It's one of the most natural behaviours a dog can display, sometimes without any encouragement. So fighting such a raw behaviour can be futile.
Why Do They Dig?
*Releasing energy or frustration
*Safe guarding an important resource
*Trying to reach something they can hear underground
*As a means to escape
*To make a cool spot to lie
*As part of a 'nesting' behaviour in some females
But what about my lawn? I hear you cry.
Reprimanding your dog or chastising them when they dig or after the event, will only serve to create mistrust and avoidance in future. It won't stop them digging.
So think creatively. One of the most commons reasons dogs dig is due to boredom. So in this case why would you want to stop them digging if it helps release some energy, frustration and stress? Why not encourage it? Yes you heard me right, encourage it. Now I'm not saying you need to train your dog to be an avalanche search and rescue dog (although I'm sure they'd love the job opportunity). I'm talking about giving them a designated digging area in your outside space, which is even more desirable and fun that the rest of your garden. We do it for children so why not dogs?
You could use a kids plastic sandpit or perhaps a large wooden planter. The deeper the better. Fill it will sand and encourage your dog to dig in it by burying food, bones or a toy. To begin with you may have to show them what to do but more often than not they get the idea. If you've told them off in the past for digging, they may be hesitant about doing it in front of you. I often see dogs completely confused by their owners sudden enthusiasm for them to dig but with this positive encouragement they soon take up the challenge and enjoy the interaction with their owner.
If you want to make it more tricky for your dog to find something buried in the sand why not take a small cardboard box or two, put some smelly food in it and tape it up. Bury it under the sand for them to find and then they have to work out how to get the food. They may need your assistance initially.
This is one of the most fun games you can play with your dog and it uses both their brains and bodies. 10-15 minutes of digging games can even replace a walk if necessary.
Try it with your dog, you may find it's the best way to save your lawn and plants if your dog is frustrated and bored..