Landscaping can be an expensive investment, so finding fresh pot holes of dirt in your green lawn is hardly what you want to wake up to. Dogs are ambitious creatures, always determined to find adventure, and explore wherever their noses may take them. Sometimes the most tempting solution is to dive headlong into the back yard, and dig through the dirt to their heart’s content. Not every canine breed shares the same intense desire to dig, but those that do tend to drive their owners wild, as they leave a path of uprooted plants, flowers, grass and dirty mud clods in their wake. Fortunately this problematic behavior can be curbed by a few simple steps. Before your terrier indulges in his archeological inclinations, help find ways to revert his focus in a less destructive path.
Stop your dog from digging
Your dog may be bored, or incredibly active and energetic –in need of some positive employment and engaging activity. Here are some ideas of things you can to keep your pup’s nose out of the dirt:
Work him out and wear him out: Take him walking once in the morning and once at night. Or better yet, don’t just walk him but run or jog with him, go for a strenuous hike, or a swim in the water. He may be too exhausted to paw through rubble and mud when he gets home, preferring to have a long snooze instead.
Give him a cool lair to rest in: Speaking of nap time –one of the reasons dogs like to dig, is that they are overheated and want to find a fresh place to rest. Dirt tends to be cool and damp, and a hole in the ground could provide a happy escape from the harsh sun. Instead, give your dog a plastic kiddy pool filled with cool water to keep his temperature down (and his toes out of the turf!)
Work on constructive projects such as training, obstacle courses, etc: Boredom is another reason why dog’s eyes wander to the new mulch in your garden. Give your pup employment such as practicing a new trick or skill, or learning to find a scented toy. Come up with creative ways to play & exercise with your dog!
Give him exciting toys or a big new bone to chew: Sometimes distraction is the best method of ending a problematic behavior. Punishing puppies is usually ineffective, but providing an object of interest which has greater allure than the grass, will usually result in a happy dog and an unscathed lawn.
Correct/Command him to stop: When the digging has begun, go outside and say “NO.” Then call your dog over, and begin to play fetch with him, and praising him. Whenever you see the dog digging, say “no” and interrupt him from doing do.
If your cat likes to dig…
Though cats are usually more focused on climbing up than they are digging down, felines can also adopt this bad behavior. Often cat owners will find their flower pots upset, or the dirt from their indoor trees all over the carpet. The poor kitty might have thought the dirt felt and reminded him of kitty litter, or maybe the cool damp dirt felt good to his paws on a hot day. Whatever the reason, help your cat avoid digging through your plants, by hanging them up instead of leaving them on the floor. If you want to keep your plants where they are, line the top of the soil with small stones to discourage their paws from pouncing. Cat owners have also found, a little layer of lemon peel or orange peel will turn the feline away, since the scent of citrus is distasteful to them.
Or, you can use an option such as Kitty Grass. This can be found at many pet stores, and provides a safe alternative place where they can dig without destroying your geraniums.
The good news is, grass can grow back, and digging rarely brings permanent damage to your lawn. Find what works for your pet to keep him happy and healthy, and your plants safe from harm.