With the weather heating up and summer fast approaching, many of us have taken to our gardens for a little downtime. However, our furry friends often have the same idea, and they love digging up our once-gorgeous lawns.
So what triggers our lovable dogs’ digging behaviour and how can we prevent it?
To help owners prevent dogs from destroying the garden, Richard Setterwall, General Manager at dog walking and sitting service Rover.com, offers tips on dealing with pesky pups.
More Playtime and Exercise
Dogs are a bit like children - they require a lot of exercise and attention. Often digging can be a sign of boredom as those happy-go-lucky minds crave activity and play, so the freshly mown lawn can seem appealing as a way to burn off energy and frustration.
Running, swimming, fetch and other activities help work off nervous energy. Try scheduling a few extra walks a week to get them out of the garden, and prevent them from getting a little stir crazy.
Digging is second nature to dogs, so I’d recommend creating a fun doggy diversion. Make sure you have an assortment of toys readily available for your pup to keep them entertained. You can go for the reliable classics; tennis balls, cuddly toys, and rope toys. Test the water with a few treat-dispensing puzzle toys, which should keep them preoccupied, and away from your lovely lawn.
You could even consider investing in a space that is intentionally designed for your dog to scratch that itch - dog sandpits have proved to be very popular as long as you take the time to train your pup to dig there and not elsewhere.
Often dogs will return to familiar turf in the garden, so if you find your hound forever digging up the same spot, there are several steps you can take. Try partially burying flat rocks in their favourite digging spots. Citrus peels, or vinegar can also make your dog’s nose wrinkle and discourage them.
It’s not all your dog’s fault! Very often you will find that there are other creatures causing carnage in the garden, whether they’re squirrels, rats or other prey animals leaving trails, smells and more to rile up your buddy. You can usually spot this problem if your pup is constantly digging near trees or plants.
Look out for signs of invasive rodents or burrowing animals and make sure to call an exterminator who will use a safe and humane way to keep the wild animals out.
Help Your Dog Cool Down
Often dogs take to digging out of frustration, and this can sometimes be due to overheating. During the warmer months, dogs are prone to digging to create a cool space to relax in, so try and make sure there is always a shaded area in the garden that your furry friend can retreat to, to cool off. There are a few signs you should look out for to check if your dog is overheating - dark pink or red gums, sweaty feet, panting and lethargy can often mean that your hound is too hot!
Making It Safe for Them
As much as we want to save and preserve our gardens, it’s also hugely important to be aware of the ways our gardens can sometimes harm our dogs. Leaving garden tools out can quickly harm your pup, so make sure to check these have been properly cleared away before letting your friends run free. You should also regularly check your garden fence to make sure there are no breaks, as often curious dogs will try and explore and either catch themselves on the fence or break free from the garden entirely.
It’s also important to be aware of the objects in the garden - both natural and artificial - that can irritate your dog. For example, weeds and mushrooms can smell delicious to dogs, but can quickly cause a very upset tum. Artificial substances such as slug pellets, weed killer, and rat poison can be deadly, so do not let your dog play in the garden when using these. What’s more, whilst certain plants might look beautiful in your garden, they can be poisonous to dogs. Common flowers including tulips and daffodils are harmful to our hounds, so make sure you’re reading up on what is and isn’t safe before purchasing plants.
Richard Setterwall, General Manager at Rover.com, says: “Brits are known for taking pride in their beautiful gardens, which is why some dog owners may find themselves frustrated when their furry friends make digging up the grass their guilty pleasure. It’s important to remember though that it’s not their fault, and instead take some simple steps to help prevent them from doing it again.”
Rover.com is a dog walking and boarding service, bringing dog owners and trusted sitters together. For more information or to sign up either as a walker, sitter or owner, please visit: