How to stop a dog from digging

How to Stop a Dog from Digging

If you’ve recently found that your well-manicured yard has begun to look like a condominium for gophers and that you’re beloved dog has been doing the unwelcome re-design work, you may have come to the thinking that locking him in the house is the only way to solve the problem. Like with any dog obedience problem, you need to cultivate some persistence in order to encourage the dog to change this learned behavior. Digging can cause a few specific problems, such as a ruined garden and anxious neighbors when sub- fence holes get bigger by the day, but there are some simple tricks to stopping this behavior. Here are some things to keep in mind and some helpful tips:

* The sweet smell of a garden encourages your dog to dig. One way that you can discourage this behavior is that you can use a sprinkler of water pistol to discourage the dog from digging. This “third party” aspect of interrupting the digging behavior is more likely to discourage the digging even when you’re not in the yard with him.

* The digging behavior may come out of boredom. Be sure to take your dog for some vigorous exercise to discourage the behavior. A dog is more likely to dig when alone or being neglected while you do other chores.

* If the dog is trying to dig under a fence, it is likely that a scent on the other side is compelling him…install chicken wire from the bottom of the fence to below the surface of the earth to discourage this. Another method that’s tried and true is to put the dog’s own feces in the holes, as they are unlikely to try to dig through it.

* Bring a dog’s favorite toy or toys outside with him to keep him occupied.

* Keep in mind that some dogs, like Terriers, are natural ‘diggers’. Other dogs, like Beagles, have a particular strong scent faculty, and will dig to discover more than from boredom.

* Set up an area of the yard that the dog can dig in. Place some loose soil in that area so your dog will have easy (and fun) access. When your dog starts digging in an undesirable area, clap your hands or make some loud noise, and take him over to his designated digging area. When he takes to that area, reward him with praise.

* Your dog might be digging to seek shelter from heat in the summertime. Make sure he has access to cool water and an area that shelters him from the sun.

There is no need to be aggressive with your dog, no matter how persistent the behavior. Dogs will not dig to annoy their owners, but ultimately to get them to stop they need either an alternative to the behavior or a clear deterrent. You can come up with a solution that allows your dog to enjoy the outdoors without pulling your hair out in frustration.