Dogs and puppies often have a desire to dig up mulch, dirt, grass and other parts of your landscaping. This leads to more maintenance on your end, and it may hurt the health of your plant material. The good news is, there are some simple tricks you can use to train your dog not to dig. Read on to learn how to protect your landscaping.

Cure Your Dog’s Boredom with Fun Activities

A bored dog is far more likely to get into things than a dog that is physically and mentally stimulated. By engaging in fun activities with your dog, you can keep their mind occupied and deter the desire to dig. Activities could range from daily walks around the neighborhood to playing fetch, running an obstacle course, learning new tricks, or getting a treat out of an enrichment toy. Find creative ways to keep your dog moving and thinking, and you’ll have fewer holes to manage.

Monitor Your Dog Outside

The best way to stop any undesired activity is to catch it early on. Monitor your dog outside, and make a loud noise when you notice him start to dig. A firm “no” may be sufficient for your dog, but some trainers recommend using a more specific phrase like “no dig.”

If your dog does not respond to a deterrent noise, you could use a spray bottle to squirt him with water when you notice the behavior. This associates that activity with an unwanted sensation (getting hit with water), making your dog less likely to repeat it in the future. Combine this with your disciplinary word for maximum effectiveness.

Identify Where Your Dog Is Digging and Why

Is your dog digging throughout the yard, or is there a specific area that he targets? If the digging occurs all over, your dog is probably bored or looking for attention. If your dog is digging in one area, there may be a reason for it.

Inspect the area for pests, rodents and other prey your dog may be trying to get at. If your dog is trying to dig up a certain plant, you may need to create a temporary barrier around it while you work on training. If the dog likes a patch of dirt or mulch, you might cover it with chicken wire as a deterrent. These barriers don’t have to be permanent – just long enough to teach your dog not to dig there.

If your dog is digging around the fence to escape, you could add chicken wire or stakes to the bottom of the fencing. You could also add a decorative rock border or other landscaping features to that area. Berns Landscaping would be happy to create a pet-friendly landscape design for your yard.

Create a Digging Zone or Work with a Dog Trainer for Personalized Advice

Some homeowners create a designated area of their yard for digging. This may be a dog run or a run of dirt that is separate from the rest of the landscaping. This is only effective if you can train your dog to dig within that area and no where else. Otherwise, the dig zone may encourage bad behavior throughout the yard.

If you’d like personalized advice for your dog’s breed, age and personality, consider working with a dog trainer in your area. There are many training techniques to use, depending on what your dog best responds to. Discuss your goals, concerns and past training attempts with your trainer to find a solution that works for you.

Redesign Your Landscaping

Are old holes making your landscape look worn? Do you want a landscape design that discourages digging? Berns Landscaping offers completely custom landscape design services. We can plan around your pet, your existing plants, your budget and other factors to create a one-of-a-kind design for your property. Give us a call at (586) 756-1145 to schedule a landscape design consultation.

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