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How To Stop A Dog From Digging In The Yard: 10 Amazing Tips

how to stop a dog from digging

The garden is a place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in your free time or have a small party with your friends at the weekend. Everyone wants to keep that area in the best condition always.

Do you know what will happen to your garden with a dog that digs? To avoid a yard full of holes or turning your garden into an expansive moonscape, you should learn how to stop a dog from digging in the yard.

This problem occurs for several reasons such as pure instinct, attention-seeking, comfort, hunting, and boredom. However, you can still apply the following tips to stop your dog from digging or at least limit it. 


Learn the source of the problem:

Once you know the reason leading to the problem, it will be straightforward to fix the behavior significantly. Usually, the cause of digging is random, but there are also some basic things as follows:

  • Looking for prey
  • Escape
  • Attract attention
  • Show physical comfort
  • Consider that as the entertainment

Observe the time, area and the way your dog is digging, these elements can take you to the reason. Remember that digging is a natural instinct of most dogs, so you can't stop it altogether.

When owning a dog especially bred to dig such as dachshunds and terriers, you have to accept this as a part of the development of your dog. In case digging is a big problem in where you live, before picking up a new dog, you have to learn the information of your breed.

Pay attention to your dog more:

how to stop a dog from digging

Like children, pets also will do anything to get the attention of their owners. Even digging holes in your beautiful yard is a negative method, it still performs due to the lack of affection.

If you think this is the case for your dog. Give it more attention when it has other healthful behaviors.

Besides, you also should spend more free time with it in other activities. The behavior of digging may be worse when you punish your dog by keeping it away from you.

Minimize the boredom of your dog:

how to stop a dog from digging

The boredom comes when your dog has looked at the fences for a long time. It starts to whine then looks for fun with the hyperactive and negative behavior like digging holes. Below are some methods to reduce the boredom of your dog:

  • Spend more time to play with it. Don't forget to prepare dog toys especially for young dogs. Let your dog do exercise such as walking or running. In the event of walking, perform this at least twice per day. Making your dog tired is an excellent tip on how to stop a dog from digging in the yard.
  • Or in case you don't have much time for it, you had better allow it to socialize with others dogs of neighbor. Dogs usually don't feel bored when staying and playing with other dogs.

Make the safe discouragement:

You have to do something to show your disapproval of the digging activity, but that way should be safe and effective.

  • You can close off where your dog frequently digs by using the garden fencing or a minor barricade as a deterrent.
  • Another way to create the obstacle for digging is to bury flat rocks which are hard to move aside in where it usually digs
  • Fixing the chicken wire or chain-link fencing in the ground is also an excellent method to stop your dog from digging. Standing on the wire will make your dog uncomfortable. The ideal location to do this task is near to the fence
  • Your pet can be one of the dogs hating the smell of their own feces so just keep it away from the fencing by putting a little in the hole. However, this is not the case for all dogs. You must check if your dog loves or hates before performing
  • Hide a small inflated balloon in the ground near to the place your dog loves digging. It will feel uncomfortable and surprise to continue digging when the balloon touches to.
  • More creatively, your dog will stop digging immediately when hearing the loud noise from the motion sensor that you set up.
  • Some dogs don't like the smell of citrus peels so you can hide a few pieces near to there to stop your dog from digging. However, it requires you to check in advance since not all dogs hate this smell. To determine, get a little on your hands and bring them to the nose of your dog.

Look for the help of a professional dog trainer:

If you can't diagnose the reason, let you seek the professional assistance of a certified dog or an animal behaviorist. They will give you some personalized techniques to address the act of digging.

Or register a basic training class for your dog. Some people help you teach your dog the calm and assertive approach. When completing that class, your dog will respect you - its owner more and apparently, it also follows your commands.

You train it by teaching the commands "heel," "sit," and "stop." This trick is not difficult. Just repeat 10 minutes every day, the reward for the success, and ignore the failure.

Build up a sandbox for digging:

how to stop a dog from digging

That means in your yard, you choose a suitable area to construct the sandbox where your dog is allowed to dig freely. Your task is to encourage and train it plays in the designated and defined area in place of the limited parts.

How to build up a sandbox is to use low fencing or wooden beams and fill with sand or freshly tilled earth. You can train your dog by hiding treats or smelly items under the ground to encourage its attention.

If your dog digs use the command "no digging" then bring it to the sandbox where it can dig freely. Don't forget to reward when it performs correctly.

Make a shaded area in the yard for your dog:

how to stop a dog from digging

Dogs tend to dig to look for a respite when the weather is hot, so you had better build up a beautiful and comfortable shelter outside. I am sure this is the reason if the location it digs is near to the source of water, trees, or buildings.

Moreover, you need to let your dog inside when it's extremely hot or cold or at least you must provide it with a bowl of filled water.

Get rid of the prey of your dog:

If you own a dog hunter and loves chasing prey, you can't skip this tip. Your dog may dig at the roots of plants and trees when it recognizes the presence of a rodent or something likes that.

In case you are not sure you can deal with that animal conveniently, just ask the help from an expert to trap and relocate.

If you have decided to do this alone, pay attention not to use any poison to kill the preys because your dogs can be harmful also.

Don't let your dog escape:

Sometimes, dogs want to escape to reach something, come to somewhere or simply it needs to go out. If it digs near to the fencing, this case can happen. In fact, your pet is in this trouble, you have to determine what it is trying to reach to address in timely. Below are some ways to protect it away from escaping:

  • Put the chicken wire under the fence. However, it's essential to ensure all sharp areas point up and in as long as your dog doesn't hurt itself.
  • Block the escaping path by lining your fencing with rocks
  • Fix the fence deeper in the ground about 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6m)

Take all temptations out of the sight of your dog:

how to stop a dog from digging

You can more natural control your dog's behavior by removing temptations out of the yard:

  • The freshly tilled earth is a typical example. Thus, while working in the yard, you have to keep the fresh dirt away from your dog.
  • Dogs usually bury what they love in the ground (bones, for example). It's not strange when you see it's digging a bone from the ground. However, your task is to stop that back-and-forth game that isn't fun. Take the bones out and fill the hole back.
  • When gardening, don't do that in front of the dog. That can be an act of positive reinforcement. Your dog may think "You do, I can also do."
  • Make sure your garden is as clean as possible without any attractive smells.

The final thought:

It can be challenging to stop a dog from digging in the yard. First try to assess why your puppy is digging and then try to teach a new behavior.  Most of the time it's either they want more attention or are trying to escape. 

I hope I've answered the question, "how to stop a dog from digging?" to your satisfaction. Please leave a comment or question below. I look forward to responding to your comments. Don't forget to share the article with your friends and loved ones too.

(Last Updated On: September 7, 2018)
About the author

Liz

I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent and lover of dogs and somehow manage to have time to pursue another of my passions - writing. I’m the primary contributor and editor of PUPPY FAQS. I love to write about the nutrition, health, and care of puppies. If you have a question that needs answering, please leave a comment below, and I will do my best to explain it.

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