Dealing With Digging

Digging is a fun and rewarding pastime for many dogs. Sadly it’s not fun for your lawn or flower beds. If it is becoming a problem in your backyard, it is important to first work out why they are digging.

Is your dog digging near the foundations of buildings or trees, or lying in the holes ?

Your dog is most likely digging as a form of shelter from cold, wind or rain, or to lie in the cool dirt when it’s hot. Bring your dog inside during extremes of weather, to warm up or cool down. Provide them with a comfortable shelter that is close the house, and with the mouth of the kennel facing a door or window so that they can see in. Invest in a bowl that can’t be tipped over and provide ice blocks with treats frozen into them, during hot days.

Is your dog Houdini?

Dogs often dig to try and escape. This may be to chase after a girlfriend if they are an entire male, to go and play with dogs across the road, or due to boredom. Bury chicken wire along the fence line, or place large rocks along it. If you can, bury the fence 1 to 2 feet below the surface. Finally, deal with the boredom issues – try enriching their environment with our suggestions in ‘Home Alone’.

Is your dog digging in a single area, at the roots of shrubs, or in a path layout?

They are most likely digging after animals or insects. Dogs like to roll in insects and/or watch them as they move about. Search for signs of them, and then try to remove, exclude or make your garden unattractive to them. Don’t use any methods that could also poison or harm your dog.

Is your dog digging when left alone for long periods or in a random pattern around the garden, or is he/she a terrier or working breed?

Your dog is probably digging as a form of entertainment. Try walking your dog before you leave them, so that they are content to rest once they are left. Enrich his environment with interactive toys or homemade puzzles – see our article ‘Home Alone’ for ideas.

For terrier and working breeds or truly dedicated diggers, try providing them with a ‘digging pit’. You can use a sandbox or a low fence, and cover the area with loose soil or sand to make it attractive. Temporarily cover his usual digging spots with rocks or chicken wire, to encourage digging in the designated space. Bury toys and treats for him to discover, so that the area will always hold surprises when he digs there, and keep updating them so he will never know what he might find.