiday and someone else is caring for them.

Provided things go back to the status quo soon, then this digging behaviour should reduce once normality returns.

If your pregnant bitch starts digging in a way which is out of character for her, then it’s worth waiting to see whether this behavior stops once she has had her litter of puppies.

However, if your puppy or dog is a keen digger and the behavior has increased gradually over time, then you will need to take action to stop your dog digging. What you should do to prevent dogs from digging holes will depend upon the reasons why they are digging them in the first place.

Dogs Enjoy Digging!

“Is this hole big enough for your flowers?”

Some dogs dig just for the fun of it. This is more likely to be the case with Labrador puppies than adults. Some dogs will lose interest in digging as they grow.

Sometimes a dog that digs for fun will continue doing it into adulthood however. This is something which certain breeds of dog, such as Terriers, are more inclined to do because of their ancestors’ roles.

For those dogs who continue to enjoy digging, there are ways to channel this enthusiasm more productively. One which a lot of people find success with is in making them a dedicated digging ground. This will usually consist of a structure much like a children’s sandpit. You can encourage them into it if they are reluctant to go by offering treats and standing in it yourself. However, most dogs upon realising that there is an easy to dig surface will happily redirect their efforts to it.

Rather than trying to prevent dogs from digging, in this scenario we just give them their own dedicated digging zone! The dog is still happy, and so are your rose bushes!

Dogs Digging to Hide Extra Food

“I have to hide this in a hole where I can remember for later.”

Dogs will also sometimes hide surplus food, so if they are given a large chew toy or bone to gnaw on for example, they will dig a hole to put it in when they have temporarily had enough.

If this is the only circumstance in which your dog is digging, there are a few ways in which you can stop them.

One is by only giving bite size treats which they won’t be inclined to store. Another is by supervising them when they have a large bone or chew toy. Either taking it away as soon as they are bored with chewing or eating it, or only letting them have it indoors where they haven’t got the option of digging.

If your dog is young, you can try giving them access to these things outdoors again in a few months when the habit has worn off.

Dogs Who Have Learned to Dig

The answer to the question ‘why do dogs dig holes?’ is sometimes “because someone accidentally taught them to”!

They have have been accidentally taught to dig by their owners, or rewarded by the things that they have found.

‘Just doing what needs to be done!”

If you are a keen gardener then your dog might have observed you shoveling soil on several occasions. You may even have laughed or encouraged them at some point when they tried to get involved.

They could also have found something tasty in the soil once, and effectively reinforced their own behavior and been encouraged to keep trying.

If this is the case you can break this habit.

First prevent access to the area of the garden that their efforts are focused on. Although this can be tricky, putting up temporary fencing or only exercising them on a long line for a while in the yard can break the habit effectively.

You may find if you do this that after a few weeks you are able to give them access to this area again without the behavior restarting. Although I would advise leaving them indoors when you do your weeding in the future!

Is Your Dog Digging to Solve a Problem?

“I love the feeling of smushed mud on my belly!”

Occasionally a dog will dig because it helps to solve a problem that they are having. The most common example is probably a lack of somewhere soft or cool to lay down. If the weather is hot and your dog digs a hole and lays down in it, they are probably trying to cool off. You can stop them from doing this by providing a shaded area or paddling pool for them to play in.

Likewise, if the weather doesn’t seem to be a factor but they are still resting in their newly turned out hole then it could simply be that the undug ground is too hard to lie down on.

Providing them with an alternative place to rest will mean that they don’t need to dig to achieve it. Perhaps an outdoors waterproof bed or a pile of straw, depending upon the set up in your garden.

Energetic Dogs Dig More

“Gotta dig. Gotta dig. Gotta dig!”

A lively dog might decide to start digging to burn off some of their energy. If they don’t have space to run, or have missed out on routine daily exercise, then they will find other ways to stretch their legs.

In addition, dogs with more prey drive may transfer this very specific energy to digging! Labradors, for example, were bred as gundogs. They have a certain level of inherent prey drive.

This may be transferred to digging if they have seen or smelled rabbits or other animals popping in to visit your back lawn. They are digging to try and get at the rabbits. Or other creatures that they can smell have been around the yard earlier.

If your dog is digging because they are bored or looking for prey, then keeping them busy when they are in the garden will help.

There are a couple of ways to keep your dog busy in the yard. You can try some games or do some fun bits of training. Make sure it is a positive experience for them. The excitement you offer is greater than that which they got from burrowing into the ground.

Try keeping their favorite toy just for yard time. Get some new special treats that you give for high reward training outdoors.

Dogs Digging to Escape

“I need to get to those pesky squirrels!”

If your dog is digging under fence lines because they want to get out of the back yard, this can be tricky to deal with. Especially if they have self-rewarded by managing to escape in the past.

Dogs are more likely to repeat a behavior that results in “things improving” for them. If your dog is digging in order to leave your yard, or just to be able to see out past the fence line, the solution is to make sure they get no ‘reward’ from doing this.

How to Keep Dogs From Digging Under Fence Boundaries

The best thing you can do is to enforce the fencing under the ground so that it is impossible for them to achieve anything.

Make sure that it is not just wire, as being able to see the outside world may be reward enough for them to keep doing it. A dig proof fence should be a visual barrier as well as a physical one.

If you can entirely block your dog’s visual access to the world beyond your back yard, they will over time give up on their endeavors.

But it is vital that you make sure they don’t gain anything from doing it. So make sure they don’t get out, or get to see more of the world by digging.

If they do, they will keep on trying to dig under the fence in the hope of another reward!

How to Stop a Dog From Digging

“I love helping out!”

Hopefully I’ve shown you that knowing how to stop a dog digging will depend partially upon why they started doing it.

You may find that solving this problem is simple once you have established why your dog is doing it. Or you might have to implement several of the options above to resolve the problem. For example, restricting access to certain areas of the garden and putting a digging zone into another.

Whichever method you use to prevent your dog digging in your backyard, make sure that you don’t fall out with them. They are not doing it to annoy you.

And although it might be frustrating or time consuming temporarily, it is totally within your power to stop them kindly but effectively.