Digging, like territorial spraying and barking, is a natural dog behavior – but one that we don’t necessarily appreciate. If your dog is digging up the yard, it can be an expensive and unsafe habit. It sets your dog up for a possible escape, and you will no longer have that Better Homes & Gardens backyard. Unfortunately, we can’t sit our dig-loving dog down and have a heart-to-heart with them. 

So, how can you stop a dog from digging up the yard? Union Lake Pet Services is here to save your lawn and garden by providing a few solutions. Let’s dig in!

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Most dogs enjoy an ample amount of time outdoors, basking in the sunshine, sniffing all the smells, and being curious about everything they encounter. When a dog spends much of the day in the yard, they probably will dig up something, or at the very least, root around in the garden or flowerbed.

Digging is a very common behavior, but there are reasons why certain dogs dig more than others.

  1. They are bored – Let’s face it, if your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, attention, or enriching things to do, they resort to bad behavior. Digging is a stimulating activity and offers an outlet for pent-up energy.

  2. They are burying things – Many dogs like to bury coveted items like favorite toys, treats, and other possessions. This is a natural instinct to keep predators and other nosy animals from stealing a dog’s stash. If your dog likes to be outside, they will probably try and bury an item or two on occasion.

  3. They’re making a bedIn the wild, wolves, coyotes, and other canidae like to burrow a hole into the earth for a place to sleep. This leftover instinct in dogs causes them to “make a nest” in the ground, which becomes a cozy place to take a nap.

  4. They’re cooling off If it’s hot out, the feel of soil is cooling to your dog. If the temperatures are over 90 degrees, make sure to bring your dog inside. During playtime, ensure they have enough shade and water, so that their desire to make a cool space in your beautiful flowerbed isn’t as enticing.

  5. They have anxiety – Dogs that have separation anxiety or noise phobia will sometimes dig as a way to alleviate the stress.

  6. They’re attempting to escape – Some curious canines just love to roam, and they will dig their way under a fence or gate, if they can. If your pet isn’t sexually altered, they may try to get out to look for a mate. Underlying fear and phobia can also prompt this behavior.

What to Do to Stop Your Dog from Digging

Getting to know the reasons why your dog loves to dig will give you insight into how to redirect the behavior. Most pups need to spend 30 minutes to one hour in active play each day, whether through walking, running, or games like fetch. High energy breeds will need more exercise than other dogs, but all dogs do require playtime and enrichment to exhibit the positive behaviors you want from them.

Here are some tips to dissuade your dog from digging:

  • Make sure your pet is getting enough exercise each day
  • Speak with us if they are responding to anxiety or fear, so we can provide suggestions on treatment
  • Don’t let your dog take toys or treats outdoors
  • Go out with your dog, so you can supervise and interact with them by playing a game or two
  • Make sure to bring your dog inside when it is too hot out
  • Microchip your dog – it is the best assurance that they will be safely returned to you, should they get out
  • Offer an alternative digging spot for your pooch by filling a kiddie pool with sand

When your dog is digging up the yard, it can be frustrating. In most cases, though, it can be remedied by offering more exercise and play. If your dog’s digging is out of control, we can provide a consultation and come up with the right approach to address the behavior. You can also check out these additional tricks. Please feel free to call us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.