How To Keep Your Dog from Digging Up Your Yard
Dogs may dig up your yard for a variety of reasons, but no matter why they do it, you probably don’t want them to continue the practice and ruin your lovely lawn. If you want to keep your dog from digging up your yard, here are a few methods to try that may help them stop.
Why Dogs Dig
Dogs dig for a variety of reasons. Let’s consider the most important below and take a look at how you can help your dog if they are dealing with one of these issues.
To Get Attention
Some dogs want more attention from you and start digging up the yard because they know it will get a reaction out of you. If you want to stop your dog from digging for attention, you have to give them attention—the right kind!
Instead of getting mad at your pup for digging, simply ignore their behavior. Take your dog out to play or walk, giving them more good attention and entertainment. You might just find that they stop digging once you do.
To Relieve Boredom
Sometimes, your dog may simply be bored. Dogs are not made to be caged for long periods of time, so it could be that your pup is tired of waiting in the yard with nothing to do but wander around all day.
If you suspect your dog is digging out of boredom, it’s important to give them some activities to do. Take them out for a walk at least twice a day, if not more. Buy them a few new toys to pique their interest. Spend time playing with them by throwing a frisbee or other moving object for them to chase after.
You can also do fun activities with your dog like taking them to training sessions or practicing a few commands on your own. These activities should encourage your dog to use their brain and body more and keep them feeling satisfied at the end of the day.
To Escape the Yard
Some dogs may be trying to escape the yard and find more dogs or people to play with. This is especially likely if the holes they dig are near a fence line.
If you suspect your dog is trying to escape, your best bet is to offer a further barrier of protection.
For example, you could bury chicken wire on the ground where the dog usually digs. Chicken wire may hurt their paws and will certainly discourage digging. You could also bury the fence more deeply in the ground, bury or partially bury rocks near the fence line, or place some chain link fencing on the ground where your dog digs.
In addition to these discouraging methods, you should also work with your dog to modify their behavior. Talking with a dog trainer could help if you aren’t sure where to start.
To Stay Comfortable
If your dog is digging under trees or at the foundation of your house and if they tend to lie in the holes they dig, they may be trying to stay comfortable. It could be that they’re too hot in the sun or too cold in the winter weather and need a more temperature-controlled climate.
If you think your dog is trying to stay more comfortable, consider bringing them inside for the hottest or coldest portions of the day. You can also provide them with a dedicated spot where they can comfortably go on especially hot, cold, or rainy/snowy days.
This could be a natural spot between trees or under plants. Or, you can buy a shade or umbrella made for dogs to ensure maximum comfort and protection.
To Catch Pests
If your yard is home to rodents (think squirrels, moles, gophers, rats, etc.) or irritating insects, your dog may be digging to catch what they consider “prey.” This behavior is completely natural and expected from many dogs and is probably the cause of their digging if they tend to dig in a “path-like” pattern, dig under trees or plants, or dig in one specific spot.
Of course, if pests are leaving a mess in your yard too, you’ll want to get rid of them. You may need to call an exterminator or find a safe method of getting rid of them. Just be careful what you use, as many toxins meant for pests can also harm your dogs.
Tips for Handling Digging Dogs
Here are a few tips for dealing with your digging dog regardless of why they choose to dig.
What Not To Do
If your dog is digging and making a mess of your yard, it’s important that you DON’T:
- Yell at or punish them.
- Force them to stay tied up near the hole they dug.
- Fill the hole with water.
Punishment is likely to encourage your dog to try again, whether to get attention or simply to relieve their anxiety over the possibility of punishment. Forcing your dog to stay near the hole or filling the hole with water will only end up distressing them, which could leave to further bad behavior.
How To Help Determined Diggers
If your dog simply can’t stop digging, you have two good options that should solve your problem for you.
- Designate a “digging area” by pouring sand or loose soil in an area of your yard (or a sandbox) and encouraging your dog to dig there. You might bury toys for them to find or offer praise when they dig in the right spot. You may want to couple this with planting chicken wire or rocks where they used to dig.
- Speak to a dog trainer who can help you figure out the reasons behind your dog’s digging habits and help them modify their behavior. Some breeds (e.g. hunting breeds like terriers, beagles, and bloodhounds or hot breeds like huskies) may dig out of instinct and may need special help to encourage them to cease instinctive behavior.
Keeping a Clean Yard
If your dog is a digger, it can be crucial that you work hard to maintain a clean yard. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a yard full of dog poop, trash, and giant holes of dirt. Pretty soon, it’ll be quite a disaster!
If you want help keeping your yard clean, Idaho Poop Scoop can help. Just check out our services and our team will come clean your yard of any poop so you can focus on managing and enjoying life with your dog.