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How to Stop Dog Digging up Plants
It is not uncommon to find your dog digging up in your garden. It is sometimes messy as your flowerbed, garden or yard as he will dig it up. In some cases, your dog will actually ruin the plants completely. Therefore, you must come up with a way to stop him. However, in order to do so, you must take some time and understand his behavior.
Why is he engaging in digging while there are so many other things he can do. Do not give up yet because we are here to help you deal with this problem in dogs. We are going to look at some of the most effective ways to stop your dog from digging up plants.
Boredom and loneliness
To cool off
To release pent up energy
Reasons why your dog is digging up plants
Whenever your dog starts digging, you should look into it and discover why he is doing so. After all, this is the only way you are going to 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 feeling uneasy. If there is anything 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 messy garden.
To cool his body
During hot weather seasons, we can 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 is going to look for a way to ensure his body is cool. This can be through digging holes to reach the cool ground in your yard. And because your garden or flowerbed has loose soil and plants will provide shade, your dog will definitely dig them up in efforts to cool himself off.
Boredom and loneliness
Dogs are quite 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 take care of our dogs in our homes, where there are fewer activities going on. This breeds boredom since he is exposed to the same environment day after day.
Digging is a fun activity amongst our canine friends. He will do it because he liked 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 natural instincts. For instance, your dog might be digging holes in efforts to retrieve burrowing animals from underground. This is a natural instinct that comes from the need to hunt prey. However, domestication allows us to feed our dogs and take care of them, and thus eliminating the need for them to hunt. 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 save the left-overs for later. This can also happen where you offer your dog more food than he can finish. He might dig up your plants trying to hide the left-overs so that he can retrieve later.
To release pent up energy
Some dogs, especially under-exercised dogs, will also tend to dig in order to release the pent up energy. Not only will he start digging but he will also develop other undesirable behaviors. This is why we recommend that you exercise your dog every day, at least once daily.
9 ways to stop a dog from digging up plants
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 that is digging up your garden as a result of pent up energy needs a lot of exercise. However, before you can be able to determine that, you will have to study your dog’s energy levels. Puppies will not have the same energy as adult dogs. In addition, once you feed your dog and leave the house, you leave him with so much energy and yet so less to do. Digging can be a way for him to release extra energy.
Therefore, it is important to exercise your dog, especially prior to leaving the house. You may consider making the morning walks longer.
In addition, you can play games that will stimulate him both 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, same environment which can also turn out to be boring. Exercising your dog will help you alleviate most of your dog’s undesirable habits.
Spend time with your dog
In addition to exercising your dog, it is important for you to spend some time with him. This will help you stop boredom and loneliness that leads to digging. I understand that you might have a busy schedule but then again, you have a responsibility. At this point, 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 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 in order to get rid of 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, it is important to spend a lot of time playing and interacting with your dog. This way, your dog will not be lonely, neither will he get bored.
Provide a distraction
Once again, your dog is prone to boredom, especially when he is left all alone for long periods of time. Other times, your dog will dig because it is his favorite sport. In order to stop your dog from dissing up your plants, make sure you have something better for him to do. For instance, you can get him toys that will 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 it will also help with strengthening 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, busy, and also get rid of extra energy that may be the cause of your dog digging.
Get a sandbox
If your dog won’t stop digging up your plants, then get him a place to dig, well, a safe place to dig. Some dogs will not stop digging 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 dig.
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 every time he gets it right.
Get your dog to socialize
As we mentioned in the earlier section, your dog might be feeling a little lonely. Despite how much time you spend with your dog, there is a need for him to socialize with other dogs. He might be trying to escape and visit your neighbor’s dog. In order to make sure that 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 getaway. This is why we insist that you get to the bottom of your dog digging before addressing it. This way, you can curb the behavior from its source.
Use dog deterrents
The exciting news is that you can be able to keep your dog out of your garden! You can be able to do this using several dog deterrents in the garden. However, you should ensure that all the detergents you use are not harmful to 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 garden and your problem will be over.
Making your garden dog safe
Another dog deterrent is by making the garden very uncomfortable for him. You can use thorny twigs in the garden. 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 are looking to stop your dog from digging your plants. Bury the latter underground in your garden. Every time your dog digs, he is going to be discouraged from digging since it will be uncomfortable. You can use rocks in the place of chicken wire or netting.
You can use the ultrasonic devices to keep your dog out of your garden. These devices are usually motion activated and will go off whenever it senses any 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.
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 also maybe use traps in case you have rodents roaming around. This way, your dog will not have to keep digging trying to hunt and catch the small animals. This is necessary since you do not want your dog feeding on rodents anyway.
Keep your dog cool
We mentioned earlier that your dog might be trying to find a cool place for his body. This is especially during hot weather season 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 it since it is cooler than the surface above.
This being said, it is, therefore, necessary for you to provide shade for an outdoor dog. In addition to this, ensure that he has enough cool water every now and then. This will not only keep his body cool but also hydrated.
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 fed to their full, they would definitely 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 that he is going to finish. Otherwise, if he has leftovers, he is bound to save it for the latter and keep it 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.
In conclusion, digging is a common 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 stop your dog from digging up plants completely.
Do not forget to exercise and spend some time with your dog. In fact, make the walks longer in order 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.