Has your pet dog started turning your beautiful lawn into a war zone filled with holes? If so, digging up is a natural instinct and behavior among dogs.
There are many reasons why dogs keep digging. Often, they dig in sand and dirt to hide things like their toys or chewy bones. At times they dig around to search for the items they hid earlier. Anxiety or an attempt to escape can make them dig up holes in the yard. Digging for tasty snacks like insects or preys such as rodents are also common.
This behavior is beneficial in the wild. However, most pet owners object to this trait of digging. The holes can injure people and makes the place untidy. What can be done about this? Well, here are some ways to stop your dog from digging around.
Find out the issue.
You need to find out the reason as to why they are digging up pits. Once that is figured, it’s easy to distract or alter their behavior. Some randomly dig which is not possible to diagnose. Most of the time they do have specific reasons for this conduct.
The main reasons include comfort, entertainment, escape, attention or prey hunting. Observe your dog carefully, as to where, when and why the dig. Remember that complete stoppage is not possible in some cases.
This is because some breeds are born to dig. Dachshunds and Terriers are known to prey on badgers, hence they keep digging. If it annoys you, check the breed and buy some other breed next time you want a pet.
Canines are similar to kids in this aspect. They try to grab the attention by any means possible. Any behavior including negative ones can turn to be attention-seeking. If they dig in your presence or have limited time with you, it shows they are seeking attention.
In such cases, ignore them after they dig instead praise them for other good behaviors. Ensure to play and spend more time with them daily.
The furry pets crave activity. If they are not engaged, they begin to disturb the lawn. Staring for long hours, hyperactive behavior like digging are some signs of boredom. To avoid this, you can do the following:
- Engaging in vigorous workouts by going for runs and walks. Walking twice daily and playing fetch can get them tired. This can divert them from digging up.
- Playtime and toys keep them entertained especially the young pups. Rotate the play toys to keep the excitement.
- Socializing and playing with other dogs is another option. Take them to dog parks or dog cafes and leave them to do as they will. They become occupied when around other canines.
Create a digging area.
Set aside space in your yard for your digger to play around. Instruct them as to where that zone is placed. Encourage them to play here and not elsewhere. Define the space using fencing or wooden beams.
Cover the area with loose sand or fresh soil. Attract their attention by burying toys or treats in the sand and make them find the items. Reward them when they dig in the designated zone.
Also, interrupt them if they dig around in the unacceptable areas and take them to the allowed space. Place rocks and wires in areas where they are not permitted. This will discourage them from digging and spoiling your lawn.
Get rid of preys.
Some canines are hunters naturally and love chasing around. They dig around to catch insects and rodents that live in your lawn. This is possible if they are digging in:
- A specific zone instead of other areas in the yard.
- At the roots of plants and trees.
- The layout of a pathway.
Search for signs of rodents and other animals. Find humane ways to trap or fence them. Make your lawn unattractive for these preys. Contact an exterminator or use safe methods to keep them out. Avoid poison and any harmful substances as it can in-turn harm your pet.
Allocate a shaded space.
Dogs often dig to shelter themselves from the heat. They dig holes and lie in the cool dirt to ward off high temperatures. They also dig holes to protect from the rain, wind and cold. How to figure this out? This is true if you see them digging near large trees, water sources or near buildings. What can be done?
- Build a comfortable dog shelter to stay away from the cold and heat.
- Build shady areas to rest or cool off in the yard.
- During extreme weather conditions, bring them indoors.
- Place filled water bowls to avoid getting parched out in the sun.
Has your dog developed the habit of digging in specific areas? You need to take steps to deter them from such behaviour. Catching them in the act will let them know of your disapproval. If your canine continues to dig, turn them off using these methods.
- Bury huge and flat rocks in their favourite digging areas. It will be hard to move and not enjoyable.
- Place plastic netting or chicken wire just below the surface in the yard. Metallic wires can be dangerous. The wire tangles around their legs making it uncomfortable to dig.
- Fence the frequent digging spot or install barriers to prevent them.
- Get more creative. Set up a motion sensor which releases a sprinkler or emits loud sounds. Hence when the dog enters the restricted zone it goes off.
- Surround the border of frequent areas with rose bushes, nettles or thorny plants is a great option.
- Keep an inflated balloon in the hole they dig frequently. Cover it up using dirt. As they dig, when the balloon pops it may give them an unpleasant surprise. This might scare them off.
- Sprinkle cayenne, citrus peels of orange, lemon, and grapefruit or vinegar near the area. As the smell irritates their nose, they tend to stay away.
Punishing your dog for digging is not a solution for the issue. This can result in either fear or anxiety problems.
If you have tried the above methods and still the behavior persists, keep them indoors and check. You may also try seeking professional help from a veterinary doctor. Certified animal behaviorist and dog trainers can give tips to address the issue.