Please help! How can I stop my dog from digging in my yard?
More than 80 percent of dog owners in the U.S. report that their dogs like to dig holes, and digging is a natural habit for dogs.
But it’s not easy to sit back and watch the holes get deeper and the dirt pile up after you’ve invested time and money into making your yard beautiful.
Understanding why dogs dig in your garden will help you see how to prevent damage to your garden.
Why do dogs like to dig holes?
A dog digging a hole
Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, but did you know that they also have an amazing sense of hearing?
Dogs are able to hear things that humans may not know about. This includes the voices of creatures and insects that live underground.
When a dog is digging a hole, it is most likely trying to catch something it has heard smelt buried underground.
A dog may dig a hole to build shelter. When dogs feel the heat, they may try to dig a hole to rest in to escape the summer heat.
They may also dig shelters from other weather events such as rain or thunderstorms.
Sometimes, if their diet is deficient in certain minerals or vitamins, they may dig to find and eat certain soil types.
Some breeds of hunting dogs may also dig instinctively to find prey.
It is also widely practiced for dogs to dig holes to hide food that they want to eat at a later date.
Effective ways to prevent your dog from digging holes
Depending on the reasons mentioned above, you need to take different approaches to get your dog to stop digging holes in your yard.
How to stop your dog from digging holes in your yard
Choose a suitable place in your yard, away from fences and foundations, and designate it as their specific digging area. You can also play with them by digging a large hole. When they play in the chosen area, give them lots of praise and treats. Put your favorite toy in the hole and bury some treats in the hole so he can dig and play with it.
Create a place in your yard where your dog can sleep comfortably. Place their usual bed in this area during the day, or get another bed for outdoors. Throw a pillow or blanket on it that has the scent of their indoor bed on it.
Do not leave your dog alone in your yard for long periods of time. Play with them regularly and ensure that you have a wide selection of interactive toys and objects to keep them entertained.
When you are gardening, such as planting flowers or seeds, make sure that your dog cannot see you. If possible, take them for a walk or at least keep them inside the house. This is because if your dog sees you digging in the yard, he will most likely mimic your behavior.
Make sure your yard has fresh water and shelter. This is especially important during periods of extremely warm or cold weather.
In areas where dogs like to dig, bury the chicken wire or wire mesh under the top layer of soil. Plants can grow in it, but dogs will not be able to dig more than an inch or two below the surface of the soil. You can also place large rocks on top of the areas where your dog likes to dig to keep him from returning to the same spot.
Dangerous and Useless Advice
There are many ways to keep your dog from digging in your yard, but some of them are not only useless, but also dangerous to your dog.
Never spray any part of your yard with toxic chemicals to keep your dog from digging.
Products that are harmful to plants and animals can harm your dog.
Natural remedies such as citrus oils, black and white pepper are safe to use, but need to be reapplied to be effective.
Dogs love to receive attention from their owners, and even punishment for digging is a form of attention.
This is especially true if you don’t have that many opportunities to spend time with your dog.
Ignore this behavior and instead follow the advice above to solve the problem.
Your dog may be digging to get away from something they are afraid of, so identify what these could be and come up with a solution to the problem.
This may include talking to your neighbors or bringing your dog inside at certain times of the day.
Since digging is a natural behavior for many dogs, forcing your dog to stop digging immediately can be detrimental to his health and well-being.
Be sure to take your time when taking the above steps. Also, provide your dog with the appropriate level of support to help him succeed.