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How to Stop a German Shepherd Digging

Not all dogs are prone to digging, but for those who own German Shepherds the acts of digging holes, flowerbeds or burying bones in the backyard is instinctual. Recognizing that your pet is doing this act as a natural behavior, rather than trying to hurt you, is the first step to finding compromise and good solutions where digging is concerned.

Here are 5 ways to stop German Shepherd digging, or at least to find some “common ground” between you and your pet:


The Ultimate Solution – Give Your German Shepherd A Safe Place To Dig

A dog that leaves holes all over the backyard, destroying lawns and even flowerbeds, is in need of some training and gentle discipline. However, the perfect compromise would be if you would establish a place where your pet is allowed to dig, sparing the rest of the yard.

For German Shepherds, digging is an instinct and unless you sequester your dog from the backyard, the urge to dig will continue. Find a small area in your yard or purchase a sandbox and designate it as the “ok” spot for digging. To entice your dog, bury some treats, toys and snacks in the location.

If you have trained your dog to obey your commands, you can guide your pet to staying in the appropriate area, offering praise when digging is acceptable to you and letting your German Shepherd know when he or she is out of bounds.


Don’t Leave Your Pet Unattended In The Yard Until You Have Trained Your German Shepherd

Consistency is key when it comes to dog training. However, many pet owners open the back door, let the dog out in the yard and then get upset when negative behaviors occur. Until you have successfully trained your German Shepherd as to what is ok and what isn’t, leaving your dog loose in the yard is only asking for trouble.

Whether you have chosen a site where digging is acceptable or find all digging unacceptable, your pet won’t know this until you devote the time into letting him or her know the rules for outdoor play and digging. It is your job as a pet owner to be consistent and work with your pet during the learning process, never leaving your dog unattended outside until you’ve provided the appropriate training.


When Digging Is Only A Problem In Certain Circumstances

If your German Shepherd just cannot resist the scent of fertilizer in the garden and flowerbed or if your digger only digs when burying bones, there are simple solutions to fix these problems.

Enclose and protect your garden or install a dog run in the backyard that cannot reach the problem area. In addition, for those who only dig to bury bones, only give treats when indoors and don’t let your pet carry them outside when going out into the yard.

If your dog doesn’t dig incessantly, pay attention to when and why the digging behavior occurs. With a few minor adjustments, your digging problem can be solved.

Aversion Therapy Ideas

Though the most favorable result in a German Shepherd digging problem is to provide your dog with a safe digging area, if digging is completely unacceptable in any and all scenarios, some dogs respond well to aversion therapy approaches.

However, please do not traumatize or scold your pet. Increasing your dog’s anxiety in the backyard can spill over into behavior problems indoors. Again, your pet is acting on instinct, not trying to disappoint you.

Many German Shepherd owners have had success with filling their pet’s holes with their dog’s own fecal matter, which quickly discourages a pet from revisiting the hole. Some people find putting chicken wire in the hole discourages a pet from digging their again, due to the uncomfortable sensation on the paws.There are also sprays and other products designed to deter a dog from digging in a certain area.

Some people have tried to shock their pets by burying balloons or spraying with a hose. This provides a lot of anxiety and trauma for your dog and is not recommended. There are better, more humane approaches to teaching your best friend what is and is not acceptable in your household.

German Shepherds Need A Lot Of Exercise

Another way to diminish the act of digging is by providing your Shepherd with 1 to 1 1/2 hours of exercise each day. German Shepherds are very energetic and need a lot of attention and physical activity each and every day. Sometimes digging becomes excessive out of sheer boredom and the need to burn energy off.

So Just Remember that your pet is only doing what comes naturally. German Shepherds don’t know the time and energy you put into building your flower garden or treating your lawn. If at all possible, you should make an effort to allow your dog a safe area to carry out his instincts. That said, when digging becomes excessive, often it is due to needing more attention and exercise. Be sure your German Shepherd is getting the attention he or she needs. You might be surprised, with appropriate activity levels each day, how much the digging problem can subside.