How to Stop a Dog From Digging

how to stop a dog from digging
how to stop a dog from digging

How to stop a dog from digging? That is the question! When you look outside and see your dog digging, it can be infuriating. So you yell at your dog to stop – but he just keeps digging. Your once beautiful yard is now filled with holes thanks to your dog. So what can you do?

In this article, you will learn how to stop a dog from digging. It’s a common problem. Many dog owners have problems with their dog’s digging. Dogs can dig holes in the yard, or they can dig under fences. But it is important to remember that dogs don’t dig holes in your yard out of spite.

Digging can be a major headache for you, but digging is only a symptom of another problem for your dog. You will need to identify that underlying problem and address it before you can change your dog’s digging behavior. But before we find out how to stop a dog from digging, let’s take a look at why dogs dig.

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Why do dogs dig? Only by understanding the reason behind the behavior can you actually change the behavior.

There are many reasons for your dog’s digging. Some of the more common reasons why do dogs dig include:

  • Boredom (they dig for entertainment)
  • Separation anxiety
  • Hiding bones or toys
  • Cooling
  • Breed disposition (genetically, some breeds are predisposed to this problem)
  • Hunting prey
  • Escape
  • Attention

To learn more about this subject, go to How Can I Get My Dog to Stop Digging?

Whatever the reasons for your dog’s digging, it is important that you don’t punish him after the fact. Punishment will not address the cause of your dog’s digging behavior – and if the digging is motivated by fear or anxiety, punishment will make the situation even worse.

If you try to remedy the problem but find that your dog is still actively digging, try to provide a safe digging zone where digging is permitted and teach your dog where that safe digging zone is located.

Use a sandbox or cover the digging zone in your yard with sand or loose soil.
Make the safe digging zone attractive to your dog by burying items like toys for him to find.
When your dog digs in the safe digging zone, reward him with plenty of praise.
If you find your dog digging in an unacceptable area, interrupt the behavior by loudly saying, “No dig”, then immediately take your dog to the safe digging zone.
Make the unacceptable digging spots unattractive by covering them with rocks, dog poop or chicken wire.

To learn more, go to Why Do Dogs Dig?

How Can I Stop My Dog from Digging on his Bed?

Dog digging bed – do you have this problem? If your dog is digging on his bed, he is not misbehaving. The behavior could be habitual, instinctive, or temperature related. When a dog is digging his bed it is actually called “denning”. In the wild, dogs will instinctively hide and sleep in areas that are comfortable and protected. They may dig holes in the soft ground to create a safe and comfortable place where they can hide out of sight of predators during warm and inclement weather. In the summer, a den can help a dog stay cooler, protecting him from the harsh sun.

Indoors, your dog may dig his bed or blankets. Dogs may also try to dig into their owner’s bed. This can be a problem as your dog’s nails can cause holes in the bed or blankets.

Here are some of the reasons for dog digging bed:

  • Your dog’s body temperature (too hot or too cold) – Digging the bed may be an attempt to create a cooler or warmer place to rest.
  • A desire to mark the bed as his territory – Your dog’s foot pads have glands in them that emit a scent that is unique to your dog. So when your dog digs or scratches the area where he is going to sleep, it allows him to mark that area with his scent.
  • An attempt to hide – Instinctively dogs dig dens to hide in, to help keep themselves safe in the wild. It would allow him to create a resting place that is comfortable but that allows him to be hidden from other animals. When living inside a home, this behavior is no longer necessary, but the instinct still remains and causes a dog to dig at his bed.
  • For a female dog, it could be an attempt to create a nest for her puppies – Whether they are pregnant or not, a female dog may dig to make a nest for her puppies.
  • For comfort – When we go to bed, it’s only natural that we fluff our pillows and adjust our bedding in a certain way. It makes us more comfortable. The same is true for your dog when he is digging at his bed.

When living in the wild, dogs instinctively hide in areas that are comfortable and protected when they go to sleep. The dog may dig a hole to create a comfortable space to hide from predators. Digging a hole can also help keep them cool in the summer heat. In the winter, digging a hole will help protect them from the elements, keeping them warm and dry. When a dog lives indoors, this instinctive behavior is still present. This can lead to your dog digging his bed to create a protected space.

To learn more, go to How Can I Stop My Dog from Digging on his Bed?

