Tips to Stop Dogs from Digging Up Yards

by beaconpet
Identify the underlying cause

If you’re tired of your precious yard being turned into a dog digging area, don’t worry! BEACONPET will get you covered. Providing 26 helpful tips and solutions, you’ll learn how to put an end to your furry friend’s digging behavior. From using odors to block entryways to designing designated digging areas and even scaring them with balloons, these tips will turn your yard into a dog-free digging zone. So get ready to reclaim your beautiful lawn and enjoy a dog-friendly environment without the holes!

Identify the underlying cause

Identify the underlying cause


If your dog is digging up your yard, boredom could be the underlying cause. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation to keep them entertained and prevent them from engaging in destructive behaviors like digging. Make sure your dog has plenty of toys, puzzles, and opportunities for play and exercise to keep them occupied and fulfilled.

Anxiety or stress

Anxiety or stress can also lead dogs to dig. If your dog is feeling anxious or stressed, they may dig as a way to cope with their emotions or relieve tension. It’s essential to identify the source of your dog’s anxiety and work on addressing it. Providing a safe and calm environment, practicing relaxation techniques, and seeking professional help if needed can all help reduce your dog’s anxiety and prevent them from digging.

Hunting instinct

Dogs have an innate hunting instinct, which can drive them to dig in search of prey. This instinct is more pronounced in certain breeds, such as terriers. Providing alternative outlets for their hunting instinct, such as puzzle toys or interactive play, can help redirect their digging behavior.

Heat escape

Some dogs dig to find cooler areas to escape the heat. If your dog is digging specifically in certain spots during hot weather, consider providing them with shaded areas, water sources, and cooling mats to make them more comfortable. This can help reduce the need for them to dig in search of relief from the heat.

Buried treasure

Sometimes, dogs dig because they have discovered an appealing scent or have buried their toys or treats in the yard. If your dog is digging to uncover buried treasures, it’s essential to teach them appropriate behavior and provide designated areas for digging or burying objects.

Provide mental and physical stimulation

Engage in interactive play

Interactive play with your dog is a great way to provide mental and physical stimulation. Play games like tug-of-war or fetch to keep your dog entertained and active. This not only helps to tire them out but also satisfies their hunting and chasing instincts, reducing the likelihood of them digging out of boredom.

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Use puzzle toys

Puzzle toys are an excellent way to engage your dog’s mind and keep them entertained. These toys usually require your dog to solve a puzzle or manipulate objects to access treats or food. This mental stimulation can help prevent boredom and reduce the urge to dig.

Teach new tricks

Mental stimulation can also come from teaching your dog new tricks or commands. Training sessions provide mental exercise and help strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. By focusing their energy on learning and practicing new commands, your dog will be less inclined to dig out of boredom or frustration.

Hide treats for scent games

Dogs have a keen sense of smell, and scent games can provide mental stimulation while satisfying their natural instincts. Hide treats or toys in your yard and encourage your dog to find them using their sense of smell. This will keep them occupied while redirecting their digging behavior towards the search for hidden treasures.

Increase exercise and walks

Regular exercise and walks are essential for a dog’s physical and mental well-being. Make sure your dog receives enough exercise to help burn off excess energy and reduce the urge to dig. Long walks, playing fetch, or engaging in activities like jogging or hiking can help tire them out and keep them mentally stimulated.

Create a designated digging area

Choose a suitable location

Creating a designated digging area allows your dog to fulfill their natural digging instincts without destructively digging up your entire yard. Choose a location in your yard where your dog can freely dig, ideally away from flower beds or other sensitive areas.

Prepare the area

Prepare the designated digging area by loosening the soil and removing any obstacles or potential hazards. Make the area enticing by adding sand or loose dirt, which is easier for your dog to dig in. This will help make the designated area more appealing and encourage your dog to dig there, leaving the rest of your yard undisturbed.

