Dog From Garden Digging
If your dog likes to dig,
you know that it can be a hard habit to break. It is, in fact,
instinctual. Not only is garden digging extremely annoying, but also it
can endanger your dog's health.
Why is my
dog attracted to my garden?
If you think about it,
gardens are wonderful dog playgrounds. There's lots of fun stuff there:
is often used as fertilizer. Plantings often smell good and this may
encourage your dog to dig around.
Moles, mice and other fun things often live in a garden or stop by for
a visit. And plants are fun to pull out of the ground.
How to stop
If you do some work in the
garden, roll out the hose and fit a sprinkler on the end. When the dog
goes to investigate the area, turn on the sprinkler. In this way the
sprinkler is telling the dog off, and not you. The added bonus of
letting the sprinkler do the work for you is that many dogs will learn
not to dig whilst you are present but can dig away happily when you are
away from home. The sprinkler causes the dog to think that the actual
garden is chastising him and does not realise that you were involved at
the tap end!
What if you do not have a
sprinkler, or the dog is digging at a point too far away for the hoses
to reach? Treat yourself to a toy water pistol. For very little cost,
you can buy a water pistol that has a good accuracy over several
meters. Then you just hang around in the garden and wait for the dog to
start digging. As soon as this happens, deliver a jet of water at the
dog, aiming for its head. Say nothing; act as if you were not involved.
This can have a similar effect to turning on the sprinkler.
If your dog seems
hyperactive, chews destructively and digs holes then this could be
boredom. Take the dog out away from the garden for exercise for at
least one hour each day. Play games of fetch with a ball and do not
restrict the dog to the garden - allow him into the house. The more the
dog is alone the more likely it is to dig. Leaving toys stuffed with
food and goodies when he is left alone will make the "home alone" times
Dogs that dig at fences
may well be bored and trying to get out to something on the other side
of the fence. The scent hounds will especially do this when they can
smell something really interesting on the other side of the fence - so
watch out if you have a Beagle. If there are any gaps in your fencing
fill them in but also watch for gaps below the fence - fill this in
with concrete or attach chicken wire to the bottom of the fence and
curve onto the ground, burying it below the surface. For dogs that do
keep going back to the same hole to dig, try lifting some of the dog's
own poo and placing that in the hole - few dogs will dig through their
If you find that despite
all your attempts to stop it your dog keeps on digging, then you might
consider ceding a portion of the garden. If your toddler likes to dig,
we buy them a sandpit. The same can apply to the dog. Provide a sandbox
- or just a small corner of bare, dug over earth, and bury bones and
favourite toys. At first, leave part of the toy sticking out of the
ground, take the dog over to the area, and act excited as if you are
about to discover lost treasure. Let the dog dig to get the toy and
praise like mad.
Whenever you then see the
dog digging in other parts of the garden, switch into your "excited -
buried treasure" routine and encourage the dog over to the digging
area. Better to have one small area dug up by the dog than to have your
whole garden looking like a minefield.
If you feel your dog is
digging because he is bored and you decide to obtain another dog to
keep him company, then expect to have two digging machines! Far better
to solve the first dog's digging problem before multiplying this by two.
EDITOR'S TIP: If the
dog has made a hole, use the dog's own feces (MUST be his/her OWN
feces), and put it in the hole. Dogs hate the smell of their own feces
and will never dig in that spot again. This is particularly useful if
your dog keeps digging in the same spots over and over.
David the Dogman
Extracted with permission from David the Dogman's A-Z Guide to Dogs