The green lawns of spring, the bounty of your garden and your beautifully maintained planting beds are all enticing spots for your dog to start digging.
If you’re tired of your pup leaving gaping pits in your backyard, it’s time to end the problem for good.
3 Training Options
- Keep him busy. “A tired dog is a good dog,” says the Humane Society. Redirect your dog’s attention by throwing a ball or providing a toy. Provide plenty of walks to tire him out. Teach and practice new tricks with him.
- Stop him every single time. Make sure your dog doesn’t have the chance to make a hole any bigger. When you find a damaged area in your lawn, either fill the hole back up or cover it with a board to prevent further digging. Often, if a dog is stopped at every turn, he’ll give up and find something else to do. If you catch your dog in the act of digging, say, “No” loudly and then walk him to the acceptable digging area (see below). Don’t punish your pet after the fact because it will only confuse him.
- Partially bury large rocks in the usual digging areas, or place chicken wire over those spots. If your little dirt devil finds digging unpleasant, he’ll probably stop. Be sure to remove any sharp pieces from the chicken wire.
Designate an Acceptable Digging Area
Assign an area in which he’s allowed to scratch around, such as a sandbox, a digging pit or a section of the yard that you don’t care about much.
When you find him digging in these areas, give him a lot of affection — praise him, rub his belly or give him a treat.
He’ll soon learn that when he digs in these designated places, he’ll get all the attention he’s seeking.
Watch this dog excel at some serious indoor digging that won’t ruin his family’s garden (but may perhaps ruin their cushion):
Make sure your pet realizes that digging in unauthorized areas is not OK by speaking a firm “No” when you see him breaking the rules. Then walk him over to the approved area.
Remember: If you don’t catch your pet in the act of digging, there’s no point in punishing him after the fact. He won’t have a clue as to why he’s in trouble, and rubbing his face in the hole will only make him feel frightened and confused.