Do you have a dog that dig holes and you don’t like it? Do you want to know how to stop your dog from digging holes? Read on…
An ex-neighbor of mine owned a Pit Bull / Labrador Retriever mix a few years ago. She was the sweetest dog… so playful and friendly. But, man, did she like to dig holes in the yard.
When my neighbor moved into their house, their back yard was full of green grass and numerous plants and flowers. After about 6 months, the dog had completely destroyed the plants and flowers, and had scraped up about a third of the grass. Eventually, they came to me for some advice. Together we figured out the best ways (with trial and error) to stop their dog from digging those annoying holes.
Why do dogs dig holes? There are several reasons why dogs dig:
- The dog is bored.
- The dog has too much pent up energy.
- The dog is trying to stay warm or cool.
- The dog thinks it’s fun.
- The dog is looking for something.
- The dog is seeking attention.
- The dog is trying to escape.
Whatever the reason, here are steps you can take to train your dog not to dig in your yard or garden.
- Make sure your dog has plenty of exercise. Take him for a walk. Play fetch with him. A dog who gets exercise often will be less likely to dig.
- Stay involved with your dog. Teach him new tricks (yes, even an old dog can learn new tricks). Keep his mind occupied with things other than digging.
- Provide plenty of thought provoking toys for your dog, such as a Kong. Again, keep his mind off of digging.
- Provide an acceptable digging area, such as a sand pit or an area with loose dirt. If you catch your dog digging somewhere inappropriate, move him to the digging area. Place a few toys partially buried in the digging area so your dog learns to dig there.
- Provide a comfortable shelter for your pet. If your dog tends to lay down in the holes he digs, he is probably trying to warm or cool himself. Give your dog a nice, insulated shelter and plenty of drinking water in a spill-proof dish.
- If your dog seems to be digging for pests (rodents, bugs, etc.) then call an exterminator to get rid of the pest. It’s not your dog’s fault that the little rodents are tormenting him. Help him out!
- If your dog is digging at the base of a fence, trying to escape, try burying chicken wire at the base of the fence. Make sure any sharp edges are facing down.
- Never give your dog attention when he digs. That may be what he’s digging for. If you think he’s digging because he needs more attention, then give him more attention at other times through the day. Dogs are social animals, so don’t ignore them.
- This might sound gross, but if your dog is consistently digging in one spot and you can’t get him to stop… try putting some his own poo in the hole. Most likely he will leave it alone.
- If your dog is digging in your garden, install a sprinkler in the digging area. When you catch your dog digging there, turn on the sprinkler. This works best if you can turn on the faucet when your dog isn’t looking. Then you don’t take the blame and your dog won’t identify you as the source of the water.
These are all tips that you can try with your dog. The chicken wire and the digging pit worked for my neighbor. Remember, spend time with your dog and give him plenty of exercise. Those 2 things alone will do wonders when you’re trying to make your dog stop digging holes. Have fun!