Here are a few things to consider before deciding on how to stop the problem digging:

Is your Labrador getting enough exercise?

Labradors can dig as a way of expelling energy, could you add some more physical exercise to their day?

Is your Labrador bored?

Boredom leads to digging for some Labradors, they are social and clever dogs. Keeping your Labradors mind active is just as important as physical exercise. Do you and your Labrador have daily training, play and enrichment time together?

Is your Labrador supervised?

We have all experiences “I can’t believe they just did that” moments with our Labradors, they never fail to surprise me with their genius ways to cause mischief when we least expect it. Supervision will ensure you are able to put a stop to problem behaviour such as digging, before they learn that they can get away with it. Do you Keep a close eye on your Labrador when they are in the garden?

Is your Labrador too hot?

Labradors dig down to cooler ground and then lay in the cool spot they have just created. Have you got shade and ways for your Labrador to keep cool when in the garden?
Once you have considered the 4 points above, you can start thinking about other reasons which may be influencing your Labradors destructive digging habit.

Is your Labrador too hot?

Is your Labrador a Puppy?

When you have a puppy that is learning all about this new, exciting, sometimes scary world around them they may start to dig out of curiosity. They have an amazing sense of smell and can sense things under the surface such as flower bulbs, animals or tiny scraps of bird seed that we can’t see. The only way for them to find what they can smell is to dig down to reveal it. This is a way of your puppy figuring everything out by using their amazing senses, chances are they will grow out of it as they get a little older.

Is your Labrador an adult?

If so then the chances are that you need to revisit the points above and double check that they are not bored, need more exercise or too hot before moving on.

Is your dog confined to a particular area of the garden? Digging could be their attempt to escape the confinement and explore the rest of the garden.

Are they digging at the base of a tree or in a flower bed? If so then your Labrador is probably trying to get to roots or bulbs to have a good chew. Think about what toys or bones they have available outside to chew instead.

If your Labrador is only digging when left alone and unsupervised then consideration should be given to separation anxiety.

This is when your Labrador feels anxious when alone and will often display this is destructive behaviour such as digging or

chewing, often to escape the loneliness or to get out to come and find you.

Separation anxiety is a complex issue, if you think your Labrador may be experiencing this then please get in touch with Tails of Success, we can help you.

The 3 Steps to Success

If you have ruled out everything else and it seems that you have a Labrador that loves digging for no reason then I would advise you create a designated digging area, this can be a small patch of garden or a small childrens sandbox filled with soil.

The designated area is the place that your Labrador knows they can dig as much as they like and when they dig, they are guaranteed to find tasty treats, rewards and toys.

If you see your Labrador looking as if they are about to dig anywhere other than the designated area, lure them over to the designated area and show them how much fun they can have there. Bury bones, toys and chews in the designated area for them to find, this is a sure-fire way to keep them amused for hours!

Step 1
Make sure that your Labrador has enough exercise, enough mental stimulation, that

Step 2
Keep your Labrador under constant supervision when in the garden – you need to observe them and try to identify what prompts the digging. Supervising and learning their behaviour leading up to digging will give you a great opportunity to stop them digging before they even start.

Step 3
Once you know the signs that your dog is about to start digging you can divert their attention to your new designated digging area. Show them how much fun it is to dig there and that they will be rewarded with amazing toys, bones and treats for digging there. Once they know that the designated area pays out such great rewards, they will soon learn that this is the place to go.

Be caring – Be consistent – Be their teacher