The words -dog- and -digging- have more than just the letter D in common. Dogs are born with a PhD in digging, choosing to dig up holes and elaborate tunnels until your yard starts resembling an archaeological site. If your perfectly trimmed carpet of grass and delicate rosebush are in ruins due to this destructive behaviour, then a doggy intervention is in order. Below are seven tips that will help you stop your dog from digging its way to a galaxy far, far away.
Cure for Boredom
Boredom is the enemy of any lush, well-maintained yard. It turns your dog into a four-legged shovel, eager to get its paws dirty. Dogs of all shapes, breeds, and sizes do damage things when they are bored. One way you can stop your dog from digging holes and tunnels is by providing it with alternatives to digging. Dog breeds such as German shepherds and poodles, for example, are very intelligent creatures that require adequate mental stimulation, while puppies need their fair share of chew toys and squeaky balls. Nowadays, there is no shortage of toys that you can either order online or buy from a nearby pet store to keep your dog company. Toys such as interactive puzzles can keep your pooch busy for hours, but make sure you leave a wide selection of toys out in the yard and rotate them on a regular basis. According to experts, dogs develop a preference for new toys, so stocking up on new plush playthings is the best option if your bored dog is turning your yard into a canine construction site.
Exercise does wonders when it comes to stopping your dog from digging those terrible eyesores in your yard. You can get your dog moving in a multitude of ways, starting from a simple walk in the park to swimming or even jogging on the beach. If you are unable to walk your dog every day, then hiring a professional dog walker is the way to go. You can also stop your canine companion from wreaking havoc on your yard by introducing it to the world of dog sports. Agility training is great for most breeds, purebred or mixed, and they involve guiding your dog through a range of obstacles including tire jumps as well as weave poles. If your beloved pooch happens to be a dachshund or a Yorkshire terrier, then earthdog events are the place to be. Earth dog training is considered a safe sport which can help control unwanted digging by providing your dog with an outlet for this yard destroying habit. If your dog is more of a water enthusiast, then you can take it to a dock diving facility where its leaping abilities are put to the test. Sports are not only a great way to bond with your pooch, but they also help release its pent-up energy and spend it on something productive instead of destructive.
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Designated Digging Areas
If you share both your life and home with your dog, then why not share your yard too? Instead of thinking up ways to stop your dog from digging up the yard, maybe you should pick up a shovel and start digging. Creating a safe place for your dog to practice his favorite hobby is a sure-fire way to stop it from annihilating the entire yard. You can easily make a digging pit out of garden timbers and sand, but make sure you add a stone at the base to provide adequate drainage to the pit. Afterward, use a rake to evenly distribute the sand and then feel free to turn it into an epic treasure chest for your pooch. Once you are done with your little project, you can bury anything from dog treats to stuffed animals and even chew toys inside the pit, but the most important thing is to encourage your dog to use it. Rewarding your dog for using its designated digging area will make it understand that this is a safe space for digging within the yard. Another solution to the digging problem is to create a dog-friendly yard for your pooch, and that is achieved through adding extra features to your yards such as outdoor tunnels and fence windows or special canine portholes that allow your dog to peek outside the fence without digging up a mountain of dirt in the process.
Shelter from the Sun
Summer can be harsh on your dog due to the rise in temperature and lack of outdoor shade. The need to escape the sun in favor of a cool and dry area will prompt your pooch to dig up a hole in your yard. If you want to stop your dog from digging its own summer shelter, then you need to inflate that kiddie pool and turn your yard into a cool oasis. Start by making your pooch some DIY popsicles or frozen dog treats that can be easily prepared using a blender and silicone molds in the shape of dog bones or cute paw-prints. Healthy fruit-based treats are healthy, easy to make and provide much-needed hydration for your pooch. Hydration is the key word here, so investing in a chilled pet bowl with a stainless steel shell and a freezable inner core is a great way to keep water cold all day long. Special pet cooling mats are also a great option for dogs who spend most of their time outdoors in the summer since they can be paired with an umbrella or a sun-reflecting tarp for your dog to sit under.
Dogs sometimes act like magicians and pull a disappearing act, leaving behind a trail of destruction in your yard. They often dig under the fence in order to chase after a squirrel or simply because they want to seek out the company of a passing dog. This puts them at risk of getting lost or injured which can be a nightmare of epic proportions. Knowing how to stop your dog from digging his way into the unknown is the very definition of being proactive as a dog owner. In order to stop your dog from escaping, you will need to fortify your fence using metal or plastic garden mesh which is then attached to the base of the fence in order to extend it onto the yard. You can also plant high shrubs in order to block access to the fence or place concrete blocks along the inside perimeter to prevent your dog from pulling yet another disappearing act and ruining your precious perennials in the process.
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If your dog still insists on creating chaos in your yard then you can try and discourage it using creative methods such as burying balloons in his favorite digging spot. So the next time your pooch goes on a digging expedition, the surprise balloons will pop and put an end to this damaging habit. Another idea is to install a motion sensor that activates a sprinkler or a loud noise that will deter your dog from digging up the yard. And if you want to take it up a notch, you can use lemon, orange or even grapefruit peels to stop your dog from targeting certain areas in your yard. You can also use biodegradable coffee filters doused in white vinegar to stop your dog from targeting your plants, just make sure they dry out before cutting them into strips and distributing them throughout your yard. Last but not least, you can use your dog’s dislike for its own feces to your advantage by burying it in strategic areas around your yard. This will teach your dog not to poke its nose where it does not belong.
Training is Key
At the end of the day, training your dog to obey certain commands is an excellent way to stop it from digging up your yard, especially if it was still a puppy. Hiring a qualified dog trainer will give your pooch the chance to learn some very important lessons about discipline and respect. Teaching your dog to obey simple commands such as sit and stop, for example, can go a long way when it comes to issues such as digging unwanted holes and destroying plants in the yard. In addition, supervising your dog during his outdoor playtime session is a great way to practice using those commands and establishing a healthy pattern of rewarding good behavior and using negative reinforcement to discourage bad behavior. For example, every time you catch your dog attempting to dig up the yard, just clap your hands or create a loud, irritating noise that will distract the dog from doing so. Over time, your dog will associate this unpleasant sound with digging and refrain from doing it altogether.
Having a dog means making minor adjustments when it comes to your yard. Adjustments that benefit both you and your beloved pet, be it making a custom-made digging pit for your pooch or buying the latest cooling devices to keep it hydrated during the summer. It is possible to have your cake and eat it too if you follow the above tips in order to preserve your yard and keep your dog happy and healthy at the same time.
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