Stop Your Retriever from Digging

Boisterous dogs and beautifully manicured gardens are generally not a good combination, but there are creative ways to stop your retriever from digging destructively and ruining your lawn.

Stop your Retriever from DiggingDigging on its own is not really the problem but the location of the digging. If your dog digs at the beach or in a sand pit, you don’t mind in the least. It is only when he digs under a fence or in your beloved flower beds that it becomes a problem.

Stop Your Retriever from Digging up The Garden

Why do dogs dig? The simple answer is that it is fun and entertaining for them to do, so the best solution is to provide a diversion.

  • Make a designated digging spot. This is one of the best ways to stop your retriever from digging where you don’t want him to. Find a spot in the garden where you can put a sand pit for his exclusive use or buy a sandbox. Bury some exciting bones and toys so that digging in the pit will be more rewarding than digging in your garden. Praise him for sticking to the pit. Whenever he digs elsewhere, show your disapproval and lead him back to the pit. Keep repeating this until he realizes what you want.
  • Discipline. Unless you can actually catch your dog in the act of digging where you don’t want him to, there is no point in punishing him. He will only react with fear and confusion and it will achieve nothing but making your dog insecure.
  • Visit the beach or park often. If you can’t have a special place for him to dig in at home, make sure he has an outlet at the beach or park where he can indulge in digging to his heart’s content without being reprimanded.
  • Exercise. A tired dog will not have too much energy left over for digging, so make sure your dog has plenty of exercise. Take him for frequent walks, play fetch with a ball, run with him and do other activities that get rid of any pent up energy.
  • Training and stimulation. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise for retrievers. Digging might be a sign of frustration and boredom because these dogs are intelligent and need a certain amount of challenging activities. Obedience training with a dog club is a great way to not only provide some recreation for your dog, but also some socialization with other dogs.
  • Provide a pool. Retrievers have long thick coats and might take to digging as a way to cool down. A splash pool, along with plenty of shade in the garden, could stop your retriever from digging to keep cool. Regular grooming and baths might also help.
  • Keep the nails trimmed. Dogs use their nails to dig so keeping them neatly trimmed will deter digging to a certain extent.

As dogs are natural diggers, especially retrievers, it is unrealistic to expect them to completely refrain from the behavior. With enough exercise and training, however,  you should be able to stop your retriever from digging excessively.