Nothing is as frustrating as coming home to discover that your lovely garden has been destroyed completely. Digging is a perfectly natural thing for dogs to do, but it can be quite destructive. If you would like to ensure that your dog doesn’t dig in the garden, offer him the right outlet for that behavior, instead of attempting to stop it altogether.
Avoid trying to completely stop the behavior. Digging is completely natural for dogs, so it is both unnecessary and unwise to completely discourage it. However, you may redirect that behavior towards an outlet that’s more appropriate.
Supervise the dog when outside. One of the easiest ways to keep your dog from digging in the yard is to keep an eye on your beloved dog when he is outside.
Protect the garden using a border or fence. Something as simple as a decorative fence is all that you need to discourage either your own dogs or other neighborhood dogs from wandering into your garden and digging.
Raised beds can be effective tools for protecting vegetables and flowers. Dogs are far less likely to hop up into a raised bed than they are to simply wander through a garden that’s not differentiated from the rest of the yard.
Teach the dog that you don’t approve of the behavior. If you find the dog digging in your yard, simply say “No” firmly and lead the dog away from the area if necessary.
Startle the dog if necessary. Sometimes spraying the dog with a hose or making a loud sound are effective ways to catch his attention and get him to cease doing what he’s doing.
Redirecting the behavior. Allow the dog to dig a portion of the yard so that he may act on his urge without the need for you sacrifice the garden.
Burying toys in the area. If you want the dog to become interested in digging in the area you have selected for him, buy a few toys or treats for him to find.
Correcting the dog’s digging behavior. If you catch the dog digging outside the area you have set aside for him, tell him “No” firmly and then gently lead him to his area of the yard to dig.
Reward the dog for good behavior. If the dog starts playing or digging in the area you have set aside for him, reward him to show that you approve of the behavior.
Consistency. Consistency in rewarding good behavior and not allowing bad behavior is the key to training the dog to do what you want. It is only through consistency that your dog can learn.
The Bottom Line
The important thing you need to keep in mind is that digging comes naturally to dogs. You cannot expect the dog stop this behavior completely, but you can direct it to an outlet that’s more appropriate. Just reward the dog for digging in the right place and you can be sure that he will stop ruining your garden.