People tend not to like their dog digging all over their yard and want to learn how to make them stop. Digging is a natural activity for dogs and unfortunately one of their favorite pastimes and is considered one of the top 10 canine behavioral issues. Some breeds, because of their heritage, are natural born diggers. Breeds like dachshunds and terriers were “designed” to dig for small animals, but almost any dog will send dirt flying if they think they’re hot on the trail of a potentially tasty or entertaining quarry. Trying to stop them from doing something that is natural to them is like asking a human to stop spending money. However, if you want to learn how to stop your dog from digging, I do have a potential solution, and here it is:
Don’t try to stop them digging, try teaching them where it is OK to dig!
Dealing with a dog that constantly digs holes in your yard can be very nerve racking. Rather than trying to stop your dog from digging, try teaching them where they are permitted to dig. To do this, you’ll need a big storage bin, a suitable place to bury it, and some time spent teaching your dog that this new spot is where it is all right for them to dig. This is a simple inexpensive method and with a little time your dog will soon be digging where you want it to rather than all over your yard. Just follow these four steps:
Step 1: Storage Bin. The first step in learning how to stop your dog from digging where you don’t want them to, is to get a big storage bin. Go to your favorite store and purchase one of those plastic rectangular storage bins. It’s probably best to get the biggest and deepest one you can find. This will be your dig pit. If you have a real big dog, don’t worry. Later in the article, I provide an alternate method for real big dogs.
Step 2: Provide a Suitable Digging Place. Find a suitable place in your yard where you are going to allow your dog to dig. Dig a hole in the shape of the bin and deep enough for it to be buried with the top flush to the ground. Drill lots of little holes in the bottom for drainage then fill about 3/4 full with paver sand. I don’t recommend the sand you can find for children’s sand boxes because it very fine and your dog will be getting it all in its coat.
Step 3: Doing the training. My dog took to using the dig pit pretty quick. Hopefully, yours will too. Whenever your dog starts to dig, move him/her to the sand pit and encouraged them to dig there. If you have a hard time getting your dog to use it, try playing with the dog’s favorite toy and then bury it in the sand. Let them see you do this, then encourage them to dig it up and reward them when they do. Burying their favorite treats in the provided dig area may also help in the training process.
Step 4: Maintaining the pit. It’s a good idea to keep the sand moist in the summer. Dogs like to dig into moist sand/dirt then lie in it to keep cool. I have a drip watering system for my hanging plants, so I installed the bin under one of the pots. Now the sand gets a dose of water every morning. Just remember your dog is going to dig all the sand out of the box, so you’ll have to rake it back in every once and awhile.
Tips & Warnings
– If your dog is still digging holes around the yard, bury their poop in it and cover it up. Though gross sounding, they most likely won’t dig there again!
– Discipline them only if you catch them in the act of digging. If it is not done right when they’re in the act, they won’t know what they are being scolded for.
– Big dog owners might want to try this option. Dig a hole about 2 ft deep; slightly sloped on the sides. Then cover the sides and bottom with about 1 1/2 inches of concrete. For drainage, push straws through the concrete before it sets. Cut the straws flush once the cement is dry and then fill the pit with sand. The cement option has the added benefit of keeping the dogs nails trimmed.