How to Keep Dogs From Digging in Flower Beds


As many dog owners can tell you, dogs love to dig. Not only do they enjoy digging, but it is natural for them to do it. And, as any dog lover who also has a yen for gardening can testify, stopping a dog from digging can be quite an undertaking. How do you stop a behavior as natural as a kid wanting to climb a tree? While there are many ways to address this problem, depending upon the trigger of the behavior, there are a few basic steps that will keep dogs out of the garden no matter why your dog wants to dig.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 hand shovel (or gardening trowel)
  • 2 to 4 16-ounce containers of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 1 dog harness or training collar
  • 1 leash

Keeping Dogs Out

  • Mark off a circular perimeter (or semi-circular for an abutted garden) 1.5 to 2 feet in front of the garden by digging a 3- to 5-inch trench.

  • Guard the spoon with your hand to avoid wind displacement and sprinkle the pepper evenly within the trench. Be careful not to pile the pepper in mounds. You should have a light carpeting of pepper.

  • Pat the pepper firmly onto the ground with your fingers. Be careful not to bury the pepper, just pat it down. The pepper has a powerful and offensive scent to a dog's sensitive nose and will act as a deterrent similar to a skunk's pheromone spray.

  • Harness your dog and take him for a walk for at least 30 minutes in the morning and in the evening.

  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 once every day for 2 to 3 weeks (you may also need to re-pepper the garden perimeter after a rain). In most cases a dog will learn new behavior after consistent exposure to a deterrent, even if temporary.

Tips & Warnings

  • The pepper deterrent will keep dogs out of your flower garden, but it's also important to address the underlying reasons why they want to dig. Regularly spending time with your dog, providing bonding opportunities, exercise, environmental variety, and an escape from boredom will help alleviate the general desire to dig.
  • You should not use the pepper deterrent if you also have cats who roam your yard. While dogs will keep a good distance from the offensive smell of cayenne pepper, cats have been known to investigate. It can cause serious harm to a cat if it gets transferred to their eyes from their paws while bathing.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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