Enrichment for Your Digger
with Ruby Leslie of WelfareForAnimals, Training Advocate

DIY Enrichment for Diggers

Does your dog like to dig in your blankets or your backyard? Has your dog decided to "rearrange your flower bed"? It's highly frustrating when your dog uproots all of newly planted flowers that cost a small fortune. Or when joyful digging sends dirt flying all over your patio or into your pool. At the same time, your dog is having a grand time being true to their dogliest self.

Why do dogs dig?


For some dogs it's in their genes. Dogs such as terriers and terrier mixes are genetically wired for digging as their role was to fearlessly hunt vermin. Many dog breeds are simply meant to dig.

It's fun

For other dogs, it's a lot of fun! As a trainer, I have had a lot of fun training my friend's rescue Thai street dog in Thailand on a soft sand beach. I quickly realized that her dog was incredibly smart, as most street dogs are, that's how street dogs have survived for so long! I thoroughly enjoyed myself as I saw her dog learning how to dig and then reinforced it. Now, many years later her dog is the master beach digger! For some dogs, digging can also be a stress relief.

But what to do if you don't have a beach for your dog to become a master beach digger? You can DIY it!

Here's a list of how you can provide different outlets for your dog to dig in appropriate places, keep your flower beds intact and your dog happily physically and mentally enriched!

  • Build a sandpit- make your dog a sandpit in your yard, hide treats or toys so your dog has their own mini beach and place to dig that's not your flowers
  • Create a ball pit- use a kiddy pool or a cardboard (no staples, tape, glue-make sure you remove all hazards), place balls for ball pits in there and toss a bit of your dog's dinner inside the ball pit. Just make sure your dog doesn't eat the balls or cardboard!
  • Make a digging box- use a big cardboard box, get an old rags, shirts or towels. Layer tasty treats treats in the bottom of the box. cover with a layer of rags, put another layer of treats or kibble on top of that layer, layer with more rags/towels/old clothes, place more kibble and treats on top and continue until you feel is enough. (Start small and then increase in difficulty so your dog doesn't get frustrated) Let your dog sniff, dig and throw the old rags away.
  • Digging box with cardboard & paper destroyer- this is similar to the digging box with rags/towels/old clothes, but instead of fabric use all of that non-toxic coloured paper you have, place layers of treats and kibble like the digging box above and let your dog dig and shred to their heart's content (use the cue trade if they start to eat the paper)

Your dog should never be scared or frustrated with enrichment, as thats' the complete opposite of enrichment!

When using these options, you are not teaching your dog to go and chew every piece of paper or blanket they see. Your dog learns through associations, and you are teaching them that when you do this - put treats into a ball pit or into cardboard box with paper- they can shred and dig to their heart's content.

Let's start digging!

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Ruby Leslie of WelfareForAnimals

Training Advocate
Dogly loves Ruby because she brings her rescue experiences to our dogs - to increase our bond, decrease behavior issues.

Ruby guides you

New Dogs - Manners - Enrichment - Reactivity - Barking - Walking

Ruby is certified

Low Stress Handling - Fear Free Veterinary Professional - Fear Free Shelters - Shelter Welfare - Enrichment - & Canine Behaviour