Your gardening efforts may seem futile if a puppy tears your flowers and buries them beneath mounds of overturned earth, but precautions and behavioral training can shape your puppy into a well-behaved gardening companion. The Humane Society warns that dogs will learn to dig for entertainment if they see you "playing" in the garden, but other reasons for the behavior include boredom, curiosity and instinct. It's important that you supervise the puppy and provide it with sufficient mental and physical stimulation.
Place chicken-wire fencing under a thin layer of soil in the garden, or place it upright as a fence around your flowerbed. Both positions provide a physical barrier that stops a puppy from digging there, and it is only a temporary fixture during the initial training period.
Exercise your puppy twice daily for 30 minutes, as recommended by Betsy Brevitz, D.V.M., or for 1 to 2 hours daily if you have a high-energy breed, such as a Labrador retriever or border collie. Exercise reduces anxiety, which also contributes to digging, and it improves a dog's cooperation with obedience training.
Practice obedience commands, such as "sit," "stay" and "come," because this provides the puppy with mental stimulation and can help you improve its overall behaviors.
Fill a sandbox with soil and sand for the puppy, or choose an area of your yard in which it is acceptable for the puppy to dig holes. Hide toys and treats in this specified area, and praise the puppy for digging there.
Say "no" when you see the puppy snooping around your flowerbed, and then redirect it to the designated digging area or to an acceptable activity.