How to Keep a Puppy From Digging in a Flower Bed


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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Tips and Warnings

  • The puppy may dig if it doesn't have adequate shelter from precipitation or extreme temperatures. Do not scold the puppy for digging if you don't catch it in the flowerbed, because the puppy will not understand punishment for past actions.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken-wire fencing
  • Sandbox (optional)
  • Sand and soil mixture (optional)
  • Dog toys


  • The Humane Society: How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging
  • "The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook"; Betsy Brevitz, D.V.M.; 2009
  • The Partnership for Animal Welfare: Garden Tips for Dog People
Keywords: puppy digs garden, stops puppy from digging, dog digging

About this Author

Krissi Maarx is a freelance writer who has written web content since 2006. She is an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services, with studies focusing on holistic healing, mental health care and medicinal botany. As a pet groomer, too, Maarx writes many dog-related articles for print and the web.