Your garden looks like a crater landscape? Your pet regularly plows up your flower beds? When you go for a walk, does your furry friend regularly disappear into holes you’ve dug yourself? We tell you what you can do against your dog’s digging.
Before we get to the best way to stop your pet’s unwanted behavior, let’s take a look at the causes. If you find out what makes your pet dig tunnels, it will be easier for you to stop him from digging.
An alternative to this is to offer him a special place to dig. We’ll get to that later.
Why do dogs dig?
First, let’s take a look at the possible reasons for enthusiastically digging the deep holes. There are different reasons for your dog’s behavior.
On the one hand, digging is in the genes of our four-legged friends. On the other hand, breeders consciously reinforce this heritage in hunting dogs, for example.
your dog longs for attention
As soon as your dog passionately cares about gardening, you scold? Even negative attention is better than no attention. If you turn to your four-legged friend, talk to him and take care of him, he has caught your interest.
You may be very busy with work and family life. If you have little time for your dog, this could already be a reason for his digging.
your four-legged friend is looking for prey
You have a dog that loves to hunt, like a terrier or a dachshund? He may be trying to enlarge the entrances and exits of mouse holes, molehills or fox and badger burrows by digging. Terriers were originally bred to hunt rats and mice.
Your pelt nose sniffs out prey underground. The first thing your dog does to dig is probably to use his nose. Then the paws come to it.
your darling stores food for bad times
If your dog doesn’t eat his food right away, he may first bury it in the ground for a while. This behavior can be observed in dogs of all breeds. Maybe he buries a piece of meat or rumen in a flower pot or in your flower bed.
Usually, the treat ends up in an easily accessible spot in the territory. This way, your dog can check his food stash regularly and easily. Eventually, he will take out the meat and eat it. 4.
your dog makes itself comfortable in the ground
No sooner has the ground been scraped smooth or a hollow dug, than your four-legged friend curls up and sleeps? Possibly your dog has built a sleeping place in the ground.
This behavior can also be observed in wild dogs: In summer, the earth protects the dog’s body from getting too hot. In winter, on the other hand, to reinforce the body heat.
If you have a female dog that is expecting kittens, it is also conceivable that she wants to build a nest for her offspring.
your companion supports you
Does your dog watch you closely while you work in the garden? When you have dug up your bed and planted new flower bulbs, does your four-legged friend get involved and help you dig? Maybe he wants to support you in gardening by imitating your behavior.
Your four-legged friend is bored If your four-legged companion doesn’t find many stimulating activities, boredom could be behind his digging. Your dog may feel underchallenged. Digging is fun for him and helps him to exercise properly. It strengthens his front paws and keeps his claws short.
7 tricks with which you can stop digging
In the list of possible causes you can already find possible solutions to prevent digging.
spend time with your dog
Your four-legged friend should be the center of attention. Suitable are walks, games, cuddling and training sessions. It is important that you give your dog your undivided attention.
Ideally, you should exercise your dog physically and mentally during walks and training sessions.
Keep your garden free from mice and moles.
Then your dog will not feel encouraged to dig by this possible prey.
take away leftover food
When your dog is full, put away leftover food. This prevents your four-legged friend from taking care of the stash himself and burying the leftovers somewhere. The same goes for chews.
put your four-legged friend a comfortable place to sleep
A half-high basket with a blanket offers your fur nose the possibility to snuggle up. The blanket can be rumpled wonderfully. If your dog is expecting kittens, a suitable whelping box is a good idea.
In summer there are mats that provide cooling. In the winter, a self-warming blanket or dog heating blanket may come in handy.
do the gardening alone
So that your helpful four-legged friend does not support you in the garden, you should do the plant care alone. Leave him indoors until then or send him for a walk with another family member.
Provide stimulating activities
The best thing for your dog is when his human spends time with him. But this is not always possible. For these cases, retailers have quite a few intelligence toys, balls, sniffing, chewing and cuddling items. Find out what your pet likes best.
If you feed your four-legged friend, you can offer him a raw meaty bone to gnaw on. This will keep him busy for a long time.
set up a digging corner for your pet.
You may not need to stop digging completely. If your garden is big enough, set up a special dog area. There he may give free rein to his passion and dig.
To mark the area, dig up some of the soil and fill it with a sand-soil mix. So that your dog recognizes that he may romp there, you bury dried rumen there. Let him dig to his heart’s content.
Alternatively, when you go for a walk, you may find a place where digging does not bother anyone.
What to do if the dog digs in the flowerbed anyway?
Your dog is still digging in your beds? In that case, there’s only one thing you can do: distract him. This can be done in three steps.
Say “No!” in a firm, loud voice when your dog digs in an unwanted spot.
Distract him with an exciting game or a challenging task.
If your pet has mastered it well, praise him effusively. You can also give a treat or romp with him extra intensely. Positive reinforcement is key here. You know best what means the most to your four-legged friend.
You’ll probably have to repeat these three steps – say no, distract, reward for desired behavior – many times until he stops digging.
Another challenge is that you need to be consistent. If you want to prevent your four-legged friend from digging in your garden, you must forbid him to do so everywhere. Even when walking and in places where he is actually allowed to dig.
It is possible to prevent unwanted digging. First of all, find out the cause of your pet’s behavior. If you succeed, you will know what possible solutions there are. If possible, offer your dog a place to dig in your yard or out and about.
Do not forget: Digging in the sand or in the earth corresponds to the natural behavior and need of your quadruped.
If you do not want it or if it is not possible, be consistent and forbid digging in general. Be patient. It will probably take a while for your dog to stop digging.
Provide exciting distractions and reinforce desired behavior. This strengthens the bond between you and your pet and gives him the opportunity to exercise in other ways.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.