How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging

Dog digging a hole in grass at lawn.

Golden Retriever dog digging hole in grass lawn

It’s no secret that dogs love to dig holes. Still, we often wonder exactly why dogs love to do this, and more importantly, how we get them to stop digging? Nothing is worse than spending hours on your yard and garden only to have your dog ruin it with holes. Thankfully, we have some answers for you that will hopefully save your soil and your sanity.

Hunting Prey

More often than we know, there are burrowing animals and insects in our yards. Your dog is often just trying to root them out. If this is the case, you see holes in one single area, around the roots of plants and trees or in a path. Try to use safe methods to fence and force them out. Never use toxins that can end up hurting your pet too.

Entertainment

A lot of times your dog is simply digging to entertain themselves. When they dig at roots and soil they think it “plays back” when it sinks back down into the ground. These holes are often scattered around and happen when the dog is somewhat isolated from playmates and family. Active dogs and certain breeds are more prone to this behavior. So if this is your case, make sure to walk or have them walked twice a day to tire them out. And make sure to play with them using balls, disks and other active toys. It helps to stimulate them in other ways to prevent them from digging.

Attention

Sometimes there is nothing a dog won’t do for attention. And digging holes is one of those things. This would especially be your case if your dog digs in front of you or do it to interfere with whatever is grabbing your attention (like that shrub over there). All you have to do is make sure to spend time with them outside of the yard activities and ignore their attention-seeking behavior. Then make sure to praise their “good dog” behavior as much as you can.

Create a digging zone:

Some dogs just love to dig. They can’t get enough of it no matter what you do. That’s why it can be a great idea to give your dog his own little digging area. Not unlike a sand pit or playground for a child. And it’s not too hard to create either!  We found these awesome instructions from The Humane Society on how to build your own Doggy Digging Zone:

  • Cover the digging zone with loose soil or sand. Or use a child-size sandbox.
  • Make the digging zone attractive by burying safe items (such as toys) for them to discover.
  • When they dig in the digging zone, reward them with praise.
  • If you catch your dog digging in an unacceptable area, interrupt the behavior with a loud noise and firmly say, “No dig.” Then immediately take them to the digging zone.
  • Make the unacceptable digging spots unattractive (at least temporarily) by placing rocks or chicken wire over them.

Does your dog dig? We’d love to hear some of your funny stories and ways you saved your yard from the paws of fury! Share your story with us on our Facebook page.

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