One of the most common questions we get is “How do I stop my dog from digging?!” There is one main reason dogs dig. IT’S FUN! Our best bet is going to make sure digging is not fun. However, we’re not going to do it in a mean, punitive way!
First, we need to make sure the dog has a fun alternative. Digging usually stems from boredom and since digging is fun, it’s the perfect solution to boredom and excess energy! Make sure your dog has a rich and stimulating environment by providing toys, walks, training, and meal dispensing toys. (For example, the Kong Wobbler or the Tug-a-Jug.) This will help stave off boredom and then your dog won’t need to find something fun to do because they are already doing a fun human-approved activity!
Next, we need to make digging less fun. Old advice was to throw a can of pennies at the dog or something bizarre like that. The idea was to startle and scare your dog. That’s never my approach because there are too many alternatives than intentionally scaring your dog. For example, I will bury my dog’s poop in the holes they dig. What an un-fun hole! It’s now literally a shit hole! My disclaimer about this is that if your dog likes poop this won’t work! My Golden Retriever, Doctor, LOVES poop. He swan dives into poop. He rolls around in it. It also makes a tasty snack. Don’t try this technique on the poo loving dogs!
Another way to make digging less fun is to bury chicken wire a few inches below the ground where the dog likes to dig. This prevents the digging but also doesn’t create an eye sore. I’ve also been known to bury little pavers (the ones that are about $2 from Home Depot.) This is really not fun to dig in!
Finally, teach a decent “leave-it” command can do wonders. This is good to use when you’re around but if you ever leave your dog for an unattended second in the yard, this won’t work so a combination of these tips may be in order. I suggest implementing all of these tips at once to attack the problem from all angles.
When all of these suggestions are implemented, the digging problem will more than likely go away and you can finally enjoy a flat yard again!
If you need help troubleshooting your dog’s digging problem on a deeper level, we offer private lessons as well as phone consultations. We are here to help!