How To Keep Your Dog From Digging Up Your Garden
Image Credit: Claudia Bensimoun
1.Communicate With Your Dog
Digging is a normal part of a dog’s behavior. Your dog has many reasons for digging up the garden. Positive training methods are important when dealing with all dogs. By developing strong bonds with your dog, you’ll not only encourage him to look to you for guidance, but you’ll improve your relationship. Avoid punishment, and incorporate training throughout the day. All training involves communicating with your dog-dogs will respond to the tone of your voice and body language. Be assertive, yet kind and be consistent with your commands. Know when to end a training session, and how to avoid stress when training. If you’re pet parent to a puppy, go to a puppy training class. He’ll need more structured training and socialization during adolescence. If your dog is in the habit of digging, you’ll need to break that habit.
Habit formation takes a long time, yet training does not. Try not to allow habit formation with any unwanted behavior. The sooner an unwanted behavior is addressed, the easier it is to redirect the dog to a more appropriate behavior.
2. Don’t Allow Your Dog To Spend Unsupervised Time Alone in The Yard
While digging and burying are behaviors that small terriers and even Retrievers are well known for, all dog breeds will dig into the earth, and thoroughly enjoy this experience. To prevent unwanted digging in the most favorite part of your garden, choose one spot and designate it as the digging area.
When responding to a particular unwanted behavior, you’ll need to assess the situation. Look at the situation from your dog’s point of view. Don’t allow your dog to spend unsupervised time in your garden. Recognize that digging is a natural canine behavior, and that you’ll have to give him his own “ mini yard” to play in, and to bury his toys and bones. Don’t ban digging altogether, but reinforce digging in the newly allocated digging zone.
3.Develop Realistic Expectations
Digging usually begins at around 4-5 months of age and this is usually the time that we start leaving our pups outside for a few minutes. All puppies are curious, so this will prompt your dog to dig, bark and to try and possibly escape from his backyard. Your dog most enjoys companionship, so if left to his own devices, he may try to escape.
All dogs are also social and enjoy being their human pet parents. If left alone for long periods of time, they may try to entertain themselves by digging or escaping. Never punish your dog if he tries to dig while supervised. Instead keep him on a leash, and take him to his newly allocated digging spot. Don’t correct after the digging.
Prevent digging in unwanted areas by showing him where he can dig! Reward and praise frequently! Anticipate his need for exploration, mental stimulation and companionship. Develop realistic expectations for your dog at each developmental stage of his life. If your dog is a digger, make sure that he does not swallow small bits of plastic, fertilizer or pesticide. These all have the potential to kill him.
4.Create a Special Digging Area Just For Him
Bury bones in his digging area. You can encourage digging in this area by burying bones and dog toys in the sand. Reward him when he digs this up. Create an environment that will intrigue your dog, so that he’ll be drawn to his own special digging area. Remove your dog immediately from the banned digging area, and place him in his own area. Reward him with a high-reward treat like LiveFree or Stewart freeze- dried training treats.
Consider spaying or neutering your dog, since this helps curb his desire to leave home. Increase his exercise routine, since excessive digging can be due to lack of exercise. Go out and purchase a children’s wading pool for your dog and fill it with fresh water. This tends to reduce a need to digging on hot days, since there is now a cool place to lie down in. In addition to the tips above, consider your pet’s personality, breed and age to determine if he’ll be content with the allocated digging spot. Try out the dog beach for extra digging opportunities for your pooch.
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