Stop The Digging, Save Your Pet

THERE are two hobbies that cannot be kept together to wit- garden and pet keeping. In most homes with gardens and plants, where pets, like dogs, cats and to a little extent, certain types of birds are also kept, the sack of complaints is always laden with tales of woe and tales of destruction. 

  If it is not that the pets are eating the precious plants, it is that the pets themselves are getting sick as a result of their nibbling on those plants. 

  But more importantly, digging takes pre-eminence out of the complaints. 

  Digging of the ground is an attitude that seems to bother many pet owners and it is somewhat a nauseating thing if you are the type that loves your garden and plants.

  So, if your dogs and cats dig ditches, how do you want them to ditch digging? 

  Many animal behaviourists have concluded that the act of digging perpetrated by pets is a natural habit that seems highly enjoyable to them and for the habit to be controlled, an intense control programme has to be instituted.

  Let us try a few of the following tips:

Make him a spent force

  When a dog is well exercised, it is most unlikely that he digs, because he is already spent the energy. It is recommended that taking your dog for the exercise he enjoys for at least half an hour a day can have a profound effect on his digging habit.

Cool it

  It is not only the group, “Musical Youth,” that wants to cool it down, or is it cool now! 

  During the warmer months of the year, your dog instinctively knows that the earth is a good insulator and would want to dig as far as he could go to get the cool effect. 

  If you notice that his castle is in the ground, provide him with lots of water and provide access to very cool places within the compound.   

  With this, you will prevent the kind of landscape that illegal miners have bequeathed to Jos, Bauchi, etc in your compound.

When it is cold

  Just like your dog wants to stay cool in summer, the natural tendency is to seek for warmer places in the cold months. 

  Again, the earth provides the answer. 

  Therefore, prevent this by allowing him access to warmer places in the house. Lest, he shows you the Julius Berger instinct in him.

He is a copycat

   Dogs like children copy what they see you do, if he thinks it is fun for you to dig the garden, he may turn around to do the same thing himself.

  So, as you dig the garden, make sure your dog is in safe distance and not sight. 

A Berlin Wall or an Israeli fence   

  Now that the Berlin Wall had been broken, you may want to copy the Israelis and put a fence to protect the precious resources in your garden by erecting at least an inexpensive chicken wire fence to deny access to the plants and treasured areas of the house.

Reduce his urge

  Spayed or castrated dogs have been known to have a diminished drive to dig; hence you may have to see the vets for this. 

Tire him out

  Spread very heavy clothing on his interested sites and weigh it down with heavy rocks or bricks.   

  This will easily tire him out and will definitely interfere with his destructive habit.

Stop his job

  If he thinks he is an excavator, tell him he is not. Anytime he thinks he is a miner, tell him firm “NO!”

  If that doesn’t stop him, rattle him with unpleasant noises. If he leaves instantly, praise and reward him lavishly.

When you lost the battle

  At times, your best effort may not be able to stop his habit. So, what do you do? 

  The next thing is to acquiesce to his habit and create a hole for him yourself in a shaded part of the house where he takes as his dirt- sanctuary. You may put his toys there for him to play and dig with.   

  This, of course, is an extreme measure. But if you must save your garden and your precious plants, take this crazy option.

For your cats

  It is extremely important that you keep your cat litter boxes clean and readily accessible. If not, your cat may find a ready excuse to start digging. 

  Also, make sure that your cat litter sand does not resemble the soil type in your house, because he may not be able to tell the difference. 

  From the foregoing, you may have discovered that it is somewhat possible to love horticulture and to also be an effusive pet lover. 

  There are limits and responsibilities, which must be observed. God help us! 

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