Flowerbed or lawn – it doesn’t matter, as gardening enthusiasts usually want to protect both from holes. However, many dogs are happy to dig through the soil in the garden with their paws, whether the guardian likes it or not. Why do dogs like to dig in the garden so much?
The dog is a hunter!
Many dogs have the hunting instinct in their blood – and many prey animals live underground. While it’s unlikely that you’ll find a badger or fox burrow in your back garden, how about a mouse nest or a molehill?
A dog’s nose first digs into the ground to pick up enticing smells. However, he would like to smell them more clearly. To pave the way, he must of course… start digging! Some breeds, such as terriers and dachshunds, especially love to dig holes in the ground.
Working in a pickle? It’s teamwork after all!
Planting flowers in the ground? Of course, your pet will necessarily want to support you in this, and that means: digging vigorously! Your dog gallops through the garden with his chest heaving and a seedling in his mouth – and you run right behind him?
Take a deep breath! Gardening is a hobby that offers many charms – including for dogs. When a keeper digs in the soil, many dogs will want to join in. Freshly loosened soil is particularly attractive for digging. This makes teamwork enjoyable – at least for the dog.
Lying in the soil
Creating hollows in the ground is one of the basic instincts of many animals. In winter, a burrow in the ground protects against cold and snow, and in summer it is pleasantly cool. Some bitches in heat or pregnant also tend to dig themselves a „nest”. In all cases, the idea is to get a natural place to lie down, of your own making.
Is your four-legged friend digging a hole in the ground to lie in during the summer? Read our tips for keeping dogs cool on warm summer days.
A hiding place for snacks
A dog who digs in the garden likes to make his burrows into hiding places for supplies. Often this need is limited to specific chewable. Some dogs chew on a bone for a while and then bury it 'for later. Others bury a treat as soon as they receive it, then immediately dig it out and chew it with relish.
Some dogs also hide snacks that they just don’t particularly like. Often, a snack that was once disliked becomes interesting due to the aroma of the garden – after a few weeks, the dog digs it up again to enjoy it.
The dog is bored
Often undesirable behaviour draws attention to another problem, such as boredom. „Garden door open, dog out” is not a good idea when it comes to keeping your dog occupied. Dogs whose physical and mental potential is not fully exploited will successfully find an occupation of their own.
Digging in the garden is then an ideal activity: it is great fun for the dog and, in addition, the carer often gives him what he wants most: attention. Even if it is just to scold him. Boredom can be the reason for digging at the same time as wanting to hunt mice or hide bones.
Despite the dog’s big, apologetic eyes, it is a painful sight for many amateur gardeners.
How do you get rid of your dog’s digging habit?
First of all, ask yourself whether your digging dog has everything it needs: above all, a comfortable bed and enough exercise and your attention.
Especially for hobby gardeners: You should train your dog together before starting gardening so that your devoted four-legged helper is physically and mentally fit.
If you are just starting to garden, you have two options: Consistently forbid your dog from helping you and have him lie down nearby, or keep him tethered on a leash while you work. Option two: Invite your dog to work with you! For example, practise little tricks by taking a break from tending the beds for a while or prepare a „digging corner” just for your four-legged friend.
Tips on banning digging in the garden
Your digging corner. If your dog likes to dig in the garden, a dog digging corner is a good alternative for you. Set aside a large enough 'digging corner’ area in the garden. As soon as your four-legged friend starts digging, take him to his corner.
You can make this corner more attractive by, for example, digging small holes yourself at first or hiding a small chew, treat or dog food in it.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your four-legged friend will accept this spot. However, especially with young dogs, the chances are really good.