Spring has sprung, the snow has melted, the rain is falling and turning everything green again. You’re probably spending time in your garden getting it ready for the summer months. You might also not be the only one digging around in your garden right now.
If your pup is a digger, you know how frustrating it can be. Holes all over your grass, dug up flowers, and a muddy dog who doesn’t understand that what they are doing is wrong.
Dogs dig for a wide variety of reasons and it’s very important to get to the bottom of why he’s digging before you can properly solve the problem.
Why do dogs dig?
1. To get cool and comfortable
In the summer months when your pup gets hot, a nice cool hole might be the only solace they can find. Not only is a hole a great method of cooling your dog down, it’s also fun to dig!
2. To escape their confines/Because they are bored
High energy dogs who spend a great deal of time cooped up may dig to escape. Bored dogs are bad dogs. They know there’s a whole world out there that’s perfect for exploring and running around and something little like a fence isn’t going to stand in their way.
3. For entertainment
Unfortunately for you, some dogs just love to dig for the sake of digging.
4. To hunt
Some dogs are natural hunters. They will dig when they smell bunnies, moles, or other ground dwelling animals.
5. Separation anxiety
Unfortunately, your dog might be suffering from separation anxiety. Dogs who experience this dig because they are nervous and need to deal with this energy. Some dogs who destroy things in your house (shoes, furniture, etc.) suffer from the same thing.
If you believe your pup is digging or destroying things in your home due to anxiety, we recommend discussing with your vet during your next visit.
I don't think this little guy has separation anxiety, but he's very cute.
Photo from: Border Collie and Hermit
My Siberian Husky, Lucy, loved to dig. She was digging to escape, run all over town, and hunt squirrels and cats. Siberian Huskies have an endless amount of energy and they need to run. Long walks and opportunities to run in the dog park didn’t suppress her need to dig. We ended up digging five foot trenches all around our back yard and put plywood boards in them so she couldn’t slip under the fence, while still being able to enjoy a good dig.
The moral of this story is that the solution is often going to be a unique combination of some of the things we’ve suggested in this post and some ingenuity on your part. Every dog is different and every dog will react differently to your efforts to stop their digging. Always keep that in mind as you’re trying to alter their behaviour. It won’t happen overnight so you need to be patient.
4 Tips to Stop your Pup from Digging
1. Give your dog more exercise
The first solution is to give your dog more exercise. If your dog is bored or trying to escape from your yard, then this could be the simple solution for you.
Take your pup to the dog park a few times a week and let them run. Not only will it help socialize your dog, but it will also wear them out so that they no longer feel like digging.
You can also try getting them some new toys and other things to play with to help entertain them.
2. Get a sandbox - bury toys, treats in there to inspire them
If your pup is digging because they are bored or they have separation anxiety then giving them a specific place to dig freely could help.
You can buy a sandbox or build one yourself. Building one yourself means it can be a little deeper so that your pup can really go to town.
To encourage them to dig there and only there, hide some treats or toys in the sandbox for them to find. It will make it more exciting for them and will encourage them to keep looking for the treats.
3. Fill the hole with poop
If you’re trying to discourage digging in a specific area, then try filling the holes with your dog’s feces. Dogs won’t dig where they poop, so just shovel the poop from your yard into the hole, and put some dirt over top of it. Your pup will go elsewhere.
4. Cayenne pepper
Another way to prevent them from digging in certain areas is to sprinkle some cayenne pepper on the ground. This also helps to keep away wild animals like rabbits and squirrels.
This is a great solution if your dog is digging in your flower or vegetable gardens, but it will also work well for discouraging the digging in any area of your yard.
A final tip: Do not bring your dog over to previously dug hole and yell at them about it. They won’t understand and the only take away will be you yelling at them which doesn’t help. You will feel frustrated and your dog will be upset or scared.
Do you have any tips to stop dogs from digging? We'd love to hear in the comments!