Let’s dig into the real dirt here: digging is merely the tip of the behavioral iceberg, my dear Watson. Before you expect Rover to kick the habit, you’ve got to address the root cause.
Remember, the more they exert themselves in socially acceptable endeavors, the less likely they are to embark on a path of destructive mischief.
It’s like your pup thinks they’re auditioning for a canine remake of Apollo 11, isn’t it? Ah, the classic sight of your dog’s noggin buried in a dirt hole, butt proudly skyward, generously showering dirt in all directions. Not only is this holey landscape aesthetically displeasing, but when rain arrives, it turns into a mud wrestling arena.
So, how do you keep your determined digger from transforming your yard into a pockmarked battlefield? Fear not; we’ve got the answer.
We conducted a grand survey of over 500 dog aficionados, even called in an animal behaviorist for some expert insights, and together, we’ve concocted a splendid list of 20 plus tips to thwart your four-legged earthmover. By the time you reach the finish line, you’ll be the proud owner of a yard that remains unscathed by your furry little excavator.
Let’s kick things off with some immediate solutions to quell your dog’s archaeological aspirations. Later on, we’ll delve into the root causes of this crater-creating frenzy and discover how to craft a long-term solution. So, let the anti-digging adventure commence!
“Defeating Diggity Dog and the Dirty Dilemma”
Ever wondered if your furry friend has a secret ambition to become an architect of chaos in your backyard? Ask any dog owner, anywhere in the world, and they’ll likely have a tale of their canine companion’s excavation escapades. They say, “Yes, my dog has a thing for creating a lunar landscape out of my once-pristine lawn.” So, how do we deal with this furry earth-moving maestro?
Most people simply grab a shovel and fill in those doggy craters, inadvertently becoming part of the “Clean-Up Crew” after every canine construction project. But here’s the kicker: that doesn’t teach our four-legged friends a thing. It’s like cleaning up their mess, but they’re not getting the memo. Often, it’s just your puppy being a puppy, sculpting away with boundless enthusiasm.
Yet, sometimes, the puppy persona sticks around, and now you’ve got a three-year-old canine with a highly annoying hobby. Why do they do it? Boredom, pent-up energy, or some primal instinct—they’re all possibilities.
But fear not! There’s a simple and timeless technique, a classic solution that’s been dog-approved for decades. Can you guess what it is? Drumroll, please! It’s… their own poop! I know, it sounds bizarre, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Trust me; your laughter might just turn into a victory dance. Let’s break it down, shall we?
First, the tools you’ll need: just their poop. So, start a little stockpile, preferably in a bag or bin to avoid attracting flies and creating a stink. This magical weapon is your secret to eradicating their naughty habit. You’ll also need a yard with holes, as the training happens post-digging.
Step 1: Find every hole they’ve crafted. These holes are like their personal art projects, something they constantly revisit and improve upon. So, once you’ve got your list of excavation sites, it’s time to make the magic happen.
Step 2: Place a piece of their poop at the bottom of every hole. Yes, you heard it right.
Step 3: Gently cover each hole with an inch or two of dirt. This creates a camouflage effect, making it more of a surprise for your dog.
Now, the grand finale: let your furry friend back into the yard and enjoy the show. Many dogs will start digging at a hole, blissfully unaware of the “surprise” underneath. When they encounter the poop, they’ll quickly reconsider their chosen profession.
Dogs absolutely detest the sight, smell, and taste of their own poop. They might even grace your grass with an impromptu paw-cleaning session.
As your dog continues to explore, they’ll stumble upon more “surprises.” It takes them a while to catch on, but the poop does its job. You can sit back and watch from your kitchen window as their habit gets turned upside down.
Now, if some crafty canines decide to start fresh holes, don’t fret. Simply repeat the process. You’ve essentially transformed their game into your game. Dogs learn by trial and error, so once they realize that digging yields unpleasant discoveries, they’ll throw in the towel. Most dogs catch on within a week, but consistency is key. Don’t let them dig for too long or start new holes. The faster you can introduce the “magic ingredient,” the sooner your yard will be hole-free.
In the end, it’s a simple process with some seriously impressive results. Just a friendly reminder, though: before letting your dog back inside, do check their paws. And there you have it, a pawsitively brilliant solution. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. Woof! 🐾
Here’s the genius plan: Inflate a balloon and place it right in your dog’s precious digging spot. Cover it with just enough dirt to keep it in place. As your fur baby begins excavating, those sharp nails of theirs will pop the balloon with a bang that’ll rival the Fourth of July.
