Bulldogs have an odd affinity for digging. Unfortunately, they may target your beautiful flower bed. It’s a bummer for avid gardeners who can’t wait to see their blooms. To ensure that your flowering plants will see the light of day, you should know how to keep a dog from digging in flower beds.
As much as we love our Bulldogs, they can wreak havoc in the garden. Bulldogs’ curiosity can sometimes get the best of them, especially if they aren’t properly trained.
To address this problem, it’s important to understand why your Bulldog exhibits the behavior in the first place. From there, you can proceed with the tips I discussed here. Just remember that punishments and violence will not help your situation.
Why do Bulldogs love digging flower beds?
Digging is one of the innate characteristics of dogs. While Bulldogs are far from Golden Retrievers, they can still give your flower bed a good ploughing. Here are the reasons why your Bulldog will unearth your roses:
- Denning. In the wild, dogs will seek shelter to avoid predators. They will do this by digging dens to hide and to access cooler soil in warmer months. It’s also the same reason why many dogs, not just Bulldogs, love cave-like beds.
- Escape. Does your Bulldog have a bad case of separation anxiety? If so, digging through your flower bed might be an escape attempt, especially if it’s located beside your fence. Most eager dogs can dig deep enough to create a hole underneath the fence for a successful escape.
- Stress. Stressed Bulldogs will use digging as a stress reliever. Unfortunately, most of these bored diggers have separation anxiety to which the Bulldog breed is notorious for.
- Boredom. If your Bulldog is left alone for long without ample exercise and mental stimulation, it will channel its energy toward your garden. Since your flower bed is aromatic, it will attract the attention of a bored canine.
- Hiding their valuables. Sometimes, dogs tend to hide their valuables, especially food leftovers. This is a hard-wired trait as wild dogs will bury their leftover carcass to snack later on. It prevents other dogs from stealing their meals.
These are just a few explanations behind your Bulldog’s digging. There can be other underlying issues based on your pet’s specific situation.
How to keep a dog from digging in flower beds
1. Surround it with a fence
Your Bulldog won’t dig into your flower beds if it can’t access the spot in the first place. Building a fence around it is the easiest solution. And since Bulldogs aren’t high jumpers, you don’t really need to overdo the height, except if you have other canines around.
A picket fence is a stylish option, but it will take a lot of time and money to put up. Chain link is the most economical option but not the flashiest if you consider aesthetics paramount. You can consult a local fence company to know the best solution for your property.
2. Keep your dog busy
Keeping your Bulldog’s mind off the flower bed will prevent it from digging. You can do this by taking the pooch on walks around the neighborhood and providing playtime. This will drain your dog’s excess energy so that it won’t target the flower beds anymore.
It’s important to use interactive toys to keep your Bulldog mentally stimulated. Just note that the Bulldog breed doesn’t require excessive exercise. You should focus on mentally stimulating but low-impact drills instead.
3. Make the smell unappealing.
Canines have a strong sense of smell, which you can use against them. Bulldogs, and almost any dog, will dislike citrus odors as well as coffee grounds and vinegar. However, you should be careful in using these as coffee and vinegar are acidic and could ruin your blooms.
You can also use other scents, but make sure that it’s safe to use around your dog. A flower bed in full bloom isn’t worth it if you’ll inadvertently poison your pet.
4. Make it hot
Making your flower bed ‘muy caliente’ is a surefire way to prevent your curious Bulldog from digging on it. Cayenne pepper has a strong odor, and it also stings to touch. The moment your dog sniffs the overwhelming scent of pepper, it would surely back off.
But just like any deterrent scents, you should use cayenne pepper with extreme caution. First, it could ruin your flowers, and second, the substance can be hazardous for a sensitive Bulldog.
Nevertheless, having a small lick of the spicy thing won’t harm your pooch. It will also teach him that your flower bed isn’t one to mess with.
5. Don’t leave toys near your flower bed.
After a fun playtime outdoors, make sure that you keep all the toys away from your garden. This way, your Bulldog won’t have any reason to stay near your flower bed and potentially dig on it.
You should also consider hosting playtimes away from your flower beds. This will save you from a lot of trouble when your Bulldog discovers your precious garden patch.
6. Use prickly clippings
If your Bulldog resists any kind of odor deterrent, your best bet is prickly bushes. No one likes being poked by sharp thorns, even dogs.
With this, you should save some prickly clippings from barberries, rose bushes, and hawthorns. You can cover the flower bed with these clippings. You can also hide it under the bottom leaves of the flowers if you don’t want to ruin the look of your garden.
Most of the time, this method is safe and works well in repelling both dogs and stray animals.
