My dogs love to dig in the garden. In the flower beds. I have tried to cover areas with plastic and have fenced off areas.
It doesn’t really work. It makes getting around the garden inconvenient. And the dogs figure out a way to get around whatever barrier I try to put up to stop them from digging.
It’s not that my dogs dig up plants or anything but they leave holes in the soft ground. It looks awful and it disturbs the root system of nearby plants.
Dogs love to dig and it is a completely natural thing for them to do. 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.
Digging is a natural behavior for dogs. For some dogs it is just about impossible to get them to stop digging. You can alleviate your own aggravation and save time by just realizing this is what some dogs will do.
This does not mean that you just have to accept it and hope it goes away. It won’t. There are things you can do to focus your dog’s attention elsewhere as well as make the environment less attractive for their digging.
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. And it’s not always practical.
If the dog is alone in the yard boredom may overcome him. Trying to play with the dog or having a playmate will give the dog something else to think about than digging holes.
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 flower garden to dig.
It also can make working around your beds and garden an inconvenience.
In my own garden we have to put up fencing to keep animals other than the dogs from getting in the produce. We have to protect the garden from rabbits, deer and squirrels among other animals.
The benefit is that it also keeps the dogs from digging in the garden.
However, that doesn’t stop them from exploring in the flower beds. Putting up a fence around our landscaping is just not something we are willing to do.
It is an option for those willing to install one.
Raised beds may help protect flowers and vegetables
Our garden is in raised beds. The ground is too hard to readily plow. Putting the vegetables and fruits in raised beds is just too convenient not to do. The dogs obviously can get in the raised beds. But, again, we fence those off because of other animals.
The one raised bed that dogs do not wander into is wheat straw beds. We use them to grow everything from tomatoes to pole beans and it works great.
Regardless, dogs are less likely to hop up into a raised bed to dig than they are the rest of the yard. But if they figure out there is soft dirt to play in then they will return to that spot to play.
Which leads me to this tip:
Teach your dog you don’t like the behavior
If you catch your dog digging in the yard, say “no” in a firm tone. Shoo him, if necessary, to get the dog out of the area.
It may take a few times, but eventually even a stubborn dog will get the idea and stay out of the area
Startling the dog will get their attention. Sometimes making a loud noise or spraying your dog with a hose are effective ways to get him to stop doing whatever he is doing.
I’ve seen posts that say to use pepper spray to teach the dog from returning to the beds. I don’t know. That’s not what I would do unless the dog was a really aggressive stray or something.
Get rid of the moles
My dogs dig in random areas because we have moles. Not only do I have tunnels all over the yard but I also have little mounds of dirt where the dogs try to dig the mole out of their tunnels.
Honestly if the dogs were successful then I’d let them have at it. I hate moles with my very fiber.
Getting rid of them is a whole different problem. One which can’t be poisoned because my dogs might get poisoned as well.
But if you can figure out a way to get rid of moles then dog digging in your yard might be a problem solved.
Succumb to the digging
Sometimes a stubborn dog is just going to dig. Why not give them an area of the yard where they can dig to their hearts delight?
If the dog starts digging then redirect him to the designated area. Make it enticing to dig. Put similar soil down in the go-zone area that was in the prohibited no-go zone.
Try burying a few of his favorite toys or teats in the area you want him to dig in.
They’ll eventually get the message.
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.
My dogs respond to happy pats and playful talk. They seem to love doing the right thing. In fact, one of my dogs will really get embarrassed when she is caught not doing the right thing.
She puts her head down and slowly skulks away from the problem area.
The key to training your dog to do anything is to be consistent in not allowing bad behavior while rewarding good behavior. Being consistent is the only way a dog is going to learn.
Remember that it is natural for a dog to dig. Maybe you can’t expect your dog to simply stop this behavior. But what you can do is redirect it to areas that are better for them to dig in.
You can be more supervisory when they are outside.
Being firm in keeping them away from areas they are not to dig in will help.