Easy Ways to Stop Your Dog From Digging

Dog with its head in a hole. Enthusiastic digging for something hidden. Shallow DOF.

While much effort goes into behavioural training, the inner impulse of a dog to excavate goes largely unaddressed. Some dogs dig under the fence while others create holes in the garden. This is unsightly and can potentially lead to new difficulties. Fortunately, the situation can be remedied. If your dog has become archaeologically inclined, here are six ways you can save your backyard from becoming the next Grand Canyon.

1. Avoid false premises


Digging comes naturally to a dog, much the same way as barking or chewing. It is sort of hard-wired into them. So when the deed takes place, frustration or lashing out is not the answer. The resulting fear, anxiety, and loss of trust could actually make things worse. Similarly, banishing a pet from the yard, lawn or garden altogether is not the solution. A measure of space and freedom is required for the dog to mature in a healthy and balanced way.

2. Redirect rather than prohibit

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As stated, digging is a habit that comes naturally to a dog, so it would be contrary to nature to try and prevent them from ever digging. The objective here should not be to ditch the habit or eliminate the behaviour completely but to redirect it.

If your dog habitually digs in the wrong places despite your efforts to correct its behaviour, then understanding what triggers the habit will help you remedy the situation and apply the correct antidote.

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3. Create healthy diversions

Each time you observe the dog start to dig in the wrong place, create a quick distraction. You could either clap your hands, use an air horn, or some other means of diverting the dog’s attention. Sternly issue the stop or no command and then take control of the situation by introducing an alternative task like fetch or frisbee.

4. Demarcate an alternative area

Mark out a specific area of your yard in advance as the spot designated for your dog to dig. You could use a low fence or other methods of demarcating its perimeter. Local stores will usually have the equipment needed for this task.

Cover up the area with the type of substrate the dog enjoys digging. You could also set up a sandbox, in the same manner, you would for a playful child. Now every time you spot the dog digging in the yard, lawn, or garden, you have an alternative place to bring it to. This is an area where you can reward-train your dog to refocus its energies.

5. Use effective deterrents

To prevent your dog from tearing up your lawn, you could lay a reinforcement mesh. These meshes are designed to allow your grass to grow naturally such that your lawn will still look beautiful and attractive. The reinforcement protects the ground and its network prevents the dog’s claws from creating a mess and damaging the lawn. If you are not at the seeding stage, i.e. your lawn is already grassed, consider laying the type of protective mesh that can be held down with U pins.

6. Prioritize exercise and training

Just as with humans, dogs get bored. They want a form of entertainment. A bored dog will look for something to amuse itself with. Recognizing this in advance will help you as a pet owner to do what is necessary to ensure your dog is preoccupied with what is constructive.

A dog left for extended periods of time in a yard by itself may begin to develop a pattern of negative behaviours. So if your dog has a habit of digging in the wrong places, reduce the amount of time it spends by itself.

Culled from pet helpful

VIDEO: How to get dogs to stop digging

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