Stop Your Husky Digging – Causes and Solutions

Do Huskies dig

Are Huskies diggers? Yes, Huskies are prone to be diggers and they are well equipped to be excellent at the job. They are strong and powerful and can dig big holes fast. They also have the perfect tools for digging with their webbed feet and strong claws.

Why do Huskies dig

There can be many reasons for Husky digging behavior. They tend to dig to seek shelter. In their natural environment in the Arctic, a Husky will dig a den in the snow. You may not think it, but the snow is an excellent insulator and will protect them from the wind chill and help conserve body heat.

Even if you live somewhere where it doesn’t snow they are still likely to dig in the earth as part of this natural instinctive behavior. In hot weather, a Husky may dig for the opposite reason. That is to stay cool.

It is not really possible to train and instinct out of a dog. However, the behavior can be redirected in a more constructive way or managed.

Huskies also have a high prey drive and may dig to locate and uncover potential prey. Huskies are also extremely high energy and intelligent. If they are not receiving the exercise to release pent up energy and mental stimulation they need they will often dig out of boredom and frustration.

If your Husky is digging excessively it is likely that their are more contributing factors apart from just instinct. Knowing the reason for the digging is halfway to stopping the behavior. These may include:-

Boredom and pent up energy

Huskies are high energy and an intelligent breed. It is crucial to provide sufficient exercise, mental stimulation, and keep them occupied. A bored dog will develop behavior issues such as digging.This also includes digging indoors on the carpet or furniture. For a guide to exercise and mental stimulation for a Husky see here.

Stress Relief

Digging can be great way for a Husky to relive stress. Being a fun and instinctive behavior for them it releases endorphins to their brain making them feel better.

It may also be the result of separation anxiety. Dogs that are left on their own for long periods may feel anxious and look for an outlet.  A dog with separation anxiety will look for a way to channel their negative emotions into something productive.

Denning

Dogs by nature seek the security of a den. Dens keep them cooler in the hot weather and warm in the cold weather. Provide your Husky their own shelter such as a kennel to meet this need. The key is to have a kennel that is big enough for them to stand up and turn around. If a kennel is too big they will not feel secure and probably won’t use it. For tips on keeping a dog cool in hot weather see here.

If your Husky is a pregnant female they may be nesting.

To escape

If your Husky is digging along and under the fence, the motivation is most likely they are trying to get off the property. This may be because they are bored and want to look for adventure, there is a female dog on heat, or they are coming to look for you. For solutions to stop a dog digging under a fence see here.

To bury something

Your Husky may be trying to hide a bone or a toy. This again is an instinctive behavior designed to hide food and high-value items from predators and scavengers. If this is the case don’t give them bones.

To get to something underground

Huskies have a high prey drive. They may have smelt something underground. This could be a rodent or other animal underground and what to get to it. It may also an old bone. If they are digging in your garden it may be the smell of the fertilizer you have used. Blood and Bone fertilizer is a common favorite for many dogs.

Why do Huskies dig the carpet

With their powerful legs and strong claws, a Husky can do serious damage to your carpet or furniture. There may be many reasons why you Husky is digging the carpet.

They may be trying to get to a crumb of food, or there is a certain smell they wish to investigate and roll in. Or they may be trying to fluff up the spot and turn a few times before lying down.

Many of the triggers and reasons they dig outside will be the same. This is things like, stress or boredom, pent up energy, anxiety, or to hide something. see above for more detail on these.

Why do Huskies dig in their water bowl

Huskies are notorious for digging in their water bowls. Some dog behavior just seems strange to us. There are many possible reasons Huskies like to dig in their water bowls. These include:-

  • To cool off. In hot weather, a Husky may try to cool off by splashing themselves with water. if you think this may be the cause of eater bowl digging try finding alternate ways to keep them cool. For tips on keeping a dog cool in hot weather see here.
  • They see something in the bowl. Many dog water bowls have a pattern or picture in them. you Husky may mistake this for food and try to get it out of the bowl. Even stainless steel bowls can reflect the light which may arouse their curiosity. Try using a spill prove water bowl.
  • Boredom and pent up energy. This behavior may be the result of your Husky trying to relieve boredom. The digging becomes a game to provide them with a physical activity and mental challenge. Look for ways to provide enrichment for your Husky to prevent boredom. See here for environmental enrichment ideas.
  • To create water movement. Many dogs like to drink water that is moving. This may be because it tastes better and it makes the water cooler. If you Husky is digging in their water bowl for this reason, get them a pet water fountain.

