How to Stop a Dog from Digging?

It’s our time to do some digging! (Let’s dig in to the amazing 11 tips to stop a dog from digging.)

Are you fed up spending dollars on getting your yard repair that your dog destroyed?

Does your yard look like someone just had a war on it?

Does it have more holes than the craters on moon?

Don’t worry!

I have been there, and I can literally feel the pain in your heart. That is why, I could not stop myself from sharing the tips that I have finally discovered that will help you to stop a dog from digging!

how to stop a dog from digging

11 Tips to Stop a Dog From Digging – No One Ever Told You!

In this blog, I have shared not one or two, but 11 tips to stop a dog from digging.

But before you try these techniques out, you need to first identify the reason why your dog is digging your lovely-beautiful yard!

Once you know the exact reason you will be better able to decide which technique will ensure that your dog stops digging.

Also, do not just focus on short term solutions. Try and look for long term, permanent solutions.

1. Have an Acceptable Digging Area

First things first!

There is utterly nothing wrong if your dog loves digging! Other than the fact that it spoils the ambiance of your yard.

This is why ‘Having an acceptable dog digging area’ tops our list.

It is best to have a separate or an acceptable digging area for your dog rather than entirely stop a dog from digging. You only have to teach them that which is the right place for digging.

acceptable dog digging area for your dog

You can use a specific area in your yard to create the digging zone by covering it with loose sand or soil. If you have the money and wish to spend it, you can buy a sandbox for your dog. Fill the sandbox with lots of soft sand, your dog will just love it.

Do you wish to upgrade your game? Then, Continue reading!

You can hide some treats and toys inside the sand, for your dog to discover while digging. Doing so has two advantages.

First, your dog will not dig anywhere else than the digging zone that you made.

Second, this makes the digging zone attractive and makes your dog happy.

Reward your dog every time he uses only the digging zone and does not dig anywhere else. If your dog tries to dig anywhere else, command him with a loud noise by saying “No dig” and then take him to his digging zone.

2. Cool Down Your Hot Dog (Not the one you eat!)

Have you ever gone for a troll on a hot summer afternoon?

Then, you really know what I am speaking about.

Summers can be really troublesome, especially for those who are covered in fur. This is why your dogs choose to dig a hole and stay in it.

Did You Know?

The soil below your grass is always 10 – 15˚F cooler as compared to the existing temperature.

The soil below the grass has not come in contact with the sun. Thus, it is cooler and your dog loves it. If the soil is in the shade or under the tree, then the soil will be even more cool.

cool down your dog to stop him from digging

It is highly uncomfortable for dogs to stay under the sun and heat. Staying under cool temperature is calming to your dogs and makes them very comfortable.

So, to stop a dog from digging, provide your dog a place where they can stay cool. Take your dog inside your house during hot weather or summer afternoon. If you can not take him inside, then you can provide him a proper shelter that can save him from the scorching summer sun.

Keeping your dog in hot weather is the best way to avoid him from digging. You would know that he is digging to save himself from the sun by observing him carefully. If he is panting while digging, you must know that he is tired and wants to rest in a cooler place.

Never have your dog suffer in the summer heat. Keep him cool and always happy.

3. Distraction Works!

Most of the time when you catch your dog digging in the yard, it is because of boredom and he has nothing to do.

If this is the case, it is your time to stop a dog from digging the yard.

Want to know how? Continue reading.

If your dog is bored, give him some entertainment. It is as simple as that. Give him a toy, play with him, ask him to do some tricks, or just give him a treat.

distract your dog to stop him from digging

Distract your dog with his favorite game, which in most cases is the ‘fetch’ game.

Observe your dog after you have given him a distraction. If he does not get back to digging, then you were right. He was looking for some fun.

This happens when you do not spend enough time with your dog and leave him all alone.

Lesson learned! Never let your dog get bored.

4. Give Your dog A Comfortable Shelter

Everyone wants a comfortable shelter. The same applies for your fur baby also.

If you have an open yard with just fences and nothing else, then your dog will want to find a comfortable shelter for himself. An open yard does not provide sufficient comfort and protection that your dog is looking for. Your dog needs protection from sun, rain, cold, and heat.

And if he does not get enough protection, he will try to create one for himself.

If he can’t make one, then he will dig one! Simple.

Even if your dog has a shelter, you might see that your dog is digging. It is because you have wrongly placed the dog shelter. If the shelter is directly under the sun, it will not keep your dog cool during summers. So, make sure you place the shelter in a place where it remains warm, to stop a dog from digging.

If you place the shelter in shade or under the tree, your dog will be very happy.

