How To Stop a Dog from Digging in the Yard
There is no doubt that one of the most annoying habits that your dog can have is to dig up your yard. Whether this is a behavior pattern that they have always shown, or they have started to do it recently, you need to tackle it quickly to ensure that it is not going to keep happening over and over again. So, in this blog post, we are going to be providing you with some suggestions for how to stop a dog from digging. But before that, we should examine what causes this behavior in the first place.
Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?
A very common cause of destructive behavior of any kind in dogs is simple boredom. If they aren’t properly mentally and physically stimulated, it is much more likely that they are going to find a way of occupying themselves. Digging is just one possibility alongside nuisance barking and tearing up your possessions. Once your dog decides that they can entertain themselves by digging, they are more likely to keep this going.
Some breeds such as terriers are more instinctively inclined to dig than others. In the past, this behavior would have been bred into them as it served a purpose. However, now it can be very challenging to get them to stop. With this kind of breed, it is easier to keep if you have access to a lot of outdoor space where they can work out this instinct. Alternatively, the digging could be caused by their hunting instincts as they are seeking out pests around your yard.
- Seeking Comfort or Protection
If your dog is feeling distressed for some reason, the digging behavior can come as a result of anxiety. For example, if you have left them outside when the weather is too hot and there is no shade, this may simply be instinctual.
How to Stop a Dog From Digging
- Remove the Stress
If you think that the problem comes as a result of stress, removing whatever is causing the problem can go a long way towards solving it. For example, if they are digging because they are left out in unsuitable environments that are too hot or cold, you can take special care to ensure that your pooch is always comfortable. Sometimes, it can be more difficult to address the problem. Perhaps you have recently moved to a new house, something that many dogs struggle with. Try setting up a safe space in your new place with their bed and favorite toys. Spend plenty of time with your canine companion to help ease the transition phase.
- Give Your Dog More Exercise
Going back to the problem of boredom, one of the main reasons why your furry friend is feeling antsy is that they aren’t getting enough exercise. Puppies require plenty of running around time, and they are the ones who are often the culprits when it comes to problem digging. Remember that different breeds require varying amounts of daily exercise, so if you have recently got a new dog, don’t assume that it is going to be exactly the same as previous pooches that you have had in the house. When your dog is tired out, they simply won’t have the energy to be digging up your yard.
- Mentally Stimulate Your Dog
As well as plenty of physical stimulation, dogs need to be mentally engaged as well. There are plenty of ways of doing this. For one, you could get them some puzzle toys that offer treats as rewards. You could start to teach them some new tricks or introduce different games into your playtime sessions. But for many dogs, simply spending more time with them can go a long way towards alleviating any lingering feelings of boredom that can lead to destructive digging.
- Give Your Dog a Digging Space
If you have a type of dog that was meant to dig, you could provide them with an alternative place to work out these instincts. A dog sandbox is probably the most obvious choice. It can either be a freestanding structure or one that you put in the corner of your yard. You will then need to train your dog to dig there and nowhere else as you can’t expect them to know on their own. Offer them plenty of praise when they dig in the right part of the yard.
- Pest Prevention
If your dog is digging because they are trying to hunt down pests in your yard, you should try tackling the source of the problem. If you aren’t able to deal with the issue on your own, you may need to call in an exterminator who uses humane methods to clear your yard of pests.
How to Stop a Dog from Digging Under a Fence
If you are looking to solve the specific problem of your dog digging under your garden fence, you can start by making this more challenging. A simple way of doing this is by half-burying some rocks around the area, which will make it harder to dig up the soil. Alternatively, you could try burying or spraying some things which your dog finds unpleasant to smell. Try some vinegar or anything containing citrus. If you want to go down the high-tech route, a sprinkler system with a motion sensor will disturb your dog whenever they try to go near for a digging session.
There are several different ways of stopping your dog from digging, but your best course of action is to try and understand why they are doing this in the first place so you can tackle this behavior directly. Try some of the methods listed above. It may take some sustained effort, but it is worth it to not have a yard full of holes!