The result? Your dog high-tailing it out of there faster than a squirrel being chased by a cheetah. Just a heads-up, it might take a few rounds of “pop goes the weasel” before your pup truly comprehends that the loud bang means business. For Droopy, it took four tries. And one last tip, be sure to pick up those balloon scraps afterward; nobody wants a dog with a rubbery snack fetish!
Once you’ve put a stop to the digging, divert their attention elsewhere with a fun toy or game.
They dig to unearth these novel smells. The solution? A daily dose of adventure – a long walk, brimming with those aromatic wonders. When your pup knows they’ll get their daily sniffy fix, they’re less likely to go crazy with digging. These leisurely strolls, sometimes known as “sniffy walks,” are a win-win. Don’t rush; give your four-legged friend the freedom to savor the aroma. If time isn’t on your side, consider hiring a dog walker. Your lawn will thank you!
If you’re on the hunt for more canine amusement, check out our comprehensive dog toy review – we’ve tested over a thousand toys to separate the champs from the chumps!
You can also opt for a thick layer of mulch or lay down stone pavers for extra deterrence. Get creative – even pine cones and spiky plant clippings can help. Just remember, you want to stop the digging, not start a botanical battle, so be sure your plant choices are dog-friendly!
However, a word of caution: research your choice of prickly plants carefully. Some can be toxic to dogs. You’re trying to stop the digging, not launch a canine emergency room visit!
Utilize Unpleasant Odors to Deter Digging Ever observe how your dog sniffs the ground as they dig? You can use this natural behavior to discourage your furry digger.
The most effective smell we tested for deterring digging is cayenne red pepper. Sprinkle a small amount of this pepper powder where your dog is digging, and upon smelling it, they will avoid the area.
When inhaled, the red pepper will irritate your dog’s nostrils, leading to reactions like snorting, head-shaking, or running away. Most dogs find this discomfort not worth the digging, but don’t worry, it’s temporary and harmless. You likely have a bottle of red cayenne pepper in your pantry, especially if you enjoy spicy food.
However, if your dog is a frequent digger, the small jar may not be sufficient. In such cases, I recommend buying in bulk – 6 pounds should be more than enough for most yards.
Please note that you’ll need to reapply the cayenne pepper after it gets wet, as rain, dew, or water from your sprinkler system can wash it away. Other scents that may deter your dog from digging include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit), coffee grounds, citronella essential oil, or even burying your dog’s waste where they dig.
Some of my clients have even reported success with anti-chew sprays. However, be aware that these scents are generally less aggressive than red cayenne and may not deter a determined digger effectively.
You can do this by fencing off the area. The exact method will depend on your yard. For lawn areas, you can attach patio fencing to posts with zip ties, effectively sectioning off the yard.
Another option is using an outdoor baby gate to block access to your porch steps, preventing your dog from reaching the grass below. Fencing is a popular choice for keeping dogs from digging in vegetable gardens and flower beds.
When selecting a fencing solution, consider your dog’s breed and its ability to jump. Smaller fences may suffice to keep out breeds like pugs, while more athletic dogs, such as German Shepherds, may require taller fences.
When in doubt, opt for the tallest fence possible, as it might take some creativity to effectively fence off your yard, but the results are worth it. Your pup won’t be able to access their favorite digging spot.
Establish a Physical Digging Barrier Imagine creating an underground barrier that prevents your dog from digging. It’s possible with a roll of chicken wire and a few hours of work. Chicken wire is typically used to keep chickens out of vegetable gardens, but it’s just as effective for dogs.
Unroll the chicken wire and lay it flat, securing it in place. This creates a horizontal barrier that your dog can’t dig through. If you’re concerned about the appearance, you can cover it with a thin layer of soil.
When your dog attempts to dig, their paws will scrape against the chicken wire, preventing them from scratching up the soil underneath. Even the most persistent digger will eventually give up. However, it’s essential to be cautious with metal chicken wire, as it can have sharp edges, particularly if it rusts. If your dog scrapes their foot on the wire while digging, it can injure their paw pads.
That’s why I prefer to use plastic poultry fencing, as it’s affordable, durable, and safe for your pup’s paws.
Caution, dear horticultural enthusiasts! When you embark on a landscaping adventure in your backyard, remember that your furry friend, the Jack Russel Terrier, views your freshly tilled soil as the ultimate playground.
Why, you ask? Well, it’s because dogs possess an unparalleled talent for detecting scents that elude us mere humans. They’re like canine detectives on a relentless quest for olfactory treasures.
Your garden, the status quo of scents, has become predictable to your dog. A bit dull, one might say. Yet, fear not! You can inject a dose of thrill into your pup’s life by meddling with your backyard. Yes, when you decide to upgrade your outdoor abode, you’re essentially giving your dog a VIP pass to a scent carnival.
