If you’re searching for the answer to:
Why do Chihuahuas dig?
Here you’ll discover…
- The psychology behind digging.
- 11 effective tips to prevent your Chihuahua from digging.
- How to recognize whether digging is a behavioral issue or a natural behavior of your Chi.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
- Why do Chihuahuas dig?
- 9 reasons why Chihuahuas dig
- Should you stop your Chihuahua from digging?
- 11 tips to reduce digging behavior in your Chihuahua
- #1: Daily play sessions with you Chihuahua
- #2: Get the right toys
- #3: Don’t give all toys at once
- #4: Make your Chihuahua work for their meal
- #5: Spend more time with your Chihuahua
- #6: Teach the command ‘leave it’
- #7: Work with a dog trainer
- #8: Doggy daycare
- #9: Teach your Chihuahua to be alone
- #10: Neuter your Chihuahua
- #11: Regular walks
Why do Chihuahuas dig?
Digging is one of the most normal behaviors for Chihuahuas. It’s driven by their instinct for marking their territory, feeling secure and comfortable. Wild dogs hide in dens to sleep and give birth. They also dig to store and find food.
Not all owners enjoy this behavior whether it happens outdoors or inside the house. This raises more questions such as – can you stop it?
And most importantly – should you?
To make the best decision for you and your Chihuahua, keep reading to learn more about the dog psychology behind this action.
9 reasons why Chihuahuas dig
#1: A form of exercise
If your Chihuahua has a lot of energy that is not put into action, your dog can revert to digging. You see, all dogs need to have a job.
That’s why if they don’t spend time on anything like chasing balls, tug of war, or chasing each other with peers, they might just start digging.
Curious fact: Digging is great for your Chihuahua’s upper body and legs. We do yoga, stretching, and gym training. Chihuahuas dig.
This is a bit overlapping with the lack of exercise. It comes down to your Chihuahua bursting with energy and searching for an activity that puts this energy into work.
Tip: One thing to circle out from the possible reasons is that your Chihuahua is making this out of spite. Dogs don’t know concepts such as ‘revenge’. Even if you’ve done something your Chihuahua might not particularly like, chances are they’re digging for a totally different reason. Any other reason really.
Maybe not for you but for your Chihuahua for sure.
When dogs dig, they find tree roots. Besides the fact that dirt smells good to gods (natural), they like to pull the roots. It’s similar to the tug of war game you two play together. The tree could be seen as a play buddy holding the other end of the roots.
If you haven’t taken a ball with you for the walk, probably your Chihuahua wants a toy substitute. It’s understandable, isn’t it?
If you go on vacation and don’t have your laptop or phone, you’d probably take a book, wouldn’t you?
We’re wired like that – we just don’t enjoy having nothing to do.
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#4: Prey hunting
‘Huh?! Prey hunting? But I give my Chi enough food… What’s this all about?’ you’re likely to ask.
Well, since dogs are way more alert than us humans, they might detect critters. For you, it might not be that obvious, and that’s understandable. Especially when you consider the hearing and sniffing abilities of dogs.
Yup, your Chihuahua might be onto something such as a bug, a worm, or even a gopher (critters of any kind really).
Sometimes your Chihuahua could smell odors coming from the mud. These smells could be coming from a piece of trash that’s been buried some time ago or from dead animal carcasses.
If the Chihuahua finds such a ‘hidden treasure, it’s likely they will bring it to you. They’ll just feel proud showing it off to you.
The saying ‘Some things will never change’ definitely applies to all kinds of dog breeds throughout the years of evolution and dog domestication when it comes to digging.
Especially when a dog does it to cool down during hot summer days.
Curious fact: Your Chihuahua has sweat glands on their paws pads. That’s one way to feel cooler during summer. As it’s often not enough, dogs revert to digging holes in the ground where the mud is cooler.
Digging for attention has its explanation. It’s one of the fastest ways your Chihuahua can get you to focus on them. Sure- yelling at them or raising your voice isn’t fun but it’s better than not interacting with them at all.
