Your dog has dug up your new flower bed for the hundredth time and you’re tearing out your hair wondering what to do. You can start by looking at the reasons why your dog may be digging.
Dogs dig because they can and because it’s part of their nature. Some dog breeds are hard core diggers. Terriers were bred specifically to dig, Dachshunds and Miniature Schnauzers were bred to dig deep into the earth looking for rodents, and Beagles were trained to track prey using their brilliant sense of smell.
So contrary to what you might think, your dog is not digging up your garden because he hates you, is trying get back at you for something or is trying to punish you. Your dog might be digging in your garden for a variety of reasons. Check out the four main reasons Fido likes to dig and our recommendations on how you can put a stop to this.
#1 Dogs Dig Out of Boredom
Is your dog well exercised, mentally and physically? If you just open your back door and say “Fido, go out and play”, your dog is going to find his own ways to play and keep himself entertained. You need to take an active role in his exercise activities and channel his energy in a positive manner.
- Teach your dog to play fetch with a ball or a Frisbee. While you are working in the yard, you can keep your dog entertained by throwing the ball for him to bring back to you. Reward him with a treat when he returns the ball.
- Take your dog for a walk twice a day. Depending on the size of your dog, he or she may require up to one hour a day of exercise. This can be a combination of playing fetch and taking him for a walk.
- Just opening your back door and letting him outdoors does not equal exercising your dog.
- Keep interesting chew toys out for him in the yard that he can play with on his own.
- If you have the space, create a designated “digging area” for him. Bury a couple of his favourite toys or treats shallowly under the ground and encourage him to dig. If you find him digging in any other area, say “No” firmly and take him over to his digging area.
#2 The Dog May be Looking for Prey
If the dog is persistently digging in a specific area, in the middle of the garden for example, it could very well be that he is smelling some insects or other rodents in the ground that he is trying to uncover.
- Examine the area for pests and eliminate them if necessary. Use a non-poisonous method of removal as insecticides and pesticides can be dangerous and even fatal for your pet.
#3 Dogs Dig to Build a Shelter or Den
When it is too hot or sunny and there is no shade, a dog may dig to cool off or get away from the sun or cold winds. He may also be digging for water. If your dog is digging near the base of a tree and is covering himself with mud then he may be trying to build a den and shelter himself.
- Have a water bowl available for your dog in the yard.
- Provide an acceptable shelter such as a covered, protected dog house.
#4 Dogs Dig to Escape
If most of the digging is at the base of a fence or an exit, then your dog is trying to escape. While this may seem like common sense, it is important to work on why your dog is trying to escape. Have you been leaving him out in the yard too long? In the meantime, use these methods to prevent him from digging his way out of your yard.
- Bury some large rocks along the line of your fence. They should be large enough that he is not able to move them with his digging action.
- Install the fence two inches into the ground and lay chain link fencing along the ground making the approach to the fence difficult for your dog.
Other Techniques to Stop a Dog from Digging
Some dogs are just diggers and there may be no reason to their digging other than they just enjoy it and get caught up in the process. After all, it can be fun to fling mud around. Here are a couple of techniques that should stop the most ardent of diggers.
- Bury an air filled balloon in the spot that your dog digs and cover it loosely with mud. The sound of the balloon popping will be sufficient to dissuade him from digging in that area.
- Gather some of your dog’s recent faeces and bury it in the area where he digs. A dog does not want to encounter his own faeces and will be put off by finding it where he is digging. This should be enough to stop him from any further digging.
Jackie Newton is a dog-lover and blogger at http://www.iconicpup.com/and can be followed @ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/iconicpup/ or @Twitter https://twitter.com/IconicPup.