Let’s say you plant a new tree. Don’t be shocked to find your terrier unearthing its roots in the name of olfactory investigation. Even when you roll out fresh sod (grass turf), your dog will gleefully embark on an underground exploration. And those newly installed sprinkler heads and irrigation systems? They’re fair game for your inquisitive canine companion.
But it’s not just the additions to your yard that entice your pup’s inner archaeologist. Preparing a garden bed for flowers or vegetables is a surefire way to spark a digging frenzy. Freshly tilled soil, you see, is like a treasure chest of unearthed aromas, previously concealed beneath the earth’s surface.
These scents are now out in the open, and your dog simply can’t resist the urge to dig them up. Not to mention the irresistible allure of worms and bugs that emerge from their hiding spots – chasing these critters is a dog’s idea of a grand adventure!
Here’s a rather morbid twist: some poor souls have recounted tales of their beloved canine companions unearthing dearly departed feline friends buried in the backyard. And what did they do next? Well, they decided to conduct an impromptu exhumation! To your dog, the scent of deceased animals is like a gourmet meal.
Now, if your dog only digs when you introduce novelties to your yard, fret not, for the solution is quite simple. Erect a fence around the area in question, and you can rest assured that your freshly minted flower garden won’t fall victim to your dog’s archaeological endeavors.
Give Your Dog a Dose of Dig-sanity
Some backyards are the canine equivalent of a luxury resort, complete with lush patios, shady trees, and cozy nooks where your furry friend can bask in comfort, even when the elements decide to play tricks on us. But not all yards are created equal.
Some are more like a grassy expanse surrounded by a fence, leaving your pup without a safe haven when Mother Nature throws a tantrum. If your pup is channeling their inner archaeologist, especially when the weather gods change their moods, don’t be surprised.
Your dog’s a DIY genius in the making, and they’ve decided to embark on their shelter-building journey. Well, more like digging one up. If you don’t want your yard to become a construction site, you might want to consider lending your dog a paw, or should I say, a roof?
Help Your Hot Dog Cool Down!
Summer’s great and all, but let’s be real, the heat can be the devil’s own breath. And if you were draped in fur, you’d probably feel like you’re sizzling on a barbecue. Hot weather is a recipe for canine discomfort, especially for those with fur thicker than a winter coat.
Huskies, Golden Retrievers, and Border Collies – they’re all on the list of potential hot dog candidates.
But here’s the genius part: dogs have a built-in solution for cooling down – digging a hole. You see, the earth beneath your grass hasn’t been slow-roasted by the sun. In fact, it’s like a natural cooler, about 10-15°F cooler than the scorched surface. And if you can find a patch of soil in the shade, like behind a bush or close to a building, it’s even cooler.
So when your pup’s panting and breaking ground, it’s not a cry for help; it’s a plea for a spa day.
Now, you’ve got options. If it’s hotter than Hades out there, the easiest fix is to bring your dog inside, where the air conditioning reigns supreme. But if indoor chilling isn’t in the cards, you can become your pup’s personal architect.
Set up a tarp between two trees or pop open an umbrella to cast some shade. And for those of you who want to go above and beyond, a doggie pool could be the cherry on top.
I’ve heard it’s doggone amazing. My aunt’s black Labrador practically lives in his during the summer, tail wagging like a flag in a breeze.
Unearthing the Rodent-Ridden Reality
Does your yard look like a battlefield with the same spot repeatedly under attack? Well, there’s a possibility your pup’s gone into full pest control mode. You see, beneath your lovely lawn, there’s a bustling community of critters that call your yard home, especially in suburban areas. These pests include gophers, groundhogs, moles, rats, mice, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, lizards, snakes, bugs, insects, grubs, frogs, and toads. It’s like a critter convention out there!
And if your curious canine catches a whiff of these intruders, they’ll go digging for victory.
Dogs with a natural talent for hunting or herding, like Border Collies, Greyhounds, Beagles, and Dachshunds, are top contenders in the yard excavation Olympics. They’re the ones with the highest prey drive, always up for a game of hide-and-seek. But here’s the solution in a nutshell: get rid of the varmints your pup’s chasing, and you’ve got a hole-digging ceasefire.
Most often, the best approach is starving them out by removing their food source. For instance, moles will hit the road if there are no grubs on the menu. If the situation escalates, it might be time to call in the big guns – exterminators or animal control.
Just be sure whatever method you choose doesn’t harm your dog, as many pesticides can give them a bad case of the blues.
Keep the Excitement Grounded
Watching dogs get excited is a delightful spectacle. It’s like they’ve discovered perpetual motion, and they’re ready to put on a show. They jump, they wag, they shake it like they just don’t care, and unfortunately, they dig. Take Boots, the Corgi in our lab, for example.