5. How About A Digging Barrier!

If you are not able to identify why your dog is digging then chances are that you will not be able to stop a dog from digging.

If that is the case with you, then this is the best way that you can use to stop a dog from digging.

Create a digging barrier so that no matter how hard your dog tries, but your dog will not be able to dig your yard.

So, the question is, what it is that you can do to create a digging barrier?

Roll over a chicken wire all over your yard. If you feel that it will spoil the ambiance of your yard, then you can cover the chicken wire with soil by spreading it all over your yard.

digging barrier to stop dog from digging

Once you do so, your dog will not be able to dig the yard even after a lot of tries. Because when he will try to dig the yard you covered with chicken fence, his paws will get stuck along the chicken wire.

However, I am personally against chicken wire. Instead, I would suggest you go for “Houseables Plastic Mesh Fence”. Chicken wire can damage your dog’s paws and that’s really going to hurt your dog.

Whereas, this houseable plastic mesh fence is a premium fence that you can easily use as a digging barrier. It lasts longer and most importantly it won’t even hurt your dog.

6. Spend More Fun Time Together

Your dog will dig the yard only when he is too bored and has nothing to do.

So, if you want to stop a dog from digging your entire yard, you will have to spend some fun time with him whenever possible. And when I say that, I also know that it is next to impossible for busy pet parents to be with their fur baby for most of the time.

So, if you think that you are going to be busy all day long or if your going somewhere your dog can not accompany you, then give him some dog toys he can play with.

But be careful, when you leave him alone with his toys. Because any random toys will not keep him busy as well as entertained all day long. You need to give him a toy with which he can play even if you are not around.

Give him the best interactive dog toys you have. Some of my favorite dog interactive toys are tether-tugs, treat-dispensing balls, babble ball and automatic ball throwers.

If you do not have interactive dog toys, you may give him some chew toys also.

The only thing you need to make sure is that the toy should be able to entertain and keep your dog busy until you come back. That’s it.

WAIT… The techniques are not over yet! I have some more for you! Continue reading….

7. Walk it Out!

At times, all of us gets so busy with our lives that we often forget that our dogs need us. If you do not take your dog for walks for a longer duration, he will start aggressive digging in your yard.

Did You Know?

Dogs have the need of being exposed to new smells regularly and continuously!

When you take him on walks, he gets exposed to a lot of smells and his need is satisfied. But when there is a lack of excerise, he will try to satisfy his needs by finding new smells from below your yard.

walk your dog

So, if you feel your dog is digging to fulfil his urge for new smells, then take him for a slow sniffy walk. Allow him to smell different plants and other stuffs. Walking will also give him a lot of exercise. Thus, he won’t be left with energy to dig the yard.

Hurraaayyyyy…. Now you will be able to stop a dog from digging!

8. Clear those Rodents!

Burrowing animals or insects is one of the most common reason why your dog keeps on digging the yard.

So, if you want to stop a dog from digging, you will need to get rid of those rodents.

But how do you find out that your dog is digging because of hidden rodents?

You need to look for few signs to identify whether your dog is digging to catch burrowing animals or insects. Those signs could be if he is digging at the roots of shrubs or trees, digging in a path layout, or if he is focused on one particular area rather than different areas in the yard.

stop dog from hole digging

Common pests that you may find in the dirt are lizards, rats, frogs, bugs, snakes, squirrels, toads, mice etc.

If your dog has got scent of these insects or animals, he will continue digging unless and until he finds them.

So, the best thing to do is to clear the rodents, your dog is looking for.

But you need to be extremely careful while choosing the method of getting rid of this burrowing animals or insects. If you use any chemical, toxic or dangerous product, it can even harm your dog as well. Thus, only use safe and humane methods or products.

9. Train Your Dog

You might think that it is just impossible for you to command to stop a dog from digging and have him obey your command.

However, dogs are great learners. So, if you train them properly, he will follow all your commands.

Whenever you see your dog digging, command him to ‘stop’ or ‘sit’ with a firm and loud voice. When you teach your dog ‘stop’ or ‘sit’ command, your dog will leave what he is doing.

You can also use the ‘Place’ command. Place command is used to send your dog to his dog house, crate or bed. After you use any of these commands, distract your dog by giving him a treat or some toys he can play with.

The success of the method depends on how well you can train your dog. If you think you are able to provide him efficient dog training, then you must hire a trainer.

My favorite is the ‘Place’ command, as your will dog will move away from his digging spot.

10. Cover the Area With Bad Smell

Dogs have much higher smelling senses as compared to humans. That’s when I thought, why can’t we take an undue advantage of this.