How to Stop a Dog from Digging under a Fence

Even a well trained dog can exhibit this problematic behavior. If a dog gets anxious he may dig under the fence to get out. Your dog may try to escape by digging under a fence when he is bored. Or, if it is a male dog, he may smell the scent of a female dog and dig his way out under the fence to find a mate. Regardless of the reason your dog is digging, it is a very bad thing because when the dog escapes from the yard he can get lost or get hit by a car. That’s why it’s so important to know how to stop a dog from digging under a fence.

Let’s look at how to stop a dog from digging under a fence. Here are some ways to help keep your dog from escaping:

  • Supervise your dog. Many times your dog will not engage in digging if you are around. If your dog starts digging while you’re in the yard, use training techniques to stop the behavior as soon as you see it. Try teaching your dog the command, “Leave it!”
  • Make a safe digging pit in your yard where your dog is allowed to dig. If he has a designated area where digging is permitted, he may stop digging under the fence.
  • Use a deterrent spray. Try sprinkling capsicum pepper, black pepper or Tabasco sauce around the perimeter of your fence, especially on the digging spots. While this will not work for all dogs, it may stop your dog from digging. Re-apply the deterrent every two weeks.
  • Bury chicken wire at the base of the fence, with the shard edges pointed away from your yard. The chicken wire should stop your dog’s digging attempts.

To learn more, go to How to Stop a Dog from Digging under a Fence

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

Why do dogs dig holes? The most common reason for digging is boredom. Many dog owners underestimate the amount of exercise and activity a dog needs each day. For some dogs, one 20-minute walk each day is enough, but for some breeds, two daily walks are needed. Remember, if your dog does not get enough exercise doing acceptable activities such as walking, he will find other destructive outlets for that energy, such as digging holes.

When we ask, “Why do dogs dig holes?” we must also consider another very important reason. Some dog breeds are naturally predisposed to digging. It’s in their nature to dig. Breeds like terriers and dachshunds are bred to dig for badgers, so they are predisposed to digging. If you have a breed that is naturally predisposed to digging it can be very hard to curb their digging behavior. For these dogs, try creating a safe digging zone where digging is permitted.

If you want to keep your dog from digging holes, start by reinforcing good behavior. When you see your dog in the yard and he is doing appropriate activities, remember to praise him.

Next, you must make the yard less appealing to your dog. Try filling established holes with rocks, your dog’s stool or an inflated balloon. Dogs like to go back to the same place to dig again, so when he does, he will find it unpleasant. If your dog starts to dig in a new spot, continue to fill in those holes as well. But, it is very important that your dog does not see you filling in the holes. If he does, he will assume that since you can play in the dirt it is also acceptable behavior for him.

If your dog has centered his digging on one particular area, plant chicken wire about an inch from the surface. Even if the grass grows over the wire it will continue to be effective, making it uncomfortable for your dog to dig in that area.

If digging has become habitual for your dog, you should interrupt his digging behavior with a correction technique. It is important that your dog relates the correction to the digging, not to your presence, so don’t let him see you do the correction. You can startle your dog with a squirt of water from a squirt gun. Use a loud noise, an air horn, or a pet correction spray to stop the digging behavior.

Most importantly, be consistent. Make sure that the whole family remains consistent in deterring your dog’s digging behavior. Dogs like to dig, and it can be difficult to change your dog’s behavior, but it can be stopped with a consistent effort from you and your family.

To learn more, go to Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

Also check out this article: Dealing with Dogs That Dig

What Is Dog Digging Repellent?

If you have a dog that digs, you may have asked yourself, “What is dog digging repellent?” A dog digging repellent is a product that is designed to deter a dog from digging. Some of these dog digging repellents are effective, while some dogs aren’t bothered by them in the least.

If it rains, a dog digging repellent must be reapplied.

There are many types of dog digging repellent that you may purchase from pet retailers:

  • Liquid repellents
  • Water sprinkler repellents
  • Ultrasonic animal repellents

While you have a large selection of dog digging repellents available in the marketplace, you want to be careful about using any products that contain chemicals that can harm your dog. A better option may be making your own dog digging repellent at home. Here are a few homemade dog digging repellents you can try:

  • Cayenne spray
  • Vinegar
  • Essential oils
  • Chili powder
  • Ammonia
  • Citrus
  • Dog poop

To learn more about the correct use of dog digging repellents and how to make your own dog digging repellents at home, go to What Is Dog Digging Repellent? 

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