Although most dogs like to dig, Labrador retrievers are a breed that's born to dig. If your Lab puppy has developed a digging fetish, correct his behavior while he's young so you don't have to deal with it when he's an adult. Whether your pet companion is digging because he's bored or craving attention, nip his behavior in the bud to keep your yard intact.
Provide your Labrador puppy with physical and mental stimulation. If your puppy is tired, he's less likely to resort to digging. Take him outside for at least 30 minutes per day so he can burn energy that he would otherwise use to tear up the backyard. Rather than taking long walks, take several short walks and play games for a few minutes at a time. Challenge your pup with food-stuffed dog toys and daily obedience-training sessions. Control your puppy's playtime, because Labs are workers and will overexert themselves if you don't stop them.
Create a digging pit for your Labrador puppy. Place a child-size sandbox in a shady area of the yard. Fill the sandbox with sand and stick various dog toys and dog biscuits in the sand. Avoid burying them completely -- let them slightly stick out above the sand. Show your puppy the sandbox, dig up one of the toys and show him the treasure. When your puppy catches on and starts digging, praise him lavishly to reinforce his behavior.
Watch your pet companion like a hawk when he's in the yard. If he starts digging in an inappropriate area, shake a can of coins or blow a whistle to startle him and say "no dig." Show him a dog toy to redirect his attention or bring him to his digging pit. Give him a dog treat and praise him when he shows interest in the toy or starts digging in the appropriate area.
Fence off areas in the yard with chicken wire mesh so your Lab puppy can't get to them. Alternatively, place bricks or small rocks over off-limits areas so your pet companion can't dig there.
Bury your pet companion's feces in a hole he's dug to discourage him from digging there again. Use this tactic if your puppy consistently digs up the same hole. When he encounters his feces, it will motivate him to stop digging or to dig elsewhere, which is where his digging pit comes in handy. Alternatively, fill the hole with gravel, rocks or pine cones.
Don't punish your Lab puppy after the damage is done, because he won't understand what you're punishing him for and might start fearing you.
Items You Will Need
- Food-stuffed dog toys
- Child-size sandbox
- Dog toys
- Dog biscuits
- Can of coins or whistle
- Dog treats
- Chicken wire mesh
- Feces, gravel, rocks or pine cones
- The Howell Book of Dogs; Liz Palika
- The Everything Labrador Retriever Book; Kim Campbell Thornton
- DogTime.com: Labrador Retriever
- Dog Lovers Companion; Paul McGreevy
- ASPCA: Digging
- Don't punish your Lab puppy after the damage is done, because he won't understand what you're punishing him for and might start fearing you.