You can use any strong smell to cover the area your dog loves digging. You can use a red cayenne pepper. It is very strong and will annoy your dog’s nose, and he will immediately stop digging. You just have to sprinkle a small amount of the red cayenne pepper in your yard.

If the cayenne pepper has worked, your dog will start snoring or shake his head. He might even run.

Hold on, there is nothing to worry about. This pepper won’t permanently harm your dog. It is just temporary.

Of course, I worry about your dog as much as you do. I will never suggest you something that will hurt your dog.

If you feel red cayenne pepper is too strong, and you would not want to try it on your dog, you may go for citrus fruits, dog poop, or coffee grounds. These are not as strong as cayenne pepper.

However, the problem with trying mild smell or less aggressive smell is that some dogs may tolerate mild smell and continue digging. That is why I choose red cayenne pepper in the first place.

11. Block off the Access

What could be the best and easiest way to end your dog’s digging?

Not let your dog go near your yard or his favorite digging spot, simple!

And how will you do that? Because I am sure you can not be with your dog 24*7!

You can do so by adding fence and blocking off your dog’s access to the yard or his digging spot.

keep the dogs away from digging

Choose any of the dog fence based on the size and type of your yard. Cover the yard with the fence.

While you purchase the dog fence, keep in mind your dog’s breed. If you have a small dog or a pug, you won’t need fence with large heights. Whereas, if you have a large breed dog, you may need a fence more than 6 feet height.

Do not spend extra dollars in buying a large fence if you only have one small dog. Do not waste your money by buying a short dog fence if you have a large breed dog.

Fences are a great solution for vegetable or fruit yards.

FAQs

Why does my dog love digging the yard?

There are multiple reasons why dogs loves digging.

Those reasons can be as below:

  • They are looking for entertainment.
  • They are looking for comfort and protection.
  • They are trying to hunt hidden rodents.
  • They are trying to escape.
  • They want some attention.

Unless and until you do not know the reason why your dog is digging, you won’t be able to stop a dog from digging.

Once you know the reason, it will be easier for you to stop a dog from digging. Some dogs even dig, because they love the earthy smell of the fertilized soil. It attracts your dog so much so that it is very hard for them to resist the smell, and they start digging.

Does vinegar stop a dog from digging?

Yes, of course!

Dogs do not like sour tasting food or even sour smell. If you do not want your dog to dig your yard, make a mixture of water and vinegar and spray it in your yard or either on the spots where your dog repeatedly likes digging.

To make this mixture, take 50% water and 50% vinegar and mix it well. That’s it. The mixture is ready.

However, some dogs will be able to tolerate the smell of vinegar, so if your dog is one of them, in that case you will need something that has very strong smell. You can try using small amount of red cayenne pepper.

Do dogs dig holes when they are about to die?

A big NO!

We may say that dogs have sixth sense and all, but that does not mean they know when they are dying.

So, when your dog starts digging a hole in your yard, you do not have to worry at all. The reasons for a dog’s digging in a yard may vary. Some dog dig holes because they are bored, some do so because they are trying to find hidden rodents, while some dig because they are looking for comfort or protection.

Dogs will never be able to understand like humans the concept of “No Tomorrow!”.

Can you use cayenne pepper to stop a dog from digging?

Absolutely Yes!

You can use cayenne pepper to stop a dog from digging. A cayenne pepper has a very strong smell, and it irritates your dog’s nostrils so much so that he will stop digging immediately. This is a perfect way to save your vegetable or fruit garden.

Also, the best thing about cayenne pepper is that it does not harm your dog. The irritation is temporary, and it is absolutely harmless for your dog.

Once you spray the cayenne pepper and your dog smells it, you will see that your dog will immediately start snoring or shaking his head. He might even start running haphazardly.

But there is nothing to worry about. It is all temporary.

Summing it All Up!

Now that you know these amazing tips to stop a dog from digging, do not fail to share it with your friends and neighbors who are also pet parents.

The reasons for your dog digging the yard can be many, but none of it is such that can not be fixed. Based on the reason why your dog is digging, you need to select the one that best suits you from the 11 techniques I have shared.

However, no matter which technique you choose from the list, train and train your dog not to do so. Because that is one technique that will solve your problem permanently.

So, have you decided which technique will you try from the list to stop a dog from digging?

Let me know in the comment section. Also, do not forget to share your experience.

References:

  1. How to Stop a Dog from Digging – Arca Max
  2. Identify And Channel Your Dog’s Digging Instincts – AKC
  3. Do Dogs Grow Out Of Digging? – Adopt-A-Pet
  4. Canine Digging Behavior and Archaeological Implications – Journal of Field Archaeology