Having an English Springer Spaniel is an absolute delight, but sometimes their behaviour can leave us scratching our heads.
One of the common challenges owners face is when their furry friend starts digging up the garden.
Why does my English Springer Spaniel dig up the garden? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the reasons behind this behavior and provide you with practical solutions to address it.
Why does my English Springer Spaniel dig up the garden?
Understanding the reasons behind your English Springer Spaniel’s digging behaviour is the first step towards finding a solution.
Dogs, including English Springer Spaniels, may dig for various reasons. Let’s delve into some possible explanations:
Reasons behind the digging behaviour
Dogs have inherited certain behaviours from their wild ancestors, and digging is one of them.
Here are a few reasons why your English Springer Spaniel might dig up your garden:
Instinctual tendencies of English Springer Spaniels
English Springer Spaniels are hunting dogs by nature, and their ancestors were bred to flush out game from the undergrowth.
Digging served as a means to access hidden prey, making it an instinctual behaviour for these dogs.
Boredom and lack of stimulation
Just like humans, dogs can get bored too. When English Springer Spaniels lack mental or physical stimulation, they may resort to digging as a form of entertainment or to release excess energy.
Seeking attention or companionship
Dogs are social animals and crave attention from their owners. If your English Springer Spaniel feels neglected or wants to spend more time with you, they might resort to digging as a way to gain your attention or invite you to play.
Hiding treasures and bones
Dogs have a natural inclination to bury and hide items. Your English Springer Spaniel may dig in the garden to create a stash of treasures, such as toys or bones, for safekeeping.
Escape attempts and boundary exploration
Some dogs dig as an attempt to escape their confines or explore beyond the boundaries of their designated area.
If your English Springer Spaniel is seeking adventure or is feeling restricted, they might dig in an effort to gain more freedom.
Addressing the digging behaviour
Now that we understand some of the reasons behind your English Springer Spaniel’s digging habits, let’s explore effective strategies to address this behaviour and keep your garden intact.
Create a designated digging area
One way to redirect your English Springer Spaniel’s digging instincts is by providing them with a designated digging area.
Choose a spot in your garden where it’s acceptable for them to dig and bury objects. Use positive reinforcement by burying treats or toys in this area to encourage them to dig there instead of the rest of the garden.
This allows them to satisfy their natural instincts while preserving the rest of your garden.
Provide mental and physical stimulation
A tired dog is a happy dog, so make sure your English Springer Spaniel receives plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
Engage them in activities like obedience training, interactive puzzle toys, and scent games. Take them for regular walks or runs to burn off excess energy.
By keeping them occupied and stimulated, they’ll be less likely to resort to digging as a form of entertainment.
Consistent training and positive reinforcement
Training is essential when it comes to modifying your dog’s behaviour. Teach your English Springer Spaniel basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.”
Use positive reinforcement techniques like treats, praise, and play to reward good behaviour.
When they start digging in an inappropriate area, redirect their attention to the designated digging area and reward them for using it. Consistency and patience are key to successful training.
Addressing separation anxiety
Separation anxiety can contribute to destructive behaviours such as digging.
If your English Springer Spaniel becomes anxious when left alone, they may resort to digging as a way to cope with their stress.
To address separation anxiety, gradually desensitize them to your absence by leaving them alone for short periods and gradually increasing the duration.
Provide them with comforting toys or a cozy crate to create a sense of security while you’re away.
FAQs about English Springer Spaniels and digging
FAQ 1: Is it normal for English Springer Spaniels to dig?
Yes, digging is a natural behaviour for English Springer Spaniels due to their hunting heritage. However, excessive or destructive digging may indicate an underlying issue.
FAQ 2: How can I stop my English Springer Spaniel from digging?
By providing a designated digging area, offering mental and physical stimulation, consistent training, and addressing any underlying issues like separation anxiety.
FAQ 3: Will neutering/spaying my dog prevent digging?
Neutering or spaying your English Springer Spaniel can help reduce certain behaviours, but it may not completely eliminate digging. Additional training and environmental enrichment are still necessary.
FAQ 4: Can I use deterrents to discourage digging?
Deterrents like bitter sprays or barriers can be used to discourage digging in specific areas. However, it’s important to provide an alternative digging spot and address any underlying causes.
FAQ 5: What if my English Springer Spaniel continues to dig?
If the digging behaviour persists despite your efforts, consider consulting a professional trainer or behaviorist who can provide further guidance and support.
FAQ 6: Should I consult a professional trainer or behaviourist?
If you’re struggling to address your English Springer Spaniel’s digging behaviour or if it’s causing significant damage, seeking help from a professional trainer or behaviourist is a wise choice. They can assess the situation and provide personalized advice.