Annoying. You take care and pride in your garden, and what happens? You have to go to a search engine and ask, “How to Stop Dog Digging up Plants” Your emotions are all over the place, I bet. You are annoyed, stressed, and pulling your hair out.
Ten ways to stop a dog from digging up plants
1. Exercise your dog
Exercising your dog is not only a healthy habit, but it also helps stop undesirable behaviors in dogs. For instance, a dog digging up your garden due to pent-up energy needs a lot of exercise. However, it would help if you studied your dog’s energy levels before determining that. Puppies will not have the same point as adult dogs. In addition, once you feed your dog and leave the house, you leave him with so much power yet so little to do. Digging can be a way for him to release extra energy.
Therefore, it is essential to exercise your dog, especially before leaving the house. You may consider making the morning walks longer.
In addition, you can play games that will stimulate him physically and mentally at home. You may not be able to walk him every day but ensure that you play with him. Dogs are used to roaming in the wild, but we leave them in the house, the same environment, which can also turn out to be boring. Exercising with your dog will help you alleviate most of your dog’s undesirable habits.
2. Spend time with your dog
In addition to exercising your dog, you need to spend some time with him. This will help you stop the boredom and loneliness that leads to digging. I understand that you might have a busy schedule, but you have a responsibility. Now, let me take you back to the wild nature of your dog.
Were it not for domestication; dogs would live in the wild. They would have the freedom to do and also go wherever they wanted. In addition, they would be living with their packs, which means he would have mates to play with and interact with. However, domestication takes all those things away, and all the responsibility is upon you.
Once you adopt a dog, you become his immediate family. He needs to feel your presence and interact with you to eliminate boredom and loneliness. Otherwise, digging can not only be a way to release energy but also to keep himself busy. He might also dig in efforts to socialize with your neighbor’s dog, especially if he can see it.
Therefore, spending a lot of time playing and interacting with your dog is essential. This way, your dog will not be lonely, and nor will he get bored.
3. Provide a distraction
Once again, your dog is prone to boredom, especially when left alone for long periods. Other times, your dog will dig because it is his favorite sport. To stop your dog from dissing up your plants, make sure you have something better for him to do. For instance, you can get toys to entertain him while you are away from home.
A distraction can be in the form of toys. For instance, you can get chew toys for your dog that will not only keep him busy but also help strengthen his jaws. You can also consider getting toys that dispense treats are good when you are looking to alleviate boredom.
During playtime, invest in rope toys. This way, you can engage in a tug of war which is a great way to burn extra calories for your dog. The trick is to keep your dog entertained and busy and eliminate excess energy that may cause your dog to dig.
4. Get a sandbox
If your dog doesn’t stop digging up your plants, then get him a place to dig, well, a safe place to explore. Some dogs will not stop searching no matter what you do. For instance, the Golden Retrievers were bred to get small animals, particularly burrowing animals. This means that at some point in his life, your dog might develop the need to dig. As we mentioned earlier, the loose soil in your garden provides the perfect opportunity to explore.
If you are dealing with such a case, do not despair. You can be able to provide an alternative to your garden. For instance, you can get a sandbox and train your dog that it is acceptable to dig in the sandbox but not in your garden. You can be able to reinforce training by rewarding your dog once he digs in the sandbox rather than in your garden or flowerbed. Use healthy treats, toys, or praises to reward your dog whenever he gets it right.
5. Get your dog to socialize
As we mentioned in the earlier section, your dog might be feeling a little lonely. Despite your time with your dog, he needs to socialize with other dogs. He might be trying to escape and visit your neighbor’s dog. To make sure your dog is happy, ensure that he has the opportunity to spend time with other dogs.
You can get him to doggie daycare and leave him there for the day. This way, he will get to socialize and thus minimize his need to escape from home. After all, when you provide everything for him, he won’t have to want to get away. We insist you get to the bottom of your dog digging before addressing it. This way, you can curb the behavior from its source.
6. Use dog deterrents
The exciting news is that you can keep your dog out of your garden! You can do this using several dog deterrents in the park. However, you should ensure that all the detergents you use do not harm your dog.
You can use clove oil to keep your dog off your garden or flowerbed. This is because they detest the smell of the latter. To use this method successfully, dip cotton balls in clove oil and place them in your garden. These will repel your dog from coming to the park, and your problem will be over.
7. Making your garden dog safe
Another dog deterrent is by making the garden very uncomfortable for him. You can use thorny twigs in the park. This will make it impossible for your dog to get into the garden, let alone dig the plants up. Alternatively, you can interplant your garden with plants that repel dogs. These plants might include rosemary and sage plants. They will keep your dog out of your flowerbed and garden.
In addition to the above deterrents, chicken wire and settings will also come in handy when you want to stop your dog from digging your plants. Bury the latter underground in your garden. Every time your dog digs, he will be discouraged from exploring since it will be uncomfortable. You can use rocks in the place of chicken wire or netting.