His heart does the cha-cha when it’s walk time, and he can hardly contain his joy, which usually results in some frantic floor-pawing. While it might not leave a trail of destruction inside, the yard becomes a different story. Excitement gives birth to grass-worn paths and shallow craters, and we’ve got a front-row seat to Boots’ backyard renovation show.
What stirs the pot of excitement, you ask? Well, it’s a list as long as a dog’s dream walk. From the moment the leash comes out, to mealtime, meeting other dogs, gearing up for fetch, the siren call of squeaky toys, or welcoming a new guest into your home, it’s a rollercoaster of exhilaration.
If your dog’s joining this thrilling dig party, it’s time for a little training. Teach your pup to sit or stay calm when the excitement’s bubbling over. And if you’re hitting a roadblock, it might be a good time to bring in a professional dog whisperer.
The Soil’s Siren Call
Sometimes it’s the ground beneath your pup’s paws that’s the problem. Soft, sandy, or freshly tilled soil can be an irresistible invitation to dig. My own dog is a living example. She’s a dig-free zone in our backyard, but take her to the beach, and she transforms into a furry excavator extraordinaire.
I even consulted a dog behaviorist about it, and guess what she asked? She inquired about the soil in my yard. It turns out, my rocky and compacted soil is the Kryptonite of digging, and it’s about as inviting as a concrete wall.
But when she hit the beach’s soft sand, it was like unleashing the inner artist. The reason is simple: loose, soft soil is like a cloud for your pup’s paws, while compacted soil feels like walking on Lego bricks.
Thankfully, you can trade in your pup’s beach dreams for a yard that’s both soft and safe. Compact loose soil with a hand tamper or a lawn roller if it’s a larger area. If your entire yard is soft enough to moonwalk on, well, you might want to explore other solutions.
Our dogs are our sunshine, and they crave our attention like plants crave the sun. But not all dogs get the love and attention they deserve. Some owners are guilty of giving their dogs the cold shoulder. So what’s a dog to do when they’re starved for attention? Anything that makes you stop and look their way, even if it means digging up the yard.
The minute you spot your pup with dirt flying, you dash over to rescue your precious lawn. You pull them away and maybe even toss them a treat or a head pat. And in that moment, they feel like the star of the show. Sadly, they’ve learned that digging is their ticket to the limelight.
They’ve realized that every time they want a little love, all they have to do is dig a hole. But there’s a simple fix: don’t neglect your dog! Shower them with playtime, pets, walks, treats, and belly rubs. Even if it’s just chilling with your furry friend in front of the TV, they’ll lap up every moment.
If your dog’s digging for attention, one tactic is to ignore them when they dig, and once they’ve had their fill of dirt, praise them for other good behaviors, like a leisurely stroll in the yard or playing with their toys.
Breed Is Destiny
For some dog breeds, digging is like second nature, right up there with barking at the mailman and giving you those irresistible puppy eyes. These natural-born diggers include Terriers (Yorkies, Jack Russels, Fox Terriers, etc.) and Dachshunds. They’re the Earth’s little helpers, bred to chase rodents through underground tunnels. So when they’re not chasing, they’re digging.
If you’re thinking of bringing home a new fur baby, and your yard is your pride and joy, you might want to think twice about these digging enthusiasts.
When Your Dog Becomes a Dirt Connoisseur
If your dog sports a dirt mustache while digging, it’s probably time for a vet visit. I’m not talking about the occasional taste test, but if your pup is devouring soil like it’s a gourmet meal, there might be a deeper issue at play. Frequent dirt dining can signal a diet lacking essential nutrients, often due to an unbalanced homemade meal plan. Even if you’re not aware, your dog is, and they’re trying to fill the nutritional void by munching on earth’s offerings.
According to my cousin Gerald who is a Vet back in Michigan, digging and dirt snacking can also be signs of medical issues like anemia, pica, an upset stomach, or gastrointestinal parasites.
These are problems you’d want to tackle early.
But remember, when in doubt, your vet’s just a phone call away. If it’s a one-time soil sampling event, it might be that your pup found something tasty, like the remnants of a hotdog sauce spill, or a sugary soda spill.
As you’ve discovered, dogs have a long list of reasons to dig, and thankfully, none of them are unfixable. Short-term solutions like cayenne pepper, fences, or barriers can put a stop to the digging here and now.
But remember, these are like Band-Aids, they won’t cure the root cause. If your dog is digging out of boredom, no amount of cayenne pepper will make them content.
That’s why it’s crucial to use these deterrents in tandem with training to address the root of the behavior. In the end, your pup will be happier for it. That’s why it’s best to use digging deterrents in conjunction with behavioral training to tackle the core issue.