Bury toys or treats

To further entice your dog to dig in the designated area, bury their favorite toys or treats for them to discover. This will make the area more appealing and provide a positive association with digging in the designated spot.

 Make the area appealing

Enhance the appeal of the designated digging area by adding interesting scents or textures. You can sprinkle some dog-friendly herbs or sprinkle a small amount of your dog’s favorite scent in the area to make it more enticing. Additionally, consider regularly rotating toys or treats buried in the area to keep it interesting for your dog.

Utilize bad smells as deterrents

Place citrus peels or vinegar

Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and certain scents can deter them from digging in specific areas. Place citrus peels or soak rags in vinegar and bury them in areas where you want to discourage digging. The strong odor of citrus or vinegar can often be enough to deter dogs from digging in those spots.

Use cayenne pepper or chili powder

Another effective deterrent is using cayenne pepper or chili powder. Sprinkle these spices in the areas where your dog tends to dig, and the hot scent will likely discourage them from continuing their digging activities.

Try commercial dog repellents

There are also commercially available dog repellents that contain strong smells that dogs find unpleasant. These repellents are specifically formulated to deter dogs from certain areas, including digging spots. Follow the instructions carefully when using these products to ensure your dog’s safety.

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Consider natural remedies

Some natural remedies can also help deter dogs from digging. For example, spreading coffee grounds or bitter apple spray in areas prone to digging can often be effective. Test these remedies in small areas first to ensure they do not harm your plants or landscaping.

Block access to digging spots

Block access to digging spots

Install fencing or barriers

One of the most effective ways to prevent dogs from accessing digging spots is to install fencing or barriers around those areas. Choose a fencing material that is suitable for your yard and ensure it is tall enough to prevent your dog from jumping over it. This will physically block their access and discourage them from digging where they are not supposed to.

Use chicken wire or mesh

For specific areas that you cannot fence off entirely, consider using chicken wire or mesh to create a physical barrier. Bury the wire or mesh a few inches below the ground surface to prevent your dog from digging under it. This will make it difficult for them to reach the area and deter their digging behavior.

Place rocks or plant prickly bushes

Make certain areas less appealing for digging by placing rocks or planting prickly bushes or shrubs. Dogs prefer softer soil, so adding obstacles like rocks or thorny plants can discourage them from digging in those areas.

Cover vulnerable areas with patio stones

If your dog is consistently digging in specific spots, consider covering those areas with patio stones or pavers. This makes it physically impossible for them to dig in those spots and redirects their attention to other areas of your yard.

Provide alternative outlets for energy

Set up an agility course

Agility training is not only mentally stimulating for dogs but also a great outlet for their energy. Set up an agility course in your yard or attend agility classes where your dog can run, jump over obstacles, and navigate through tunnels. This type of activity provides both mental and physical stimulation, helping to reduce the urge to dig.

 Use a flirt pole or chasing toy

A flirt pole is a long pole with a lure attached to the end. It mimics the movement of prey and can be used to engage your dog in a fun and energetic chasing game. Similarly, chasing toys, such as balls or flying discs, can help satisfy your dog’s natural instincts while providing enjoyable exercise.

Play fetch or frisbee

Playing a game of fetch or frisbee is a classic way to exercise your dog and provide them with mental stimulation. These high-energy activities encourage your dog to run, jump, and chase after toys, giving them the opportunity to release energy in a controlled and constructive manner.

Engage in vigorous play sessions

Regular play sessions that involve wrestling, tugging, and chasing are excellent ways to burn off excess energy. This type of play mimics natural dog behavior and satisfies their need for interaction and physical activity. By incorporating vigorous play into your routine, you can help tire out your dog and decrease their desire to dig.

Use water as a deterrent

Install motion-activated sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers are an effective way to deter dogs from certain areas. When your dog approaches the designated area, the sprinklers will turn on, surprising them with a sudden spray of water. This not only startles your dog but also teaches them to associate the digging area with an unpleasant experience.

