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Why do dogs scratch the ground?

Updated on January 6, 2009

A dog’s ground scratching behavior

 Scratching and digging are inherent behaviors of a dog. The dog may have undergone obedience training with flying colors; the dog may be one that is completely housebroken, one that is very affectionate and loyal but there will always be a time when the dog would cause the owner to slump in a corner in exasperation. Who wouldn’t be if the well mannered dog has decided once again to scratch the ground and decorate the lawn with holes?

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Why do dogs scratch the ground?

This unwanted behavior of a dog can be due to a variety of reasons. A dog that has decided to decorate the garden or the lawn may be hiding a toy, a bone or any other object it considers as his treasure. The owner may be giving too much food and the dog decides to hide the food or a bone in preparation for the rainy day. This food hoarding attitude was inherited by the modern day dog from his ancestors in the wild.

The dog may decide to scratch the ground to make a bed. The scratching is done to make the bed comfortable. Dogs are intelligent creatures and they know that during extreme weather conditions they need to adapt their bodies to the temperature. When it is extremely hot, the dog would scratch the ground to expose the cooler layer of the ground where it will lay down to sleep. The same thing is done when it is very cold. A hole in the ground will protect the dog for very cold breeze.

When a dog scratches the ground after going to the bathroom he is only making sure that his very personal scent is spread on the area he is claiming as his territory. The scent will remain even if the dog is gone and will serve as the dog’s message to other dogs.

Dealing with the ground scratching habit of the dog

A dog that is scratching the ground is trying to communicate with the master. The dog may be telling you that he needs attention. Most dogs that scratched the ground are bored and suffering from separation anxiety. If the dog will be left alone at home for quite a while provide your pet with toys. The dog may be telling you to provide a comfortable area for him to sleep too.

The scratching habit of the dog can not be totally eliminated as scratching and digging is in their nature. Provide a sandbox or designate an area in your yard where the dog can dig to his heart’s content. Bury some toys, bones and treats in the designated area to encourage the dog to dig there and not in the garden or in the lawn.


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      Roz Merryman 

      7 years ago

      Why is this German Shepherd

      Chained ???


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