For many dogs, digging is an enjoyable activity and instinctive behaviour. It can be a nuisance when house-training your dog though. The good news is that it’s a manageable behaviour.
Digging is a common activity for dogs with extra energy and for dogs who are bored or looking for a fun activity to engage in.
Providing your dog with plenty of exercise and stimulation will naturally discourage your pup from digging in the grass as a form of exercise and entertainment. As a new puppy, your dog may have a lot of extra energy to burn.
Taking an extra long walk each day, or multiple smaller walks throughout the day can help make sure your puppy is getting the exercise they need, which will reduce the likelihood of your dog digging in the grass.
If you catch your dog digging, take them away from Piddle Patch and encourage them to play elsewhere by providing a fun activity for them to do, or a fun game to play. Fetch and tug of war can be lots of fun for dogs with a lot of energy to burn.
If your dog seems particularly interested in the act of digging, then consider making them a special place to dig using old towels or sheets. This can provide them with a non-destructive way to engage in this fun activity.
While house-training your puppy, it’s important that you discourage all forms of play on Piddle Patch. Puppies can be easily distracted, and some puppies may think the grass is there to play with, sleep on or dig in, so it’s important to discourage these activities as soon as possible and encourage only the correct behaviour from your puppy so as to avoid teaching them bad habits. Once they have learned that the grass is a toilet area, and not a play area, the unwanted behaviours will stop.
When you bring your dog to Piddle Patch, use your command word (“go potty”, “go wee”, etc) to indicate that you want them to relieve themselves. If your pup is just starting out with their house-training, this step will be important for building the connection between the command word and the expected behaviour.
If your dog starts to dig, say “no” in a firm voice, regain their attention and move your dog away from Piddle Patch to play elsewhere.
After a few minutes, return with your puppy to Piddle Patch and again use your command word to encourage them to relieve themselves. If your dog does not go within a minute or two, it may be that they aren’t ready.
Understanding your dog’s queues, such as sniffing, whining, circling, barking or scratching, can help you to anticipate when they are ready to go pee or poop.
If they do not show these signals, keep an eye out for any other signals they may have, and bring them back to Piddle Patch every couple of minutes.
If they try to relieve themselves somewhere else, pick them up and have them finish on Piddle Patch.
After every successful potty break, shower them with lots of praise. After a few successful potty breaks they will understand what you are asking them to do with Piddle Patch and will no longer need the assistance.
Want more? Check out these house-training tips.