How to stop your dog from digging in the yard?

November 27, 2023

You come home from work only to find your once beautiful yard transformed into a moonscape of craters. Yes, your beloved pet dog, in your absence, has indulged in its favorite pastime – digging! While it might have been fun for your dog, it’s not so much for you, especially when you’ve to put in hours to fix the yard. However, don’t fret, because there are ways to change this behavior. This article will guide you on how to stop your dog from digging in your yard and help you understand why dogs engage in such actions.

Recognize the Reasons Behind Your Dog’s Digging Behavior

Before you can effectively stop your dog from digging, it’s essential to understand why your pet is engaging in this behavior. Dogs are not vindictive creatures, and they do not dig out of spite or revenge. Digging is a natural behavior, especially in certain breeds that have been bred for this purpose. Yet, there could be a few reasons why your pet dog is digging up your yard.

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Boredom or Excess Energy

Dogs are active creatures, and they need regular exercise and stimulation. If they are left alone in the yard with nothing to do for an extended period, they might resort to digging to keep themselves occupied. Moreover, certain breeds are high-energy dogs and require more physical exercise than others. If they don’t get it, they may use digging as a way to burn off their excess energy.

Hunting Instincts

Your dog might also dig if it smells or hears something underground. Rodents, insects, or simply the scent of decaying roots can attract dogs and provoke them to dig. This is their hunting instinct at work.

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Comfort Seeking

Dogs might also dig holes to find comfort. In the summer, the earth a few inches below the surface can be quite cool, and dogs might dig a hole to lie in and escape the heat. Similarly, during winter, a dug out hole can serve as a shelter from the cold wind.

Implementing Training to Stop Digging

In order to stop your dog from digging, you’ll need to implement some training techniques. Training not only corrects the undesired behavior but it also strengthens the bond between you and your pet.

Provide Adequate Exercise and Mental Stimulation

The first step in training is to ensure that your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. A tired dog is a good dog. Regular walks, play sessions, and allowing your dog to interact with other dogs can greatly help reduce its energy levels.

Additionally, mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. Use toys that challenge your dog mentally. Puzzle toys where your dog has to work to get a treat can keep it occupied for hours. Training sessions are also a good way to provide mental stimulation.

Teach the ‘Leave It’ Command

The ‘leave it’ command is a useful tool to stop your dog from digging. Start by allowing your dog near the area where it usually starts to dig. As soon as the dog starts showing interest in the spot, say ‘leave it.’ If the dog moves away, reward it with a treat or praise. Repeat this exercise regularly until your dog learns to associate the command with the action.

Create a Dog-Friendly Yard

Another approach to stop your dog from digging in your yard is by making the yard dog-friendly. This doesn’t mean compromising the aesthetics of your yard. With a little creativity, you can have a beautiful yard that is also enjoyable for your dog.

Designate a Digging Area

If you have a dog who just loves to dig, consider providing a designated area for this activity. You can fill a sandbox with sand or loose dirt and train your dog to understand that it’s the only place where digging is allowed. Bury some toys or treats in the sandbox to make it more appealing.

Install a Dog-Proof Fence

An effective way to protect your yard is by installing a dog-proof fence. This will restrict your dog’s access to certain parts of your yard, especially the areas where they are most likely to dig. Make sure the fence is strong enough to withstand your dog’s attempts to dig under it.

Use Deterring Techniques

If your dog continues to dig, there are a few deterring techniques you can try. These methods work by making the digging area less appealing to your dog.

Use Dog-Safe Repellents

Certain smells deter dogs and can be used to protect your yard. Commercial dog repellents are available, but you can also use natural products like citrus peels or coffee grounds.

Bury Chicken Wire or Rocks

A layer of chicken wire or large rocks can be a strong deterrent. Dogs do not like the feeling of metal or rocks on their paws. However, ensure that the wire or rocks are not sharp as they could injure your dog.

Remember, patience is key when trying to change a dog’s behavior. These techniques will take time before you see noticeable results. Stay consistent, maintain a positive attitude, and over time, you’ll find your yard free of any unwanted holes.

Introduce Alternatives to Digging for Your Pup

It’s essential to find alternatives to digging that can keep your pet engaged and satisfied. These alternatives need to be enticing enough for your dog to prefer them over the temptation of unearthing your yard.

Interactive Toys

Interactive toys can provide both physical and mental stimulation for your dogs. These toys tend to keep your pet busy for more extended periods, and if your dog’s energy is directed toward these, it is less likely to channel the energy into digging. Toys that dispense treats when interacted with can particularly be beneficial. They not only keep your pet entertained but also provide a reward system that could mirror the satisfaction your dog gets from digging.

Chew Toys

Chew toys can also be a great alternative to digging. Dogs love to chew, and it is a natural behavior that can occupy them for long periods, as well. Providing your dog with a variety of chew toys can ensure that they do not resort to digging holes in your yard out of boredom or restlessness.

Doggy Play Dates and Socialization

Dogs are social animals and love to play and interact with other dogs. Regular play dates with other dogs can contribute to keeping your dog mentally stimulated and physically satisfied, which can divert their energy away from destructive behaviors like digging.

Conclusion: Patience is Key in Stopping Your Dog from Digging

Curbing your dog’s digging habit is not an overnight process. It requires patience, consistency, and understanding. Dogs dig for various reasons, and understanding these reasons can be the first step in preventing your pet from turning your yard into a digging zone.

Remember, it’s not about punishing your dog for digging. Instead, it’s about redirecting their energy and attention to activities that are not destructive for your yard. From introducing interactive toys to implementing training techniques, creating a dog-friendly yard to using deterrents, there are various strategies to stop your dog from digging.

Remember to stay patient and positive all through the process. If one method doesn’t seem to work, don’t give up. Try another. Over time, you’ll find what works best for your pet. The key is to make the alternatives more attractive than the act of digging.

Lastly, ensure you provide enough physical and mental stimulation for your pet. A bored or restless dog is more likely to resort to digging. Keeping your dog engaged is the best way to keep your yard safe. With these strategies, hopefully, the sight of freshly dug holes in your lawn will be a thing of the past, and you can enjoy a beautiful yard while keeping your pet happy and satisfied. Remember, the goal is to stop your dog from digging, not to suppress their natural instincts. Patience, understanding, and consistency will definitely go a long way.

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