How To Stop Dogs From Digging?

Every dog owner knows the surprise of finding a new hole in the backyard.

You might wonder, “Why do they do it? And how to stop dogs from digging?”

Digging can be a dog’s favorite pastime, but not every garden enthusiast’s dream.

Dive into this guide with us, and together, we’ll unearth the reasons behind those canine-created craters and find solutions to keep the ground intact!

Understanding The Dog’s Perspective

Digging: A Natural Instinct

Did you know that the ancestors of our modern pets were quite the survivors?

These wild canines had to dig holes for shelter or to find food buried underground.

This instinctual behavior helped them thrive in challenging environments.

While our pampered pups have cozy beds and regular meals today, their old instincts occasionally remind them of their ancestral habits.

And for some dogs, digging can be a bit like how we humans doodle when we’re bored; it’s simply satisfying and fun!

The Reasons For Digging In Dogs

The reasons dogs dig can be as varied as the breeds themselves.

Some dogs dig out of pure boredom.

Think about it – if you left a child with nothing to do in a sandbox, what would they start doing?

For other canines, especially breeds like Terriers, digging is in their genes.

They’ve been bred for generations to chase after burrowing animals.

But wait, there’s more!

Sometimes, dogs dig to create a cooler spot on hot days.

They’ve discovered that the earth below is cooler than the surface.

And don’t be surprised if your dog is trying to bury their favorite toy or treat; it’s their way of saving it for later, just as their ancestors would bury leftover food.

Observation: The First Step To Solutions

Monitoring The Digging Pattern

Understanding the ‘why’ behind your dog’s digging spree requires a bit of observation.

Pull out your detective hat and note when your furball prefers to dig.

Do they mostly dig when you’re not around?

Maybe they’re seeking attention or trying to alleviate boredom.

Or perhaps they’re always digging near the garden’s fence?

That might be a sign they’re trying to escape or are intrigued by something outside.

Fun fact: Some dogs, especially female ones, dig when they’re feeling maternal, trying to create a ‘nest.

By understanding their patterns, you can cater solutions to specific problems.

Health And Wellness Check

An itch they can’t scratch?

Sometimes, our canine companions might dig because of discomfort.

Little bugs, like fleas or mites, can make their skin super itchy.

By digging and rolling in the dirt, they hope to find some relief.

So, if your dog suddenly turns into a professional digger, it might be time for a health check.

Remember, regular vet visits and staying updated on flea and tick prevention can save both your garden and your dog a lot of trouble.

Strategies To Redirect The Behavior

Engaging Their Minds And Bodies

Did you know that a bored dog is often a mischievous dog?

Imagine having bundles of energy and no way to let it out – that’s a recipe for a digging disaster!

Regular exercise is not just good for their health; it also tires them out, leaving little energy for destructive behaviors.

Whether it’s a brisk morning walk or a fun fetch session, ensuring your furry friend is physically satisfied can reduce their urge to dig.

But wait, there’s more!

Mental workouts can be just as tiring as physical ones.

Introducing interactive toys, puzzles, or even hide-and-seek games can stimulate their brains, keeping them occupied and less focused on their flowerbeds.

A pro tip?

Agility courses – they’re like doggy obstacle races – can be a game-changer, offering both mental and physical challenges!

Designate A Digging Zone

It might sound counterintuitive, but sometimes, giving them a special place to dig can save the rest of your garden.

Consider setting up a sandbox or a specific corner where your pooch can unleash its inner archaeologist.

You can bury toys or treats there initially, making it an exciting place for them.

Over time, with consistent training, they’ll learn that this is their exclusive digging spot.

Remember, it’s all about setting boundaries but also allowing them some freedom to be, well, a dog!

Making The Garden Less Inviting

Dog-Proofing Your Plants

For those of us with green thumbs, our gardens are our pride and joy.

But to a dog?

It’s a playground!

One trick to keep dogs out is to choose robust plants and shrubs that can withstand a little roughhousing.

Another trick many dog owners might not know?

Dogs often dislike the strong scents of citrus.

Strategically placing citrus peels around your plants can be a harmless deterrent.

Similarly, a sprinkle of vinegar around can make them think twice before digging – just be cautious not to harm your plants.

Safe And Effective Repellents

The market is filled with dog-safe repellents that can discourage them from treating your garden like a treasure map.

From sprays to powders, these products play on a dog’s keen sense of smell.

They might find the scent unpleasant (even if we can’t smell it) and avoid the treated areas.

Always ensure that the repellents you choose are safe for both dogs and plants.

Reinforcement And Training

Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Catch them in the act of NOT digging!

It sounds funny, but positive reinforcement works wonders.

Every time they resist the urge to dig or follow your commands, reward them with treats, praises, or their favorite toy.

This technique instills the idea that non-digging behaviors get them good stuff!

Over time, this can become a more powerful motivator than the sheer joy of digging.

Seeking Professional Help

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we might feel out of our depth.

And that’s okay!

In such cases, professional dog trainers or behaviorists can be invaluable.

They’ll offer tailored strategies and techniques, and might spot things that we, as everyday pet owners, might miss.

Structured obedience classes not only address digging but can also improve overall behavior, making the bond between you and your pet even stronger.

With a combination of understanding, patience, and the right strategies, your garden can indeed coexist peacefully with your enthusiastic digger.

Remember, every dog is unique.

So, observe, be patient, and try different strategies.

Soon, you’ll be sipping your morning coffee, overlooking a beautiful, hole-free garden, with your contented pup by your side.

Before You Go…

You now know how to stop a dog from digging.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.