Keeping Dogs from Digging

Q: My newly adopted dogs have made a mockery of the lawn and garden in my back yard. Besides rocks, what can I use that is bug free and safe that will keep them from dragging mud in my house and deter them from digging up my flowers?

Jennieb from Pt. Pleasant, NJ

A: Jennieb,

Congratulations on your new companions! The first thing you need to consider is why your new canines are making a mockery of your lawn? Dogs dig for a variety of reasons. Are they bored? Are they acting out an instinct to dig out prey? Are they feeling confined or not getting enough exercise? Are they seeking out cool places to lie down? Any measures you take are likely to be unsuccessful for long unless you establish the reason driving their behavior.

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They'll simply channel the digging energy into something else, like chewing-or worse. If you have the space, why not designate an area in the garden just for them to dig up? Dig up a small area and fill it with sand instead of dirt. Locate it as far away from the house as possible and their paws will have plenty of time to unload the sand in your grass before reaching the door to come inside. Reward them for using it by burying their favorite toys and food treats in it.

For areas around flowers, you can lay down chicken wire and clip openings around plants. Cover the wire slightly with soil to hide it. If they have spots they seem to favor over and over, try this recipe:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of chili powder
  • 1 qt. Of warm water

Mince the garlic, onions and jalapenos and combine them with the other ingredients. Let everything marinate in a container overnight, then sprinkle it over problems areas.

Above all, as their pack leader, make sure you let them know what your expectations are for their behavior.

Ellen

Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

More Answers:

Dog Feces

This doesn't sound pleasant but my son used this method on his dog and it worked for him. Wherever his dog would start to dig, he put some of his dog's own feces in the ground. It took some time but the dog did eventually stop digging. Some dogs will dig more than others. I have read that if you can't stop your dog, is to let them have an area of their own using a sandbox. Make a game of it by burying their toys in the sand so they get to dig.

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By mkymlp

Chicken Wire

When our dog used to dig around the fence, we buried chicken wire all around the edge of the fence. We put it only about an inch underground and when she dug, she didn't get anywhere so she stopped digging.

By Kathy in Colorado

Don't Use Mothballs

I've heard that people use moth balls, but moth balls are poisonous, so DO NOT go that route! I've also heard that you can sprinkle pepper flakes or spray with pepper spray, which also keeps bugs away.

By Manson

Answers:

Keeping Dogs from Digging

White pepper or Japanese wasabi horseradish. Place plenty of either in the area where the dogs are digging. If you catch them at it, sprinkle the pepper on their noses. I have a Lab who was a HUGE digger, and this worked like a charm. The wasabi also works for chewers. (08/30/2007)

By Ally

Keeping Dogs from Digging

This sounds gross but dog poo works! P.S. It will fertilize those flowers also---win win situation:) (08/31/2007)

By Lori

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