Dog digs in the garden: Can you break the habit of it?

A dog digs in the garden because it is part of its instinctive behavior. Terriers in particular love to dig in the ground, for example to look out for prey. You can’t really break the habit of rooting in your dog, but you can prevent it from destroying your beds.

You put so much effort into gardening, then your four-legged friend comes along and the dog digs everything up again. That can be pretty frustrating. However, you should not scold him, because his behavior is innate and he doesn’t mean it badly at all. The following tips reveal what you can do instead.

Dog digs in the garden: why is he doing that?

When your dog digs, it usually acts on instinct. The animals bury important resources such as food in the garden or in the ground to hide them and protect them from potential thieves. For some dog breeds, such as terriers, digging is part of their hunting behavior as they were originally bred to capture small animals underground. A pregnant bitch, on the other hand, lives out her nest-building instinct while digging. If your dog messes up the garden in summer, it may just be too hot for him and he wants to cool off in a hole in the ground. Furthermore, it can also be the case that your dog digs because it is bored and is looking for something to do in the garden.

Distract dogs that like to dig instead of getting used to digging
Since it is only partly due to mistakes in upbringing that your dog digs, you can only train it to a limited extent. You can only influence their behavior in general if your four-legged friend indulges in “destruction frenzy” out of boredom in the garden. Make sure your pet is kept busy by getting enough walks, dog exercise and dog training, and daily play sessions that keep them physically and mentally challenged. Then he may not stop digging completely, but the devastation is limited.

You will make your dog happy if you give him a digging corner in the garden where he can let his instincts run free. Don’t let him play on the green unattended so that you can intervene immediately if he burrows elsewhere in the ground. Immediately interrupt the unwanted behavior with the command “No” or a sharp “Ugh” and lead him to the digging corner. If he starts digging there, give him praise. Hide a few treats in the ground there every now and then to motivate your dog to dig in just that one corner of the yard.

Protect beds and co. from dogs

In addition, the zones in the garden that should not be dug up by the dog can be protected for safety. You can mark off flower and vegetable beds with a small fence and teach your four-legged friend not to step over the barrier. Instead of bark mulch, the beds can be laid out with pine cones – that looks pretty and your dog doesn’t like digging there because it feels uncomfortable on his paws.

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