Home Remedies to Stop Your Dog From Digging

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Home remedies to stop your dog from digging

Home Remedies to Stop Your Dog from Digging

In this article, you’ll discover some simple but effective home remedies to stop your dog from digging. When it comes to the undesirable digging habits of dogs, there are generally two points of view:

1. In a garden, seedlings are seedlings and no dog dare think about expressing his “dogness” there if the result is going to destroy your dreams of having an impressive flower display.
2. A dog will be a dog and should be allowed free reign over the garden area to express his canine nature.

Some people prefer to take a stance between these extremes of opinion. Although your dog might take great delight in digging, there’s a difference between allowing him to express his inner puppy and giving him the freedom to run unchecked in the garden.

There’s no reason why a garden should have to be sacrificed for a dog or vice versa. Dogs and plants can coexist amicably. Once your dog has acquired a taste for digging, all you need is some slick resourcefulness – and a little time – to reverse the problem effectively.

If you don’t yet have a dog (but are thinking of getting one) and are wondering how it would affect your flowerbeds, first consider the breed of dog you have in mind. Breed is important, seeing that dogs of some breeds are particularly fond of digging. Some diggers worth noting are terriers, Malamutes, Huskies and some members of the Spitz family of dogs.

Of course, when we get down to basics, every dog is essentially an individual. There is no way to predict with certainty whether the canine addition to your family is going to be an excavator or not. However, if you’re hoping to limit your chances of your dog landscaping your garden for you, you’d do well to stay away from the terriers and “Arctic” breeds.

Why do dogs like to dig holes?

Here are some of the more common reasons why dogs are inclined to dig:

Boredom – A bored dog needs something interesting and rewarding to do to help pass the time. Digging provides an ideal solution by distracting him from an otherwise-barren day and gives him a sense of purpose.
The need to broaden horizons – No matter how much attention and exercise they are given, some dogs are difficult to confine. They are simply natural escape artists. For them, it’s not the digging per se that’s rewarding but the “grand unknown” that lies beyond the fenceline.
Lack of exercise – An energetic but under-exercised dog would find digging a good way to release some of that nervous energy.
Separation anxiety – When a dog is severely longing for your companionship, digging under a restricting wall would represent the most direct route to you. Separation anxiety is an unpleasant, complex psychological issue and is fairly common among dogs. You will find excellent resources about preventing and dealing with this condition at:


Quelling the digging habit

Many of the reasons that prompt your dog’s desire to dig propose their own solutions: if he’s not getting at least half an hour’s worth of brisk walking per day, see that he gets more walks. If he’s bored, get him some chews and toys to fool around with when he’s on his own. Wear him out a little before your departure so that he’ll be inclined to snooze most of the day.

A Houdini-type dog might need to receive some crate-training – or at least be kept indoors where he’ll have less opportunity to break free. For those dogs that just like digging as a pastime in itself, here are some basic tips you can follow to restrict inappropriate digging as much as you reasonably can:

Restrict your dog’s access. Although this might not always be practical, it is the most effective action you can take. If there’s always someone around to supervise, there won’t be an opportunity for him to dig.
Use a natural deterrent. Almost all dogs would be horrified at the prospect of digging any place where there is dog poop. Even those that like to eat poop typically will avoid digging anywhere near it. They tend to be extremely averse to getting their paws or coats soiled.
Use Nature’s own chicanery! If you’re finding the digging bothersome because it’s deteriorating the more fragile plants in your garden, replace them with hardier ones. Those with a deeper root system and prickly defenses are preferable, such as roses.

Here’s a most effective (but more time-consuming) way to handle the problem:

Lift up the first inch or two of soil or turf in the problem area and lay down chicken-wire beneath it. Your dog won’t be aware that it’s there until he’s had a go at digging. It won’t be long before he realizes that it’s pointless so he’s not likely to dig there again.

Give your dog a place to dig!

Before you embark on arduous and time-consuming preventive measures, take a moment to consider the problem from your dog’s perspective.

It’s pretty unrealistic to set yourself the goal of simply eliminating all digging behavior. Besides it being unfair to your dog, you’d also be setting yourself up for failure. If your dog’s a born digger, it’s just part of his make-up. He needs to be given an opportunity to express that facet of his personality.

You don’t need to exclude your garden and your dog from each other. The most understanding and compassionate action you can take in this situation is simply to redirect his digging energy.

Allocate him an area where he’s allowed to dig as much as he likes. Once you’ve established this zone, make it crystal clear to him that there’s to be no digging in any other part of the yard. You’ll be able to enforce your rules with a clear conscience as your dog now has his own corner of the garden that he can re-landscape as he pleases.

Now, what if there’s no corner of the yard that you can spare? What if the whole area is just too dear to your heart? There’s a solution for that too – build him a sandbox. The deeper you make it, the better. Fill it with a mixture of soil and sand; if you like, place some grass or leaves on top. Get your dog interested in it by scratching around in it yourself, until he gets the idea.

Making the boundaries clear

To make it clear to your dog that the sandbox is a “safe” zone but everywhere else is a no-dig area, invest some time in directing him. You can encourage him by shallowly burying a few marrow bones in the sandbox. When he starts to dig, give him some enthusiastic praise. If he starts digging anywhere else, correct him right away with a sharp “No!” or “Ah-ah!”. Then, re-direct him immediately to the sandbox and dish out enthusiastic praise when he re-commences digging.

To make this lesson abundantly clear, give him a treat when he starts digging in the sandbox. The correction (for digging in the sandbox) followed closely by the reward he receives for doing so will ensure that your point strikes home.

These are simple but effective home remedies to stop your dog from digging where he shouldn’t.

Further Reading

To discover more ways to recognize and deal with dog behavior problems like barking, chewing, digging and dog aggression, check out “Secrets to Dog Training“. It’s a detailed, downloadable manual for the responsible dog owner. It contains all the information you need for raising a happy, healthy and well-adjusted dog.

From problem behaviors to obedience training and dog psychology, Secrets to Dog Training covers it all. Check it out by clicking the link below:

“Secrets to Dog Training”

Home Remedies to Stop Your Dog Digging

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