Dogs have an instinct to dig in certain situations. If the weather is hot, your dog may dig to gain a cool spot in the dirt. Some dogs just have a genetic predisposition to dig like terriers. Whatever the reason for the digging, there are ways that you can intervene, lessening the amount of damage done to your yard (and the need for fill dirt and grass seed). What can you do with your dog to help control the digging?
Five ways to help deter your dog from digging include:
- Burying deterrents in your yard
- Provide distractions
- Reduce pests and burrowing animals
- Create a safe digging space
Not only can you use ways to distract or displace your dog’s energy, but you can also create an alternative space that allows your dog to feel safe by incorporating their own donut dog bed.
Ways to Control Doggy Excavation
Unless your dog is trying to uncover dinosaur fossils, there really isn’t a need for them to dig up your yard. While it may be an instinct, there are still ways that you can divert their attention in productive ways to keep them safe and secure in your backyard. You can be proactive on the digging issue while keeping your pup completely entertained.
Bury Deterrents in Your Yard
Using strong-smelling or uncomfortable feeling items in common digging areas have been reported to provide success in controlling a dog’s digging. These are not items that could hurt or make the dog sick, just more uncomfortable than anything.
Many owners have partially buried flat rocks, plastic chicken wire, or installed motion-activated sprinkler systems in their yards to help with digging habits. Others find that using more natural deterrents like citrus peels, vinegar, or cayenne in the area can make a dog’s nose turn up. Bordering highly dug areas with rose bushes can also make a dog not want to pay attention to it twice.
Exercise Your Doggy
As much as dogs need rest, they need exercise. Too much idle energy can turn into destruction, which is what you are trying to deter. A dog who has too much pent up energy misbehaves. This isn’t an assumption. It has been seen, especially in higher energy dogs.
Walking your dog every day can help reduce this built-up energy, which reduces the destruction. Exercise also helps to keep your dog engaged, reducing the amount of boredom. When in doubt, walk your dog.
If you want to keep your dog occupied, give them something to do. Much like you have toys for a toddler, you can create a toy box for your dog too. Making it possible for your dog to stay busy if they are outside for longer periods of time can give them enough distraction to prevent them from digging up your yard.
You should provide distractions for your dog that are safe for them. There may come some frustration when trying to find the right distraction to keep your dog from destroying your yard. The important thing to remember is that they are learning, and they will not learn if you punish them. Positive reinforcement works better for dogs than negative.
Address Prey Drive
Some breeds are more prone to hunting. When animals are burrowing under your yard or hang out around it, your dog may be likely to go after them – by any means necessary. Things like groundhogs, squirrels, and other small woodland creatures may entice your dog, making them want to find a way to get to them.
You can help to deter your dog from going after these animals by preventing them. Understandably so, it can be difficult to stop every bird, squirrel, and skunk from coming around, so using exercises to keep your pup’s prey drive under control can be beneficial. Running drills for retrieving or hiding items for a scent exercise can keep your dog satisfied.
Create a Safe Digging Space
Since digging and dogs are commonly paired together in the same sentence, why not create a space to do that? If you have a dog who likes to hide their toys, they often try to dig a spot where they can hide things. Creating a controlled spot for your dog to do this allows them to fulfill their need to dig and keep your yard from being used as a bone hiding pit.
Making a sandbox that is dedicated to your dog’s digging shenanigans can help to fulfill their natural urges to dig or hide important items. You can teach your dog that they can only dig in the sandbox and nowhere else.
Keeping the Right Environment
While it may seem that addressing the exterior of your home is important for digging, so can addressing the internal area. Anxious dogs tend to be more destructive than dogs who are not. Facilitating the proper environment for your dog can keep their anxiety to a minimum, which saves your yard from becoming a warzone.
We recommend the use of calming beds for dogs. These types of beds help to increase their comfort and security, making them feel an overall sense of calm. There is nothing more you want for your dog than for them to feel safe and secure in their own space.
You can find some of the best calming beds for dogs on the Best Friends by Sheri site. These beds are made from the finest plush material and provide the optimal amount of security for your furry friend. There are also multiple sizes available, making it easy to find the perfect donut dog bed for your pup.
Since a large part of your dog’s digging depends on your response, you have to accept that it is a trial and error type of relationship. Your dog can’t tell you in words what they want and need, especially to satisfy their need to dig, which means you have to be open to trying different methods until you find what works.
Once you find something that works, consistency will be important if you want it to keep working in the future. Make sure you are using positive reinforcement and giving treats, even in the littlest of achievements. It is possible for you and your dog to curb the digging behavior – if you work together!