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How do you stop a dog from digging?

asked 2015-08-27 17:25:14 -0500

A few dogs I sit with tend to be diggers, and they become obsessive over these spots, digging deeper and deeper. Sometimes they are digging because they smelled something. Other times they just dig from playing, but they get obsessed with that spot and dig deeper. I've heard of using natural deterrents sprayed onto those areas, such as cayenne powder and coffee grounds. But this hasn't helped. Any ideas?

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Try to break the habit. Try loud noises every time they start to dig. Try playing with them when they start. Definitely don't give them food to stop them. They consider that a good thing.

Anibel S.'s profile image Anibel S.  ( 2015-08-30 23:47:03 -0500 ) edit

I had a herding dog do it when he was bored. We distracted him to do other things and took him for more walks. It worked and he did not dig anymore. :)

Marti C.'s profile image Marti C.  ( 2016-06-28 19:53:47 -0500 ) edit

More walks should be helpful also if in a hot climate dogs dig to find cool soil to lay in so we used a splash pool which helped.

Cheryl M.'s profile image Cheryl M.  ( 2017-02-23 20:29:46 -0500 ) edit

7 Answers

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answered 2015-08-27 23:08:46 -0500

Good question! Usually digging is something that high energy dogs do to relieve energy and boredom. You're going to need to supervise very carefully to keep them from doing it. I find jogging usually helps dogs who love to dig because it really exerts a lot of their energy. If you don't like jogging you could try biking next to a dog or roller blading. Swimming is another thing they may like. If you can find a place where it's actually alright for them to dig, say in some sand somewhere (near said water) then by all means let them dig there. I like to make it so that it's okay to dig in appropriate places because it's obviously a blast for them. They just can't do it in the garden or places where it will wreak havoc. Make sure wherever you let them dig is an easy spot to fix afterwards. Really, rivers and oceans are great for that.

You can give them funner, more interesting things to do. These are the types of dogs who want to engage more and may be into learning more complicated tricks. Try doing games with them where you hide a treat under a cup and have them guess which one it is. Put them in a sit stay and go hide a few treats and then ask them to find them.

Aside from these things, if you don't want to be interactive like that, give them something that will occupy them such as a kong or other thing with frozen something in it. Bring along some of those 'doggy puzzles'.

You must redirect their attention as soon as they think of digging. Give them something way more interesting and interactive and they will be happy to use their brain in another way. Keep redirecting their attention and give them lots of pets and talk warmly to them as you do. Explain to them why you don't want them to dig in that spot. Be patient. Be kind.

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answered 2015-08-27 17:36:49 -0500

As with most undesirable behaviors, it will be a combination of prevention, supervision, interruption, and distraction - cover or block off the problem areas as best you can to prevent the dog from digging in the first place, supervise them closely, interrupt and redirect them if you see them approaching the spot or catch them digging, then provide more appropriate outlets for that energy, like fetch or tug, praising them heavily for choosing the better option. It will take a lot of effort on your part, since dogs who dig find the behavior very rewarding, but if you're consistent in deterring the digging and provide equally fun alternatives for releasing the dog's energy. you can eventually convince them to give up the habit.

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answered 2015-08-27 22:31:41 -0500

I've heard that burying their poop in the hole will often work. It didn't work with my lab because she would jsut did somewhere else. It did for a friends' dog who would only dig in one spot.

The only fool proof thing I can think of is concrete!

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answered 2015-08-30 22:09:35 -0500

Our pup loves to dig in flower beds. Ones that we take much pride in making beautiful of course. Honestly the best trick that has worked with us is catching him in the act using a squirt bottle, and saying bad dog! You need to let them know its not okay, but without hurting them.

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answered 2015-08-27 18:03:11 -0500

It depends on what the dog is digging for.. could be boredom, food, another dog or missing the owner. Either way you can introduce new toys, singing, or place rocks at the site of digging

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answered 2015-08-28 11:39:15 -0500

Like others have mentioned, I think that one of the things that would help the most is getting the dog out on either a nice long walk, jog, or run with you. If he uses all of his energy there, he won't have much left to dig in the yard!

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answered 2015-08-28 00:32:20 -0500

I second a lot of the other ideas. Also, there are puzzle games for dogs designed specifically to use their pawing/digging instinct, so I would get one of those so they can still use this instinct without creating huge holes. Also, look up the engage-disengage game. I'm using it to train my puppy out of lunging after people or dogs, and it works by training them to interrupt their own obsession.

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