How to stop dogs digging your garden

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Starved Dog Abandoned in Trash Bag

I hear you when you say, ‘how do I stop dogs digging?’ Some dogs love to do it while others have never thought about it; so why do some love to destroy our beautiful masterpieces and others don’t?

May-be this will answer part of your question: – the way we see things is completely different to how a dog sees and thinks. Secondly, a dog doesn’t dig up your garden deliberately or spitefully, nor is it an attempt to annoy you or wind you up. Dogs simply do not think like this!

Should you stop dogs digging?

Yes, we need to stop dogs digging in part, but first we need to understand why they dig before encouraging them to stop or minimize it. Firstly, digging is part of a dog’s natural instinct, and they do it, mostly because it’s fun. Dogs, especially puppies love to explore in mud and sand. Particular breeds such as hunting dogs are natural diggers so it’s already in their DNA to dig.

Should you be interested in searching for natural dog diggers here is a list to whet your appetite:

[table caption=”” width=”100%”] ,Non-Terriers, Terriers
,Beagles,Carin Terriers
,Dachshunds,Fox Terriers
,German shepherds,Jack Russell Terriers
,Golden Retrievers,Norfolk Terriers
,Miniature Pinschers,Norwich Terriers
,Miniature Schnauzers,Rat Terriers
,Rottweilers,Yorkshire Terriers
,Wolfdogs,West Highland White Terriers[/table]

Some dogs dig because they’re looking to cool themselves off because they’re too hot. On the other hand, they could be too cold, so they might be looking to build a den to cool down. Another reason for digging is that they might have too much energy.

Another factor to consider is garden fertilizers such as “blood and bone” or anything else that’s smelly. Typically, garden food sends dogs digging crazy so it’s wise to read all labels, check to see if they’re safe. If a package doesn’t state anything, then avoid buying it.

As you can see, it would be a grave error to insist that your dog is naughty for digging holes.

How to stop dogs digging

To stop dogs digging, we need to make them comfortable. To do this all hindrances need to be removed; by this, I mean bones and smelly fertilizers, etc. A nice warm shelter is always needed for dogs that love to stay outdoors. So, if you don’t have one, then buy one for your sweet pea!

A little digging is normal, but excessive digging is abnormal. No matter how little or how much your dog digs; the key to minimize or control digging is to work alongside your dog. I will explain this in moment.

  • One controlled way is to have your dog dig in only one spot, if you can do this, then half your battle is won. The way to do this is first find your spot, then create a pit and add some wood, toys and some tasty treats. You could even bury some treats to encourage your dog to dig in that spot. Do this two or three times and what how quick your dog understands where to dig.
  • Holes in lawns look horrible, I’ve been there I know it feels like to have your masterpiece ruined in two seconds. So, here is what you do – fill those holes with dirty big rocks and chuck some soil over the top. When your dog returns to that hole, he will not be able to dig. If your dog is adamant about digging, then walk over and guide them to your pit and encourage them to dig there instead.
  • When you’re at home, dogs are happy and relaxed, but the moment your leave the house; they begin digging. The reason behind this is quite clear; they are looking and trying to find you; they want to protect and look after you. All destructive behavior, including, chewing and ripping up furniture is based on anxiety and stress.

In essence, you need to become the pack leader to stop dogs digging, once your dog knows you’re the leader they will relax even when you’re not around. You will also become aware that all other behavioral issues will dissipate.

It makes sense; you need to win your dog’s heart and train their mind; this will resolve other issues and stop dogs digging very quickly.


  • Hi Sharon,
    Love this article and can totally relate. We have two border collies that are currently staying with my mother in law and minding her farm. The older female loves to dig holes to stay cool during the summer months and this has not go over well with the MIL! I have researched this problem and found in addition to this they may be digging for a water source so keeping outdoor pets water fresh and filled is key also to them not digging!

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