For our gardens, unfortunately, digging can be an instinctive behaviour in some dogs. Your puppy isn’t trying to upset you or destroy your garden but you want to stop it as soon as possible.
Your dog isn’t trying to be naughty but they are acting up for some reason. First lets work out the WHY.
Is is boredom, anxiety, misdirected play, or solely their instinct to do so?
If you can determine the cause you can attempt a solution.
This means you need to keep a keen eye on pup over the next few days.
Ensure that your dog is sufficiently exercised both mind and body. If your puppy is still in the early months your walking routine is going to be two walks a day for 5 minutes per month of their life, however, that doesn’t mean that a 3 month old pup goes outside in the big world for 15 minutes and comes home again. Physical, strenuous, activity ie walking and playing should only be 15 minutes but your pup can “hang out” in the park and watch the world for at least a further 10 minutes ( 10 minutes mental stimulation can add up to the equivalent of 30-40 minutes physical )!
Make sure your pup has times with you to play, not just with toys, you can use your pups food to get them chasing and following their food, following your hand, getting them to find it, this really stimulates their mind and also connect them with you.
Do 10 minutes of training with you puppy, at least two times a day. Remember what I said earlier, just 10 minutes is equivalent to about 30 minutes of physical activity. At this stage don’t do more than 10 minutes at a time to keep your pup really focused and always end on a positive (a sit is an easy achievable ending).
Ensure you have enough toys and treats that your puppy can chew on. Look at Licky mats, Kong, and size/age appropriate bones. If you are unsure ask me or pop into Fin n Fur and they will guide you in the right direction for you pup.
If your puppy is bored these points may just be the solution you need.
If you’re doing all the above but your puppy is still digging.
Follow your puppy when they head outside and watch them (hide away if you can and call out their name and Ut Uh from inside the house, but so they can’t see you, they will think that you can always see them when they go outside). Go outside and give them a clear indication that is not acceptable, an “ut uh” is my favourite go to, and redirect them. This can be with; a toy, luring them away with a treat, or taking them to a place where they can dig.
So this is looking like Instinct.
If your puppy is instinctively digging you may like to offer a place in the garden that is theres, or perhaps a sand box (one that you can cover so no unwanted felines can use it as a kitty litter)!
When you catch Junior in the act give them a clear indication that that is unacceptable and then take them to “their place”. You can hide treats and toys in the sand etc and them praise them when they are digging there repeating “yes your spot/place, good boy/girl”. Once your pup is accustomed to going to “their place” the garden digging should cease. You have successfully satisfied their “Instinct” and saved your garden.
Does your puppy dig when they hear a loud noise, or is it separation anxiety. If you close your dog outside, even when your home, and your dog digs it could be separation anxiety. If your dog digs when you leave the house it could be separation anxiety. So before you can address the digging you need to focus on the anxiety. Contact me or read one of my articles on Separation anxiety for help.
You’ve not caught them yet, they keep offending in the same places and you want to put a deterrent.
This is only for puppies who don’t eat their own poop!
Fill the favourite digging holes with rocks, then a layer of their poop, cover with dirt and lemon juice. This may discourage your puppy from reoffending.
Try not to fertilise your garden with fertilisers which have blood and bone in them because this can be very attractive to your puppy and encourage him to dig and eat the soil.
Good Luck Training!