Do Belgian Malinois like to dig? It’s a good question to ask specifically when we’re referring to one of the most energetic, dutiful, and athletic breeds around. All one has to do is take a quick look around YouTube to see the amazing athletic prowess of the Belgian Malinois. But there is a frustrating aspect to their abilities and that’s that with all that energy it must go somewhere. Unfortunately if not channeled correctly a Belgian Malinois can easily pour all that energy into the dirt in the form of digging holes.
Absent something better to do a Belgian Malinois will like to dig. They’re very energetic dogs and they have to do something with that energy. Besides boredom though there are many other reasons that Belgian Malinois like to dig as well. These can vary from hunting, building a shelter from weather conditions to even a female building a nest for puppies.
If your struggling with your Belgian Malinois engaging in excessive digging then don’t be too worried as there are solutions available to you. Now of course all dogs will dig from time to time especially when they’re young. But if it’s so bad that your yard looks like a construction zone then your dealing with a difficult behavioral problem.
The key to solving lies in a two-step solution. Before that, though you need to understand that your Belgian Malinois is not digging in order to make you miserable. Their reasons instead lie in certain emotional and physical needs that they’re missing. A different need missing will lead to a different kind of digging. This leads us to your first step which is to identify correctly why your dog is digging holes.
Basically the reasons for why Belgian Malinois dig can be broken down into five different categories and these can be:
- Unpleasant weather
- Their hunting for small creatures
- Your dog is pregnant
- Excessive energy
Don’t worry we will provide you with detailed explanations on how to figure which of these is the cause for your Belgians digging problem. But once you have figured out what the cause is then the second step is to remedy it.
Here are a few possible solutions to your dogs love of digging:
- Daily exercise
- Calling pest control
- Building a shelter and comfortable shaded areas
- A designated digging zone where it’s okay for them to dig
Now that we’ve given a general breakdown of the causes and solutions to your dogs digging now we’ll dive deeper into each kind of digging. We will show you how to figure out what kind of digging your dog is engaging in and a step by step solution to it.
Problem: Belgian Malinois Boredom Digging
Let’s face it a yard can be a very boring place. I mean all there is are plants and a bit of running space. A dog can bark, run or there is a third activity, digging. So with so few optional activities is it really any wonder that dogs dig? Especially a very high energy breed like the Belgian Malinois.
The main ways to figure out if your dog is digging because their bored is to know the context around that digging. How old is your dog? Are they young and we already know that their Belgian Malinois so that means they come from an energetic bloodline. Many dogs that engage in boredom digging will be somewhere between 8 to 18 months old. this seems to be the golden age of dog digging. I’m not sure why but I imagine it has something to do with the fact that their old and large enough to dig but they still have a lot of that puppy energy.
The Solution to Boredom Digging
The solution to this kind of digging can be summed up in three words, toys, exercise, and socialization. First off is your yard barren of toys and fun things to play with. Well, your going to need to fix that. Fortunately, there are many options. From all kinds of wonderful chew toys to squeaky toys. Dogs can enjoy play in many forms and the toys are pretty cheap.
Kongs, a toy that contains treats that a dog must puzzle out how to remove, can entertain a dog literally for hours. With an intelligent dog like the Belgian Malinois, they may be spending too much of their brainpower trying to figure out the kong to have any thoughts of digging.
In addition to littering a few toys about the yard, your Belgian Malinois also needs consistent daily exercise to help keep them from digging. You should make a commitment to walk your dog at least 30 minutes a day if your not already doing that.
Dog parks can be great exercise as well. Plus they give both you and your dog great socialization opportunities where it could be very easy to make friends.
Problem: Predatory Digging
Sometimes your dog may actually be digging in order to protect their family. How is that you ask? Simple just one word, varmints. In suburban, rural, and even urban areas there can be a lot of little animals like rats and mice that will tunnel holes underneath the yard. You won’t be able to see them but trust me your dog can definitely sniff them out. They then will dig in order to try to remove the threat.
