There is nothing more frustrating than coming home to find your beautiful garden completely destroyed. Digging is a completely natural behavior for dogs, but unfortunately, it can also be very destructive. If you want to keep your dog from digging in your garden, you need to give him an appropriate outlet for that behavior, rather than trying to stop it altogether.
- Don’t try to stop the behavior entirely. Digging is a natural behavior for dogs, so it is unwise and unnecessary to discourage it completely. You can, however, redirect the behavior toward a more appropriate outlet.
- Supervise your dog when he is outside. Keeping an eye on your dog when he is outside is the easiest way to keep him from digging in the yard.
- Protect your garden with a fence or border. Something as simple as a decorative fence is often enough to discourage your dog or other neighborhood dogs from wandering into the garden to dig.
- Raised beds may help protect flowers and vegetables. Dogs are less likely to hop up into a raised bed to dig than they are to just wander through a garden that is in no way differentiated from the rest of the yard.
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- Teach your dog you don’t like the behavior. If you catch your dog digging in the yard, say “No” in a firm tone, and if necessary, lead the dog away from the area.
- Startle your dog, if necessary. Sometimes making a loud noise or spraying your dog with a hose are effective ways to catch his attention and to get him to stop doing whatever he is doing.
- Redirect the behavior. Give your dog a portion of the yard where he is permitted to dig; this will enable him to act on his urge to dig without you having to sacrifice your garden.
- Bury toys in the area. To get your dog interested in digging in his own special area, bury a few treats or toys for him to find.
- Correct your dog’s digging behavior. When you catch your dog digging outside his area of the yard, tell him “No” in a firm tone and gently lead him to his area of the yard to dig.
- Reward your dog for good behavior. When your dog begins to dig or play in his special area, give him a reward to show him that you approve of his behavior.
- Be consistent. The key to training your dog to do anything is to be consistent in not allowing bad behavior and in rewarding good behavior. Consistency is the only way your dog will learn.
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The Bottom Line
The key thing to remember is that it is natural for a dog to dig. You can’t expect your dog to completely stop this behavior, but you can redirect it to a more appropriate outlet. Simply reward your dog for digging in an appropriate place, and he should stop destroying your garden.