So what’s the deal with dogs constantly digging? Why do they do it, and how do we stop them from destroying our yard, our gardens, our plants? The only way to stop your dog’s digging is to understand your dog’s way of thinking.
Here’s How Your Dog Sees It
First, you must know what your dog’s digging is not. It’s not his attempt to annoy you, and he certainly isn’t motivated by ruining your new flower garden out of spite. Dogs just aren’t like that.
Digging is a Natural Behavior
Dogs are fun loving animals, and many will dig just for fun. Younger dogs and puppies especially love exploring, investigating, and having fun in the dirt!
Why Do Dogs Dig?
They’re too hot. Sometimes there’s a reason why they’re digging. For example, if they’re too hot and are trying to dig into the cooler ground. We had a German Shepherd when I was a kid who dug a huge hole in the yard, and he laid in it all summer long!
They’re trying to build something. They could also be doing it because they’re trying to build a den of some sort.
They have too much energy. Another possible reason is because they simply have too much energy and are trying to channel it into something – getting your dog more exercise will certainly help with this one…more walks, more throwing the ball around, etc.
Smelly fertilizers. One of the biggest motivators for dogs digging is the use of strong-smelling fertilizers. This will drive your dog crazy, so be careful where you sprinkle your magic plant food. And while we’re on this topic, you should know that slug pellets can be deadly for dogs. Some products on the market claim to be safe, but if they don’t actually say that, then consider them deadly for your dog.
How to Stop Your Dog’s Digging
So now you’re making sure your dog has plenty of exercise, given him a place in the yard where he can stay cool, removed smelly fertilizers and other lawn products…so what now?
Like I said, digging is a very normal and natural activity for dogs. However, excessive digging is not. Most dogs dig, but the secret is to manage it. Here are some things that may help:
Dogs Digging Pits
If you can keep your dog’s digging to one area, then you are halfway there. This can be done by creating a clear digging pit – possibly with just a few pieces of wood set in the yard in a square to “make a spot.” You could even start the digging with a shovel, put a few toys and in – bury them – and encourage your dog to dig in that specific area. You’ll be surprised how fast your dog gets the message – that it’s ok to dig in that spot.
If you find him digging in a different spot, re-direct him back to the designated digging area. Be patient – give him time to understand this. In the meantime, if he’s still digging holes in other parts of the yard, you might try placing something hard like a brick in the holes he’s dug…it’ll discourage him from trying to dig in that same spot again.
Digging When You’re Not Home
One of the biggest problems that people have is their dog digging when they leave the property. However, the solution is quite simple. This particular issue is not caused by excessive energy or a dog who loves digging. It is a pack leader issue. That’s right – your dog is digging most likely to try to escape the property to find you. That is why so many dogs who dig when their owner is away are digging around the base of the fence or gate.
Dog owners will often say, “He only digs when I’m away – never when I’m at home.” That’s because when you’re home, they can relax and be happy. When you leave, they feel they have to try to find you. They see it as their job to protect you and look after you. Many dogs will become stressed when they are left home alone and will relieve that stress by digging. Destructive behavior such as chewing is the same thing – they are stressed out because they think it’s their job to project you, and you’re not there.
How to Solve Dogs Digging
In a nutshell, if your dog sees you as the pack leader, they will relax when you aren’t around. Not only this, but so many other issues you may be having with your dog will likely disappear when your dog understands that he is not the one in charge. The best way to accomplish this is to get specific, step-by-step training from a professional dog trainer. And on the website, The Online Dog Trainer, that’s exactly what you’ll get. This website is run by professional dog trainer, “Doggy Dan.” His methods are so easy to learn – he teaches you the process in easy-to-follow VIDEOS!
There are more than 250 videos on Doggy Dan’s website covering every aspect of dog training you can possibly think of. And believe it or not, you can actually check it out – go to the site and watch as many videos as you like – for three whole days – for $1! It’s Doggy Dan’s way of showing you how easy this can be, and how unnecessary it is for dog owners to have difficulties with unwanted dog behaviors. Believe me, both you and your dog will live happier, easier lives after you’ve had some of this training!
Becoming the pack leader using Doggy Dan’s method is not harsh or difficult. It is a very kind and gentle way of working with your dog. Doggy Dan explains in his videos some very simple steps on exactly how to become the pack leader. The site also has fantastic sections on everything from training a new puppy, to stopping any unwanted behaviors. I fully recommend you take a look.
Becoming the Pack Leader Will Help
Whatever your digging issue, becoming the pack leader will help your dog to relax, when you are home or away, and then any training you do with your dog from that point forward will be so much easier. If your dog does not see you as the pack leader, he’ll continue to try to do things his own way, and the two of you will be in constant conflict – you trying to get him to do this, and his continuing to do that. So make sure that you get the order right…you first need to win your dog’s mind, then you can train their body!
Remember, Dan gives you a $1 trial for 3 days!
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4 thoughts on “How to Stop Your Dog’s Digging”
Hi there Debra,
Dogs who are fond of digging can be amusing and frustrating to watch at the same time. When Lady, my senior dog, started developing this behavior years ago, I noticed that she would dig whenever she smells food-like object on the soil (People throw stuff at the park sometimes.)
I told her off and always pull her away from the spot before she mess up her face. This happens for months until she lost interest and focus on other things that have my approval like hidden treats in toys.
She respond to my emotion very well. When I am not excited with what she does, she finds it boring. When I cheer with her, then she’s going to keep doing it the whole day.
That’s sweet – and very useful for you since she obviously wants nothing more than to please mommy! So cute.
Let me share my experience. 🙂
I have a dog for 9 years now. When I got him, he was always trying to dig and I found out the reason. Because he is a husky, he feels really warm in the eastern-europen clime so I just had to create a shady place for him in the yard for the summer which works as a cooling place. 🙂
So I think the first thing we need to understand is the reason behind digging.
Absolutely. Whenever my dog is doing something peculiar, I always try to think – there must be a reason why she’s doing that. Sometimes I can figure it out, but sometimes I’m just baffled. LOL