If you have a dog, you’re probably going to find holes in your garden at some point. It’s instinct for a dog to dig, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept craters all over your lawn!
Before you start thinking about how to stop a dog from digging up your flower beds, it’s important to understand the possible reasons behind their behaviour.
In the overwhelming majority of instances, the unusual behaviour of a dog is a sign of boredom, stress, or insecurity. It means that your dog needs attention, entertainment, love, comfort, and protection. Spending more time with your pet could be all that’s needed to keep your garden free of holes. Crucially, punishing your dog for digging isn’t going to solve the problem, as it won’t remove the urge that causes the behaviour. Doing your best to identify that cause instead of getting cross is a much better strategy.
Why is my dog digging up the garden?
Here’s a quick guide to the most likely reasons your dog is digging up your garden, plus some tips on how to stop a dog from digging once they’ve started.
Some dogs start digging in the garden or lawn just for fun. In most instances, it means that the animal has been left alone for a long period of time, resulting in boredom. A lack of toys can also contribute to the problem. This is particularly relevant to active breeds of dog.
Punishing won’t work here; instead, aim to spend more time with your pet. Walk your dog regularly, play fetch and other games with dog toys, teach your animal tricks, treat it as part of the family, and make it feel valued and loved. Making these simple changes can have a big impact on your dog’s behaviour.
As children cry to get parents’ attention, pets will bark, chew things, or dig holes to make people notice them. Most commonly, dogs associate the attention they get with the problems they make. This means that even a punishment is considered a bonus in their eyes, because they have your attention.
The solution here is pretty simple: give your dog more attention. Spend time playing together, so that your pet doesn’t feel the need to act out in order to get noticed.
Dogs are hunters, and they’re always ready to protect their families. A garden full of holes could be your pet’s way of defending you against burrowing animals such as wild rabbits and moles. To minimise this cause of unwanted digging, aim to make your garden inaccessible or unattractive to these uninvited visitors. When doing this, make sure you avoid using poisonous or harmful products that may be dangerous for your pet or children.
When a dog is irritated, insecure, lonely, or scared, it may start acting in an unexpected way. Digging can be a sign that your pet is stressed, so you should aim to counter this by helping it to feel relaxed and comfortable. If you suspect that stress is the cause of the problem, focus on ways to calm your dog down. As mentioned in one Natures Recipe dog food review, a nice treat may help a lot here. Provide your dog with everything it needs for a comfortable life, including food, water, bedding, toys, and a crate.
Every dog is unique, with its own character and temperament. Therefore, your dog’s behaviour patterns can be largely dictated by their personality. It’s also crucial that you understand the basic characteristics of the breed, and pay due attention to instincts that may sometimes be quite strong.
Sometimes dogs start digging just for fun, while in other cases, they simply strive to escape. What are they running from? Double-check if their environment is 100% safe and pleasant for them. Fences are particularly useful here for creating a physical barrier that keeps your pet safely at home.
Three ways to prevent your dog digging in the garden
Hopefully these key reasons why dogs dig have helped you to understand your dog’s behaviour. As a general theme, giving your dog love, care and attention will go a long way to solving the problem. It is of course important to combine this approach with teaching your furry friend to behave and follow your instructions.
Here are three more things you can try to help control that urge to dig.
- Keep your dog cool. Dogs that feel hot may start digging in order to cool down. Make sure your dog has access to a shaded area in the garden.
- Create special digging zones. If your pet is a dedicated digger, and you’ve tried everything else, you need to direct their energy elsewhere. Create a zone where your dog is allowed to dig, and praise them when they use that area.
- Distraction. Keeping an animal busy is the best way to preserve your garden. Buy new toys, play fetch, and spend quality time with your pet. Remember also to rotate toys and games regularly, to avoid boredom and keep your dog stimulated.
What’s your top tip on how to stop a dog from digging in the garden?