How to Stop Your Dogs Digging
So what’s the score with my dogs digging? I hear you asking…
Why are they doing it and how do I stop them destroying my beautiful back garden?
Well here’s the way your dog see’s it and its very different from how you think! In fact it will answer a lot of your questions.
Firstly though here’s what your dogs digging is not. Your dogs digging is not their attempt to annoy you, wind you up or simply ruin your new flower garden out of spite.
Dogs simply are not like that…(you’re thinking like a human).
Dogs are fun loving animals however and so many dogs will dig for fun.
Younger dogs and puppies especially simply love exploring, investigating and having a good time in the soil, sand, mud, stones etc…it really doesn’t matter to them. Sometimes dogs are doing it for specific reasons, such as they are too hot and are looking to dig into the cooler ground. Alternatively they could be cold and looking to build a bit of a den. They could simply have too much energy and are trying to channel it into something in which case more exercise will certainly help. You need to cover off all these things before you simply start blaming your dog as a naughty dog!
One of the biggest motivators for dogs digging is if you have sprinkled some sort of fertilizer such as “blood and bone” or anything that has a smelly element to it. This will drive your dog wild so be careful where you sprinkle your magic garden food. Whilst we are on this topic be very careful with slug pellets which can be deadly for dogs. Some products on the market claim to be safe however if they do not say they are then you can assume that they are deadly and so do not use them!
Now back to the digging…so once you have given your dog plenty of exercise, removed any buried bones, stopped using smelly garden products and given your dog a nice shelter to stay warm you start to ask the question… “What now?”
Well digging like I say is a very normal activity, however excessive digging is not. In other words, most dogs dig and the secret is not to stop it but to work with your dog and manage their digging.
And don’t worry I shall explain how to stop any excessive digging as well.
If you can focus your dogs digging into one area then you are halfway there. This can be done by creating a clear digging pit, possibly just a few pieces of wood with a couple of nails….You could even start the digging with a spade! If you put a few toys in, bury them and encourage your dog to dig in and maybe even bury a couple of tasty treats…just a couple of times you will be amazed at how quickly your dog starts to pay attention and get involved! Once your dog understand that they are ok to dig in one area but not in the middle of the lawn you are on your way to success.
Holes in the lawn
But what about the holes in the lawn? I hear you ask, well…
The best solution for holes that have started is to put a small brick or rock at the bottom of the hole and wedge it in. Then bury it back in a pack the earth in around it. Then if your dog tries to return to dig in that area they will become stuck when they get to the rock. No fun for your dog. Most will give up. If they continue, I would walk over to them, guide them back over to your digging pit and encourage them to dig. If they keep going back to the lawn to dig, place them in timeout somewhere.
They will soon learn that they are not allowed to dig in the lawn.
Digging when you are not there
One of the biggest problems that people have is digging when they leave the property however the solution is quite simple. Rather than this being a excessive energy problem or a dog who loves digging problem it is a pack leader issue.
That’s right, your dog is digging most likely to try to escape the property to find you. That is why so many dogs who dig when the owner is away are digging around the base of the fence or gate. Owners will often say to me “my dog never digs when I am home, only when I am away”
That’s right when you are home they relax and are happy, when you leave they try to find you.
They see it as their job to protect you and look after you. Many dogs will simply become stressed when they are left and channel their stress into digging, anywhere. Destructive behavior such as chewing is the same thing, they are simply stressed as they think that their job is to protect and look after you.
Become the pack leader
In a nutshell you need to become the pack leader and then they will relax when you are not around. Not only this but so many other issues will also likely disappear when your dog understands that they are not in charge.
The best site I have come across to understand how to become the pack leader is the Online Dog Trainer.
Becoming the pack leader using the method in the Online Dog Trainer is not harsh or difficult it is a very kind and gentle way of working with your dog.
It explains in some very simple steps exactly how to become the pack leader and the site also has fantastic sections on both raising the perfect puppy dog and stopping any unwanted behaviors. Quite simply it is a fantastic site and one that I fully recommend you take a look at.
Whatever your digging issue, becoming the pack leader will help your dog relax, when you are home or away and then any training that you put in place will have an effect. When it comes to dog training, if you are not the pack leader you aren’t going to achieve anything fast.
So make sure that you get the order right…
You need to first win your dogs mind and then you can train their body !
And to win their mind and become the pack leader CLICK on the link below then all the tips on stopping digging above will take care of the rest.