Is your Husky digging like a mad treasure hunter? It’s no surprise for a breed known to be a ‘natural excavator. Huskies have large and sturdy paws that allow them to run through the snow. But in your yard, their bored paws will target the ground; god forbid it’s your precious flower bed. Still, fret not because there are ways on how to stop Husky from digging without using violence or punishments.
Remember that, as with any behavioral problem, patience is crucial. You can also seek the expertise of a veterinarian or dog trainer for the best results.
Why are Huskies obsessed with digging?
There are several reasons why Huskies love digging. By identifying the root cause, you can apply a suitable solution that will dampen the behavior. Here are some of the most common culprits:
Huskies are a working breed. This means that they have a hard-wired nature to keep moving. If you lock them up for long or if you fail to provide stimulation, your Husky will do it on their own. This means endless digging in your yard, chewing the couch, or barking to their hearts’ content.
Without ample exercise and mental stimulation, Huskies can get bored easily. Aside from digging, boredom will also make this boisterous breed a notorious escape artist.
In this case, escaping and accessing your yard to dig is your dog’s solution to boredom.
Seeking cool soil
Huskies are bred as snow dogs, so they thrive best in cool places. On a hot summer day, a Husky will dig to access cooler soil underneath. After digging, the pooch will curl inside the hole to cool itself.
But if you’re in the middle of winter and your Husky displays the same behavior, it might be a pursuit for warmth. As snow dogs, Huskies will dig a hole into the snow and curl their bodies inside it. This is to protect their bodies from wind chill.
While Huskies aren’t as good as Greyhounds when it comes to hunting, their prey drive can still kick in. It can be due to an insect on the ground, a bird, or small animals. In turn, your Husky will try to dig under the fence to pursue its target.
Aside from the digging problem, the biggest concern here is that your Husky will escape. This increases the pooch’s risk of being hit by a car or getting lost.
How to stop Husky from digging
Once you’ve determined the cause of your Husky’s manic digging, it’s time to tackle the problem. Here are the steps you can take:
Brush up with obedience training
The very first thing I recommend to fellow Husky owners is to conduct obedience training. If your pooch is already trained for these commands, consider brushing up its recall.
Obedience commands will give you control over your Husky. For example, if your Husky starts digging, you can call its name or say a loud ‘no!’ to interrupt the behavior. If your Husky stopped digging, offer it a treat right away. This way, your dog will learn that leaving the ground alone is a rewarded response.
One of the most effective ways to teach obedience commands to dogs is clicker training. With this method, you’re going to press an actual clicker once your dog performs a command. The clicking sound is followed immediately with a food reward.
Take note that this training will take weeks. You also have to remain patient as Huskies can be pretty stubborn and overdramatic when they’ve had enough of training.
Aside from helping reduce digging, obedience training will also be the foundation for advanced Husky training. It’s the reason why this is a must across all breeds.
Come up with an exercise and playtime schedule.
Next, you have to create a schedule for your Husky. Dogs are beings of habit, so they thrive best on a predictable daily schedule. Such predictability will also reduce the risk of anxiety, which is one of the main reasons why Huskies dig obsessively.
Huskies need a lot of exercise as large working dogs. Daily walks paired with long playtime sessions are key to distracting the pooch from its digging habits.
Here’s a sample routine that you can use as a template for your Husky:
- 6 am: Bring the Husky out to go potty
- 7 am to 8 am: Take the Husky for a walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park.
- 8 am: Give you Husky its first meal of the day
- 10 am to 10:15 am: Give your Husky a short playtime session
- 8: 30 to 12 noon: Let the dog rest inside the house
- 12 noon to 1 pm: Perform some training drills and more playtime
- 2 pm to 3 pm: Let the Husky roam in the yard. Keep it supervised.
- 4 pm to 6 pm: Keep the Husky busy indoors with interactive toys
- 8 pm to 9 pm: Give the Husky its final evening walk.
