It’s a fact of nature that dogs dig. It’s in their blood and it’s what they love to do. Many pet owners know the pain of having to fill in holes in their yard, and if you’re at your wit’s end on trying to stop your dog from digging, you’re not alone. There are a number of ways you can curb the digging behavior by your dog.
Understand the Reason Your Dog Is Digging
Dogs can be digging for many reasons. The first step is to figure out why your dog is digging. It could be any of the following:
- Heat: Dogs dig to get into the cool earth and find shade. Does your dog need to be given more shade or a retreat from the heat? Consider giving him a doghouse or a doggy door so he can go inside when he’s hot. You can also try a stay-cool mat or a children’s pool where he can take a dip.
- Warmth: Conversely, dogs may also dig for warmth. In this case, you provide a bed, doghouse or blankets to stop the digging and let your pet get warm.
- Comfort: Your dog may want to dig a hole to lay in because he wants to get comfortable. A bed, blanket or doghouse can solve this problem.
- Boredom: Dogs who are bored dig for entertainment sometimes. Try spending more time with your pet, playing with him with games like fetch or tug-a-war. You can also try providing him with more toys, especially Kong toys that can entertain for hours.
- He Wants to: Some dogs just want to dig, and so they do. This is why you need to curb the behavior or else you’ll have a hole-ridden yard. Some dogs may see their owners digging in the yard during gardening tasks and think that they should do the same.
- Hunting: Many breeds were bred to dig, and so they follow their instincts. Your dog may be trying to hunt animals that burrow in the ground. He shouldn’t be punished for this, but instead, encouraged to dig elsewhere. You may also decide to place humane traps to capture these animals.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise, play and attention, and the digging behavior may stop completely on its own.
Stop the Digging
Once you’ve determined why your dog is digging, you can take a few steps to end the digging for once and for all. If you’ve tried all of the methods listed above and still find your dog digging up the yard, try the following:
- Create a digging section: Is there a portion of your yard where your dog can dig happily? Try setting up a digging spot. You can use a sandbox or baby pool filled with sand. Try hiding a few toys in there to keep him interested in that particular spot, and try being near him when he’s digging there to encourage the behavior there and there only.
- No-Dig Products: There are a number of no-dig sprays and solutions for sale on the market. Talk to your vet about a recommended brand and see if that works.
- Fence Blocking: If your dog is digging under the fence, or attempting to, try lining the fence with rocks to prevent the action, then redirect your dog’s attention to a new toy. You can also bury chicken wire (sharp edges not facing inward toward your dog) under the earth so your dog will be deterred from digging there.
Remember, don’t punish your dog for the digging behavior. Instead, look for reasons why it occurs, and how you can stop it. Your dog doesn’t need to be punished after he’s done it, but instead, gently admonished not to do it during the action.