Digging is a normal, instinctive behaviour for dogs. Some breeds, such as terriers, were bred to dig out rodents and their digging instinct is particularly strong. There are many different reasons why your dog may be digging up your turf and believe it or not, none of them are purely to annoy you. Find out what you can do to protect your yard from those unforgiving paws and stop your dog digging!
Beat the boredom
A lot of the time, dogs dig purely for entertainment. They’re bored! It’s the same old story as with many other unwanted behaviours such as barking or chewing – keep them stimulated and the digging will likely stop! Providing chew toys and puzzle toys on rotation will keep your dog’s brain busy and avoid him or her finding her own entertainment.
During particularly hot times of year, your dog may be digging to access the cool earth underneath as a way to cool down. Make sure your pooch has plenty of shelter on hot days so he or she doesn’t need to resort to digging!
Some dogs have learned that when they dig, they get lots of attention. Before long, it becomes a great game and the perfect way to get one of the members of the family to interact with them. Show them that they can get your attention in other ways by spending time with them. Take time every day to run through mental stimulation exercises like making them perform behaviours they already know, such as sit, shake, stay, come etc. Even better, dedicate time to teaching a new trick! The mental stimulation ticks all the boxes – your dog gets tired out from all the thinking and they’re more settled because they’ve spent some quality time with their favourite person.
Some owners and sitters have reported success by discouraging dogs to dig using deterrents. Dogs tend to hate the smell of their own faeces so burying some in their favourite digging spots can be enough to keep them away. Same goes for citrus fruits – sprinkling or burying some orange or lemon peel can be enough to keep your pooch away from the area.
Provide a digging zone
For some dogs, no amount of distraction will stop them digging. In that case, it can be best to meet them halfway. Giving your a pooch an area where digging is allowed will let them to dig to their hearts content without destroying your manicured lawn. Sandboxes can be great, contained digging areas to keep everyone happy.
If your doggy digging gets out of control, it may be best to consult a vet – digging can be a manifestation of severe anxiety and your vet may be able to offer ways to help bring it under control.