- 9 pm: Serve your dog’s final meal of the day
- 9:30 pm to 10 pm: Final potty break for the day
- 10 pm: Bedtime
Take note that this routine is just an example, so feel free to tweak it based on your dog’s lifestyle. You can also add more playtime sessions, especially if you have a Husky puppy. However, sticking to this schedule religiously will help prevent your dog from having time to go outside and dig.
Give your dog a dedicated digging area.
Huskies are natural diggers, and while you can train them out of it, some are just too stubborn to get rid of the habit. In this case, you’re better off giving your dog its own digging spot. This way, you can redirect your dog’s affinity for digging in a safer and less damaging way.
This is the same as giving a toddler its own sandbox. In the case of dogs, it will allow them to differentiate the smell of your yard from the digging box you set up. Over time, your Husky will learn where digging is allowed and where it’s not.
For this method to succeed, you should use a different kind of sand or soil for your dog’s digging box. Make sure that it’s more appealing than the sand or soil on your yard or the one under the fence. You can also place your dog’s favorite toys on the box to encourage the pooch to use them.
Aside from that, you should place the digging box away from where your Husky tends to dig in your yard. This way, the pooch won’t be lured to go back to its old ways.
Secure your fences
For pet owners with Houdini Huskies, securing the underside of the fence is important to prevent escapes. Most of the time, Huskies will dig under the fence to seek another animal that got its attention. Here are some of the tried and tested methods in making your fences dig-proof:
Using chicken wire
One method I swear by is burying a layer of chicken wire a few inches under the fence. So when your Husky tries to dig on it, its paws will feel the rough and unpleasant texture of the wire. Also, the wire layer will prevent your Husky from escaping under the fence.
Using large rocks
You can also place large rocks at the bottom of your fence line. This will block your Husky’s digging, but make sure that the rocks are heavy enough not to be moved by your dog.
The good thing with this method is that you can use the rocks as a decorative touch to your fence. You can even paint it for added aesthetics.
A friend taught me this trick, which proved to be effective in stopping my Husky’s digging. You just need to bury inflated balloons under the soil. The balloons don’t have to be fully inflated. You just need enough air for the balloon to make a loud pop once your dog’s nails puncture it.
The popping sound will shock your Husky once it accidentally digs into the balloon spots. Over time, your dog will start to avoid the fence line because of the unpleasant experience. However, this also means you’ll have to bury several balloons until your Husky is fully weaned from its digging habits.
Using tent stakes
If you have a chain-link fence, you can use tent stakes to reinforce the bottom to the ground. This way, your Husky won’t dig and squeeze its body out to the other side. Just make sure that the stakes are pinned to the ground properly while anchored to your fence line.
Keep your dog busy
The most effective way to stop a Husky from digging is by offering a different activity. You can provide interactive toys indoors that will take your dog’s mind out of digging. The following activities are also a great way to drain your Husky’s extra energy:
- Playing fetch
- Running on the treadmill
- Tug of war
- Solving toy puzzles
However, if you can’t manage to do all these with your dog, you have two other options: a pet walker/sitter or a doggy daycare.
First, you can hire a dog walker to take your Husky around the neighborhood on agreed hours. You can also opt for pet sitters who will visit your pet multiple times a day. Some can even spend the night in your house.
However, if your Husky can’t be trusted not to dig in your yard, doggy daycare is the best solution. It’s similar to kids’ daycare. Your Husky will be socialized to other dogs within a similar temperament and personality group inside a doggy daycare. There’s also a program that ensures the Husky will receive ample physical and mental stimulation.
Always supervise your Husky in the yard.
At home, it’s important to keep an eye on your Husky whenever it’s in the yard. You should intervene immediately the moment it shows interest in previous dig sites.
It will also help to set up a dog run, which is an enclosed space but large enough for your Husky to run around. You can place your dog’s sandbox inside to satisfy its digging cravings while protecting your precious plants from the bored canine.
