You’ve noticed that you have a few holes in your yard and wonder if a gopher or groundhog is digging. If you have a springer spaniel, then the mystery is probably solved.
Do springer spaniels dig? Yes, they do, especially if they are left to their own devices in an empty yard. Do springer spaniels like to dig? Yes, if they have excess energy to expend, then to them, it’s a fun pastime.
Before your springer “digs a hole to China,” as the saying goes, here is some information on why your spaniel digs and what you can do to prevent it.
How to Stop Your Springer Spaniel From Digging
Before you had a springer spaniel, your yard may have resembled a golf course, and you took great pride in how wonderful it looked.
Now, you gaze out onto the vast wasteland that was once your impeccably neat backyard. You see toys and tennis balls scattered all about and perhaps a pile of poop with some freshly dug holes just waiting for someone to turn their ankle in.
Digging is, in a way, a behavior that is normal in dogs, but how can you stop it and reclaim your space? Following are a few tips to accomplish the takeover.
Neuter or Spay
Neutering or spaying your spaniel, if you aren’t planning on breeding, can help to calm them down and cut down on digging.
Keeping after them and telling them, “no, ” when you see them digging can help. Again it could just cause them to dig more if they are digging for attention. It’s worth a try. Only scold them if you catch them in the act. It won’t work if they are reprimanded after the fact.
Make sure your springer spaniel gets enough exercise. This will help them release all of that pent up energy and prevent boredom. If they get enough exercise, they will likely be too tired to dig. Remember springers are intelligent dogs and as such also need a mental workout not just a physical one, a great way to get this is simply by doing some dog training.
Place something that they don’t like or an item that has an unpleasant smell in or around a hole they’ve dug. Sprays are available precisely for this purpose and usually contain cayenne pepper or are citrus-scented, as dogs don’t like citrus. Make sure these sprays are suitable and safe for dogs.
Set up your sprinkler or hose and turn on and squirt them when they begin digging. Try to hide and make it seem as if the water squirts every time they dig. They may think it’s coming from the hole and stop. Unfortunately, if your dog loves water, this may not be an option.
If all else fails, giving them their own private dirt pile may be your only solution. Give them a dig pit in an out of the way corner in your yard, where they can have fun and “go to town.”
So why Do Springer Spaniels Like To Dig?
The springer spaniel is most often depicted in artwork from the 16th and 17th century, out in the field with their master or lying by a roaring fire. I don’t believe there are any portraits of digging springer spaniels, but they do, in fact, like to dig.
Springers are a highly intelligent breed and often ranked around number 13 for their intelligence out of all breeds in the world. Quite impressive! Sometimes, these smarts get them into trouble, especially if they are not adequately trained and left unattended.
If springer spaniels are so smart, why then do they dig? Here are some reasons for digging.
One of the main reasons for a dog’s digging habit is instinct. This instinct dates back to their ancestors, the wolves. Wolves will dig holes to create dens for giving birth and raising their pups. They also use their den for protection from cold and the elements. Yes, your springer spaniel has a home and a nice warm bed, but the digging can be instinctual.
Springers are a smart dog. If you are out in your yard digging a garden, they may want to mirror you and do exactly what you’re doing; dig. If you’re digging, they’re digging. Can you dig it?
Your spaniel may dig to hide any valuables they may have, be it a bone or toy.
Dogs, being ancestors of wolves, all have typically lived in packs. Springers are mostly social animals, and you are their pack. If they are left alone too often, they may become bored without necessary social interaction. This is a way to amuse themselves and keep busy. This can become a real problem if your spaniel is left out in the yard unattended for long periods.
Your spaniel may be digging and eating dirt, grass, and roots because they like them. This is not the best diet.
Your pup may just like to dig for the comforting feeling it gives him or her. If it’s a very hot day, the cool earth will feel very good.
Seeking attention is another reason for digging. They will dig, and you will yell. I know this is negative attention, but to them, they are still getting your attention.
Hopefully, one or more of these tips will help cure your springer spaniel from digging.
One day as you stand in your beautifully manicured backyard and your neighbor asks, “do springer spaniels like to dig,” you can answer, “no.”