Having a dog in a private house with a beautiful lawn and fence-line is your dream? Wait until it becomes a moonscape with craters everywhere. Just joking, don’t wait. Dogs’ digging is really annoying, but don’t put the blame on your pet – you can take it under control. I’ve tried a couple of things before I found the solution on how to keep my dog from digging under the fence. Come and check it out.
Diagnose the Problem. Why Dogs Dig?
Before getting upset and punishing your dog for digging up your yard, harden our fence – make sure you are aware of why does he do it. There are a few common reasons which, after identifying it can help you find the solution.
Dogs may dig for entertainment as digging can keep them occupied. Have you ever seen how do they do it? It’s fun for them to dig and then put a nose into a hole, splash the soil around or give a bath for himself to roll into it.
Why does it happen? Usually, dogs tend to dig into boredom or loneliness. If you leave your dog alone in the yard for long periods and he has no toys or human interaction during the day – he can get sad. Dogs are pretty much companionship-oriented animals. And they have to occupy their minds by doing something actively. Especially – if they are an active breed, don’t get enough playtime or exercise.
Digging is a natural behavior for most of the dog breeds. If you own a dog which breed was bred for hunting, then those dogs have a much stronger instinct to dig or den they way out. The genetics plays a critical role here, and it’s not their fault they have this urge to hunt for the prey.
Comfort and Protection
Providing shelter from the sun and rain is extremely important if you keep your dog in a yard. Otherwise, your dog will probably dig the ground to create a relaxed and comfortable spot to lay down.
Why does it happen? The ground is always much cooler a few inches below the surface when there is warm or even hot weather. Or there is no shadow for your dog to hide in. Dogs can dig down to create a cool space to relax and protect themselves from overheating. What is more, the sun is always moving, and so does your dog. So don’t be surprised if you find several different pits in your yard.
Also, your dog loves and needs to lay on a soft surface. The grass might not always be the best solution. So if you don’t leave anything else for your dog to lay on, your dog might dig a hole into the fitting body, making a perfect spot for resting.
Dogs are human friends, and they enjoy the company very much. Sometimes they act like kids to get your attention – even by developing an irritating habit. If they don’t get enough of your time or are being left alone with no toys, they can start digging your presence. Just to receive your attention and interaction.
If your dog is digging under or along your fence, it might be a sign that he is trying to escape. This can happen due to a couple of reasons. First of all, your fence might not provide the security your dog needs. And he can be triggered by passengers or other pets behind the fence. Secondly, your yard is not dog-friendly enough to stay occupied. I used to have a dog that would always go and try to escape every time I left the house. He was not used to be left alone, and I had to trick him every time until he learned to stay calm. So the training is essential – your dog needs to be trained well to remain within the fenced area.
Problem-solving. Changing the Conditions.
After identifying a cause of your dog’s unbidden behavior, you can start choosing a suitable approach to stop it. It’s like a relationship – you need to work on that for both sides to be happy. Generally speaking, to prevent your dog from digging you need to start from confirming your dog is well taken care of. Here a few steps on how you can do it.
Spend More Time With your Dog. Keep your Dog Entertained.
Sadly, some people tend to forget why do they have a dog in the first place. Dogs depend on their owners, and they need constant attention and exercise. By only giving them space in a yard, we are not providing them lifetime happiness. We (dog owners) need to make sure a dog has enough walk and play time on a daily basis. Dogs need to get tired, both emotionally and physically. Depending on your dog’s breed, keep your training and games intense and entertaining enough. Even when you are not around – it’s necessary for a dog to have something play with.
Stop Your Dog From Hunting Prey
As I mentioned before, some of the dogs are natural hunters. They can be tempted by any sound or smell and start digging your yard to catch the prey. In this case, it’s your job to make your yard as much unattractive to the burrowing animals as possible. Make sure you use safe and humane methods to fence them out. For your dog’s sake, don’t use anything that can be toxic or dangerous to other of your pets or even children.
Besides digging to hunt wild animals, dogs sometimes bury their food, treats, and toys to dig up later. Here you would have to improvise by giving your dog different size toys or bones to see which ones are too difficult to bury after all.
Give Your Dog More Shelter or a Safe Place to Rest
If you keep your dog outside or cannot bring them inside when the weather changes, make sure he can always find the place to hide from direct sun, rain, or even snow. It also has to be comfortable enough to lay down. The last thing to mention – don’t forget to leave some water in an untippable bow unless you want your four-legged friend get dehydrated.
Remember, Dogs Love Attention
If your dog is digging to get your attention, you should ignore this and never punish your dog after the fact. Rather than this, you should remember to give lots of praise for “good dog” behavior. Finally, to keep your dog happy, make sure he is regularly walked and played.
Offer Alternative Digging. DIY Dog Sandbox.
To prevent your dog from digging, you need to make sure his mind is occupied with something else. Another solution is to give him a chance to do what he wants but only in the designated area. In this case, there is a great alternative – a DIY dog sandbox. This can be a freestanding box (borders protect the sand from being splashed around) or simply a designated pit area somewhere in the corner of the yard. Besides, do not forget to spend some time while training your dog to use this sandbox in the way you want.
