If you have a dog at home and you're just starting to work on your garden, you need to learn how to stop a dog from digging.
The last thing you want to do is put a lot of effort to your garden only for your dog to follow behind you and undo all your hard work.
If you’re wondering how to stop a dog digging, luckily there are several things you can do.
Here are our top tips for how to help stop your dog digging - or at least redirect the digging somewhere besides your garden.
How to Stop Dogs from Digging Up Your Garden
1. Give Your Dog More Exercise
A lack of exercise is the root cause of many behavioral problems in dogs.
Letting your dog loose in the backyard just isn’t a sufficient substitute for at least two walks per day of at least 15 to 30 minutes each.
Some active breeds may need two or more hour-long walks or a long run at the dog park.
Taking your dog on long walks (or to the dog park, or to doggy daycare) helps burn off your dog’s excess energy so they don’t put their energy into digging up your garden.
2. Provide More Chews and Toys
Boredom is another reason that dogs may dig. Your dog should have plenty of chews and toys to keep them busy.
Dogs tend to get bored with the same toys all the time, so try rotating your dog’s toys every week or so to change which ones they can play with.
Interactive dog toys, treat balls, and food puzzles are excellent ways to keep your dog busy with something other than digging.
3. Give Your Dog More Attention
Like little kids, dogs will act up just to get attention if they feel neglected. To a dog, negative attention is better than no attention.
Do your best to spend at least a few hours a day playing with, petting, or training your dog.
Learn how to groom your dog at home and you’ll find it not only saves you the expense of a professional dog groomer, but it is also a great way to bond with your dog.
Check out FurDooz.com for helpful tips on dog grooming. Once you have the right skills and they are used to the process, they will love that regular attention.
Give your dog more attention to stop their digging.
4. Bring Your Dog Inside Your Home
The simplest solution is to keep your dog inside and supervise them while they do their business or play outside.
Many of the reasons dogs dig holes, like trying to cool off or escape, can be reduced by bringing them inside.
Most people think that keeping dogs in crates is cruel, but when your dog is introduced to a crate properly, they can actually see it as a safe, happy place.
Your dog may end up preferring to stay in their crate in your air-conditioned home rather than left outside when you need to leave your pup alone.
5. Discourage Digging in Unwanted Areas
Think of ways to discourage digging in unwanted areas of your yard or garden. Burying rocks or plastic chicken wire can take the fun out of digging for your dog. This trick is also an effective way to keep cats away from your garden if you have any.
You may eventually be able to take the deterrent away once your dog learns, so don’t worry if your plan is ugly - it just has to be effective and not harmful.
Don’t bury something that could cut your dog’s paws when they dig.
6. Give Your Dog a Different Place to Dig
Some dogs were bred to dig, especially Dachshunds and Terriers. Their entire purpose was to dig up and kill rodents.
Rather than trying to stop this behavior entirely, give them a designated area where they can dig to their heart’s content.
Encourage your dog to dig in the safe area by burying their favorite toys or treats, and give them lots of praise for digging there.
If your dog digs elsewhere, sharply say, “No dig!” and bring your dog over to the place where digging is acceptable.
7. Make Sure Your Dog Has Shade and Shelter
Does your dog like to lie in their holes after digging them? They may be trying to cool down.
Make sure your dog has a cool, shady shelter and access to fresh water at all times when they’re outside.
8. Rid Your Yard of Rodents
If your dog seems to dig in lines rather than digging holes, you may have moles or other rodents that your dog is trying to catch and kill.
Look into ways to humanely rid your yard of pests. Remember that any poison that is designed to kill wildlife could kill your dog, too.
9. Consider You Dog's Anxiety Levels
Do you keep your dog outside when you leave because they tear up your house when you’re away?
Is their digging mostly along the fence line? Has your dog ever escaped? Your dog may have separation anxiety.
Talk to your vet or a dog trainer about how to handle this serious issue.
10. Introduce Some Bad Smells In Their Digging Spot
If the behavior and attention-based tips above still don’t stop digging in your garden, you can try to make the area unpleasant for your dog to dig.
Introduce something that smells bad or is irritating, and they will be deterred from digging there.
Just like humans, dogs have different preferences. Some will be put off by coffee, citronella or citrus fruits.
A generally good and safe option is cayenne pepper, which will get up your pooch’s nose when they dig, making it very unpleasant!
These tips won't take effect overnight so while you are still letting your dog adapt, check out our tips in dogscaping your backyard.
Happy Dog, Happy Garden
In general, negative behaviors like digging should just stop if you put a concerted effort into spending more time with your dog.
Lavish them with attention, give them plenty of exercise and alternative places to have a dig. Your garden will thank you for it.
These are just some of the ways on how to stop a dog from digging.