Do you have a dog that loves to dig holes in the garden? Some dogs are natural diggers and some aren’t, but why?
I have 5 dogs, 3 of which love to dig. While they dig, the other 2 look at them like they’re crazy. They just don’t have that digging instinct. It’s similar to water. Some dogs love it, some hate it. Two of mine love to swim, 1 only likes to play with the hose, and the other 2 aren’t sure at all yet.
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If your dog is a digger, what can you do to stop your dog from digging holes in your garden or lawn?
To figure that out, we need to first look at why some dogs dig.
Earthdogs are dogs that naturally hunt for small animals and insects in the ground. Examples of such earthdogs are dachshunds and small terriers. I had a fox terrier when I was little and she always had her nose in a hole somewhere, sniffing out mice, rats, other rodents, and snakes.
Most dogs need a lot of exercise. If they don’t get the exercise they need, they’ll put their energy to use somewhere else. They might chew up your shoes, harass the neighbors cat, or dig holes. Even if you have a very big yard where your dog has lots of space to play, they may still need you to give them a good workout.
Another reason that I see a lot is weather conditions. My dogs dig when it’s hot. They’re trying to get to the cool earth beneath for some relief. Make sure they have plenty of water, a cool space to retreat to, and don’t let them run around in the full sun for hours on end.
How to Stop a Dog From Digging in Your Garden
Lots of exercise can stop your dog from digging in the garden, especially if they’re digging because they’re bored.
Get your dog a friend. Two dogs keep each other occupied, leaving less time for digging holes. Friends don’t necessarily have to be dogs either, your dog might be friends with a cat, chicken, or a horse. One of my dogs spends quite a few hours a day running up and down the fence line with his horse friends.
4. Use a Digging Deterrent
Dogs often like to dig in the same spot over and over again. Watch them for a few days and identify the digging spots. Dig in some big rocks to stop them digging there, or use some fencing mesh. Just make sure it’s not sharp or dangerous for your pup in any way!
You can use scents to deter them from digging too. Rue, for example, is a very effective flea-repellent plant, and it works to keep dogs and cats away too. You can use lemon peels, vinegar, cayenne – anything with a strong, non-appealing scent to dogs.
5. Create a Place to Dig
We have a dig zone. Not because we chose to have a dig zone, but because our dogs love to dig there so much, there was nothing that would stop them. All I do is fill it back up when it gets too big or too deep, or when it gets awkward to mow around it.
Jack of all trades, master of some. Wild garden grower. Loves creating stuff. From food forests and survival gardens to soap and yoghurt. A girl on a farm with two kids and one husband (yep, just one - although another one would be handy). Weirdly enjoys fixing fences and digging holes. Qualified permaculture teacher and garden go-to.