There are lots of dogs that love to dig. While this can be cute and comical out on the beach, or as they bury toys in the garden, there is a potential danger to this behavior. The worst case scenario here is that your beloved pet will dig its way under a fence and be able to leave the property. They may end up getting lost or injured on the roads. So what can we, as dog owners, do to prevent this from happening? The answer may depend on why they are digging.
Some dogs dig because they are bored or have too much energy
Some pets aren’t actively trying to get to the other side of the boundary. They just have too much energy to burn and enjoy digging and playing in the flowerbeds. They may even have seen you digging here, so realize that it is something they can do. The best way to combat this is to keep them active and entertained. Make sure they have had plenty of exercise before being left alone in the yard. Provide them with plenty of toys within the space to keep them entertained.
Toys are also helpful for those that think there is something better on the other side of the fence
Then there are the dogs that know what lies beyond the boundaries and want a chance to get at it. They may be drawn to other gardens because of the smells and sounds. This is where it helps to make your own garden as interesting as possible. Don’t give them a reason to want to dig their way out. Also be aware that this interesting smell may be from a prey animal living nearby. Check the boundaries for gaps and trails where your dog may be chasing after other animals. Try and find a way to remove that temptation in the most humane way possible.
Then there are those dogs that dig because they were built to
There are many terriers and other working breeds that we bred to be good diggers, to seek out that prey for us. This basically means that any digging instinct really is all our fault. The need to dig and please their master is strong, and the dirt by the fence is an easy option. Here you may need to either reinforce the boundary or make it less appealing. If the dog is going to dig, make sure that the fence extends deep into the soil so they can’t get out. Consider putting some rocks under there too to block their escape. You may also want to plant shrubs along the fence that dogs won't want to go near.
If all this fails, look at some dog behavior training to try and get them to stop this behavior
If digging is a big problem and a bit of a compulsion for dogs, it might be worthwhile to try some training exercise. Work on their obedience to get them to return to you when they start digging. Offer positive reinforcement when they stop and move away from the fence. If they absolutely love to dig, build them a sandbox where they know it is fine for them to play. This combination of training, reinforcements and toys can help to make the garden more dog-friendly and combat the issue of digging. The final fool proof method would be to install a wireless electric dog fence that will keep your pet from wandering out.
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