Want To Stop Dogs From Digging? Here’s How

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Has this ever happened to you?  You discover your dog has been digging holes in your newly planted garden, and it’s a mess.  How can you stop dogs from digging, and end this annoying dog behavior problem?

Why Dogs Dig Holes

Before you can stop the behavior, you need to figure out why he’s doing it.  Digging holes is normal behavior for dogs, but some carry it to an extreme.

The most common reason for any dog behavior problem is boredom.  We take animals that were meant to spend their time outdoors in the woods and fields and confine them to a small house or yard for hours on end.  Canines are social animals, and they live in packs in the wild.  Often we leave our pets by themselves all day.  

When you think about it, it’s an unnatural situation for them.  Is it any wonder they’re bored?  A bored dog is a dog behavior problem just waiting to happen, as they turn to activities like digging to occupy themselves.  

Some dogs just like to dig.  Certain breeds, like terriers, retrievers, and hounds, are more prone to hole digging than others, although all dogs will do it.  

Digging is an instinctive behavior for canines.  In the wild, they store food by burying it.  They also dig dens for shelter for their puppies, and to protect themselves from weather extremes.

How Can You Stop Dogs From Digging?

Keeping him occupied is a big part of the problem.  People assume that dogs get lots of exercise just by being out in the yard, but that’s not true.  You’ll see dogs pacing up and down fences, but this is a nervous behavior that doesn’t really burn off their energy.  It’s important that your dog has a long walk every morning and evening.  If you don’t have time for this, consider hiring a dog walker.  

If there’s a dog park nearby, take him there everyday so he can run and play with other pups.  This is a great way for him to use up energy and fulfill his social needs as well.

Give him his own corner of the yard to dig in, or make him a digging pit.  When you catch him digging where he’s not supposed to, say “NO” loudly, redirect him to his own area, and praise him when he digs there.  Don’t make the mistake of punishing him later for digging behavior.  Canines live in the present, and he won’t understand what you’re punishing him for.

If your dog starts digging in the garden when you’re there, squirt him with a water gun, making sure he doesn’t know you did it.  Or turn on the sprinkler.  You may even want to put the sprinkler on a timer so that it comes on unexpectedly when you’re not there.  This is effective because he thinks the garden is doing it to him, not you.

Spend Time With Your Pet

Here’s some food for thought.  Your pooch loves your attention.  A great way to give him attention is to spend ten minutes a day training him.  Make the training sessions fun and lively.  He loves being with you, and he also enjoys learning new things, which stimulates his mind.  By ending the problem of a bored dog, you can often stop dogs from digging.


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