To find out whether this is the cause for digging, try to see if they do that only when you’re around or on a regular basis. For example, if you have a yard and you let them roam free there, do you find any holes afterward?
This one is pretty unpleasant. Anxiety, if not treated on time, could become worse.
Anxiety is triggered by the fact that dogs are social animals. If they were in the wild, they’d hang out in packs, like stray dogs often do.
It’s not natural for a Chihuahua to stay home all day long for around 12 hours per day. When a Chihuahua feels isolated, bored, or unstimulated, you can expect a destructive behavior from their side.
Curious fact: In this case digging is used as a comforting measure. It helps the Chihuahua lower down their stress levels and relieves anxiety. It could also be an attempt to go to you.
This type of digging happens indoors – in carpets, walls, and doors.
This can be triggered by the anxiety the Chihuahua experiences. It’s stressful not to know if you’ll come back.
Or, it could be because your Chihuahua isn’t neutered and is bursting with sexual energy. The only way to find a mate would be to go outside.
It’s in your dog’s blood to be an explorer. Exploring is used to find food and to expand the territory.
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Should you stop your Chihuahua from digging?
You shouldn’t forbid your Chihuahua to dig. You can, however, use the below-mentioned tips to channel their energy to a substitute behavior. This will bring more variety in their daily routine and give you peace of mind.
11 tips to reduce digging behavior in your Chihuahua
#1: Daily play sessions with you Chihuahua
If your Chihuahua’s digging is dictated by the need to have fun, you can redirect that energy into playing together.
Just make sure to spend more time with your dog. Go on an extra walk when you can and take some new exciting toys, too.
#2: Get the right toys
When your Chihuahua is home alone, make sure they have new interesting toys to keep themselves occupied. Some good ideas to try with your Chihuahua are:
- A giggle ball.
- A stuffed kong.
- Balls of different sizes.
#3: Don’t give all toys at once
It’s best to hide a number of toys, while you give the others to your Chihuahua. Change the toys every few days to ensure your Chihuahua doesn’t get bored with them. This will also help direct their attention to one or two particular toys.
#4: Make your Chihuahua work for their meal
When you give them dry kibble, you can put it into a Buster Cube instead of in their bowl as usual.
In order for your Chihuahua to get the food out, they’ll have to roll the Buster Cube.
Then the kibble will be released from the hole. You could see this as a modern version of indoor ‘hunting’. This toy is bound to keep your Chihuahua from digging.
#5: Spend more time with your Chihuahua
This is the cure for all behavioral issues in general. If your Chihuahua digs frequently, it might have to do with the fact that they’re frustrated you’re not around them more.
You don’t need to play all day with them. Just keeping them close to you is enough for them to feel like part of your family.
Lying down on the couch next to you would do the trick.
Leaning on you while you’re reading a book or watching TV would also do wonders for the way they behave.
#6: Teach the command ‘leave it’
This is particularly useful when you want to take your Chihuahua back home from their walk. Instead of having to chase them around, yelling, or just being frustrated, use this simple command and reward accordingly with a favorite treat.
#7: Work with a dog trainer
You could also enroll your Chihuahua in training classes. Then you could request the trainer to teach them this specific command.
#8: Doggy daycare
Another option is to leave your Chihuahua in doggy daycare. It’s a great way for them to socialize with other dogs and different kinds of people. This will drain the high amount of energy your Chihuahua has and will help its social skills.
#9: Teach your Chihuahua to be alone
This isn’t as easy as just leaving them in the house and hoping for the best. It means gradually increasing the time you leave them alone. First, start doing it by exiting the room for no longer than 5 minutes. Then, make it ten and so on.
Always provide engaging toys prior to leaving.
Ignore your Chihuahua when you get back home. Don’t leave them with the impression that what happened is a big deal. You leaving and coming back home should be regular activities and nothing scary or ultra exciting.
#10: Neuter your Chihuahua
Except for the health benefits this can have for your dog, it will also regulate the hormones. This in turn will make your Chihuahua calmer.
#11: Regular walks
Take regular walks with your Chihuahua.
Change the route a bit so your dog gets to satisfy their curiosity and explore as much as they like without causing damage to your house.