Proven Methods to Stop Dog Digging
Two extremely different opinions reign when it comes to stop dog digging. First, many believe that “dogs will be dogs” and dogs digging is natural even if it’s at the expense of the fresh sod you just installed or the new rose bushes you just planted. On the other end of the spectrum, “my flowerbed is my flowerbed” and it is not to be touched let alone destroyed by my dog.
It’s healthy to maintain a middle ground with your personal philosophies regarding the habits of dog digging by letting him indulge in the habit by digging a little, but not allowing him to run rampant in your yard. Believe it or not, dogs and flowers can coexist in harmony.
If you haven’t adopted a dog yet and one of your main concerns is of your garden, consider the breed of dog you would consider adopting. The type of dog breed tends to play a large role in the likelihood of digging habits. Terriers and Nordic breeds (such as huskies, malamutes, and certain members of the spitz family) seem to enjoy digging more than other types of breeds. However, just like the different personality traits of humans, dogs have individual personalities too and there isn’t a way to guarantee certain behavior traits solely based on dog breed.
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Dog digging occurs for some of the following reasons:
- Lack of Exercise – Digging helps under-exercised dogs burn extra energy
- Boredom – Bored dogs feel they need a “job” to do to help time pass giving a sense of purpose
- Need for More – By nature, some dogs are escape artists no matter how much attention and exercise they get. It is exciting to know what lies beyond the fence.
- Separation Anxiety – When a dog is desperate for more attention, digging under the walls reflects the most direct path to you.
Separation anxiety is a very unpleasant psychological issue common among many dogs. Due to the complex nature of this topic, it won’t be covered in this article; CLICK HERE for more information and resources for preventing and coping with separation anxiety.
Preventing the Habit
Ironically enough, many of the reasons your dog digs creates their own solutions. If your dog isn’t receiving enough exercise, increase the amount of activity he gets (generally 45 minutes per day). Take him for more walks. Is he is bored, give some toys and chew toys to keep him occupied in your absence. Try to wear him out before you leave so he will sleep most of the day. The dog that is an escape artist may need to be crated or left in the home while you are at work.
Those dogs who enjoy digging as a past time, the following provides general tips to stop dog digging:
- Restrict Access – Restricting access is the most effective measure you can take. If your dog isn’t in the yard, he can’tdig…simple as that.
- Create a Natural Deterrent – Nearly all dogs will shy from the idea of digging where there is dog poop. Even the dogs who enjoy eating poop (condition known as coprophagia) in general will not dig anywhere near either, offending their basic dislike of soiling their paws and coat.
- Change Plants – If you are offended by the dog digging in your garden, plant heartier plants with deep roots and natural thorn defenses like roses.
- Install Artificial Grass – Installing artificial grass or synthetic turf in your back yard is becoming the norm in America and isn’t the Astroturf it once was. Your dog won’t be able to dig or disrupt it if a quality product is installed correctly.
Forcing a goal to stop dog digging completely is unrealistic and you will be setting yourself up for failure since your dog is a digger by nature and breed. Take the steps outlined in this article to help reduce the destructive behavior and you will be able to live more harmoniously with your pooch (and keep your flowers). For more information on recognizing and dealing with problematic behaviors like chewing, digging, barking, and aggression, see the Secrets to Dog Training Handbook. This is a detailed manual for the responsible dog owner and is packed with all the information you need to raise a happy and healthy dog, covering topics such as dog psychology, obedience, and correcting problem behaviors. CLICK HERE for more information.