Make Improvements to Your Fence and Yard
If you’ve already addressed your dog behaviors and he is still into digging. Then another effective way to prevent your buddy from digging under the fence or yard can be physical prevention. There are different approaches to do it according to how does your yard look.
Adjust Existing Fences
Some dogs are just simply unstoppable when they want to dig their way out. If you had built your fence before your dog came to your house, you would have to make some adjustments to the existing fence to fortify it and make it fully dig-resistant.
- L-Footer Type
L – footer type fencing is a wire fencing laid down along the bottom of the fence and along the base (90 degrees angle). This type of fence eliminates the gap between the ground and the fence and your pooch is then unable to dig under.
The most important thing here is to attach all the fencing securely ends to keep it steady. Some of the people bury the footer down in the ground, but it’s not necessary. You can leave it on top of the grass, but don’t forget to put some rocks or isolate it so that your dog won’t hurt himself trying to explore it.
- Reinforced Ground Fencing
It’s a premade bottom fence that is usually made out of galvanized steel. It’s ideal for covering any gaps your fence has near the bottom. Reinforced ground fencing is designed with upright rods which are equally spaced to make your dog unable to squeeze it trough. Also, your dog won’t be able to take it down as it’s reinforced on both of your fence sides. If you are willing to buy this product, count how many pieces you will have to purchase to cover the whole perimeter of your fenced area.
- Use Rocks as a Barrier
One of the most straightforward solutions to stop your digger from going under the fence is using rocks as a barrier along your fence line. It works fine for small or medium-sized dogs as they are unable to move them physically. However, if you have a bigger dog breed, you might want to use bigger rocks to block your dog away from the fence. Some homeowners like the aesthetic look of the stones in their garden, so if you are one of them, use your imagination also to make it functional.
- Concrete Footer
One of the most effective solutions for gravediggers is a concrete footer. A dog will be unable to dig concrete flooring when you pour it along the fence line. It means no gaps, no possibility to scratch and dig. In this case, you will also have to sink the bottom of the fence into the concrete and leave it to dry. Yes, it’s a big project, but it’s worth it.
To keep your dog from digging under the fence, you can mix some of the anti-digging techniques. What you need to do is just to put some thought into landscaping and see what fits your yard best. For example, you can consider planting some bushes. Using sturdy, ornamental grasses and putting some rocks to the perimeter of your fence by making it more dig-proof. Therefore, it is a win-win situation as you can also add some aesthetic value to your property.
Use Deterrent Spray
The idea of using a deterrent spray is to make your dog’s digging area unappealing. Dogs are sensitive to smells so you can spray some black pepper, chili or any spicy sauce around the perimeter of your fence. Once your dog smells it, it will probably make him sneeze, and he will not be tempted to getting close anymore. To make sure your dog avoids the specific area, you will have to repeat this procedure every two weeks by spraying all the digging holes and areas. But, this method may not work for some of the dogs, but since it doesn’t need much investment, you can always try it.
And if all Else Fails? Try Alternatives.
The size of the pet products market is getting bigger and wider every year. There are a lot of smart alternatives when it comes to your dog care, including digging prevention. Here are some of them you can try if you want to control your digger.
Electric Invisible fences
Building a physical fence for some of the home and dog owners sometimes is not a choice. It requires more maintenance and effort you put while finding the best type that would both restrict your dog and be a budget-friendly. On the contrary, the invisible electric fences are a great alternative.
There are two types of invisible electric fences – wired inground and wireless. They come with unique dog collars that control your dog’s movement. Once you set up the fencing perimeter, your dog will be restricted in the area you want him to be. It means if he tries to cross the boundaries, he will get a signal and (if he doesn’t stop) a light electric stimulus. With proper training, your dog can be kept away from going out of your property and be stopped from digging in certain areas.
Exercise playpens are great for keeping your dog occupied in the yard. When your pet is busy, there is less chance he will look for activities that might leave you with a minefield instead of a yawn. There are many varieties of playpens you can choose from. To provide more space and stability, you should select the outside pen which is made from heavier materials, has sturdy anchors and is big enough. Choosing the right material is also essential when you think about a pen’s possibilities to rot or rust.
What is more, you may also want to include a DIY dig pit inside the pen. To make your dog happy by letting him dig where he can. However, if you are looking for a temporary solution, you can find a lot of portable playpens. They are excellent if you are traveling with your pet. And it serves well when you want to keep your dog safely contained.
Another smart fencing option is an airlock. It is a perfect choice if you want to keep your dog away from your existing fence. It’s like a dual-gate system. By building a second fence line just a few meters away, you will create an airlock and safely contain your dog. Some of the airlocks can also be installed just outside the point of your entrance. So if you open a door, your dog gets in the restricted area that is usually designed with the self-closing gates.
Dogs love their owners, and digging doesn’t mean they want to irritate you or intentionally do harm. Maybe they just need your attention? Whatever the cause is, prove your love to your pet by taking good care of his needs. Hopefully, my thorough guide on how to keep your dog from digging can help you find the right solution.