First, determine the cause; this will affect the methods used to stop it
Is she digging “cooling spots” to lie in because she’s hot?
This behavior almost always stops immediately once your dog has a different way to keep cool.
Is she bored?
Simply increasing daily mental stimulation and exercise will usually resolve the problem pretty quickly
Is she hunting a “small critter” living underground?
In this situation, the problem is unlikely to go away until you get rid of whatever it is she is hunting
Is she digging in the garden because she likes the soft, moist dirt?
Is she doing it just because it’s fun? There are several methods that can work in this situation. Try each one for at least 3-4 weeks before moving on to the next. Keep in mind that many dogs will start digging for one of the other reasons mentioned in this guide, but will learn that digging is fun. In this case, you may need to use other methods related to the original cause, in addition to those listed below.
- The easiest method is to put your dog’s feces into the holes that she digs. Each time she digs a new hole, just fill that one too. Dogs don’t like to dig where they think they have defecated. If you are consistent and keep filling each new hole quickly (within 24 hours), most dogs will give up and stop digging within a few weeks.
- Try sprinkling cayenne pepper all over the areas your dog likes to dig. When she goes over to dig, the cayenne pepper will get up into her nose and mouth and will be yucky and unpleasant. Keep in mind that wind or rain may remove the cayenne pepper; as such, you will need to reapply every few days.
- Next, try filling your dog’s holes with lava rock. Lava rock acts the same as chicken wire in that it does not feel good on dog paws and nails. As such, your dog will not want to dig where there is lava rock. If you do the same thing as the “feces” method above and just keep filling all the new holes, the dog should eventually give up and stop digging. Remember to be consistent, checking at least once a day for new holes.
- Provide a place where digging is allowed (such as a sand box). Some breeds, such as dachshunds, were actually bred to dig. In cases such as this, it is often a lot easier to simply provide a spot where the dog is allowed to dig and teaching her where the appropriate spot is. Try using the methods listed above to discourage digging in inappropriate areas, then bury toys and treats in the area where digging is approved to help the dog understand that digging there is fun.