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How to Stop a Dog From Digging


Dogs are great, and we love them. But one difficult behavior to control is digging; especially if your dogs has separation anxiety and is left home alone during the day while you are at work or school. They key to controlling digging is to understand digging from your dog’s point of view. Why are they digging? It may be for entertainment (dogs get bored when left alone) or it may be because they are after a critter of some kind. Burrowing animals are irresistible for a dog. Stop them, and the digging will stop. Here are some ideas:

Gopher Proof Your Yard:  Burrowing animals, like gophers are very hard to kill. They are elusive and smart, making them even more irresistible for dogs. One way to stop digging is to make your yard inaccessible to these critters. The first thing is to scare the gophers away for a few days so you can work. This can be done just by a lot of activity in the yard for a day or two. Next, dig a trench about 3 feet deep around the perimeter of your yard (this is a ton of work, yes), then insert chicken wire into the trench so that it rises to the height of the grass. This will create a barrier so the critters cannot burrow into your yard. Place the dirt back into the trench and pack the chicken wire firmly.

Now, another thing you can do is to place chicken wire just below your lawn or ground cover. But this is a very involved process. In essence, you have to start your yard from scratch. The chicken wire around the perimeter and just underneath the lawn will make it hard for any critter to burrow, and it will deter digging. No dog wants to dig against rough scratchy wire. Check out our post called Dogs vs Moles for more information on how to deal with it.

Enclose Dogs on a Patio:  If possible, enclose dogs on a paved area. Be sure to provide shade and water if they will be left alone for hours. You can use inexpensive three -to-four-foot-high fencing materials from home improvement stores and create a semi-permanent enclosure. Most likely, you will have to set a post or two in concrete for the fence to be stable. If you do not have a patio, you can create one by laying paving stones in your yard to create a sizable area where your dogs can remain for some time.

how to stop a dog from diggingUse a Natural Repellant:  There is one product out there that does work, it is called Critter Repellant . The only problem with this is that there is a learning curve and one must be very systematic and consistent in using it. This repellant uses the scent of fox urine, the natural enemy of most critters to scare them away. The trick is using just the right amount. If you use too little, or too much the product does not work. You will likely have to experiment a few times (a bottle or two worth) to get the exact quantity of this stuff around your yard. Then, you have to maintain the scent but replacing “just the right amount” of scent every week or so. If you have a rather small area, this is easier than with a large one.

Digging is part of the life of a dog. They do not do this to make you mad; it is just part of being a dog. Placing toys in the yard helps distract dogs too, like chew toys or tug of war pulls for multiple dogs. Your pal misses you when you are gone, or not right with them. So do not get angry; Get critter free!

Image: Artbandito of Flikr

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