How to Stop Your Dog From Digging in the Garden
How to Stop Your Dog From Digging in the Garden? Dogs love to dig! This can be a problem for many homeowners, especially if they have flower beds or garden areas. There are ways to stop your dog from digging and we will discuss them in this article. You’ll learn how to stop digging dogs and how to keep them out of the garden without hurting their feelings.
Some dogs just love digging holes, and as much as humans love their four-legged friends, no one wants a garden full of craters, or even worse, an escapee because they managed to dig under a fence!
How to Stop Your Dog From Digging
The key to preventing dogs from digging is finding out why they are digging in the first place and then targeting that behavior with practical and compassionate solutions.
Reasons Why Dogs Dig
The first thing to understand is that many dogs are genetically programmed to dig. Deep in their past, they dug to make beds for sleeping, ditches for cooling themselves, tunnels to pursue small animals, and holes to bury food in.
Later on, this digging behavior was favored when breeding dogs for hunting and other purposes. Terriers, in particular, were bred to dig up small animals and get their name from ‘terra,’ which in Latin means ‘earth.’
These days, in domestic situations, dogs dig for a wide variety of reasons, but one reason they never dig for is to be bad. Always remember that they are only doing what comes naturally to them, and with some patience and positive reinforcement, an amicable solution can usually be found.
Preventing Dogs Digging Up the Garden
The only way of properly solving a problem with digging is to figure out the underlying cause.
Questions to ask include:
- Is the dog lonely or bored?
- Does the dog need more exercise?
- Is the dog trying to make a comfortable spot to rest on?
- Is the dog trying to escape under the fence?
- Is there something in the soil that is making the dog dig in that spot?
- Some of the suggestions below may be worth trying.
Digging up a plant?
A dog that’s digging in the garden for no apparent reason may be trying to get your attention.
If this is the case, make sure you’re spending enough time with them and getting regular exercise so they don’t need to resort to such drastic measures!
Make a Sanctioned Dog Digging Area
Once insufficient exercise and social contact are ruled out, the best solution for a dog that seems to just enjoy digging is to give them a small area such as a sand-pit and let them have at it.
Remember that digging is normal behavior for some dogs, and it can provide a good outlet for urban dogs with excess energy. Positive reinforcement and hiding some toys or treats in the area will encourage them to adopt the new place to dig, and they can shovel away to their hearts’ content.
Hiding toys or treats in there will also keep it more interesting for your dog.
Provide Dogs with Appropriate and Comfortable Shelter
Dogs that are too hot, too cold, or just plain uncomfortable may try to dig a comfortable place to lie. Even dogs with the comfiest of doggie beds may just prefer the feel of the earth, so a sand-pit in a protected area may be a solution.
Dealing with Dogs Digging in a Particular Spot
Sometimes dogs will continuously dig in one spot because of a particular smell that may be there due to something buried or the proximity to an animal’s home. Filling the hole with rocks or placing some of the dog’s own feces in there can sometimes break the habit.
Large areas can be covered with chicken wire until the dog becomes disinterested. If the dog immediately finds a new place in the garden to dig, then there’s probably another cause.
Why chicken wire??
Chicken wire is very tough and can be used as a form of protection over large areas. It also has enough give to allow air with the larger holes, while still being difficult for a dog to dig through it.
The wire will eventually rust if left in the elements without painting or other protective measures but this might not happen so quickly depending on how often the wire is used.
In large areas, chicken wire can serve as a deterrent to digging dogs as it is still being difficult for dogs to dig through it. If your dog immediately finds another place in the garden or yard to dig then there’s probably another cause.
Stopping Dogs Uprooting Newly Established Plants
The freshly turned earth around newly established plants often provides irresistible smells to natural diggers. Often they have watched the owner digging the ground up in that spot and are eager to have a go as well.
The only way to prevent these dogs from uprooting new plants is to keep them away by either separating them from the garden for a few days or fencing off the freshly dug area with plastic or wire mesh until the area has settled.
Again, chicken wire can be your friend as fencing.
Stop Your Dog From Digging Along Fences
Dogs usually dig along fence lines for one of two reasons. They either want to clear the area so they can patrol the boundary for territorial reasons, or they are looking for means of escape.
Dogs that like to patrol the fence line can be accommodated by placing a path between the garden bed and the fence. Specially made ‘Pet Peek’ windows can be useful by helping them see through to the other side.
Dogs who dig under the fence to escape do so for a variety of reasons. Unneutered dogs may be trying to get out to find a partner, so de-sexing is the obvious solution.
Anxiety and the desire to be reunited with their owner is also common, and the advice of a dog behavioral specialist should be sought.
Some dogs dig along fences to get at things on the other side. They might be digging for a scent or because they are in full hunting mode, following their prey’s tracks.
If a dog digs in the garden because they are hunting, it is important to look at what has attracted them. It could be a prey scent or just an interesting smell that needs investigating. If there’s food on the other side of the fence, then this is likely why your dog isn’t getting enough exercise and their boredom leads them to patrol the perimeter of the garden. That’s when they find an opening and start digging their way in to get at that food.
Remember to be patient and positive and never punish a dog for digging as it is ineffective and will only compound anxiety that may be the root of the problem. With regular walks, plenty of love, and some of the practical suggestions listed above, a compromise can usually be sought between the landscaper and their “assistant.”
Other articles you may find helpful:
- Can Dogs Eat Bologna? The Surprising Answer
- How to Spot a Fake Service Dog
- Dogs and Mailmen – Why All the Hate?
- 5 Summer Hazards – Keep Your Dog Safe from Injury This Season
- Travel With Your Dog: How to Take Your Pup on Summer Vacation