The main way that you can tell if your Belgian Malinois is engaging in this of predatory digging is based upon the location of the holes. If you find that a lot of the holes are dug near shrubs and trees of various kinds then this is a good sign that they may be trying to dig up varmints of some kind or another.
The Solution to Predatory Digging
Unfortunately, I don’t have the experience as to how to remove the varmints yourself. So its probably best to call a high-quality pest removal service to do it for you. With the varmints gone hopefully, your Belgian Malinois tendency to try to dig them out will disappear as well. If you try to remove the creatures yourself be very careful. Any poisons or substances designed to remove varmints could be very bad for your Belgian Malinois. Practice extreme caution.
Problem: Digging for Shelter From Hot or Cold
A hole can make excellent protection from the elements. On hot days the soil is much cooler than the air and surface-level ground. In the case of the cold, the benefits are even more obvious, not only allowing an area where the dog’s body heat can stay enclose better but also protecting from any icy wind gusts.
You can tell if your Belgian Malinois digs holes for this reason by watching them and seeing if they happen to lie down in them after their dug. You can take this as near foolproof evidence that they are digging because they’re uncomfortable in the weather.
Solution to Belgian Malinois Weather Digging
In this case, your going to need to make your Belgian Malinois yard more comfortable for them. In hot summer weather ensure that they have a full bowl of water. The sun’s rays can be very tiring so give them a source of shade. This could be in the form of a patio awning or some other kind of shelter that you’ve built for them.
Likewise, if it’s an icy winter consider bringing them inside when it gets really cold and build a well-insulated shelter for them. To protect from the freezing temperatures as well as the cold wind that often follows.
Sometimes Female Belgian Malinois Will Dig Because Their Pregnant
Pregnant female dogs are often prone to digging behavior. The reason is that they’re trying to build a nice home for their future pups. This kind of digging is evident if you find the holes near thick foliage or bramble. The combination of a dug hole plus foilage gives excellent camouflage to protect the pups from predators. In addition, it helps to keep them warm or cool depending upon the season in your area.
So if you suspect that your female Belgian Malinois is digging for this reason and their obviously not spayed. Then take them for a medical check-up so that you see if this is the reason or whether you need to go back to the drawing board.
Belgian Malinois Like to Dig When Their Trying to Escape
If your finding the holes near the fence line of your property. Then your Belgian Malinois is most likely trying to leave the yard. Don’t worry it’s not because they don’t like you instead they probably simply have a friend on the other side that they want to meet up with and hang. Bravery is strongly associated with this breed of dog, so the simple desire to explore could also be a strong reason.
For this, you’ll need to embed your fence posts deeper into the ground. They still need to be tall enough so that the dog can’t jump over it. To do this you might need to buy a new fence that is much taller so you have enough space to bury a portion of it. When your dog realizes that escape under the fence is futile then the digging behavior will cease hopefully.
If Nothing Works…
Then there is one other option that you can try. Some dogs just love digging. It’s their reason for existence. If your beloved canine belongs to this family of dogs, then the only solution might be to join them. What you do is pick out a part of your yard that you’re willing to sacrifice to your dog.
This will serve as your dog’s special digging zone. To make this part of the yard more attractive than other parts. You will need to cover it with a lot of loose soil or even sand. In fact, one option for this is to simply use a child’s sized sandbox. Whatever you decide to do just make sure it has very diggable material. Something that will really satisfy your dog’s paws.
Then take some chew toys and special treats. Dig little holes in the area and then bury the toys in there. By doing this will give your Belgian Malinois extra rewards for digging a hole there that will make it their go-to spot. Hopefully to the exclusion of the rest of the yard. To top it off whenever you happen to spot your dog digging in the proper area give them heavy praise to let them know their on the right track.
Digging behavior from your dog can be very frustrating, but you shouldn’t punish them for it. That isn’t really effective since they can’t really connect the punishment and the digging in their minds. Instead, figure out why they’re digging and then remove the cause. Redirect that energy into a less destructive activity that doesn’t make you pull your hair out.
If nothing really works for you then you can always bring them inside to spend more time with you. In the long run, this might actually be what’s best for the relationship between you and your canine companion.