When dogs aren’t busy being man’s best friend, they’re out in the backyard digging up your prized flower bed with a shifty expression on their face. Luckily for you, this is a common problem, so there are plenty of tips and tricks littered across the internet to help you out. In fact, we’ve rounded up 10 easy, simple fixes to keep your pooch out of your garden.
From other gardeners and pet owners who have been there and done that, these handy tricks have been proven to keep curious pups away from flower beds.
1. Address the real problem
Snowdog Guru provides helpful advice for larger breeds, like huskies, that are especially prone to digging: troubleshoot. Your dog could be digging for any number of reasons — to beat the heat, to find pests or due to boredom. Observe your dog to find out the underlying cause of nonstop digging, and maybe you won’t need steps 2 through 10.
2. Build an adorable fence
If you have always been looking for an excuse to build a cutesy picket fence, here it is: Better Homes and Gardens recommends protecting flower beds with a low picket fence as a visual and physical barrier for dogs.
3. Bury balloons
This tip seems a touch drastic, but it was once endorsed by the Louisiana SPCA: “Blow up some balloons and bury them in the area your dog likes to dig. When he strikes a balloon, the noise of it popping startles your dog. In some cases, the negative association this produces is enough to stop your dog from digging in the future.”
4. Construct a moat
A makeshift garden moat made with pinecone bedding is clever, crafty and quite uncomfortable for dogs’ sensitive paws.
5. Make a dig pit
Could it be that your dog is digging because he just wants to dig? The Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them blog urges gardeners to embrace the digging and section off a special backyard dig pit where your pooch can dig to his heart’s content.
6. Prune strategically
Every rose has its thorn, and every dog will think twice about stepping in a flowerbed strewn with thorny rosebush clippings.
7. Spice things up
Canines do not like things muy caliente. Discourage your dog from digging in your garden by sprinkling equal parts crushed red pepper and powdered mustard around the perimeter.
8. Stink up the joint
Gardening Guides reveals that, like humans, dogs can’t stand the smell of ammonia. A “stink bomb” made from ammonia poured into coffee filters will create an invisible fence around your beautiful begonias.
9. Supervise backyard time
This Redditor’s anti-digging tip may be obvious, but it just makes sense: “I’d stop letting him go outside without supervision. That way, you can stop the digging preferably right before it happens with redirection.”
10. Wear him down
When all else fails, it’s time to play some Cesar Millan Jedi mind tricks on your pup. Your dog may be excavating your garden because of a simple need for exercise and stimulation. Walk your dog at least twice a day to deplete boundless energy reserves and make flower beds less tempting.
A version of this article was originally published in February 2015.