How To Stop Dog Digging in Your Garden and Yard


Digging is a natural behavior for dogs

You may be slightly surprised to know that all dogs dig, this behavior is very natural and can be difficult to eliminate. But have hope we will cover some ways you can either stop dog digging or prevent them from destroying all the beautiful flowers and grass you worked so hard to plant! The best thing to do is identify why your dog may be digging, and then start correcting the problem there.

Teach Basic Obedience First

If you have not done this yet, the first thing I would recommend is train your dog in some basic obedience commands such as: Heel, Sot, Down, Stay, Come and Place. This will do a couple of things for you. The dog will have a clearer picture as to where he fits in within your family structure, thus leading your dog to respond quicker when asked to stop digging. I should note that this direction and quicker response will likely be situational; he may not remember when you are not present due to the nature of his motives.

Prevent Boredom

You will want to relieve any signs of boredom; if your dog spends a lot of time alone he may be digging due to the fact that he is bored and tired of just starting at the fence. Digging will be a self-amusing activity he can create for himself. You will want to ensure that your dog is being challenged daily, both mentally and physically.

It will help for you to take him for some long walks or runs to ensure you have satisfied his physical daily requirements. You may also consider playing some mentally challenging games with him like hide and seek, fetch games, or frisbee. Another fun game to try with your dog is to hide some treats outside or a stuffed frozen KONG. That will keep the dog busy and distract them from digging.

Seeking Protection and Comfort

Your dog may be seeking protection and comfort, dogs will often dig holes to expose the cool earth below, this of course they will gladly lay down on and receive comfort. Furthermore, they will dig holes to find shelter from the cold, the rain, and even to relieve a thirst for water.

Some signs your dog is digging for these reasons are:

  • Your dog has no shelter from the sun or weather
  • You find holes near a water source
  • You find holes and your dog is laying in them
  • You find holes dug near the foundation of your home

Always ensure your dog has plenty of shelter and water. Of course the biggest issue that arises is, how do I stop dog digging when I am not home? Well the reality is you will need to be creative. For the first thing you will need to simulate you being gone. When you catch the dog in the act of digging you can then tell the dog “No” so that he/she understands this is something you don’t like.

You can also bury chicken wire directly under the dirt at the site of the digging; this will not feel pleasant to his feet once he begins thus discouraging him from continuing. This is usually a good solution when preformed near a fence. Always be sure to point any sharp parts of the fence you bury away and out of reach of the dog. You can often stop dog digging by placing a small amount of the dogs own feces in the hole.

Finally, exacting any form of punishment without actually catching the dog in the act will do nothing to address the cause, nor will it correct the act of digging. Your dog has innate instincts to dig so focus on steering or eliminating the behavior by understanding those instincts.

The reality is that some dog breeds are not only bred to dig as part of their job, such as Terriors, but some dog s never let go of their obsession to dig and will continue despite your best efforts. In this situation find a part of your yard where digging won’t be an issue, construct a sand box and fill it with freshly dug earth. You will likely want to fence this area in and proceed to encourage digging in this spot only.