While digging is an instinctual behavior for a dog, it is definitely frustrating to deal with a garden full of holes. While this may initially seem like a difficult behavior to deter, here are seven effective ways in which you can stop a dog from digging up your beautiful garden.
Training definitely works, but here are some things you can try to do on your own.
Bring the dog inside.
I know, you got that big, beautiful yard with a fence so he can run around, enjoy the day, and get some exercise. Right? Sorry, wrong!
Dogs are very social animals, and chances are, he is not exercising in the back yard, but sitting by the door waiting for you to come out, or for you to let him in. If not, he could be plotting a way to escape by digging under the fence, or expressing his frustration by barking.
Plus, it’s hot out, and nice cool dirt is pleasant to him. Best thing is to send him out to potty, follow up with a short play or training session and then let him inside.
Work Off That Energy
Some dogs are couch potatoes, whereas others require more exercise than average to keep them happy.
One of the most common causes of digging is a lack of exercise. This quickly leads to boredom. It then doesn’t take long for a dog to realize that a great way to work off his energy is by using his paws to dig!
If you think that this may be why your dog has been digging…
There is an easy fix to this!
Simply take your dog for a long walk or a good run. This will allow them to work off excess energy. Other types of activities are great too, from swimming to playing fetch.
Once you take your tired pooch back home, you will likely find that he won’t have the energy to dig any more!
Check for Rodents and Other Animals
Is your dog a natural hunter?
Many breeds, from terriers to pointers, are. This means that they will constantly be seeking out prey to satisfy their urge to hunt. This will often be in the form of rodents, who tend to burrow their tunnels deep underneath a garden. The only way for your dog to get to them is by digging.
So, how do you stop a dog from digging for rodents?
This is a hard one, because a hunting dog’s drive to hunt is really so strong.
Your best bet would be to take the steps necessary to clear any rodents or other unwanted creatures away from your garden.
This can be difficult to do on your own, so you may need to call in the help of some professionals. However, once they are able to empty your garden of those creatures, your dog won’t have anything underground to hunt for any more. This should be enough to stop him from digging.
Offer Up Some Distractions
As mentioned above, dogs often dig when they are bored. However, this can quickly turn into a habit, meaning that they then start to dig even when they aren’t bored.
The best way to tackle this is by offering up a few distractions to your dog whenever he starts to dig.
Can’t think of anything that would distract your dog from digging?
A long-lasting chew tends to work quite well! Not only will this give your pooch something tasty to gnaw on over a long period of time, but it will also do the world of good for his gums and teeth (so long as you pick the right chew).
Interactive treat toys are also a good idea. These encourage a dog to work for their reward, providing both physical and mental stimulation.
Set Up a Doggy Sandbox
Some owners don’t want to discourage their dog’s natural digging behavior, but also don’t want to see their garden full of holes.
Well, one way to stop a dog from digging up your garden is by providing your dog with a designated area where he is allowed to dig.
A sandbox is perfect for this, whether you opt for a free-standing box or simply create a pit of sand in the corner of your garden.
One thing to keep in mind…
You will need to spend some time training your dog with the sandbox. Make sure that he understands that while he is allowed to dig in the sandbox, digging anywhere else is a big no-no.
Create a Shady Area for Your Dog to Cool Off
Does your dog like to lie down in the holes that he has dug?
If so, the reason that your dog is digging is to find a cool spot to relax. The soil underground is so much cooler than surface level. This is why it is common for dogs to dig themselves a cool hole in hot weather.
The best way to overcome this is by providing your dog with cool, shady areas. This means he won’t have to dig in order to find comfort.
Trees and hedges are great for this. If you already have a few trees in your garden, try stretching a tarp between two of them. This will create a cool, shady spot beneath. You could also invest in an umbrella or tent for your pooch to relax under. If your dog tends to get extremely hot in the heat, you may want to consider placing a cooling mat, or even a damp towel, in a shady spot to encourage your dog to relax there.
Deter Your Dog From His Favorite Digging Areas
If there are certain spots in your garden where your dog seems to dig the most, you can place a few deterrents around to stop a dog from digging.
Many people find that placing citrus peels around their garden works quite well. Most dogs hate the smell of citrus, so will stay away from these. Cayenne pepper, and even vinegar, work in a similar way.
If your dog does not like water, then a motion-detecting sprinkler system could be a good idea.
If you would prefer to go down a more natural route, look for plants that will prevent a dog from digging. Any shrubs that have thorns would work, as would rose bushes.
You could bury some netting or chicken wire in the areas where your dog commonly digs. Flat rocks work well too. These will make digging much harder, hopefully deterring your dog.
And another option would be to use invisible fencing to prevent him from entering forbidden areas like gardens and plantings.
If you want to stop a dog from digging in your garden, it is important to get started as soon as you begin to notice this behavior. Each of these methods are extremely effective, so long as you are able to work out why your dog is digging in the first place. But if for some reason digging remains a problem, it’s time to reach out to friendly, professional trainer at Family Dog Training.