If you’ve noticed that your garden is filled with holes and mounds since you brought home your Vizsla, then you can be very sure that your pooch is responsible for all of them. Many dogs find great joy in digging up your garden and this often is a common behavior in dogs that pet owners encounter. Understanding why your Vizsla is digging will help you handle this behavior and find a solution to stop or limit this habit.
Why Your Vizsla Digs Occasionally
Your Vizsla is a dog after all and like all dogs, he digs too. Whatever the breed, a dog naturally digs for various reasons such as to hide a bone or toy, to protect himself from the heat, to hunt for smells or just for fun.
If your Vizsla digs a hole occasionally to bury his treasure, then this is quite natural and there is no need to get angry with your pet and scold him. If your pet’s digging is not excessive, then you should accept it as natural, instinctive behavior.
Why Your Vizsla Is Digging Very Often
Your Vizsla may be resorting to digging for many reasons:
Lack of Attention
Your handsome, smooth and copper-colored Hungarian Vizsla is a gentle, loving and highly-energetic dog. They form very strong bonds with their owners and families and become very attached to their humans, so much so that they follow you around wherever you go (even to the bathroom).
They want to be involved in everything that you and your family do and can become quite clingy, which has earned them the name of “Velcro dogs.” Vizslas love affection, cuddling and being around people and don’t like being left alone. And, if you leave your pet alone for long periods of time, he can get bored and even suffer from separation anxiety.
And, when your Vizsla is bored or wants attention, you can expect him to get up to plenty of destructive behavior around the house like chewing up your furniture, shoes, etc., digging large holes in your yard, stealing food to get your attention.
Lack of Exercise
As we discussed earlier, Vizslas are active and highly-energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise and running around to burn off all their energy. And, there is a good chance that your Vizsla is digging because he is not getting sufficient exercise he needs. Your Vizsla needs proper exercise, which can be critical to his mental health and contentment.
If you’re out the whole day and leave your Vizsla on his own, then he’s bound to get bored and find ways to keep himself entertained by chewing things, pulling clothes off the washing line and digging.
Caching (Burying/ Recovering Treasure)
Often dogs (including Vizslas) dig holes to bury bones, treats, food and other treasures and this behavior is known as caching. This may be because of their survival instinct, where, in the wild, dogs preserved their food by burying it and in times of scarcity, they returned to retrieve the bone that they had hidden earlier.
Your pet may bury bones to protect them from other animals so that he can eat them later. Your Vizsla may bury the bones and cover them up because they are bored and want you to find them. Sometimes, dogs just cache bones and other treasures and dig them out just for fun.
Related: Do Vizslas Shed?
Some other reasons why your Vizsla may resort to digging are:
- Since they were bred as hunting dogs originally and were trained to go after their prey, Vizslas may dig instinctively.
- Your pet may feel confined and want to escape the yard and so dig to get out.
- Vizslas love the company and hate being alone. If left by himself for long periods of time, your Vizsla may dig around to distract himself.
- In warm weather, your pet may dig shallow holes to lie in as the ground under the surface is cooler.
- Your pet may dig in search of small prey or insects that are on the ground or underground.
- Your dog may feel an urge to eat things like soil, dirt, etc. This behavior is known as Pica and your Vizsla may dig the ground before eating it.
How to Stop Your Vizsla from Digging?
Plenty of Physical Exercise
As we have discussed earlier, Vizslas are extremely active and energetic dogs. They have plenty of energy to burn and need an everyday exercise routine to burn off all that energy and be happy. A short walk around the block may not be sufficient for your pet. Vizslas need to walk a lot, ideally around 5 to 10 km daily.
And, it is better if they can run or have some other vigorous exercise. Vizslas love any type of exercise, be it running, jogging, fetching, hiking, agility training or just about anything to burn off his energy.
In fact, Vizslas are the happiest in families that are very active and love outdoor activities. If your Vizsla has sufficient physical activity, he will be tired and rest quietly and you’re sure to find lesser holes around your garden and yard.
Distract Your Vizsla
To prevent your Vizsla from getting bored when you’re away for long or if he’s alone outdoors, the best way is to keep him distracted. You can give him a toy or a bone that will keep him busy so that he will not be bored and indulge in destructive behaviors like barking, digging or destroying things.
Since Vizslas are hunting dogs and have a natural hunting instinct, they can easily sniff out hidden treats that will satisfy their basic urge and also prevent them from digging in your kitchen trash cans, sofas or yard. You can hide a dog toy filled with dog food in your pet’s crate or cage, hide your Vizsla’s favorite treat in a rubber box or get him a puzzle box specially designed for dogs. These will keep your pet occupied for hours and keep him distracted, preventing him from digging up the area.
Keep Him Comfortable
When you’re away from home, keep your pet in a pen, cage or crate. Place a comfortable bed in the crate. This will provide a safe place for your Vizsla to rest and hide when you’re not at home and give him comfort. Give him some hard toys or rubber bones to chew. This will keep your pet occupied for hours. Or, you can leave a stuffed toy in your pet’s crate, which will keep him company while you’re gone.
Despite exercising him, keeping him distracted and all your efforts, if your Vizsla continues digging everywhere, then it is important to train your Vizsla and teach him to dig only in a certain limited area. Define an area in the yard or garden where your pet is allowed to dig. You can do this by making a sandbox or surrounding the earmarked area with stones.
Hide some food or your Vizsla’s favorite toys in the area and make your pet understand that he must dig only there. Use gentle, positive reinforcement to train him. Using a strong, authoritative tone and telling him to “stop” or “no” will only make him disobey you and dig outside the area that you have defined.
Be firm with your pet and show him the area where he can dig. By doing this repeatedly, your pet will gradually understand that he can dig only in a specified area. And, while your Vizsla continues to dig as instinct demands, at least your outdoor space will be preserved.
In conclusion, like all other dogs, Vizslas likes digging too. However, this habit can become excessive if your pet lacks exercise, is alone for long and is bored. We hope that the suggestions in our article can help you alleviate some of the angst that your Vizsla faces when he’s all by himself and prevents his destructive behaviors.