How to Stop a Dog from Digging

Stop a Dog from Digging
Stop a Dog from Digging (Image: Jonae Fredericks)

A dog that digs is not only causing a nuisance for his owner, but possibly endangering his own well-being. Dogs that dig under fences to escape and explore the world around them face the risk of being hit by cars and other dangers. But exploring may not be the only reason for your dog’s digging. Dogs that are bored may find digging to be a fun pastime, and your prized garden may pay the price.

Things You'll Need

  • Veterinarian
  • Water
  • Dog toys
  • Garden hose
  • Dog’s feces

Spay or neuter your dog. One of the top reasons your dog may be digging is to get out and explore the neighborhood. If he is searching for a mate, the digging will continue for as long as his hormones keep compelling him to do so, and all of the fencing in the world won’t stop him. Having him fixed can be the solution for his digging.

Keep your dog comfortable on a hot day, and provide him with a shady spot to lie. Dogs have a natural instinct to dig in the dirt, looking for a cool spot to rest when the temperature outdoors is rising. By providing your dog with plenty of water, and keeping him out of direct sunlight, you can help put an end to his digging.

Take your dog on a long walk everyday. Dogs who have an excess of energy may decide to unleash it by digging in your favorite flower patch. By spending time with your dog, and helping him expend his energy in a more positive way, you may be able to combat destructive digging for good.

Catch your dog in the act, and give him a squirt with the garden hose when you catch him. Most dogs don’t like to be sprayed unexpectedly, so if your dog knows that this will be his consequence for digging, he may stop digging altogether.

Provide your dog with plenty of toys to keep him occupied. If your dog is digging out of boredom, some interesting toys may help. Hard rubber chew toys that can be filled with treats are available in most pet stores, as well as balls and rope toys that will help him pass the time. You may find that he would rather play than dig, so give him some toys to test the theory.

Fill the area that he normally digs up with his own feces. Yes, you have read this correctly. As a last resort, you can try this step that has proved to be very successful to other dog owners faced with a digging situation. Your dog will not want to dig up his own feces, so bury it any place he digs to make him stop.

Tips & Warnings

  • Offering your dog an area that is acceptable for him to dig in, and away from landscaped areas, may be a good compromise.
  • If you find that you are unable to tackle the digging situation on your own, seek the advice of your veterinarian.
  • Never scold your dog for digging; it will only have a temporary impact. Once you are out of sight, most dogs will usually continue their digging behaviors.

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