Stop Your Dog Digging and Reclaim Your Back Yard!

stop your dog digging

Let’s face it, dogs love to dig. The joy on their face doesn’t always mirror the horror on ours! Do you come home to find your garden or back yard has been ‘landscaped’ by your dog? Dirt everywhere? Muddy Pawprints lead you right to the suspect!
A dog digging can be extremely annoying but there are ways to stop your dog digging.

Why do dogs dig?

Dogs will dig for a number of reasons from burying their bones to boredom. Some breeds are bred to dig, so they will do it instinctively.stop your dog digging

It is important to understand why your dog is digging. A number of reasons dogs dig is listed here but there might also be some underlying anxieties that cause your dog to dig.

Is your dog digging near the fence line?  This can indicate he may be trying to escape. There could be a couple of reasons for this. He may be trying to look for you when you are not home. This could be as a result of separation anxiety.

See my article on Dogs with Separation Anxiety – The 3 biggest mistakes! for more information on dog separation anxiety.

Another reason for a dog digging near the fence line is he may be trying to get out to other dogs in the neighbourhood or other stimulation on the other side of the fence. This is usually a result of boredom or lack of things to do in his own yard.

Boredom is up there with being the number one reason why dogs dig. Dogs need physical and mental stimulation and if they don’t get enough, they will seek it out themselves in the form of digging. Does your dog get enough exercise? Does he have enough of his own toys to play with? This could also be the reason he entertains himself with things he shouldn’t!stop your dog digging

Dogs may also dig for attention. You come home and see a big hole, dirt everywhere and you tell him off? Even though this isn’t positive attention, it’s still attention to him!

Some dogs will dig looking for a cool place to lay, or to dig themselves a den. Make sure your dog has plenty of shade outdoors in summer or warm shelter from wind and rain in the cold and ensure his environment is a safe and comfy spot to lay.

If you give your dog enough attention, exercise and toys to play with, then try some of these tips to help stop your dog digging up your yard or garden.

Make it hard for him

    • If you have been working in the garden with fresh dirt, the temptation for your dog will be irresistible. Erect a fence or barrier to prevent him getting into the area and stop your dog digging up all your hard work.

    • If you are able to fill the area where your dog has been digging with large flat rocks or stones, this will make digging difficult. This one has worked wonders in the past.

    • Build a Sand Box or allocate an area for your dog to dig, if you have the room to do this, your dog will keep his digging to his own patch
      • Bury treats and things he can dig up to encourage him to dig in his sand box
      • Make sure your dogs sand box is large and deep enough, filled with sand or garden soil

stop your dog diggingUnderstanding why your dog digs will be the first step in preventing this behaviour. Remember not to punish your dog for digging after the event as this will confuse him and cause anxieties.   If you catch your dog in the act, use a firm ‘No’ and apply the above strategies to stop your dog digging and reclaim your back yard!


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