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How To Keep Your Pets From Digging

I have 3 dogs and when I planted a shrub or a tree, the dogs would go to the new plantings and start digging it up. I started to leave the dogs indoors while I planted, so they could not see what I was doing. This did help some. But I still got holes next to the big planted items.


I still plant my shrubs and trees the recommended way, but now when I get the hole 3/4 of the way filled, I put dog poop in the hole (you don't need much) and then continue to fill the hole the rest of the way up. The dogs leave it alone. They don't like digging up their own poop. If dogs dig along a fence line put poop in before you fill the hole and they will leave that spot alone.

By xintexas from San Antonio, TX

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Anonymous Flag
July 27, 20100 found this helpful

This sounds like such a strange idea but it makes a bunch of sense! Good tip and thanks for sharing it!

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June 28, 2010 Flag

By Catherine Forman

Now that you've planted your garden, you need to make sure your pets don't dig it up!

One important question is: why are your pets digging? Are they bored? Does something smell funny over there? Or is it just instinct?

If your pet is bored, he can easily become destructive. Make sure that when your pet is in the yard, he has plenty of entertainment -- a stuffed toy, a special treat, a ball, anything that will keep him engaged. Your pets need a lot of human interaction and activities to be happy.

Your dog may be digging out of instinct. My Nerman will dig himself a shallow hole on a warm day and lay in it. I guess the dirt is softer and cooler than the hard, sun-baked ground. Nerman also likes to bury his rawhides if he isn't going to eat them. And some pets will scuff up a bit of dirt and grass to cover over their bathroom spots.


A dog or cat who is digging out of instinct will be harder to distract away from the dirt in your garden. There are a few ways you can handle this:

1. Restrict access to your gardens and flower beds. Put up a fence to keep the pets out.

2. Offer a substitute digging area. Your dog or cat may love a small sandbox! You can seed the new digging area with special toys or treats; finding the goodies will teach your pet that digging in that spot is a positive experience.

3. Try a deterrent spray, or plant things that don't smell good to your pets. Your local pet store will probably carry a bitter apple spray -- just be sure to reapply after each rain. Planting citronella will keep the cats out of your garden but may tempt your dogs to try and cover up the plant's smell with their own scent.

4. Your local garden store may sell mats with flexible plastic spines (I've seen them called "Scat Mats" in catalogues). The spines make it very uncomfortable for paws to walk or dig but don't actually hurt your pets.

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February 1, 2005 Flag

I have two dogs (Border Collie and Lab Mix) that love to dig. The problem is that we have only lived at this house going on two years and have had to redo the whole yard 2 times to get rid of the huge holes. Does anyone know anything that can be done to break the dogs from digging? If so, please let me know. Thanks.


How Do I Keep a Dog From Digging? 02/02/2005
The only problem I've had is them digging under the deck and I allow them to do it. They have their pits where they like to hang out. They used to dig elsewhere but have settled into being satisfied with their holes under the deck. Maybe if you allow them a digging area they will be happy. You can bury cans with pennies in them in holes they've dug to discouraged them. I don't know how old they are but some dogs just outgrow it. Being a mix of lab and border collie I'm thinking they are bored. Border collies are high energy dogs who need to be working all the time. A lab can either be very laid back or high energy too. Perhaps they need more of an outlet for their energy.
By Vicki (Guest Post)
Chicken Wire 02/02/2005
My dogs dig and the only thing I found that would make them stop was to get chicken wire and plant it about 2 inches in the ground where their favorite places are. It doesn't hurt them and the grass will grow right through it. Also make sure you lay it very flat and when you need to, you can even use the lawnmower over it. Hopes this helps.
By cluttergoddess (Guest Post)
How Do I Keep a Dog From Digging? 02/02/2005
This sounds disgusting but it does work. Wherever they start to dig a hole put some of their droppings in it and cover it up. My daughter-in-law tried this and it worked. Dogs are natural diggers. They may need their own area as already suggested. I did read that, if possible, give them a sandbox and bury their toys to keep them out of trouble temporarily. We are lucky to have a wooded area on our property. That's where our dog digs, he's usually after a chipmunk.
By mkymlp
How Do I Keep a Dog From Digging? 02/02/2005
I think a shock collar could help here, some dogs respond to the bad tone and others actually need the shock a time or two to learn that you disapprove of what they are doing, but after that they may only need the tone and eventually they will quit. It works on the same concept that a buried fence does, we have three labs and our son also has one and we now know they respond to the tone when they get close to the border where the fence is buried.

It isn't a jolting shock I actually held it in my hand to see if it hurts or just feels uncomfortable and it doesn't hurt. A comparison would be to take a 9 volt battery and touch it to you tongue, it's a little stronger than that, sounds gross maybe but it tingles doesn't hurt. We live by a highway so a few uncomfortable circumstances and now just the tone now and then has saved our beautiful labs lives. We live across from a river and they were compelled to try and cross the road and they no longer do it.

We also borrowed a shock collar from a friend and used it to break our 2 year old lab of jumping and she is now three and after just a few training sessions she no longer jumps. A day spent teaching is a lot less work than redoing your yard every year, and you can use the collar to deter them from other habits you wish they didn't have, discipline not abuse.

By B (Guest Post)
How Do I Keep a Dog From Digging? 02/16/2006
It is natural for a dog to dig.
By Sue (Guest Post)

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