What to Do if Your Dog Is Digging Up the Garden

If you can't get your dog to stop digging up your lovely, hard-worked little garden, then read this article. We'll tell you about why your dog might be doing it, and what you can do to stop it from terrorizing your calm space.
What to Do if Your Dog Is Digging Up the Garden

Last update: 11 December, 2018

Just about every dog in the world loves digging, whether in a garden, on the beach, or anywhere else they can find. But if your dog starts digging up your garden, tearing up the flowers or plants you’ve worked so hard on, it’s definitely going to get on your nerves. So, do you want to know why exactly your dog digs up the garden?

Why dogs like digging (even in your garden)

why dogs like digging garden

People always say that you can find out why dogs dig by analyzing their past. Wolves, the most recent ancestors of dogs, struggled to fight to survive and get the food they needed to feed themselves and their packs.

However, what did they do if they found too much? They would dig up a hole to hide their food. So, at least in part, your dog is not the one to blame for digging up your garden, it’s “grandpa” wolf’s fault. But that’s not the only reason dogs do it.

Searching for a scent

This is simple enough: there’s something down there, like a bone another dog might have hidden in the ground. You how crazy dogs get when they catch the scent of food, which is why they start digging in search of this appetizing scent.

Digging because of the heat

Dogs have an amazing ability to find the coolest part of the house…or garden. They know that the ground holds onto the dampness of rain and that if they dig a bit they might find a fresh spot to get some relief from the sun.


This might be the biggest problem. If your dog digs for any of the other reasons, then it’s not a big issue. But if they dig out of anxietythat’s more of a health problem. In this case, it’s a compulsive behavior that could actually cause your dog harm. So, for the sake of your dog’s health, you should take him to the vet and find out what the causes are.

What to do if your dog likes digging (especially in your garden)

If your dog digs for the aforementioned reasons, then take a look at the following advice on helping you put an end to this annoying behavior.

border collie running

  • Give them attention. Animals can’t reason, so you should basically look at them as children. Your dog might just be digging to get your attention. So, you should try to give them some attention and see if the problem goes away.
  • Don’t let them get bored. If your dog spends a lot of time home alone or gets bored even when you’re around, then buy them some canine games, toys, or anything else they could use to entertain themselves with. Play with them while you take them on a walk. Have them fetch a ball, and don’t allow them to get bored on your watch!
  • Make it so that they don’t like digging. But how? Watch your dog and see where it likes to dig. Put some stones in the ground — this will make the sensation of having their paws in the soil a less pleasurable experience. Put up a little fence around the area along with metal wiring to keep them from digging underneath the fence.
  • Give them a digging box. If you have a big garden, take some wooden beams and make a box. Fill it up with wet, tilled sand, and let your dog jump right in! You can bury dog biscuits, dog treats, bones, or anything else they like. This will motivate them to look for the buried treasure, and they will forget all about your lovely garden.
  • Find a professional trainerIf none of these work and your dog is still digging compulsively, then you should seek professional help. There could be internal or behavioral problems that you can’t see.

However, don’t get too worked up about it. Ultimately, it’s a normal thing for most dogs to do. Also, always remember that positive reinforcement is the key to changing their behavior. Forcing them won’t do any good at all.