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How to Stop Dogs from Digging

 how to stop dogs from digging header

Most dogs like to dig.  Some breeds, like terriers were even bred for their digging ability (their name comes from terra, or Earth).   Most humans, however, do not like having their lawns and gardens dug up.  If you have a dog that likes to dig, what can you do?


The first thing you need to remember is that trying to correct your dog after the fact is useless.  Remember, your dog only remembers things about 5 seconds in the past.  If you bring him to a hole he’s dug after the fact and start yelling at him, he’ll have no idea what you are talking about.  You need to catch him in the act of digging, which is admittedly difficult.


In order to prevent, or at least reduce, the amount of time your dog digs in the yard, you need to adopt a 3 pronged strategy. dog digging in a yard The first part of this strategy is to ensure that your dog is getting enough exercise.  Excessive digging is often the result of a dog who just has too much energy.  Regular exercise is the only cure for this.  The second part of this strategy is to limit their access to dirt.  Obviously, if they cannot get to the place they like to dig, they will not be able to dig in the first place.  The third part of this three pronged strategy is to make the act of digging unpleasant for the dog.  Some dog owners have been known to bury their own dog’s stools just below the surface in areas where their pooch likes to dig.  Dogs do not like their own stools, and do not like to dig them out.  If they keep finding their own stools whenever they dig, they will typically stop the practice.


Another strategy you can employ is to create a “dig zone’ in your yard, where you let your dog know it’s OK to dig.  For example, find an out of the way spot that you don’t really care about.  Maybe a spot behind the garage or a large bush.  Dig up that area yourself, so that the soil is quite loose.  Then, half bury your dog’s favourite doggy biscuits in this spot.  Bring your dog over, and give him a command like “Dig Here”.  The next day, bring your dog back to the same spot, except this time bury the dog biscuits deeper.  Give the command “Dig Here”, and help him find the biscuits (by digging yourself, if necessary).  At this point, your dog should have some idea of what you are trying to do.  If you catch your dog in the act digging somewhere else, stop him immediately by saying “Acck!  No Dig!”, then bring him back to the digging zone.  With a little patience, your dog will learn where it’s safe to dig, and your lawn and garden will be spared.


- Grover


PS - If you are still having trouble getting your dog to stop digging and want more information, you willClick here to learn more about Dove's program want to check out the program put together by Dove Cresswell.  Dove trains dogs for film and television in Vancouver, Canada (my hometown!)  Her program uses online videos, so it is really easy to follow.  Click here or on the picture to the right to check it out.