If you’re having trouble figuring out how to stop a dog from digging for moles, consider the following solutions:
- Get an exterminator that will humanely get rid of the pests
- Set up an underground fence to discourage moles from digging tunnels
- If grubs are the reason moles keep coming back, treat your yard for them
- Improve the drainage in your yard — moles like moist soil.
- Use behavioral training to ease your dog’s prey drive
- Keep the dog locked outside until the moles are gone
How to Stop a Dog From Digging for Moles
We all know that digging up dirt in the backyard is a no-brainer for most dogs, especially for earth dogs, like terriers and dachshunds, which are supposed to look for prey and always have their noses in the ground.
In most cases, the dog is probably bored and looking for a way to entertain itself.
However, if your yard is infested with vermin, it’s likely that the pooch is simply unable to resist the chase.
So today, let’s learn how to stop a dog from digging for moles and other critters.
Before we go through my tips on how to do that, though, we will have to examine the behavior and understand the power of the prey chase drive.
Let’s start, shall we?
How to Stop a Dog From Digging for Moles: Understanding the Behavior
As mentioned, there could be a variety of reasons a dog is digging up holes in your backyard.
However, when it comes to moles and similar animals, the issue goes way deeper than mere boredom or anxiety.
Some dogs naturally have a higher prey drive. Thus, they will stop at nothing in order to find burrowing rodents and chase after them.
Even though predatory chase drive is quite normal in dogs and is great fun when we’re playing catch with our pooches, it can grow into a huge problem if we don’t tone it down a notch.
When the prey drive isn’t too high, the dog is likely to chase around for balls every once in a while but won’t bother with chasing cats, rodents, etc.
In contrast, if your pooch’s predatory drive is through the roof, it may exhibit inappropriate behavior.
Not only will it keep chasing after animals, but it will likely start biting or killing them too. Worst of all, it won’t be able to focus on anything but the hunt and the chase.
That in and of itself makes for a rather miserable pet, especially since it won’t get to stalk its prey all the time under your supervision.
A huge part of learning how to stop a dog from digging for moles is vermin-proofing your yard.
However, before we touch on that, let’s see how you could go about easing the prey drive in your dog to avoid dire consequences.
After all, nobody wants bloodshed in their yard!
Easing Prey Drive in Dogs
Keep the Dog Under Lock and Key
Whenever you’re not at home, it’s crucial to keep your dog either indoors or locked up in a safe space outside.
You cannot rely only on the behavior training you’ve been implementing, as you never can actually know what may trigger the dog.
Perhaps at some point, it will stop hunting moles and turn to humans!
Proper fencing is a good idea here as well; you don’t want the dog to escape outside if it ever finds a way to leave the locked area.
Additionally, keep your gates locked, not only for security reasons but to prevent anyone from coming in and letting the dog out.
Dogs that are deemed dangerous or have a history of killing or hunting animals may get both you and themselves in trouble with the law.
Some of them will get humanely euthanized, which is the worst possible scenario, of course.
Therefore, tread carefully and do whatever you can to curb your pooch’s prey drive.
While training your dog all the different commands that should help it tame its drive, you must keep in mind the three Ds: distraction, distance, and duration.
As time goes by, you have to let your dog level up.
The easiest way to do that is by increasing distractions, the amount of time it should hold the command, and the distance between you two.
As for the exercises you ought to try, I suggest starting with eye contact.
Before the hunt begins, the dog will scan its surroundings, find its prey.
By encouraging eye contact, we can nip this behavior in the bud and make the dog give us its undivided attention.
Other ideas you should consider are:
- Teaching the dog to come back to you in the middle of the chase
- The “leave it” command
- Stopping the stalking process by making the dog drop down and using treats to break the stare
- Keeping the dog focused on you by starting a friendly chase. Do this only when it deserves it, for instance, when the dog checks in without having been called upon.
How to Stop a Dog From Digging for Moles: Getting Rid of the Vermin
Of course, if there are no moles in your yard, your dog, no matter how keen it is on chasing them, won’t be able to find them.
Therefore, apart from easing your dog’s prey drive, you need to figure out how to get rid of the moles.
Some say that the only effective way is to kill them all, but I do believe that’s rather inhumane.
The best course of action would be to find an exterminator who will be able to remove them from your property, along with some other critters that may trigger your pooch, like gophers.
Once the moles are nowhere to be found, you ought to implement some prevention techniques.
Since they’re attracted to grubs, it would be a good idea to treat your yard for them. Ensure you’re not using anything that could harm the pooch in the process, though.
Even better, don’t let it in the backyard until the yard is clean.
Alternatively, you could discourage the moles from digging tunnels by creating obstacles they won’t be able to go through.
An underground fence should prevent the mole from continuing the digging, so it will likely turn away and leave.
Unfortunately, it may just find another path to dig up.
Finally, consider improving the drainage in your yard. Since moles like it when the soil is moist, any drainage issues are bound to attract them.
If that doesn’t help, though, extermination may be the only solution.
How to Stop a Dog From Digging for Moles After the Extermination
If the pooch in question simply loves digging, the absence of moles probably won’t stop it from ruining your garden.
In that case, you’re dealing with mostly behavioral issues that could be resolved with the techniques I mentioned above.
You should also consider:
Providing the Dog With Additional Mental Stimulation and Exercise
Instead of just letting it roam the backyard, why not take the dog for longer walks?
Better still, gear up with toys that are more interesting than digging, like puzzle toys.
Check out these Dog Toys for dealing with boredom…
Keep the dog distracted wherever you cannot leave it outside, and if possible, try to spend more time with it.
Sometimes, dogs get quite anxious when their humans aren’t paying much attention to them.
Try to remedy that with more playtime.
Training the Dog in the Backyard
You will reap multiple benefits from this, as you’ll be not only teaching the dog some useful commands but also making it exercise more.
Additionally, this may help change the dog’s perception of the yard.
It may stop seeing it as its playground and realize that it’s just a spot where it gets to interact with you for longer periods of time.
Encourage Positive Digging
Finally, since digging is in a dog’s nature, why not redirect that instinct by letting it dig for treasure under your supervision?
You could get a sandbox and bury some toys in it so that it actually has a goal in mind.
Alternatively, you could designate a part of your yard as the digging zone.
Still, I do believe a sandbox would look nicer overall and won’t disrupt your landscaping.
Better yet, it should limit the dog a bit as it will have to go into it to start digging.
Don’t forget about rewarding the dog, though.
If you see that it has left the rest of your yard alone, and is engaging in some messy digging in the sandbox, get some treats to show your appreciation.
Hopefully, I’ve done a good job and helped you figure out how to stop a dog from digging for moles.
In the end, prevention is key if you want to put an end to your dog’s antics.
However, if the issue is already causing you a headache, it may be time to get rid of the pests once and for all.
Removing the triggers from your dog’s surroundings should help it behave better.
And even if it doesn’t, there are behavior techniques and training you can implement to transform your mischievous furry friend into an obedient companion!