If you’re not a handyman enough to create a full dog run, you can opt for a dog cable run instead. Basically, you’ll tie a steel rope to two ends like a clothesline. After that, you’ll place a carabiner along the rope where you’ll attach a long leash.
This way, your Husky can still run around the yard but with some level of control. Overall, a dog cable run is a good solution if your Husky only targets a specific spot for digging.
Use natural dog repellents.
In case all your efforts are futile at this point, another option is to use natural dog repellents.
Dogs have a strong sense of smell, which you can exploit to put a halt to their digging habits. Here are some of the scents most dogs, including Huskies, dislike:
- Vinegar. Huskies aren’t fond of the sour smell and taste of vinegar. You can also use apple cider vinegar for a more pungent solution. You simply have to spray the vinegar on the spot where your Husky likes digging. However, you should be careful as the acidity of vinegar can kill plants.
- Ammonia. Dogs find the scent of ammonia overwhelming, making it an effective digging repellent. For this method, you need to soak cotton balls with ammonia then place them on the area where your dog likes digging. I don’t recommend pouring ammonia directly into the soil as it will kill plants.
- Any strong citrus smell. A squeeze of lemon or orange might be enough to stop your Husky from digging under the fence. You can also cut up citrus slices then leave them on the spots your Husky likes excavating.
- Chili pepper. This is a no-brainer since chili is spicy and has a strong odor. It’s also organic, but you should proceed with caution. First, make sure that the chili pepper is diluted as it can irritate your dog’s nose and tongue.
- Dog poop. This is an unpopular trick, but it works well in stopping a dog from digging. You just have to bury your dog’s poop on the dig sites, and you’re all set. In the wild, dogs will not unravel their excrements because the scent will expose them to predators.
What should I do if my Husky won’t stop digging?
If your Husky is still digging your yard like mad at this point, I suggest seeking professional help. Each dog is different, and they respond to training and repellents in varying ways.
For a start, the vet can recommend solutions that will help dampen the digging behavior. You can also contact a dog trainer who will help you get to the root of the problem. A professional dog trainer can help point out lapses in training, which makes your efforts unproductive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is digging holes good for Huskies?
A: Digging holes will help you Husky alleviate its boredom. However, it’s not a habit you should tolerate. Digging will soon lead to destructive behavior, anxiety, and a slew of other problems. Also, if you let your dog dig in your yard, it will keep digging outdoors and other people’s properties.
Q: Why is my elderly dog digging?
A: Senior dogs are prone to anxiety, confusion, and compulsive behavior. All of these can be the cause of sudden digging even if the canine is fully trained. If it persists, you should never leave your senior Husky unattended in your yard.
Q: Do dogs dig holes when they are dying?
A: Some people believe that dogs will start digging holes when they are about to die. There’s no scientific proof of this. Unlike humans, dogs don’t know that they are dying. Also, digging is mostly rooted in boredom and the innate characteristics of the breed. Even healthy canines can be obsessed diggers.
Q: Why is my Husky digging before lying down?
A: Dogs, including Huskies, will scratch the ground with their paws before lying down as a form of marking. The bottom of their paws secret pheromones, so rubbing it on the ground will help mark their territory. This happens a lot if there are multiple dogs in one house.
Q: What dog breeds like to dig?
A: Some of the breeds notorious for digging are Huskies, Golden Retrievers, Terriers, and Dachshunds. You have to keep a close eye on them whenever you’re letting the dogs roam the yard freely. It will also help to observe preventive measures to stop the digging.
Knowing how to stop a Husky from digging can be a tricky task. But with the right tips and tricks, you can outsmart your obsessed digger. Still, whatever method you choose, you should never resort to violence and punishments. These two things will only cause further behavioral problems. Instead, you should use positive reinforcement and a reward system at all times.
Is your Husky also obsessed with digging? How did you fix it? Share your experience with us in the comment section!