It's important to understand why dogs love to dig. Dogs dig for several reasons including to find or bury food, to make a cool spot to lie in, for enjoyment and in some cases when they are anxious.
Here's some tips on how you can stop your dog or puppy digging.
- Implement a regular exercise program incorporating a walk at least once a day.
- Freshly turned garden beds and new plants are often an attractive place for dogs to dig. Protect these areas with fencing or a barrier if possible.
- Dogs often dig to make a cool spot to lie in, make sure your backyard provides a shady place at all times during the day. If they love playing in water, purchase a children's plastic pool and half fill it with water. This becomes an additional water bowl and they can also play, splash, dig, sleep and have loads of fun in it!
- If you catch them in the act, use a command such as "off" and praise them when they move away from the garden bed. Never punish him/her if you find a hole after it has been dug. They will not understand why you are punishing them.
- If your dog is digging because he/she is bored, provide alternatives such as toys or games. Kong toys and biscuit balls are an excellent way to give your dog their breakfast. They can be stuffed with all sorts of food and treats. You can even freeze wet pet food which occupies them for even longer. Alternatively, you can make a gravy trail around the garden. Give them a scent to follow or hide treats around the garden for him/her to sniff out and eat! Unless you want a four-legged excavator, we don't advise burying food as this only encourages digging.
- Repellant sprays can be used to deter digging in specific situations but can have limited success.
If all else fails, you can compromise. Incorporate a children's sandpit into your back yard. To encourage him/her to use this area try burying their favourite toy or treats in the pit. If you have limited space, you can purchase a plastic sandpit (usually shell shaped) from a toy or discount store. Additionally if there are sections of your garden which are prize winning, install permanent barriers to keep your dog out.