Hey there again Rover-ites!
Today our blog is going to take a bit of a twist. As dog owners, dog boarders, and dog lovers, we always seem to have questions about our little furry friends. Today we will begin tackling those questions one by one. Have additional questions or trivia? We want to hear from you in the comments below!
Today’s question is short and simple: why do dogs dig? It seems like such an odd behavior that is immortalized in popular media and taken for granted by dog owners and dog sitters everywhere, and as any Seattle dog boarding facility will tell you, it is hardly an innocuous habit! Now there are plenty of views and reasons given for why dogs dig. However, this blog post is going to focus more on the instinctual nature of the behavior. This leaves out all the reasons of your four legged friend being “bored,” “seeking adventure,” “exercise,” “attention,” etc.
To start tracing this evolutionary nature to dig we should first look at the dog breeds that have a real reputation for digging. Dogs like Border Collies, Yorkshire terriers, and Dachshunds have a reputation of blessing yards with “holiness.” One common trait these dog breeds share is their recent use as work dogs to hunt animals for food or pest control. Yorkshire terriers were used to catch mice and rats in mines and clothing mills. Dachshunds were originally bred in Germany to hunt badgers hiding in their underground burrows. So, in a way, digging is a predatorly habit left over from times before dogs were domesticated by human beings. This helps to explain how breeds with a more recent history of hunting have stronger urges and reputations of digging up your backyard because the behavior of digging has been purposely selected for.
Well, that is all we have time for today Rover-ites. Hopefully you enjoyed this exploration of dog behavior and its links to breeds and evolutionary history.