Our sweet little Cockapoo has turned into a digging machine. I found Cookie furiously and I might add happily digging her way under the backyard fence the other day.
Of course, I immediately stopped her. Told her to stop the digging with a disapproving face, filled the hole in and naively figured the digging would stop. Not even close. The next day she was right back at it. I had to admit, we had a digging dog problem. A problem I needed to stop quickly for her own safety. But how? How do you stop a dog from digging under the fence?
The short answer is I put a barrier at the bottom of the fence. Before deciding upon the barrier I first looked at what stop digging options were available and why she had suddenly started digging under the fence. I will go over both in this article as well as what I found worked, didn’t work and why.
Why Dogs Dig?
Dogs dig. It’s one of the things they do. Why has your Cockapoo, like mine, started digging under the fence? Is it to escape the comfortable life you’ve provided? Is there some doggy meeting they need to get to? The reason is typically much less complicated.
Your Cockapoo may be digging because they’re just bored. Spending time alone in the yard can become a drag. There’s only so much amusement those outdoor toys can provided. Once boredom sets in your Cockapoo will investigate and try anything for a little fun and excitement.
Digging under the fence may be that new fun and exciting thing to do but more than likely they want something or someone on the other side of the fence. This is what happened in our case. Our neighbor has two dogs and Cookie wanted to go and play.
Stop Digging Options
As the pet parent of a tunneling Cockapoo we needed to quickly find a way to keep our determined friends in our yard.
My mind was already thinking of all the things that could happen to Cookie if she did get loose not to mention our neighbor had already found her kind of stuck under the fence during one of her attempted escapes.
Once that happened, she was no longer allowed in the backyard alone. Which was sad really because Cookie loves being outside and her time in the yard was now limited to when one of us could be there with her. So for Cookies safety and my peace of mind I needed to come up with a solution and quick.
Below are five stop digging options to keep your dog safe and sound in your yard.
- Supervise your dog. Be with them at all times while they play and roam. Most dogs will not attempt an escape if your with them.
- Create a digging area for your dog. Divert that digging energy away from the fence to an area where they can dig safely and you approve.
- Chemical digging deterrents. Spray/spread a substance around the fence which your dog will not like. The idea is after a few attempts their aversion to the substance will stop them from digging. You could either us a homemade substance such as a capsicum spray or purchase a commercial product.
- Physical deterrents. Place objects at the base of the fence to deter your dog from digging such as chicken wire, large stones or pouring a cement barrier.
- Invisible fence. Install an invisible fence in the backyard a few feet away from the existing fence. There by not allowing your dog to get to the fence to dig under it.
Armed with some solutions I set out to stop our tunnel happy pooch.
What I Didn’t Try
First I quickly discarded a number of the suggestions for various reasons.
For example supervising Cookie while in the yard. That’s what I was doing now and it’s not a long term solution to the problem. When the weather is warm and the sun is out she loves spending time outside. I didn’t want to limit her backyard time to only the times I could spend with her throughout the day. We really wanted to give her the freedom to come and go and spend time outside unsupervised in the backyard.
Another option I determined wouldn’t work for us was chemical deterrents. Cookie had a problem chewing furniture. Specifically our couch. Every time I turned my back she was gnawing on the couch. At whit’s end I tried a number of different commercial chemical sprays to get her to stop chewing.
It didn’t work. It almost seemed like she enjoyed the taste of the spray. Like it added flavor to the couch skirt. In the end she did finally stop chewing but it wasn’t because of the sprays. If sprays didn’t work in the house I figured there was very little chance they’d work outside.
The invisible fence was a no go from the start. I just couldn’t see setting up an invisible fence in a backyard that already had a fence.
What I Did Try
I did try redirecting her digging to a specific digging area, an old garden bed we no longer used. I thought it would be the perfect place for her to dig. Was I wrong.
Cookies motivation to dig was to go hang out with the neighbors dogs. While she did enjoy the treats and toys I half buried in the ground once the neighbor’s dogs were out she’d be right over to the fence digging away to see her friends if I wasn’t there to stop her.
In the end it all came down to physically blocking her digging. This is where I found success.
What I Found Worked
Creating a physical barrier under the fence was the solution that worked for us. Specifically I buried cement blocks at the bottom of the fence. Not only did they stop Cookie from digging but they ended up looking pretty good as well.
Really, you could use anything at the bottom of the fence just as long as it is heavy enough your Cockapoo can’t move it. Blocks, rocks, logs, you can decide.
I chose the blocks because they were readily available at our local building supply center and relatively cheap and easy to install. Compared to all the digging I would have had to do to install the chicken wire under the fence it was a breeze.
I dug a small trench along the fence between our houses, down just far enough so the top of the block would be level with the soil and the bottom of the fence. The blocks were placed a couple of inches apart. I used seven blocks each between fence post. I then filled in the trench around the blocks. All done in about two hours.
The best part no more digging under the fence when the neighbors dogs are out.
Stopping A Digging Cockapoo – One Size Does Not Fit All
We were lucky, Cookie only dug along the fence between our neighbors with the dogs and our backyard. She had no interest digging anywhere else. If she had, using the blocks would have turned out to be too expensive. We’re very lucky to have a big backyard. I would have had to consider one of the other physical barriers such as chicken wire, large rocks or maybe logs/railroad ties.
When it comes to keeping a tunneling pooch in your backyard you have a number of options. In this instance cement blocks worked for me. Have you tried blocks? Or have you found success using a different method, something I’ve not considered.
If so, let me know. I’m always curious to know what other pet parents have done to keep their digging friends home, safe and sound.