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Published: Jan 30, 2024 3 min read

It’s a classic tale: You finally have your yard just the way you want it and your dog turns it into its own personal digging zone. Before frantically calling a professional dog trainer or behaviorist, here’s some simple tips dog owners can employ to learn what can be done to curb its behavior before having to spend a lot of money on landscaping.

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Steps to stop your dog from digging

Keep them busy

Dogs dig for fun if they get bored or are left in the yard by themselves for long periods. Make sure you keep their space with plenty of toys and play with them often. You should also walk your dog at least twice daily so they can spend that excess energy on something positive like exercise.

Keep them comfortable

Dogs can also dig holes to keep themselves cool in hot weather or vice versa. If you see your dog lying in the hole they dig, this may be a sign the dog house is too cold or hot for them to lie in.

To solve this problem, let your dog inside more often when facing hot days to let them cool down. You can also make sure your dog has constant access to an untippable bowl of water.

Check for burrowing animals

If your dog constantly digs in one part of the yard, it may be looking for something you haven’t noticed yet. Dogs, especially terriers, dachshunds, huskies or other dog breeds that were bred to dig may be trying to get to burrowing animals or insects living in your yard.

The Humane Society suggests periodically searching for signs of these types of small animals and using safe and humane methods to fence them out. Chicken wire or deterrents such as cayenne pepper to make your yard and flower beds uninviting to invading critters may prove to be an effective strategy.

Have a designated digging area

If all else fails and your dog is a digger at heart, having a designated digging spot can help curve your dog’s behavior and keep their digging habit controlled. You can cover the dig pit with soil or use a sandbox with buried dog toys that your dog can discover. This will help with your dog’s mental stimulation and turn the dog’s negative habits to habits that allow for positive reinforcement and enrichment in its life.

You can also enroll your dog in behavioral therapy, which some pet insurance companies include as an add-on to basic coverage.

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How to stop dogs from digging FAQs

What repels dogs from digging?

After creating a designated digging area, you can stop your dog from wanting to dig in other parts of your yard by arranging large rocks around dens and fence lines, all while making its digging area welcoming.

Should I punish my dog for digging?

You should not punish your pooch for digging. This will not address the cause of the behavior and will only make any digging that’s driven by fear or separation anxiety worse.

Are there any natural or homemade remedies to deter my dog from digging?

Natural remedies include citrus peels, vinegar, and strong-smelling essential oils. These can be scattered in areas where your dog likes to dig, as they often dislike these scents.

How long does it take to stop a dog from digging habitually?

The answer to this depends on factors such as your dog's age, breed, temperament, and the underlying cause of the digging. Some dogs may respond quickly to training and environmental modifications, while others may require more time and persistence. One thing is essential: you should remain consistent with your training efforts. If you feel the digging issue has not been resolved properly, then it may be time to seek a professional dog trainer.