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Dog Digging


How to stop it or control it


There are a number of reasons why dogs dig. Depending on why your dog digs, there are ways to stop it, or, at least, control the area where he digs. There are some breeds of dogs that are more prone to digging because they've been bred to dig. Terriers and dachshunds are bred to go after vermin is a good example of this. It may be more difficult to keep them from digging. You can solve the problem by giving them their own digging space. 


If your dog digs in your garden, he may be doing it because he's bored, or because it's just a fun thing to do, or because he likes the smells of the fertilizer or the plants. There are a few different ways to discourage or prevent your dog from digging in your garden.


  • The most obvious way is to put a fence around it that is strong enough and high enough to keep your dog out. You may have to have the fence start from 6 to 12 inches under ground to prevent your dog from digging under the fence.
  • You can turn on a sprinkler when your dog approaches your garden. That requires you to be continually watching your dog when he's outside.
  • You can squirt him with a hose or even a good water gun when he approaches the garden. Again, you have to be constantly watching him.
  • You can give him his own area to dig in and train him to dig only in that area.


If your dog digs because he's bored, there are some cures for this.


·        Give your dog more exercise. You may have to have a dog walker do this if you don't have the time.

·        Give your dog some outside toy that will keep him occupied for some time. A "Kong" toy that is filled with something like peanut butter can keep your dog occupied for hours.

·        Reprimand your dog with a sharp No! and/or spray  him with water when he starts digging. Praise him when he stops digging so he knows that not digging gets praise and digging gets a reprimand or a squirt of water. This will only work while you're watching him.

·        You can give him his own area to dig in and train him to dig only there.


If your dog digs under your fence, it usually means that he's trying to get out. There may be something on the other side of the fence that he wants or he may just want to go out to see the world.


  • If your dog is an un-neutered male, it may be that there is a female (bitch) in heat not too far away. His drive to get to the bitch is a very strong one, and you may have to restrain him in a crate or kennel run until the bitch is no longer in heat.
  • If your dog just wants to get out to see the world, you can line the inside of the fence with chicken wire, buried a few inches below the surface. The chicken wire will keep him from getting out, and discourage him from digging near the fence.


If your dog just likes to dig, and some dogs do, the best solution is to give them there own space in which to dig. It can be an area in your yard or it can be a sand box that you can place anywhere including in your garden. You do have to train him that it's good to dig in the sand box, but it's bad to dig anywhere else. The sandbox should be filled with a mixture of earth and sand, the deeper the better. You can put grass and leaves on the top of it. You can bury treats in the sand to get him to dig there and reprimand him if he tries to dig outside of the sand box. Give him lots of praise when he digs in the sand box.


If your dog knows what No! means and if he's had obedience training, you should be able to stop the digging rather quickly.  For information on obedience training, click on Dog Training 



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