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What to Do About Your Dogs Digging Habits

When it comes to dogs digging habits there are two extremes of opinion: one, is that a dog is a dog, and we should permit him to express his true canine nature by allowing him free reign
over the yard and flowerbeds; and the second opinion is that a flowerbed is a flowerbed, and no dog should even think about trespassing if it comes at the price of your cherished rosebuds. Many people tend to favor the middle ground.

While it is true that plenty of dogs do love to dig, and it’s healthy for them to be permitted to indulge in this habit from time to time, there’s a difference between permitting your dog to express his inner puppy, and allowing him to run rampant in the yard.

There really is no reason that a dog should have to come at the price of a garden, and vice versa: you can have both. If
your dog’s developed a taste for digging, it’ll just take a bit of time (and some crafty ingenuity) on your part to resolve the issue satisfactorily

Why do dogs dig? In no particular order, here are some of the more common reasons that a dog will dig: 

* Lack of exercise.

Digging is a good way for an under-exercised dog to burn off some of that nervous energy. 

 * Boredom. Bored dogs need something rewarding and interesting to do, to help the time pass by. 

 * Dog Digging is often the ideal solution for a bored dog: it gives him a sense of purpose, and distracts him from an otherwise-empty day. 

* The need for broader horizons. Some dogs are just escape artists by nature – no matter how much exercise and attention they get, it’s nearly impossible to confine them. For many dogs it’s not the digging  itself that’s the reward, it’s the glorious unknown that exists beyond the fenceline. 


If he’s bored, give him some toys and chews to play with during your absence, and wear him out before you leave so he spends most of the day snoozing. 

But if all this doesn’t work try some of these suggestions: 

 * Restrict your dog’s access.

This is the most effective thing you can do: if he’s never in the yard without active supervision, there’s no opportunity for digging. 

* Use nature to help restrict your dog.

If the digging is bothering you because it’s upsetting the more delicate blooms in your garden, plant hardier blossoms: preferably, those with deep roots and thorny defenses. Roses are ideal. 

Accept your dog’s need for an outlet: give him a place to dig.  Set up an area where he’s allowed to dig as much as he pleases. Once this zone’s been established, you can make it clear that there’s to be absolutely no digging in the rest of the yard – and you can enforce your rules with a clear conscience, since you know your dog now has his own little corner of the world to do with  as he chooses. If you don’t have a “spare corner” of the yard, if the whole yard is, grass, flowerbeds, and gravel path, what to do? 

You can get a sandbox, which you can place anywhere in the garden. You can even make a deep one yourself and fill it with a mixture of sand and earth, and put some leaves or grass on top if you like – get your dog interested in it by having a scratch around yourself, until he gets the idea. 

Further reading

For more information on recognizing and dealing with problematic behaviors like digging, chewing, barking, and aggression, check out Secrets to Dog Training. It’s a detailed how-to manual for the responsible owner, and is packed with all the information you’ll need for raising a healthy, happy, well-adjusted pooch: from problem behaviors to dog psychology to obedience work, Secrets to Dog Training has it covered. You can check out Secrets to Dog Training by clicking on this link.

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