Spray water with a hose or water gun

If you catch your dog in the act of digging, you can deter them by spraying them with water from a hose or a water gun. The surprise of being sprayed with water can be enough to interrupt their digging behavior and discourage them from continuing.

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Create a small water spray bottle

For a more immediate solution, carry a small spray bottle filled with water. Whenever you catch your dog digging in an undesirable area, give them a quick spritz of water. This can quickly grab their attention and discourage them from digging further.

Train your dog to stop digging

Teach the ‘Leave It’ command

Teaching your dog the ‘Leave It’ command can be a useful tool in stopping unwanted digging behavior. Use positive reinforcement techniques to train your dog to leave the area when commanded. This command can redirect their attention away from digging and help them understand what behavior is expected of them.

Use positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful training technique that involves rewarding your dog for desired behaviors. When your dog refrains from digging or uses the designated digging area, praise and reward them with treats, toys, or verbal affirmations. This positive reinforcement motivates your dog to repeat the desired behavior and helps discourage them from digging in unwanted areas.

Provide distractions and redirection

Redirecting your dog’s attention to alternative activities when they start to dig is an effective way to discourage the behavior. Keep a selection of toys readily available, and when you catch your dog digging, offer them an exciting toy or engage them in a game to divert their focus away from digging.

Consistency and patience

Training your dog to stop digging requires consistency and patience. Be consistent in your training efforts and ensure that everyone in the household is on the same page. Remember that it may take time for your dog to learn and change their behavior, so patience is key. Stay positive, consistent, and patient, and eventually, your dog will understand what is expected of them.

Manage the environment

Manage the environment

Fill holes as soon as possible

When your dog has dug a hole, it’s important to fill it in as soon as possible. Leaving holes in the yard not only looks unsightly but also encourages your dog to dig in the same spot again. By promptly filling in the holes, you eliminate the visual cue for your dog to dig and help break the habit.

Cover freshly dug areas with chicken wire

If your dog frequently digs in specific areas, cover the freshly dug spots with chicken wire or mesh. This prevents your dog from digging in the same spot again and encourages them to find an alternative area for their digging instincts.

Limit access to certain areas

If certain parts of your yard are particularly prone to digging, consider limiting your dog’s access to those areas. You can use baby gates, fences, or other barriers to physically prevent your dog from reaching those spaces. By minimizing their exposure to tempting digging spots, you can effectively reduce the likelihood of them digging in undesirable areas.

Use deterrent devices

There are various deterrent devices available that can help manage your dog’s digging behavior. Options include ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sounds, motion-activated alarms, or even scented spray deterrents. Research and choose a device that aligns with your dog’s needs and preferences, and use it in conjunction with training and environmental management techniques.

Seek professional help if necessary

Consult a veterinarian or animal behaviorist

If your dog’s digging behavior persists despite your best efforts, it may be beneficial to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist. These professionals can provide additional insight into the underlying causes of your dog’s digging and offer personalized advice or training plans to address the issue effectively.

Consider dog training classes

Dog training classes can be a valuable resource for both you and your dog. They provide structured training sessions led by experienced trainers who can guide you in addressing behavioral issues like digging. Training classes also offer opportunities for socialization, mental stimulation, and constructive outlets for energy.

Address underlying behavioral issues

If your dog’s digging is rooted in underlying behavioral issues, addressing these issues is crucial. Working with a professional trainer or behaviorist can help identify and address any anxiety, stress, or other factors contributing to your dog’s digging behavior. By targeting and resolving these underlying issues, you can effectively stop your dog from digging and improve their overall well-being.

By implementing these tips and solutions, you can successfully prevent your dog from digging up your yard. Remember that consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key when training your dog. Providing them with mental and physical stimulation, redirecting their energy, and managing their environment can go a long way in stopping unwanted digging behavior. If necessary, seek professional help to address any underlying issues and ensure your dog’s behavioral needs are met. With time and effort, you can transform your yard into a dog-friendly space free from unwanted digging.

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