You can use ultrasonic devices to keep your dog out of your garden. These devices are usually motion-activated and will go off whenever it senses movement. It will produce a high-pitched sound that will turn away your dog. You can alternatively use a water gun which is motion activated. Every time your dog comes to the garden, the water gun will shoot a relative amount of water in your dog. And since they do not like to get all wet, he will stay away.
8. Get rid of burrowing animals from your garden
Once you discover that your dog is digging up the garden, ensure that he is not chasing after small and burrowing animals. You should make sure that your homestead is free of these small animals. However, you might not want to use harmful pesticides as they can also harm your dog.
Ensure that you have fenced your garden well and use traps if you have rodents roaming around. Your dog will not have to dig to hunt and catch small animals. This is necessary since you do not want your dog feeding on rodents.
9. Keep your dog cool
We mentioned earlier that your dog might be trying to find an excellent place for his body. This is primarily during the hot weather, and he has no shade. Outdoor dogs will suffer the most from the heat outside and look for places to cool off. Usually, he will dig holes in the backyard or garden and lie in them since it is more relaxed than the surface above.
This being said, it is, therefore, necessary for you to provide shade for an outdoor dog. In addition, ensure that he has enough cool water now and then. This will not only keep his body cool but also hydrated.
10. Only give him food that he can finish
Dogs have a natural urge to save their extra food underground. This will take us back to the natural way of a dog’s life in the wild. They were required to hunt for food, which would take so much energy. Once the pack is fed to its full, they want to save the left-overs for later use. They would do this by digging up holes to bury the latter. Unfortunately, this does not just go away even after domestication.
You will find that your dog is hiding some food in your yard or garden for later. This is why you should give him the amount of food he will finish. Otherwise, if he has leftovers, he is bound to save them for the latter and keep them safe from other predators. Monitor your dog’s eating habits and discover enough amount of food you offer him. However, do not limit it so much that he is underfed.
Reasons why your dog is digging up plants
You should investigate your dog’s digging and discover why he is doing so. After all, this is the only way you will be able to stop him from digging up your plants. Let us explore these factors that contribute to dog digging;
Trying to escape
This is a common occurrence in dogs, and especially new puppies. Once you bring him home, he might feel out of place and try to escape. In most cases, your new dog will try to leave by digging up, especially if you have fenced your homestead using plants and flowers. There are various reasons why your dog might want to escape your home. He might be bored or feel uneasy. If anything is causing him fear, he will also try to leave your home.
Form of play
Digging can also be a form of play for your dog. This is especially if you leave him all alone and with less or nothing to do. This leaves him searching for items to play with, and digging is a fun activity amongst dogs. If you have a beautiful garden, you might be frustrated to come home to dead plants and a messy garden.
To cool his body
During hot weather seasons, we often forget about our dogs, especially outdoor dogs. Therefore, we leave them with no share and nothing to help cool their bodies off. When your dog cannot take the heat anymore, he will look for a way to ensure his body is incredible. This can be through digging holes to reach the excellent ground in your yard. And because your garden or flowerbed has loose soil and plants will provide shade, your dog will dig them up to cool himself off.
Boredom and loneliness
Dogs are pretty prone to boredom and loneliness, especially when they have been left alone. This makes them look for something to do while you are away. And since we cannot afford to spend every day with our dogs, we do not have control over what they do when we are away from home.
In the wild, dogs can freely roam and engage with other dogs. However, domestication requires us to keep and care for our dogs in our homes, where fewer activities occur. This breeds boredom since he is exposed to the same environment daily.
Digging is a fun activity amongst our canine friends. He will do it because he likes and enjoys doing so. This can be difficult to control, but we will discuss the tips to stop a dog from digging up plants later.
Some dogs dig because of their instincts. For instance, your dog might be drilling holes to retrieve burrowing animals from underground. This is an instinct that comes from the need to hunt prey. However, domestication allows us to feed our dogs and take care of them, thus eliminating the need for them to pursue. This does not take away his instincts to hunt like he would in the wild.
In other cases, your dog is digging up to save for later, just like he would in the wild. When dogs hunt in the wild, they eat to their full and keep the left-overs for later. This can also happen when you offer your dog more food than he can finish. He might dig up your plants, trying to hide the left-overs so he can retrieve them later.
To release pent-up energy.
Some dogs, especially under-exercised dogs, tend to dig to release pent-up energy. Not only will he start searching, but he will also develop other undesirable behaviors. This is why we recommend you exercise your dog daily, at least once.
In conclusion, digging is a typical dog behavior, even though undesirable. However, like all the other habits, you can only be able to stop this habit when you are sure of its roots. The above-discussed methods should help you control your dog from digging up plants completely.
Do not forget to exercise and spend some time with your dog. Make the walks longer to tire him up. This way, you will not have to worry since he will not have the energy to keep digging. In addition, ensure that your dog has enough toys to play with when you are away from home. Remember that punishment does not work with dogs.