Your dog might view your backyard as his personal dig site, but those holes that dot your backyard ruin the look of your lawn and can pose a tripping hazard for your family. Stopping the behavior starts with understanding why your dog digs. Once you understand the reason, you can develop a strategy to redirect or stop the digging.
Get Rid of Critters
Although you provide all the food your dog needs, his hunting instincts might be very strong. If your dog is a hunter, it will be hard for him to ignore the mole that's constructing tunnels under the surface of your yard. When you evict burrowing animals like moles, voles and gophers, your dog will have no reason to dig. Although poison is the fastest way to solve your problem, placing poison in your yard can sicken your dog, other animals or people. Invest in a few humane traps and relocate the animal instead.
Cool Him Down
Some dogs dig to create cool resting spots during hot days or to shield themselves from the wind or cold. The Humane Society of the United States notes that your dog might be digging a home for comfort if he doesn't have a dog house or the house doesn't provide adequate shelter, he rests in the spots he digs or he digs holes near water sources, shady trees or building foundations. Buy your dog a doghouse if he doesn't have one and place it in a shady location out of the wind. Bring him inside when the mercury soars. If it's too hot for you to spend long periods of time outdoors, it's too hot for him.
Bored dogs make their own fun. Unfortunately for you, your dog might consider digging holes fun. Dogs are social animals who thrive when they can interact with people and other dogs. Don't put your dog in the backyard and expect him to entertain himself for hours. Spend time with him outdoors. Play games of fetch with him or teach him to catch a flying disc. Not only will those games keep him busy, they'll also help him expend energy, and he might just be too tired to dig. When your dog is outdoors alone, provide an ever-changing selection of toys to entertain him.
Make a Dig Zone
No matter what you do to prevent digging, some dogs won't be able to resist temptation. If there's nothing your dog enjoys more than digging a hole, create a special dig site in your yard for him. Mark boundaries for the site so that it doesn't eventually take over the entire yard. Erect a low fence or line the border of the area with bricks. Dig up the area or put some dirt in it and then bury a few toys or treats in the dirt. Encourage your dog to find the toys or treats and praise him when he's successful.
By Jill Leviticus
About the Author
Working at a humane society allowed Jill Leviticus to combine her business management experience with her love of animals. Leviticus has a journalism degree from Lock Haven University, has written for Nonprofit Management Report, Volunteer Management Report and Healthy Pet, and has worked in the healthcare field.