Dogs are just born to dig. Nevertheless, by taking a more direct approach, you can curb them from digging under fences and preventing them from escaping or creating havoc in your yard.
Why Do Dogs Dig Under Fence?
Dogs will dig for a variety of reasons; boredom, loneliness, isolation or when they are trying to get out of an enclosed space like a yard because of fear or to seek for a mate.
Getting to know what is causing your dog to keep digging under the fence will help you to stop this behavior.
How To Keep Dogs From Digging Under Fence?
Once you have found out the reason that led to your dog digging, you are going to start training him to stop doing this action.
Make use of the following TIPS to get your dog stop digging the fence.
Exercise To Keep Him Tired
One of the best ways to lessen the chance of your dog digging is to ensure that he gets a lot of exercise.
Year round, dogs need an ample amount of exercise to keep their behavioral problem or hyperactivity at bay.
Your dog will need exercise to keep him from becoming bored and frustrated. Plan regular play times with him to provide the necessary mental and physical stimulation.
At times, illnesses or injuries could prevent him from going out to exercise and that could also lead to his digging behavior as he is getting bored. For that. you would need to seek help from your veterinarian.
Put His Feces In The Digging Spot
It’s a good idea to bury your dog feces in the spots that he is digging. This will deter him from going back to the spot for his next round of digging as dogs do not like to dig his own feces.
Cure His Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety can create a whole new set of problems because it can make your dog wants to get away from you to look for his pack member and start digging under the fence to escape from the yard.
You need to find a way to calm him down and the best way is to make him acknowledge you as his pack leader. That would ease his separation anxiety and would stop his escaping behavior.
Spaying Or Neutering Him
A dog who is not yet spay or neuter might attempt to escape to look for a mate. Spaying or neutering is a good way to reduce the likelihood of your dog digging under the fence (trying to escape) for this case.
Cover See-Through Fence With A Outdoor Fabric
Your dog might be fancy on what is beyond the fence and might be getting excited to go out and have a look. It’s this curiosity that led to his attempt to escape from the yard through digging under the fence.
You can get a roll of landscaping fabric or bamboo, which is of equal length to your fences to conceal it.
Positive reinforcement is a great way to change any dog behavior problem. If your dog is digging because he is bored, simply spend more time with him.
This can be anything from extra walks, an extra play session, or a more active form of exercise like swimming or jogging along with your dog.
You should give your dog plenty of toys to keep him occupied when you are not there with him. Dog bones and chew toys can give him something to chew on and that will help with his boredom.
If that does not work, you can always try getting another dog for his company.
Your dog might also dig because he feels stressed and needs a way to release that tension.
Watch out for any of his body language (such as barking, panting, shivering, cowering in one corner of the house, biting furniture or urinating frequently) that exhibits he is experiencing anxiety or fear and work to make him feel at ease.
Help Him Cool Down
Another known reason dogs dig is that they’re instinctively digging to get cool ground. It’s hard to explain, but a deep hole will provide them with a spot to lay in during hot weather.
So does your dog dig because he is overheating?
If that is the case for your dog, you can help him to cool down by getting some damp towel for him to lay out during the warm day.
Create Negative Association With Digging
1. Place a small amount of coarse, concrete near the area you do not want your dog to dig. Every time your dog goes for the digging, he will “hit” the concrete and it will give him a negative association to digging in that area.
2. Spread some citrus peels or vinegar on the digging spot near the fence. Dogs dislike that strong smell and would avoid going back there.
3. Set up a harmless sprinkler near the area you do not want your dog to dig. Every time your dog goes to dig in this area, the sprinkler will water the area.
4. You can also place some balloons under the fences near your dog’s favorite digging spots. The popping out of the balloons when your dog digs in your yard will also give him a negative association with digging.
5. Laying chicken wire right under the surface of the fence will achieve the results you want, which is to deter your dog from digging. He would feel really uncomfortable when he is stepping on the wire mesh and would go away.
6. Still having issues with your dog digging under the fence? You can try giving him an alternate place to dig. You could give this product “iDig Digging Toy” a try. Your dog will be digging his way for his treasure in this toy!
7. Other people have had great results with an installation of invisible electric fences. These fences work by connecting to a set of underground wires around the perimeter of your garden.
The wires send a small amount of electricity through the ground when your dog gets too close. This small electricity will not harm your dog. It would just make him a bit uncomfortable and deter him from approaching the fence.
Do Not Give Him The Attention For Digging
Your dog may dig for attention. If you reinforce that the digging behavior is acceptable when he is acting out, you are sending him the message that it is okay to dig.
By simply ignoring him or giving him that unpleasant expression or saying “No”, you are telling him that this action is not acceptable and you are unhappy with his behavior.
Your dog likes to please you and would stop doing this action. Once he stops digging, praise him and offer him a treat. This will help him to associate “not digging” with getting a reward.
Supervising Your Dog
Supervise your dog whenever you bring him out to the yard. If he attempts to dig under the fence, make a loud sound by clapping your hand to get his attention.
Do not yell or punish him for digging as that may make him be fearful of you. This will not stop his digging action and the moment you are not observing him, he will dig again. What you should do is to train him not to dig even when you are not around.
Once you had managed to get his attention, use a firm tone and say “No” while giving him a stern staring. Dogs are good at observing your expression. Show your unhappiness when you are saying “No” to him, and he will get the idea that you are disapproving of his action.
When he stops digging, reward him with a treat and give him a gentle pet on his head. He will learn to associate this action with a positive experience (a reward from you).
Dogs Breeds That Love to Dig
Breed likewise can play a role in determining the tendency of a dog to dig. If your dog belongs to one of the following breeds, you are likely going to need more time supervising him as his instinct is to dig.
10 Dogs Breeds That Love to Dig
- Bedlington Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
- Siberian Husky
- Australian Shepherd
- Bearded Collie
If you have a dog that already exhibits digging behavior, it is going to take time to change his behavior.
Keep in mind that all dogs will dig, as it’s part of their nature. However, with patience and determination, you can teach any dog to stop digging.