How to Prevent Excessive Digging

My dog loves to dig but is destroying our back yard. How can I stop this?

Dogs love to dig, tear up plants and generally get dirty, and this should not be surprising. There is usually no problem or harm in dogs digging up the occasional area that seems especially interesting or digging up plant roots and throwing them around the garden, but constant destructive behavior can make for one unhappy dog owner. The most obvious answer to this kind of behavior is that your dog is bored and not getting enough exercise and/or simulation. Make sure that your dog is enjoying at least one long walk every day, preferably with the opportunity for off-leash excitement such as in woodland or open scrub. A tired dog is much less likely to engage in destructive behavior. Another solution is to provide stimulating toys, such as Kong Stuff’N toys, that will maintain your dog’s attention for some time.

If you are sure that your dog is getting enough stimulation and exercise and the problem persists, it is time to try to directly prevent this behavior. Since you want to be able to leave your dog alone in your garden, you don’t want your dog to think that only you are preventing this behavior. That is, the best way to permanently prevent this is to make it unappealing, instead of telling him off for it. Good ways to do this are using an automated sprinkler system, or a sprinkler that you can switch on from a distance when he is digging. Otherwise, a long-range water pistol will be equally effective. In this way, your dog will simply think he randomly gets sprinkled on when he engages in destructive behavior, thereby discouraging it.