How to Stop a Dog From Digging

Why do they have to do that? Why must our dogs dig up our beautiful lawns and gardens? It’s not because they want to annoy us or ruin our yards intentionally.

The questions of why your dog tears up your yard and more importantly, how to stop a dog from digging, have very simple answers. They’re much different than you probably expect, though!

We share with you why dogs dig and how you can stop your dog from doing having this destructive behavior.

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how to stop dogs from digging

Why Dogs Dig

Ever wondered why our furry friends love to dig? Here are two of the most common reasons.

Natural behavior

Dogs like have to fun so it’s no surprise that many will choose to dig for fun.

Puppies and younger dogs love to explore and investigate new sights and smells. Whether they rustle around in sand, soil, mud, or gravel doesn’t matter to them. Just so long as they’re checking out something new and exciting.

Sometimes dogs will dig for very specific reasons, however. Like, “boy it is hot today, I bet I can find some cooler ground if I just dig!” Or flip it around and they are cold and trying to build themselves a makeshift den.

It could even be as simple as they just have too much energy and are looking for absolutely any kind of outlet they can find. Like digging up your beautiful new flowers, for example.

Your Fertilizer

Another huge reason your dog digging in your yard is due to the fertilizer you are using. Many will contain elements which smell very attractive to the point of being almost irresistible to your dog.

Remember your dog’s sense of smell is at least 10,000 times better than yours, so what isn’t noticeable to you may be a huge attraction to your dog. You also want to be very careful about using slug pellets, which are often deadly for dogs.

But once you have made sure that your dog has gotten plenty of exercise, removed any buried bones, stopped using ‘attractive’ smelling fertilizers, and ensured your dog has a nice shelter for when they’re outside, what’s next?

Well, while your dog digging under fence posts, your garden, other areas is something very natural for your dog, digging excessively is not. Most dogs will dig and what you need to learn is not how to stop your dog from digging, but how to work with your dog and manage it.

Create a digging pit

If you can get your dog to focus their digging in one area then you’ve already made a huge step. Create a digging pit by following these steps:

  1. clear a small area in your yard for the digging pit
  2. section it off using a few pieces of wood
  3. loosen up the soil in the pit a bit using a shovel
  4. bury a few toys or treats in the pit and encourage your dog to find them

After just a few ‘directed’ digging sessions, your dog will start to understand that it’s okay (and rewarding) to dig in this one area of your lawn, but not the rest of it.

What to do with the holes in your lawn

“So now what I am supposed to do with my lawn???”

The best solution I know of is also one of the easiest. Wedge a small brick or rock into the hole, then use the surrounding earth to bury it. If your dog tries to return to dig their efforts will quickly be stopped.

That’s no fun. Most dogs will give up right there. But if you have a strong-willed dominant dog they may keep trying.

For those situations, spend some time in the yard with your dog. When they try to dig in one of their old holes, calmly walk over to them and encourage them to go to the digging pit.

If they ignore the pit and continue to try and dig in your yard, put them in a timeout right away. Soon, they should learn that only bad things happen when they dig anywhere besides their pit.

Digging when you’re not around

One of the biggest problems people have with how to keep dogs from digging is that the behavior intensifies when they’re not home. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution.

The problem here is not with your dog having too much energy or just loving to dig in your wonderful-smelling soil. The problem is that your dog thinks they are in control. That they are running the show.

When your dog digs when your away, they are trying to escape so that they can go and find you. Just as your dog barking can be a sign that they’re trying to call their pack member (you) home, digging can also be a sign of a control or leadership issue.

That is why you will see so many dogs who dig when their owner is away concentrating their efforts around the base of the fence or gate. If your dog only digs when you’re away, and is calm and happy when you’re home, then you absolutely have a pack leader issue.

Your dog is seeing it as their job to look after you and keep you safe. When they are left alone at home, they get stressed and many will channel that stress into digging wherever they can.

Destructive behavior like chewing things up is another sign of the same issue. They are stressed, and since they see themselves as pack leader they get very anxious when they cannot protect you.

There’s a great dog training video series about this that will teach you everything you need to know run by an excellent trainer named Dan. You can start watching now by clicking here.

Dan will run you through everything you need to know about making it absolutely clear to your dog that YOU, and you alone are in charge. And the thing that I really love is that his methods teach in a gentle way, not through intimidation.

If you really want to have an enjoyable, frustration-free life with your dog, visit Doggy Dan’s site now. I know you’ll learn a lot there.