Solutions to stop Husky from digging

From the list of causes of digging above you may be able to find a solution. If lack of exercise is contributing to your Huskies digging, aim to increase it.

These are some more suggestions to stop unwanted dog digging.

Put something in the hole

If there are existing holes that your dog has dug you can put a variety of items in the hole and refill it to prevent them from digging in that same spot. Examples include;

  • Their own poo – dogs won’t dig in areas that they have toileted.
  • Citrus peels, cayenne, or vinegar – these will irritate their nose discouraging digging
  • Rocks – bury rocks, particularly large flat ones to stop them from being able to dig.
  • Plastic netting – bury plastic netting just below the surface of known digging spots.  Avoid wire as this may cut their paws.

These are what are referred to as hard solutions. Soft solutions are things you can do to treat the motivation of the behavior.

Exercise and Mental stimulation

One of the main causes of any behavior issue with your Husky is lack of exercise and mental stimulation. Huskies are an extremely active high energy dog and require at least one hour a day of energy burning activity, but more is preferred. They are also a very smart breed and like to keep their minds busy. For a guide to Husky exercise see here.

Training and management

With digging being such a strong instinctive behavior in Huskies it is unlikely that you can completely stop the behavior. However, you can manage and redirect the digging to an area your want such as their own digging box.

If your Husky is digging in an area you don’t want them to, you can use positive reinforcement techniques to change the behavior. When you catch your Husky digging, get their attention with a command such as “leave” or a high value treat reward. Call your Husky over to you and praise them.

Redirect the behavior so they dig in an area set aside for them or provide activities or toys that cater to the natural digging instinct. You can bury some favorite toy or a dog chew to encourage them for digging there. Praise and reward your Husky for digging in the right area.

Toys for Huskies that dig

Toys are a great way to cater to and redirect any natural behavior in a dog. This is true of the digging instinct. By providing a way for your Husky to have an outlet for their desire to dig you can avoid destructive digging behavior.

This can be digging up your yard or flower garden and even the carpet or furniture. Here are some recommended toys and activities to cater to a dog’s digging instinct.

iDigg

This is the first dog toy that has been specially designed to cater to your Huskies natural digging instinct. You simply hide their favorite toy or treats in the flaps and let them dig away to uncover the hidden treasure. Not only will the action of digging help burn off pent-up energy, but the mental challenge of working out how to get to the goodies will help to tire them also.

The iDigg comes in two types – the iDigg Go and the iDigg Stay.

The iDigg Go has a soft outer shell making it easy to pack up and take with you and the iDigg Stay has a hard outer shell.

Check out the video to see how this works or view the iDig Go on Amazon.

Snuffe Mat

A Snuffe Mat is another great way to provide for your Husky’s natural digging instinct and to provide mental stimulation and relieve boredom. A Snuffe mat is a mat that is made of fleece and you can hide dry food or treats into it. If you are someone that is good at crafts you can try to make one yourself.

Alternatively, check out the range of Snuffle Mats at Amazon.

Digging Box

Provide a digging area or digging pit for your Husky. This way they can provide for their nature digging instinct without ruining your garden. Simply fill up a Sand Box with soil or sand, hide some chews or toys in it to encourage them to dig only there.

View sandboxes on Amazon

If you choose to use sand be aware that the sand can get quite hot in the warmer weather. Just wet down the sand before allowing your dog to use it.

Indoor dog digging box

If you are unable to get an iDig or are looking for a lower-cost option for indoor digging for your dog perhaps try a ball pit like the ones used by children. You can hide treats or your dog’s favorite toy among the balls and let your dog go to it. Check out ball pits on Amazon.

Summary -Why and how to stop Husky digging

Huskies by nature are a digger. This may be for denning purposes, prey drive, or pent up energy and boredom. And they are well equipped to do the job with their strength, webbed feet, and strong claws.

However, if your Husky’s digging has become a problem there are probably other contributing factors apart from instinctive behavior.

Figuring out what their other causes are is half way to solving the problem. In addition, there are hard solutions such as putting something in the hole and refilling. See above for ideas.

Other Husky post of interest

Guide to exercise for Huskies

Best type of toys for Huskies

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