About a year ago, we had a really bad gopher problem in our backyard. I've successfully trapped and eliminated all the gophers but my dog sometimes can still smell something and goes crazy digging. I wouldn't mind the digging, but we just laid sod earlier this year. The lawn in the backyard covers roughly 3,500 square feet.

I'm curious if there's anything I can do (besides being 100% vigilant while my dog is out back) to the lawn itself that could eliminate the gopher odor, or make it harder for him to scent. Obviously, I don't want the grass to be negatively impacted.

  • A very large cat should do the job. Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 0:04

4 Answers 4


This may seem odd, but it has worked for me. Place the dog's feces in the hole they dug, then cover it back up. You may have to do this many times if they continually dig there holes in different places. At some point your dog will dig in a hole that you have covered up once before. At this point they will be disgusted by what they find and will learn to stop digging. Or if there is indeed a smell they are digging for, they will now have another (bad) smell on top of it.

Doing this kept our dog from digging for a full year. He relapsed recently, but one treatment has him back to being dig free.

There is one other thing to keep in mind, sometimes dogs dig to find cool or warm dirt. If you leave your dog outside during temperature extremes, they may just be digging as part of their natural instinct to keep their temperature stable. Giving your dog a place that they are allowed to dig or providing a dog house can assist if this is the source of the issue.a

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    Placing the dog's feces in his hole has completely remedied the issue. Thanks for your suggestions. Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 22:19
  • I am trying this as well right now. Thanks for the advice.
    – Evil Elf
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 12:21

Bitter apple has been recommended to me but has never worked in deterring my dog from accidents, digging or nosing around where he doesn't belong. A dog is a dog - they are going to dig. If you want to train him/her not to on your sod, carry a water spray bottle wherever you go, be with the dog when you let him out and spray him well the minute he begins to dig with a firm "No!" This is a form of training that is somewhat benign but gets the message across very well. I simply show my dog the bottle now and no digging, jumping, etc., occurs.


Dogs dig for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is because of a scent, but more often they are just bored. Digging is also a natural activity for dogs, so you are working against nature by trying to stop it.

The other answers have some good ideas for deterring the dog - I've also heard of people pouring cayenne pepper around the areas they dig. An E-Collar or shock collar might also be helpful but it might be worth consulting a trainer because you try these methods.

I have had success with giving my dog a specific area to dig in. In my case, it was around the side of the house where no one really can see. I piled up some dirt in a nice mound and hit some liver treats in it. A bit of encouragement and the he figured out he could dig them out, which I praised. Anytime I caught him digging else where, I'd immediately stop him and relocate him to the designated digging area. So you kill two birds with one stone - your dog is entertained doing something they love, and your lawn won't be full of craters!


I'm from Australia, I've got 5 Catahoulas and I tried so many different ways to stop my dogs from digging. In the end I gave them a 3m × 3m patch of dirt in the back corner of my yard and buried some new toys and a few bones.

I think the best way is keeping them busy and well exercised but sometimes it's not that easy.

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