Those thinking about adopting a puppy or dog will likely consider a lot of things before they search for a suitable pet. One of the things to consider with an Akita is their propensity to dig. All dogs dig, although some do it more. The Akita is one of those breeds who are diggers. It’s the hunter’s instinct.. It is one of the disadvantages of owning an Akita but there’s hope with training. After all, this breed is intelligent and their behavior can be altered with redirection rather than punishment. The hunter instinct is bred into the Akita.
Do Akitas dig? Yes, they do. There are many reasons why dogs dig, including trying to find a cool spot, being curious, preparing a nest for puppies, or chasing rodents. The Akita will dig for all those reasons too but they typically dig primarily for another reason. They are bored.
You could look out in the yard one day and find 10 significant holes. The Akita is a powerhouse dog from Japan and can easily create extremely large holes in quick time. They are natural hunters too so digging is also a way to hunt for underground prey. Coupling those two things with an insatiable need for ongoing mental stimulation, you have a situation where the result is – holes. Before you can work on correcting an Akita digging problem, you must first understand the exact reason for the behavior. Read on to find out more about why do Akitas dig.
Do Akitas Dig?
Akitas dig and dig well. They have the structure to do it. The males are between 26 and 28 inches tall and can weigh up to 130 pounds. The females are a little smaller standing between 24 and 26 inches tall and weighing up to 110 pounds.
The Akita breed needs 30 minutes to an hour of exercise daily and loves things like fast-paced walking, jogging, and playing in the yard. This dog is smart and gets bored with the same routine every day so anyone choosing this breed will need to switch up the routine a little to keep your Akita interested.
Akitas also want to be with their family. They don’t like to be left alone and so leaving your Akita in the yard for long periods isn’t a good idea. That will lead to destructive behavior. However, the primary reason they dig is simply out of boredom.
A bored Akita can present a lot of problems like digging. Since this breed is a larger, more muscular dog, they can cause a lot of damage to both house and property in a short time if they are bored. Other issues that stem from boredom are barking, chewing, and even aggression.
Boredom is the number one reason why an Akita will dig. They are a breed that has a lot of energy and needs to burn it off. This is particularly true if you have a puppy. Akita puppies are known to be hyperactive and in need of some serious playtime.
The first thing to try to correct the digging problem is to exercise your dog more. Walk with them and play with them in the yard. It will be easy to know if the digging is boredom by spending more time with the dog for a week or two. If the digging stops, then they just need more exercise.
Why Does My Akita Dig Holes?
There are several possible other reasons for your Akita’s digging behavior.
Curiosity – Akitas also require a good bit of mental stimulation and don’t always see a fenced-in yard for offering that. There are all kinds of noises and happenings on the other side of the fence that intrigues them. Plus, they are loyal guardians of their territory so they feel a right to figure out what is going on beyond the fence. So, they dig.
It’s not that they want to escape as it is they want to see what is going on. You can’t blame them. Those sounds are pretty interesting. A way to resolve the curiosity problem is to redirect them to something else. If you are in the yard and see them intrigued by the fence, grab a toy and throw it in the opposite direction.
They will run and play without thinking about the other side of the fence. You have to make yourself so much fun that they couldn’t care less about what is going on beyond the yard.
Rodent Hunting – Akitas have two major parts to their personality. They like to hunt and love to protect. They will dig up a yard to find rodents because the dog knows they aren’t supposed to be there. It’s their yard, after all. The Akita in this instance thinks they are serving you well. They are killing rodents and are guarding the yard against all invaders. There is no way this behavior deserves any reprimands.
The best resolution is to hire a pest control company to come to do the work your Akita has been doing. Once the rodents are gone, your Akita will probably stop digging. Another thing you can do regarding digging issues is creating a space, especially for your dog to dig. Train them for that space. They will learn to dig there.
Other Types of Digging – You may notice your Akita taking the digging behavior into the house. It may root around on the couch or on its dog bed before laying down or it may even try to dig up your carpet.
This behavior isn’t unusual for a dog and it’s just a habit of the Akita. All dogs do these things from time to time. There are a couple of reasons beyond boredom for these. Dogs do try to settle into their nest to sleep, and digging is a way to do that.
They also will exhibit this behavior when they are frightened. It could be they heard thunder or don’t like rain. Pay attention to when they do this to figure out the reason. Additionally, there are other reasons for Akitas to dig both in the yard and even in the house or other unusual places.
Heat – Akitas aren’t best suited for hot weather. They have thick coats and larger dogs tend to suffer more in the heat. They, like all dogs, tend to dig for cool earth during hotter temperatures. It’s a survival skill instilled in dogs.
Owners of these dogs need to be careful not to leave them out in the heat. It’s best to bring them in during the hottest days and they will likely stop digging.
Pregnancy – While responsible pet owners neuter and spay their pets, there may be a time when a dog wasn’t properly fixed and ends up pregnant. The female will start digging to prepare for the birth of the babies. This may happen more often in a foster care for dogs situation.
To remedy this problem, fix up an area especially for her to give birth and stay afterward with the pups. Make it a nice, comfortable area with bedding in a secluded spot that she can easily get to anytime.
What Repels Your Dog From Digging?
There are dog training sprays available. You spray an area restricted from your dog and the odor stops them from going there. These work well to stop digging. You can also make your own by mixing vinegar and citrus oil.
One recommendation for preventing an Akita from digging more holes is to retrain them. You can do this by putting flat rocks over areas where they dig to prevent them from accessing the holes or working to distract them from their habits.
This may take a while for your dog to figure out they can’t dig in certain areas but restricting them along with providing other areas that are theirs to dig and play in will eventually work and correct the digging problem.
The One Thing You Shouldn’t Do
All dog experts agree that you should never punish your dog for digging. They don’t understand verbal scolding, as they only understand tone, so they don’t have a clue why you’re angry. They will forget about the hole they dug minutes after they do it.
Akitas, in particular, don’t do well with any kind of harsh punishment, and harsh punishment isn’t recommended for dogs anyway. Their stubbornness and the fact they can be temperamental isn’t a good combination for punishment. Such punishment could make them aggressive.
You don’t want to encourage aggression in your Akita. It is already a misunderstood breed and noted for aggression. An aggressive display could cause problems with neighbors and landlords.
Do Akitas dig? Yes, they do. They can and probably will dig many holes in your yard. The trick for you is to properly correct the behavior using some dog psychology and having patience.
Once you decide to put the time into working with them on their digging issues with training, playing, and helping them find their spot in the yard, you will find they make great pets.