7. Set up a motion-activated sprinkler
While many dogs love playing on sprinklers, some hate being bombarded with cold water all of a sudden. A motion-activated sprinkler will work wonders for the most eager Bulldogs who want to access your flower beds. This also works in driving away pesky birds and stray animals.
Placing the sprinkler strategically near your flower bed will prevent overwatering. It will also ensure that your sprinkler won’t keep on having false detections.
For water-loving Bulldogs, the sprinkler still works since it will keep them away from the flower beds. Instead, they will just play on the water to pass the time instead of digging on the dirt.
8. Bury a balloon
Another trick I’ve learned from a friend is burying inflated balloons on the flower bed. So when your Bulldog tries to dig on it, the pooch will be startled by the popping noise. This worked like magic for my dogs after popping the balloons several times.
However, you should pair this with training for the best results. On the off chance that your Bulldog finds this method fun, you can try other tips I listed here.
9. Always supervise backyard time.
Supervision is still the best way to keep your Bulldog out of your flower bed. If your doggo goes straight to your flower bed, put it on a leash even before you open the door.
Like children, it’s not a good idea to leave dogs on their own devices, especially in a garden. It only takes a few seconds for a Bulldog to start digging and eating soil . This can turn catastrophic if you leave the pooch out for hours.
Until your Bulldog is fully trained, you shouldn’t let it roam the garden on its own.
10. Make a dedicated dig pit.
If your Bulldog isn’t yielding to all your efforts, the best way to keep it out of the flower bed is to give it a digging pit of its own. This way, your Bulldog can dig to its heart’s content without ruining your precious plants.
This will also serve as a play zone, which will teach your dog that there’s allotted space for fun. You can fill it with sand and toys, much like how you’ll make a sandbox for kids.
The goal is to make your Bulldog’s digging pit more enticing than your flower bed.
11. Construct a garden moat
A DIY garden moat is a clever way to keep your Bulldog out of the flower bed. This is an excellent alternative if you can’t put up a whole fence around the area.
Aside from lining up the perimeter of your flower bed, it will help a lot to cover it with pine cones. The cones are rough and uncomfortable to paw.
This will discourage your Bulldog from digging further, but you should put up other preventive measures. Over-eager Bulldogs can hop into the pine cones and massacre your blooms.
12. Train your dog out of it
The permanent solution to your Bulldog’s incessant digging is proper training. You have to teach your Bulldog that the flower bed is a ‘no-go zone’. The moment you see your dog going toward the flower bed, you should call its name or command it to sit.
If your Bulldog complies, give it a treat right away. This will teach your pet that leaving the flower bed alone is a rewarded response.
If that trick doesn’t work, you can use an electronic dog fence. It’s available in wireless systems, which use radio signals to create a circular barrier. This is connected to a collar that your dog needs to wear. If your dog breaches the virtual barrier, it will receive a static correction.
To set this up, make sure that the circular barrier doesn’t cover your flower beds. But if you want more customized coverage, you can invest in a wired electric fence. The wires will be buried a few inches into the ground to create a customized perimeter for your dog. Like wireless systems, this, too, has a shock collar to send corrections to your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why does my dog rip up my plants?
A: Destructive behavior directed toward your plants is often a result of boredom among dogs. Unlike what others believe, dogs aren’t able to feel spite. So if you saw your pooch digging through your plants, it’s not an act of revenge. It’s a behavioral problem that you need to address with proper training and other complementary methods.
Q: How do I stop my dog from chewing plants in the garden?
A: If your dog is not just digging but also chewing your plants, you should limit its garden access right away. Many common garden plants like day lilies, azaleas, and bluebells are toxic to canines. You shouldn’t let your dog go to the garden without full supervision or leash control.
Q: Will a dog ever stop digging on its own?
A: Most of the time, puppies are the most notorious diggers. However, adult Bulldogs can still exhibit the same behavior if not trained properly. It’s important to take action, so your doggo will not develop negative behavior that could be difficult to fix as it grows older.
Q: What does it mean when a dog starts digging?
A: This behavioral problem is often rooted in boredom, lack of mental stimulation, and anxiety. However, in some cultures, a digging canine is a bad omen. Some say it’s a premonition that someone is going to die and be buried. But from the standpoint of a dog trainer, this behavior is easy to fix with the right approach.
Q: Is digging a good exercise for dogs?
A: Digging is a good exercise for your Bulldog’s forelimbs. However, it’s not a good idea to tolerate this behavior, especially if you’re trying to protect a flower bed. It’s best to introduce your dog to other forms of exercise like walks around the neighborhood and indoor playtime.
Knowing how to keep a Bulldog from digging in flower beds doesn’t have to be a guessing game. There are easy steps you can take to keep the curious pooch out of your garden. Paired with supervision and training, your doggo will not bother your blooms again. You just have to be patient while avoiding violent methods at all costs.
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