While we connect with nature by tending to our gardens and relaxing in our yards, most dogs prefer digging up planted flowers and grass. The question is: how can we curb their desires and have a hole-free yard?
Prevent Dogs From Digging
First Step: Identify Why Your Dog Digs
Here are four factors:
- Instinct. Digging is an instinct for some breeds like Labradors, Scottish terriers, and West Highland White Terriers.
- Curiosity. Some dogs like digging cultivated earth; they like the scent. Also, if you do yard work with your dog around, they may dig to follow your lead.
- Shelter. Some dogs may dig to reach the cool soil underneath, as a way to escape the heat. Or they dig to make a shelter from the sun or wind.
- Fun. Entertainment is the most common reason for dogs to dig. Dogs may dig to get attention from their owner. They may dig near fences to explore outside the yard. Or they dig out of boredom, from being left alone for hours.
Second Step: Break the Habit and Protect Your Garden or Yard
Here are seven tips:
- Play more. One of the best ways to stop your dog’s digging is to have more playtime together. Consider walking your dog twice a day. Leave different toys in the backyard to distract them. Teach them new tricks and play with them often.
- Keep them cool and safe. When it’s hot, dogs may dig to stay cool. Make sure they have proper shelter and lots of water.
- Beware of bones. You can keep your dogs from digging by not inhibiting them with certain toys like bones, which dogs are more likely to bury.
- Give them an outlet. Some dogs will always dig, so they’ll need an outlet. You can take them to the woods often to dig anywhere they want.
- Create a “dig zone.” If you can’t get to the woods create a “dig zone” in one area of your yard. There should be shade and the ground could have sand or woodchips. You can encourage them to dig there with hidden toys and praise.
- Keep pets inside. If your dog likes to make grand escapes, you can line your fences with a rock barrier.
- Protect your garden. Leave your dog inside while you tend the yard so they won’t copy you later. To stop them from digging, cover particular areas with white vinegar spray, bitter apple spray, powdered mustard or red pepper flakes.