How to Get Dogs Not to Dig Flowersby Kimberly Caines
You can have a well-behaved dog and a colorful flower garden.
If your once colorful flower garden resembles a crater-filled landscape, it might be time to address Fido's digging fetish. Digging comes naturally to dogs, and if not controlled, they can do substantial damage. Also, some plants and flowers your pet companion encounters might be poisonous to him. To nip Fido's undesired behavior in the bud and protect him from potential harm, find out why he's digging up your garden -- maybe he digs to release stress or he's desperate for entertainment. Stop the behavior and redirect his attention so you can preserve your flowers.
Spend time with your dog so he doesn't feel like he needs to act up to get attention. Walk him at least twice a day, play games with him and let him run or swim to burn energy.
Provide your pet companion with plenty of toys to keep him busy and entertained when he's in the garden. If he's busy, he might forget all about digging up your flowers. Food-stuffed toys or chew toys can provide hours of fun.
Select an area of the garden where your dog is allowed to dig. Border off this area with rocks and cover the ground with sand or soil. For extra motivation to dig, bury your dog's favorite toys and treats in the digging pit. Alternatively, fill a child-sized sandbox with soil or sand and use it as a digging pit. Replenish the toys and treats once a week to keep your dog motivated to dig.
Watch your dog like a hawk each time he goes into the garden. Don't let him out of your sight, because you have to catch him in the moment to correct his behavior. Punishing your pet companion after the fact is ineffective.
Blow a whistle or clap your hands and say "no dig," the moment your dog starts digging in the soil around your flowers. The noise will startle him and he'll stop digging.
Bring your dog to the digging pit and give him a hug and treat when he starts using it. Continue redirecting him to the digging pit each time he digs in an area that's off-limits. Over time, he'll associate this with the unpleasant noise and he'll associate using the digging pit with getting praise.
Fence off your flowers so your dog can't get to them if a digging pit doesn't seem to work. Bury the fence about 2 feet deep so your dog can't dig his way under it to get to your flowers. Alternatively, don't allow your dog outside if you can't watch him.
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- Dog toys
- Sand or soil
- Child-sized sandbox